Trinity Sunday – The Homily
What is the Eucharist about? Salvation – Sanctification – Seeing and Sensuality.
The Eucharist is NOT about:
– The power and content of Jesus’ words
– Nor about His charismatic personality
– Nor about the quality of His teachings
– Nor the model of His life
– Nor the moral program of Christianity.
“Presence” doesn’t equal mere physical proximity. It is something more, something mysterious, even mystical. You can sense the presence of a person when they’re nearby even when you might not immediately see them.
But we CAN certainly SEE Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist.
In chapter six of His Gospel, Jesus says: “Unless you eat the bread of life, you will not have life within you.”
An AA guy I know once shared his devotion to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He said,
- “Why do I go to meetings?
- I don’t go because they’re novel, they’re not. They’re always the same.
- I don’t go because they’re exciting. At times they’re even boring.
- I go because, if I don’t, I know, and I know for sure, that I will start drinking again and eventually destroy myself. It’s that simple.
- I go there to stay alive!”
- And I receive the Eucharist for the same reason. Mass might be boring, it might be routine. But I attend to be in the presence and receive the presence – to simply stay alive.”
In a curious, but accurate way, that can also be a description of the Eucharist, at least of one important aspect of it. Among other reasons, we go to the Eucharist to stay alive. The Eucharist is meant to be God’s regular nourishment for us, daily manna to keep us alive within the desert of our lives.
Eucharist is about getting saved.
How does one become a saint? There are two ways:
– Frequent Holy Communion and
– Eucharistic Adoration
- They’re artistically beautiful (they are)
- They’re liturgically meaningful (they are)
Psychologically helpful (they might be)
But because Jesus is the “saint maker,” and He’s present. And wherever Jesus is present – He is active (Even when He is hidden, like under “the appearance” of bread and wine).
Eucharist is about becoming a saint.
Now the skeptic might say, ” All those Communions over 2,000 years. The Church doesn’t look any holier. I certainly don’t feel any holier and I’ve been going to church for years.”
Here’s the problem with that.
Eucharist is not a divine device to make you feel good. That is an experience addiction. You walk with three things on the wall of life or you fall. You walk with fact and faith and feeling. Fact goes first – then faith – followed by feeling.
- Jesus did not say, “take and understand.”
- Jesus did not say, “take and feel good.”
- Jesus said, “take and eat.” Be with me. Share with me. Let me abide within you.
C. S. Lewis once quoted, “We are haunted by the scent of unseen roses.” Eucharist if the ultimate faith training device. Sacraments are a bridge NOT but not to get you from here to Christ. Sacraments are a bridge that were built to get Christ TO YOU. So ignore the subjective part, the intellect, the understanding, the feelings. Focus on the OBJECTIVE part.
Eucharist is about seeing.
Peter Kreeft is an author and Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. He once commented, “I often wondered at the cause of so many dreary faceless modernist parishes and Catholic colleges whose religion is all vague abstracts slogans and ideologies. They talk about compassion and peace and justice and sharing and caring and celebrating community. They always focus on what they do. And that’s the problem. They need to focus on what God does.”
They need to focus on what God does.
As parishioners, we each need to focus on what God does. As a parish we need to focus on what God does.
When you have a sense of God, you respond. Kreeft says that “Cathedrals and churches need to be boudoirs for trysts with God. They are pleasure palaces where two passions meet – love and responding to love.”
Eucharist is about sensuality.
Salvation – Sanctification – Seeing – Sensuality. This is what the Eucharist is about. In the Eucharist, Christ is not only remembered, he is ENCOUNTERED……encountered by each of us daily – weekly.
Audio version of the homily is here: