THE CREATOR of the UNIVERSE
– IN A LITTLE PIECE OF BREAD??
(a reflection on John 6:51-58 by Deacon Paul Rooney)
I think perhaps everyone at one time or another has watched a TV murder mystery series, or read the books on which they were based. For all ages, there was a series that had an amateur heroine by the name of Nancy Drew. For older folks, “Alfred Hitchcock” will ring a pleasant bell, or “Murder, She Wrote,” starring Angela Lansbury (who played the character role called Jessica Fletcher). That last one was so popular that it had a good run for twelve years. Even the reruns have been ongoing, for still another fifteen years.
We all love good murder mystery stories, don’t we? Some mystery books are transformed into screenplays that are well written: they provide you with a couple of clues along the way, and you have to be alert to discover who the culprit is before they tell you the answer. Others are written pretty badly, because they withhold those clues, those tiny details which you need to become involved and to solve the mystery.
Here’s the problem: we have been so accustomed to think that we can always solve a mystery the logical or scientific or detective way. After all, that’s what we see them do all the time on those programs I mentioned, or current programs like NCIS, or CSI, or Law and Order, and so on. So, when we encounter a REAL Mystery, a mystery of our FAITH, there comes a danger for some folks: if their scientific, rational mind can’t find a solution, then they refuse to believe the TRUTH.
The TRUTH lies within the definition of Mystery, as explained to us by our Catholic theologians. They rightly tell us that the word “Mystery” in the spiritual sense means those revealed truths that go beyond the powers of natural reason. And that is precisely within the usage intended by the writers of the New Testament, all of whom were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
For example: last Sunday we encountered the Mystery we call the Most Holy Trinity. Three Persons in one Godhead. How can this possibly come about? I don’t know! Nobody knows! Science says it is a pipedream, foolishness, absurd. But it has been revealed as truth by the Holy Spirit.
Last March we celebrated the Mystery of the Incarnation. How can a virgin twenty centuries ago possibly conceive a child without the seed of a man? I don’t know! Nobody knows scientifically. Science says it is a pipedream, foolishness, absurd. But it has been revealed to us as truth by the Holy Spirit.
This Sunday we encounter another Mystery called the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. A few years ago when I was preaching, I held up a Large, unconsecrated host. I said, "Do you see this? When our Pastor, or any ordained Catholic priest says the words of consecration over this little piece of unleavened bread during the second half of our Mass, along with a cup of simple wine, the bread and the wine will become the real body and blood of Christ!"
How can this come about? The scientists say it is just a pipedream, foolishness, absurd. But it has been revealed to us as truth by Jesus himself, who instituted the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist the night before he died. Pope Benedict XVI called the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist “the most precious treasure of the Church and of all mankind.” And rightly so!
Those who did Not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, became scoffers both before and after the Resurrection and Pentecost. Guess what my namesake, St. Paul told the Corinthians? “We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” It takes Real Faith to believe Jesus, to take him at his word, when he said at the Last Supper (as we read in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels): “Take and eat; this IS my body.” And taking the cup of wine, he said, “This IS my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”
You know, I find something very interesting.
- Every Christian believes that God created the universe, with its trillions and trillions of stars and planets. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power!
- Every Christian believes that God created humans and animals and so on. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power!
- Every Christian believes that God can heal someone without human help. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power!
- Every Christian believes that God can raise someone like Lazarus from the dead. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power!
- Every Christian believes that Jesus gave divine power to his followers to cure the sick and cast out demons. Not a problem! God has unlimited power!
But Christians who are NOT Catholic or Orthodox DO have a problem when it comes to God’s unlimited powers! They think God just is not powerful enough to grant a priest the power to transform this little piece of bread into the Body of Christ; so they “limit” God's power (or try to). Their problem is that they are thinking scientifically, logically—after all, after the consecration it still LOOKS like bread and wine, it still TASTES like bread and wine; under the microscope it still has the PROPERTIES of bread and wine. So they think it is just our pipedream; our foolishness; our absurdity.
They fail to realize the Truth that Mystery remains Mystery, and calls for a Faith belief! The Master told us himself: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
St. John’s gospel places Jesus’ words in the context of the Multiplication of Loaves, meaning in the context of Miracle. Well, the consecration of bread and wine into the REAL Body and Blood of Christ IS INDEED A REAL MIRACLE, and Jesus granted this power to our Pastors and to all the Ordained Priests!
I want to repeat something that we all need to grasp: “Mystery” in the spiritual sense means those revealed truths—I repeat, revealed truths—that go beyond the powers of natural reason.
All of us need to be careful not to take this Miraculous Sacrament for granted! We are receiving the Real Jesus Himself when we receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church. So
approach the altar with the right Heart, the right Attitude. This IS GOD, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! He invites us to take Him within our body as food for our journey back to Him! That is AWESOME, absolutely AWESOME! It should fill our hearts with great JOY and GRATITUDE!
Deacon Paul Rooney
1-Fingerprint = http://baileybear.edublogs.org/pictures-relating-to-the-novel/;
2-Unconsecrated host = http://alexandrinadebalasar.pt/ficheiros/imagens/menu/historiadeumavida/hostia.png;
3-Magnifying glass = http://fuelfix.com/?attachment_id=426