God, Christ, Mass

Three years ago our Holy Father made a quiet visit to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

Click HERE to read the prayer the Pope recited quietly…

…Interested in a sermon for First Holy Communion?

Here you go:

Last Sunday, when our Holy Father Pope Benedict preached at the Beatification Mass at St. Peter’s, he emphasized Blessed Pope John Paul II’s heroic faith.

John Paul II is blessed because of his strong, generous, apostolic faith…With the strength of a titan, …by his witness of faith, John Paul II helped believers throughout the world not be afraid to be called Christian…He gave us the strength to believe in Christ.

When the Lord Jesus walked with Cleopas and the other disciple on the way to Emmaus on Easter Sunday, He chided them for their lack of faith. “How foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe!”

To believe means to trust, to accept completely. We humble ourselves before the One in Whom we believe. We are all of us defenseless children before the One in Whom we believe.

The only One it makes sense to believe in is God. If we believe like this in anyone or anything else, we will be betrayed. We cannot put all our trust in another person, or group of people, or in gadgets or computers or anything else. The first thing we do—the thing we do which makes us who we are—is to believe in God and trust Him.

The Oughts a "Lost Decade?" Not with enclyclicals like this (2003)
We believe in Christ. We believe in the Son of God. We are not foolish or slow of heart like Cleopas and his companion. No: by our faith in God, we behold Christ in His risen glory, and we do not hesitate to trust the Son of God and rely on Him for everything.

Not only that. We believers, like the disciples, recognize Christ in the breaking of the bread.

Because we live in a Protestant culture, this is probably the part of the act of faith that we must guard most carefully. It is not too difficult for us to hold onto the fact that we believe in God, because Who else could have made the Blue Ridge? And it is not too difficult for us to hold onto the fact that to believe in God is to believe in Christ. Here in the Bible Belt, the inseparable connection between God and Christ seems to hang in the air with the pollen. Jesus loves me; this I know, because the Bible tells me so.

So, to live is to believe in God, and to believe in God is to believe in Christ. But there is another equally inseparable connection in the act of faith. To believe in Christ is to believe in the Mass.

The Church did not make up the Mass; Christ made up the Mass, and by doing so, He made the Church. The Church did not make up the sacred priesthood; Christ made up the sacred priesthood, and by doing so, He made the Church. The Church did not say ‘This is my Body,’ and ‘This is my Blood;’ Christ said ‘This is my Body,’ and ‘This is my Blood,’ and by doing so, He made the Church.

There is an irony in the fact that many of our non-Catholic brother- and sister-Christians emphasize personal salvation through the redemption won for us on the cross, but then proceed to deny the very way in which Christ Himself offers the sacrifice of our redemption. He didn’t have to have a Last Supper on the night He was betrayed, but He did.

He gathered His Apostles, entrusting His divine Body and Blood to them by His infallible words, and then He offered that same Body and Blood on the cross. His own words make clear the inseparable connection between the Mass and the cross: “This is my Body, which will be given up for you;” “This is my Blood, which will be shed for you.”

In other words, to believe in the Mass is to believe in the Redemption, and to believe in the Redemption is to believe in the Holy Mass. The Mass and the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus ARE THE SAME THING. The Church did not make this up; Christ made this up, and in doing so, He made the Church.

Blessed Pope John Paul II put it like this:

The sacrifice of our redemption is so decisive for the human race that Jesus Christ offered it and returned to the Father only after he had left us a means of sharing in it, as if we had been present there.

Dear young ones: Today you participate in the Mass in a new way, by receiving with the rest of us the Body and Blood of Christ.

So let’s get it straight. What are you doing here? Here in church? You are in church, at Mass, getting ready to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, right?

What do we do, we Christians? Above all, we BELIEVE. We believe in God. We believe in Christ. We believe in the Mass.

2 thoughts on “God, Christ, Mass

  1. Jesus loves me
    this I know
    *FOR* the bible
    tells me so.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist! 40 years of Protestant worship has a long shelf life.

    Christ’s body and Christ’s blood. For real. Dawned on me while still a Methodist. Yes! Why else would the crowd be so disturbed? I HAD to come back home. I wanted to RUN down that aisle and receive Him after all those years. But I held onto the edge of the chair. And signed up for RCIA classes as soon as possible…

  2. Fr. Mark,

    I am struck by the thought that, for me, faith is more a gift, than an act. I feel blessed by that gift, though I can’t really say exactly when, where and how I received it. And, I thank God.

    Like Lisa, and like Scott Hahn, there was an adult moment when I realized the powerful hold that the Body & Blood had on me, a moment that transformed church-going into worship. And, it endures.



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