Third Sunday of Lent - Year B - 4th March 2018
As Catholics, every Sunday we come to the church of the Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate to attend Mass. As Blessed Pope Paul VI has said “ Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the living Heart of every parish.” On entering the church we see the Tabernacle with the sanctuary lamp beside it burning 24/7. As an act of deep faith we genuflect to Our Lord Christ really truly and substantially present. Often this is too difficult because of illness or age we can substitute with a bow of the head and shoulders. We know that God loves each of us and is very pleased that we have come to Mass. The sacrifice of the Mass is truly life-giving and gives us help and protection for the week ahead. We know that the Son of God who came to live among us has not left us alone.
The Mass is the prayer of prayers because it is the perfect prayer of Our Lord offered to God our Father. The Mass creates and defines the Catholic community. We must never forget the profound truth and beauty of what is happening. The cure of Ars, St John Vianney said "If we really understood the Mass. We would die of joy.” At every Mass the bread and wine are changed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, through the power of the holy Spirit. This is the miracle of transubstantiation whereby the bread and wine are fundamentally changed. We are invited to join with the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross for our salvation. We join our weak distracted prayers to the prayer of Our Lord who presents them to God our Father. It is the perfect act of worship and the source of our Christian life.
We believe that Jesus Christ true God and true man is present in Holy Communion under the appearance of bread and wine. This is not just a sign or symbol as some heretics claim. We meet the whole Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity. The Eucharist is the perfect food for ours souls which seek nourishment. Our Lord appeared to St Thomas and the Apostles on Low Sunday and said “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” We should join in the priest’s prayer before Holy Communion. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your death give life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments, and never let me be partied from you.”
The Blessed Sacrament
Because of the real presence of Our Lord in the Tabernacle our church is a sacred space. It has an atmosphere of holiness. Parishioners should respect this by praying silently and avoiding loud talk. This atmosphere is difficult to create but easy to destroy. When St John Vianney was asked what he was doing in the back seat of his Church he replied, “Our Lord looks at me and I look at Him.”
Fr. Ray Armstrong, C.M.