Eucharistic reflections in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress. June 2008.

Reflection # 5

October, 2007

by Peter Thompson

What Christ entrusted to the Apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory. CCC #96.

The Homily:

In the book of Acts Ch. 2 vs. 42 it states. They devoted themselves to the apostles instruction. In the letter that St Justin martyr wrote to the emperor to defend the Catholic faith in approximately 148 AD he describes the Eucharist and also speaks of the homily with these words. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. CCC#1345

The homily is the time where the word of God is opened up to us. We have heard the word proclaimed, now we listen intently to the explanation of this sacred word so that our lives can more fully embrace the truths we have heard and be transformed to live the word. As St Justin said there are times when we need to be challenged, admonished and encouraged and also to hear words of consolation and hope. This is the task of the Bishop, Priest or Deacon to bring the scriptures to life through the homily. He needs the power of the Holy Spirit with the gifts of wisdom to help us to understand what we have heard in order that I can put into practice God's word to me. CCC #1349.

How do I use this time. Do I open up my mind and heart to receive instruction or do I use this time to day dream, plan my day or simply to tune out and snooze!! We all suffer from distractions and have to discipline our minds to be attentive.

To deliberately choose to embrace distractions during this time is to commit sin. The key word here is, "deliberate". But if you find your mind wandering, choose to discipline the body and listen attentively. This is a time of grace and God will speak to us through the means of the homily.

We also need to pray for the priest as he speaks, asking God the Holy Spirit to use him to speak God's word to us and also ask the Holy Spirit to open our minds to receive this word.

Homiletics is a powerful tool for evangelization and each and every one of us needs ongoing conversion if we are to attain holiness and be made ready for the beatific vision, that is heaven, for nothing imperfect can enter there. Revelation 21:27.

Our pastors also need encouragement, so when the word is brought to life through the priest and it touches our hearts, then tell him so that he may also be encouraged to be bold and fearless in the proclamation of the word.

In Hosea 4:6 the prophet states, " The people perish for lack of knowledge."

We need to know the truth in order that we can be formed by God's word, but it needs fertile soil if the word is to take root and bear fruit.

The Creed:

On Sundays and Solemnities we profess our faith using one of the Creeds formulated in the early Church. In Canada it is generally the Apostles Creed which pre dates the Nicene Creed initially composed following the Council of Nicaea in 325AD.

Here every week we once again speak what we believe. To speak these words publicly is a profound profession of faith and not to be taken lightly. The world has many gods, many philosophies, many beliefs but as Christians we re-iterate the words spoken at our Baptism by our parents and God parents. I now proclaim to all around me what I believe.

Why repeat it every week? Surely once a year would be sufficient. In great wisdom Holy Mother Church invites us every week to re-affirm our faith. If we listen to what we are saying and believe what we say then our lives will be transformed and empowered by Christ.

Untold thousands have been willing to die for this faith which we profess, would you!! Ask yourself today as you speak each stanza. Do I believe.

Do you believe that God created all from nothing?
Do you believe that God is one in three persons?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is truly God made man, born of a virgin?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose again?
Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven and will come again in glory?
Do you believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?
( That means all that she teaches on faith and morals without exception.)
Do you believe in the communion of saints?
That is all those in Heaven, in Purgatory and the baptized here on earth.
Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins?
That God forgives even the most horrendous of sins to those who repent.
Do you believe that you will rise from your grave on the last day?
Either to eternal joy in Heaven or to eternal damnation in hell. 
( Our particular judgment takes place immediately following our death.)

These words are of the most profound importance to our eternal destiny and they are to be spoken with due solemnity and total belief.

If you struggle in any area then ask God to grant you faith to believe.
Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that are not seen. Hebrews.11:1.

God bless you.