Let's deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and embrace the real presence of God in our lives
presided by Msgr. Simas; Sermon : Deacon Benjamin Lai
Today is an all-important day in celebrating the most holy body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, his true presence in the holy Eucharist. Just imagine that every time we receive Holy Communion, we receive the entire body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what sets our catholic faith apart from any other religion. We have the fullness of God dwelling within us at every mass. As a matter of fact, Jesus is present in the consecrated host, in the tabernacle, and monstrance of every Catholic Church throughout the world. This is what God means when he said I'm with you always until the end of time.
Another important aspect of our faith that sets it apart from any other faith is the fact that the incarnation and death of Jesus have been foretold many years before the birth of Christ. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of what was prefigured in the Old Testament. Some thousands and thousands of years ago, in the old testament the books of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea, and in the psalms. all mentioned and described the birth and death of Jesus. In Isaiah, we read about a son born of a virgin and he will be named Emmanuel. We proclaim this message during every Christmas season. Jesus repeated the same words: "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as he suffered and died on the cross, the same words in psalm and chapter 22. In today's first reading, we read about Melchizedek, he was the king and priest of the highest, who offered a thanksgiving sacrifice of bread and wine to God for the victory of Abraham rescuing his nephew Lot from captivity by the king of Saddan. This is a prefigurement of Jesus, the king, and priests of the most high. The main difference is Jesus was also the perfect sacrifice because he was without blemish, and was sinless. Jesus gave thanks and sacrificed his own life to rescue humanity from sin and death. Jesus had no need as the high priest to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people. He did that once and for all when he offered himself. Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish the law. He came to establish a new covenant, a covenant of redemption, sacrifice so that we can reunite with him in taking the holy Eucharist, a foretaste of heaven.
In a second reading today, in Saint John's gospel on the last supper, Jesus instituted the priesthood by blessing the bread and the wine. He reminds us to never 這這forget his redemptive sacrifice for you and for me. Jesus tells us that in no uncertain terms. in Saint John's gospel that he is the bread from heaven referencing the manna in the desert that God provided the Israelites for 40 years to sustain their physical life. but Jesus tells them that his body is real food, and his blood is real drink, and unless you eat of his body and drink of his blood, we will have no life within us. Do you still have doubts about your true presence? Well, considering that the majority of Catholics have the same doubts, there's so much confusion, division, and anxiety in our times, when we do not believe in the true presence, then we believe in anything to take his place. if it is just a piece of bread, then we are just wasting our time. Then this celebration we call mass is nothing more than a social gathering.
The church recognizes the need for us to reconnect with the real foundation of our faith. The united states conference of catholic bishops, the usccb is starting a renewal of getting back to the basics, getting back to the core of our faith. Our faith is in the person of Jesus Christ, true God, true man without sin, and truly present in the holy Eucharist. Starting today, the usccb has declared for the next three years, a national Eucharistic renewal. Our focus is to believe again, to fall in love, and to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and to receive the gift of faith in believing in the true presence of Jesus in the holy Eucharist. For those who are still doubtful, make a commitment to really learn about our faith and change lives. First, by changing our own life, let us get serious about our lives, our spiritual lives by getting to know Jesus in a more profound way.
Jesus has the power to save, to forgive, and most importantly, he loves all of us, unconditionally. We look at the lives of any saints and ask them how to grow in holiness? Undoubtedly, they all will say to receive communion in the state of grace as often as possible, and to spend time in the Blessed Sacrament as often as possible. All the saints know that in their heart of hearts, that we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. As saint mother Teresa said Jesus has made himself the bread of life to give us life. Night and day ,he is there. if you really want to grow in love. Come back to the Eucharist, come back to that adoration.
Saint John Paul II who gave us world youth day instrumental in the defeat of the Soviet Union, and the teaching of the theology of our body, it's also known to spend a lot of time with the Blessed Sacrament. For Saint John Paul II, the question is not whether Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather where the Catholics are truly present to God in their midst. For this reason he spoke of adoration as an important daily practice that one should not omit in the course of a day. He declared the Eucharist is a secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the church, and to the whole world. let Jesus in the blessed sacrament speak to your hearts. It is he who is the true answer of life that we all seek. He stays with us, he is God with us. seek him without tiring, welcome him without reserve, love him without interruption, today, tomorrow and forever and that's the words of Saint John Paul II.
Now today we also celebrate Father's day. Jesus set the example of his love and sacrifices for all of us by dying on the cross. This is the ultimate sacrifice. In a similar way fathers and parents make tremendous sacrifices for the well-being of the children and family. Fathers and parents have to sacrifice their own wants and needs to give the family economic security, to provide quality education, and a career future for the children. But all too often, fathers neglect the most important gift that the father can give to the family and his children, and that's the gift of faith.
I have four daughters and they all try very hard to give me gifts to show their love for me. There's this one gift I kept for the longest time. It is a simple gift, a handmade gift from my oldest daughter, who made it when she was about six or seven years old. It was a gift made up of a cut out, used cardboard box with rough edges, and decorated with cut out family photos also with rough edges, and then glue just randomly together. To everyone else it is just a piece of used cardboard box with faded cutout photos, but to me they represent the unbreakable relationship I have with my daughter.
Every time I look at that gift, it shows me the happy times, and the good times that we had together. And I ignore the hard times and the bad times. Sometimes, we try too much to make our lives perfect for our children and family. And we wonder why bad things are happening to our kids. It is since we realize without God, without accepting the gift of faith, without the faith to believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we can never achieve perfection as a parent, and we can never achieve true peace, and true happiness. By accepting Jesus, we accept our own failures, by not living up to be the father and the person that we aspire to be. By accepting Jesus and putting him at the center of our life, we allow Jesus to change us. Just like the old photos and the used cardboard boxes, without a profound relationship with Jesus, the bread and wine is just bread and wine.
Let's embark on our faith journey for the next three years, and hopefully a lifetime, in which we will deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and truly embrace the real presence of God in our lives.
我們的信仰另外一個獨特的地方是，在基督誕生前很多年，先知們已經預報了祂的誕生和死亡，耶穌基督應驗了舊約對救世主的預言。幾千年前，在舊約中依撒意亞書、米該亞書、歐瑟亞書和聖詠中，都描寫了耶穌的誕生和死亡。依撒意亞先知書，描寫一位童貞女生了個兒子，取名為厄瑪奴耳。我們聖誕期彌撒中都重複宣讀這個預言。當耶穌受難在十字架上，祂説：“我的天主，我的天主，你為什麼捨棄我？“舊約聖詠第 22 章也說了同樣的話。
讀經二若望福音最後晚餐中，耶穌祝福了麵餅和酒來建立聖體聖事。耶穌非常清楚的告訴我們：永遠不要忘記祂為我們的救贖所作的犧牲。在若望福音中，祂説祂是天降的食糧。天降的食糧本來指的是天主在沙漠中為以色列人子民提供了 40 年的瑪納來養活他們。在這裡，耶穌告訴門徒，祂的身體是真正的食物，祂的血是真正的飲料，除非吃祂的身體，喝祂的血，否則就沒有生命。你是否懷疑耶穌在聖體內嗎？許多天主教徒都有同樣的疑慮。這個時代有太多的困惑、分裂和焦慮。當我們不相信耶穌臨在聖體內的這個真實，我們就會開始找其他的替代品。如果聖體只是一塊麵餅，那麽我們就是在浪費時間，彌撒就只不過是一個普通社交的聚會而已。