Sunday, November 14, 2021

What is the very best sign God can give? (Sunday homily)

 Throughout time, there have always been people scavenging 

for every possible clue for God’s timetable for the future.

Today’s Gospel is, as they say, “red meat” for that hunger. 

People want to know how this world will end, and the new ushered in.

In short, people want signs. Show me a sign, they kept telling Jesus.

In our time, if people hear about a statue crying,

or someone shares a picture of a miraculous tortilla,

everyone comes from all over to see it.

And these things can be genuine. Or not. I can’t say.

What I can say is this. You want a sign?

Jesus has already given you and me 

the best of all signs, the absolute best. 

There is nothing greater he can still give than what he’s already given. 

He came. He died. He rose from the dead!

He sent his Apostles and others in his name,

telling them: “Do THIS in memory of me.”

I’m talking about the Holy Mass. The Most Holy Eucharist!

You want a sign?

That’s the absolute best you can get.

There is no need for anything more. 

Jesus’ gift of the Eucharist 

is as full and complete a confirmation as God can give.

The only “more” we can hope for is heaven itself. 

This weekend we are having Forty Hours, 

with the Lord Jesus on the altar to adore.

Use your imagination now.

If the monstrance were on the altar right now, 

you would see the pale, white disc of the Sacred Host. 

This truly is Jesus’ Body and Blood. No shilly-shallying around. 

The Eucharist is Jesus, himself.

Yes, while retaining the physical qualities of bread or wine, 

but after all, would you really prefer to see bloody flesh?

In your mind, see the Sacred Host, as if he were on the altar now.

And what if you and I could step up to the monstrance, 

and do what Alice in the story, Alice in Wonderland, did.

Remember that? She drew close to the mirror and stepped through it.

What if somehow you and I could “step into” 

the monstrance on the altar, and pass beyond?

Where would we be? The answer is heaven! Heaven!

You want a “sign”? The Eucharist is Jesus: 

the fullness of God and all his promises. There is nothing more.

On Christmas we might look around for one more present.

But no, there is nothing more to look for than the Eucharist!

So, if you ever have said, God give me a sign!

Show me, prove to me, that you love me, 

that I matter, that I can dare to hope: 

the Most Holy Eucharist is that sign!

This is “Vocations Awareness” week.

Everyone knows we need more priests, more religious.

There are so many young men I’ve watched grow up.

From my perspective, I think you’d be fine priests, and I’ve told you so.

I stop bringing it up when you bring your fiancé by to meet me!

But I can’t really know. Only God can give that call.

What I want to say is, men, if you want to make a difference,

if you want to leave a legacy and change lives,

being a priest is an awesome way to do it.

And you are privileged to be right there, at the altar – 

and, just as much, at the Upper Room, 

and at the Cross, and at the empty tomb.

He is the “Sign” of all signs.

You get to be the bringer, the sharer, of this Sign.

I won’t kid you. There’s work. There’s sadness and sacrifice.

There’s times of tedium and misunderstanding.

But, oh what a life! You get to be his companion along the way!

And I want to say about the religious life for brothers and sisters.

The task of those in religious life is likewise to be a sign.

Not THE Sign; that’s Jesus. You are the “sign of the Sign.”

Your vows are all about trying to live – as fully as possible – 

a life full of heaven while here on earth.

Now, I’m going to say here something “politically incorrect.”

Some of our religious orders have lost their way.

Don’t let that discourage you. 

There are many communities that are 

full of zeal and joy to know Jesus and make him known.

To serve others in so many ways.

They don’t hide who they are, 

and the center of their common life is the Holy Eucharist.

It’s not for everyone. But if some part of you longs for…MORE, 

then maybe it’s the religious life you hunger for.

And if you don’t at least TRY it, you’ll always wonder, what if?

If you call me, I’ll get you connected.

Don’t worry, they don’t lock you in the convent or seminary!

And I’m not going to start calling you like a telemarketer!

In a moment, we’ll witness the wonder of Jesus offering himself 

on the Cross and at the same time, on the altar.

And then if we are ready, spiritually – I mean, in a state of grace – 

He gives himself to us. Total gift. All of God and heaven.

All of love. All of hope. All there is to give!

1 comment:

rcg said...

Beautiful. I wnder how my life would be different if someone had said that to me when I was young.