So, this Sunday we focus on three things.
First, the Mercy of God since this is Divine Mercy Sunday.
Second, the Resurrection.
And third, about the Holy Eucharist, because our second graders are making their first Holy Communion.
Let’s start with God’s mercy, because that’s what it’s all about.
Why did God do any of the things he did for us?
Come to earth, take up the cross, give us the sacraments?
It’s all mercy, it’s all about saving us, changing us, making us saints.
So, what I’m going to say next is just for some people here,
because some good folks, who are trying SO hard,
need to stop and, if you will, press their nose to that image of MERCY.
Let me explain it this way: we humans have a NEED:
we are alienated from God.
God responds with a GIFT: that is, his Mercy.
So, again, NEED and GIFT.
Some folks don’t really take their need seriously.
As a result, they undervalue the gift.
So, if you think pretty much EVERYONE goes to heaven,
then where’s the urgent need?
Meanwhile, there are others, some of whom are here;
And you focus so intensely on your NEED –
“I am so sinful, I am so, so far from what God wants!” –
that you don’t focus enough on the GIFT.
Remember what St. Faustina said: “Jesus I TRUST in you!”
Take an example from the Apostle Thomas.
He started out looking at his doubts and fears; i.e., at himself.
Jesus tells him, don’t look at yourself, look at ME:
see my wounds, touch them. Believe in ME.
When you and I get overly anxious about our sins, it’s the same.
Yes: take a few minutes to examine yourself. But then stop!
Shift your gaze from your own failings,
from your impossibility and look at JESUS: “Jesus, I trust in you!”
This is where his Resurrection is so important.
Jesus rising from the dead proves everything he said was true.
No wonder Thomas fell to his knees and said: “my Lord and my God”!
Second, when he shows us his resurrected body,
Jesus isn’t just “showing off”: “Look at what I have!”
He’s showing what is, and will be, OURS.
Lots of Christians are mixed up on this point.
They think our goal is to ESCAPE this life.
So, they think the body doesn’t matter after they die.
No, no! Jesus did not come to lead an escape from this world,
But rather, to lead the REDEMPTION and healing of this world.
So, even after death our body is sacred.
And we will have it back, new and improved: what Jesus shows us.
Now we come to the Most Holy Eucharist.
We talked about mercy,
and we talked about sharing Jesus’ resurrected life.
This – and more – is what the Most Holy Eucharist is.
Don’t miss the connection:
On the first Easter, Jesus SHOWS us his risen, live-forever-body.
Then at each Mass he GIVES us his flesh and his blood, his very self.
The connection is absolutely necessary.
Very important: what he GIVES us is identical to what he SHOWS us.
What lies ahead for Jesus’ disciples is far more than we may realize.
I wonder if many imagine, in the New Creation, Jesus is on the throne,
and we’re like his pets, gathered at his feet.
No! Jesus told the Apostles that they would sit on thrones beside him.
Everything Jesus has, everything Jesus IS, he GIVES, he SHARES,
and in giving us himself, he changes us to become ONE with him.
This is why there can be no question
that the Eucharist is more than mere bread and wine.
It is not merely a symbol or a reminder.
The Eucharist is precisely what Jesus said, what Saint Paul said,
what the first Christians all said and believed:
the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus.
Very simply, the Eucharist IS Jesus.
Yes, it keeps the appearance of bread and wine
because isn’t that more approachable than the alternative?
If the Eucharist is not Jesus, then what does he give us?
Bread? If I eat too much bread, I get fat.
Too much wine, I get sleepy and then a headache.
These cannot save me. I need Jesus and nothing else will do.
Jesus gives us HIMSELF, and his TOTAL self.
That’s what the Eucharist is. You don’t have to see it.
And you don’t have to take my word for it.
Believe the one who came to earth to take up the Cross,
who came back from the dead, all for you, all for me.
Believe him when he says, “This is my Body…This is my Blood.”