I gave this reflection this afternoon at the dinner following the 1130 a.m. Mass celebrating Eucharistic Adoration and Divine Mercy Sunday
Many Christians rely on the Sacred Scripture to draw them closer to God. But in the Gospel of the Walk to Emmaus we realize the Risen Jesus telling us Sacred Scripture alone is not enough. The disciples are amazed at his teaching, but the still don’t recognize Jesus. It isn’t until he breaks bread with them, celebrating as he taught them to do at the Last Supper that there eyes were opened.
What an amazing gift we have in the Holy Eucharist! Our hearts may burn within us as we read the Scriptures. We invite Him to speak to us, allowing His Word to soak in. But when we open ourselves to Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, more graces truly begin to flow and our eyes are opened to the Lord.
This was never more evident than when we started Adoration three years ago at St John Vianney and we started with five days, they now have all the days covered. Now I’ve made a Holy Hour either in front of the Tabernacle or in Church almost everyday for five or six years. When we started this endeavor I took the 2 a.m. on Thursday morning. (Don’t ask now, I can’t do that time right now.) I had a chance to read Padre Pio, to read St John Vianney, to prepare homilies, and to lay on the floor and pray or sleep…after all I was by myself whose going to stop me. Through that time and grace of looking at the Lord and Him looking back at me we developed a great rapport and I was able to stand clearly for things that I struggled with to articulate to my flock. For example our stand on life issues, marriage, intercommunion, stewardship, insights that came later in the day, these issues are sometimes just as unpopular as our belief that Jesus Christ is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Consecrated Host that we come before. I came to realize its importance to me and to my flock. It helped us all focus on Jesus presence at Mass, in the Chapel and in each other. I was amazed at times at how people shared with me the change in their lives and me talking about the change in mine.
In his 2003 encyclical on the Eucharist and its Relationship to the Church, which I was present for when he delivered it at St Peter’s Basilica in
on Holy Thursday, 2003; Pope John Paul sought to rekindle this “Eucharistic Amazement.” In the encyclical he urges us to contemplate the face of Christ with Our Blessed Mother, asking her to help us move forward with the new evangelization, which must also be a fruit of Adoration. Blessed John Paul II writes: Rome
To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but, above all in the living sacrament of his Body and Blood. The church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist, by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a ‘mystery of light’. Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus: ‘their eyes were opened and they recognized him. (Luke 24:31)
When I was assigned here Bishop Quinn mentioned strongly the presence of Perpetual Adoration at Resurrection and how it’s a great grace to a parish. Again, at my previous parish we began to expand Adoration three years ago with an earnest goal of Perpetual Adoration. Though in its infancy, St John Vianney pushes forward and continues to realize that goal and now is close to its goal or realized its goal.
When I moved to Resurrection I began my day by moving my Holy Hour to the Fr Winkel’s chapel at or around 6:15 each morning. It truly has become a grace for me. I always say that the reason I do it then is because the bullets start flying around the office and that hour has become precious to me. I don’t make time during the day, so the early morning is the first fruit and I give it to God. A benefit of this time is to gather with others in the early morning and not just be by myself at 2 or 3 in the morning, helps me see the love and care with which people come before the Lord. How all of us desire that union with Christ and we bring ourselves and whatever tools we need to achieve that, whether it’s the Liturgy of the Hours, the Bible, a spiritual writer or just gazing at Him in amazement and him gazing back at me his creation and redeemed child of God.
I realize now how much grace and determination it has taken over the years by the Adoration team here at Resurrection and the faithfulness of many parishioners to take on this prayerful ministry. I realize now after having been graced at Resurrection with Perpetual Adoration, and joining in it during its maturing years, Bp Quinn was correct ; there are many graces and blessings that come from sitting with the Lord and contemplating our sorrow and need for forgiveness and mercy, praising and thanking him for blessings, graces and mercies received. Interceding through Jesus Christ to the Father for many prayers petitions and hopes and blessing, we pray this ministry of prayer continues on in perpetuity at Resurrection so that it might be a grace for our parish, our Church and for the life of the World. We all pray that we continue to invite more people to this ministry so that the work of the Lord can continue and others may continue to recognize Him in all that we do.