The Hour

A year ago tonight, my first pastor died suddenly. May he rest in peace. Five years ago tomorrow, Pope John Paul II died.

Here is a Holy Thursday homily:

At the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and gave thanks and praise to the Father.

The Father made us; He cares for us at every moment. Let’s recall some things the Lord Jesus taught us about the Father:

Consider the ravens. They neither sow nor reap, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Of how much more value are you than they?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. But even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass of the field, will he not much more clothe you?

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s will. You are of more value than many sparrows. All the hairs on your head are numbered.

To get home to this heavenly Father Who made us and cares for us—that is the goal of our lives. God is the source, the sustenance, and the purpose of life. He is the most real thing in our lives. God is the all in all.

But guess what? Right now, God is invisible.

When the Lord Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and spoke to His heavenly Father, none of the Apostles could see the Father. When the Lord turned bread and wine into His divine Body and Blood, none of the Apostles could see the transformation.

Then, they went out to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Lord Jesus prayed in agony to the Father. Could the Apostles see the Father then? No. Invisible. All they could see was their Master praying to the invisible Father.

This is the hour, dear brothers and sisters, when the soul of our Savior met the will of the Father in the most decisive moment in history. This is the hour when the Paschal Lamb freely handed Himself over to be slaughtered. This is the hour when all the proud and selfish disobedience of our race was overcome by the man who knelt to wash His disciples’ feet.

This is the hour of our salvation. And yet it is all utterly invisible. It is all shrouded in the deepest dark of night.

At the Last Supper, the Apostles did not see the eternal Word offering Himself in sacrifice in His human body. We do not see it, either.

The Apostles did not see the Lord Jesus consecrating them to be His priests forever. They did not see Him vesting us priests with the power to stand at the altar in His place.

All the Apostles saw was their beloved teacher. They saw Jesus praying, speaking to them, feeding them, and kneeling down before them.

They saw more or less what we see at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

What is this humble spectacle? What is the meaning of what the Lord Jesus did at this hour?

The meaning is this: It is the sweetest, most gracious invitation ever extended. This is what it means: The Word made flesh is inviting us to believe.

This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in remembrance of me. No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends. I am leaving the world and going to the Father.

God is too real for us to see now. He cares for us by beckoning us to believe in Him, to believe every word uttered by His only-begotten Son. The hour of our Redemption is the hour of faith.

You see your unworthy priest. I am not creative enough to make any of these ceremonies up. I just do what the books of the Church tell me to do. You see the altar; you see the Host and the Chalice. These are familiar things. Maybe, when the ceremony is over, we will talk about basketball.

But the humble Lord is here. Almighty God is on His knees here with us. And He is whispering to us: “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.”

I have overcome the world. This is my Body, given up for you. This is my Blood, shed for you. Do this until I come again in glory. Then every eye will see Me.

Yes, Lord. We believe. Your words are truth. We will see it all in due time. In the meantime, we know that You are with us always, in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, until the end of the age.

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