Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Real Presence

When a soldier goes to war invariably he/she carries with her a picture,
a picture of a loved one a picture which in some small way makes him/her feel the presence of that special person whenever they look at it.

When Daddy has to work all the time many times Mommy show their children his picture.

“Here’s daddy” they say to remind the kids that he loves them, and cares for them, and misses them.
Sadly a picture is not enough it is never enough.

What the soldier needs on the battle field is a kiss or an embrace.
What the little girl needs is to dance on Daddy’s feet or to lay on his chest and feel his heart.
What the little boy needs is to throw play ball with his Dad or be tackled by him.

No a picture, a memory, is never enough.
It never satisfies.
It never fills the wound or hole which exists in our heart when we are alone,
absent from the ones we love.

Human beings need presence.
We need to be in the presence of the one we love.

You see holy one’s at the risk of being a little racy
God understands the human heart and God understand the human body.
He created them and He Himself became incarnate.

The Word was made flesh and dwells among us.

And when you think about it and pray about it.
Our bodies are they way that God has given us to be in communion with each other and His Body is the way we can live in communion with Him.

Our bodies are how we relate.
Our bodies are the window to the soul of the other
an embrace,
a touch,
a smell,
even a taste,
bring us into communion with each other.

It is only through our bodies that we can appropriately become
one with the other.

The way we express our communion depends on the nature of our relationship.

What a gift it is to be in communion with someone else,
what an incredible gift.

And just like we need our bodies and the bodies of others to be in communion with each other…

Jesus understood that we could only be truly in communion with Him if we shared His Body, His Blood , His Soul, and Divinity.

That is why we come here to be in the presence of God…

In the synoptic Gospels we hear the narrative of the Last Supper, in which Jesus plainly says,

He doesn’t say this could be my body.
He doesn’t say this could be by blood.
He doesn’t’ say remember me when you do this…
No, He says “THIS IS MY BODY.”

And sadly for some strange reason,
those who read the scriptures literally in every other aspect….
those who believe that
there were really seven 24 days during creation,
and Moses was really 120 years old, etc.
refuse to take Jesus literally when He says, “this is My Body.”

Granted in the scriptures Jesus also says He is the vine and we are the branches.
I am the sheep fold… etc. and in these cases he is speaking figuratively

To find more evidence that Jesus was not speaking figuratively and meant what he said…we have to God to the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel and the Bread of life discourse.

To set the stage at this point a huge crowd is following Jesus because he has just multiplied the loaves and the fishes and gave them all the food they could eat.

Many kind of viewed him and a super Wal-Mart or a unlimited source of bread and wine.

To this crowd Jesus boldly proclaims, 
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you have no live within you.”

Many taking Jesus literally as he intended and turn away.
They say to themselves… “this is too weird for me.”

How can this man give us his flesh and blood to eat?

They leave because they refuse to comprehend or accept this incredible teaching of Jesus.

They refuse to accept Him at His Word and they make the mistake of their live time and walk away.

Knowing that they are leaving because they are taking him literally JESUS does not call them back and say wait you misunderstood…
I’m talking figuratively. I don’t really mean it.

No He lets them go their way in the hope that someday they would understand and return.

Then He simply turns to the Apostles and says.
“Are you going to leave me too?”

To which Peter, the impulsive  one, responds.
“Lord to whom shall we go?
You have the words of everlasting life.”

No a picture is not enough
And a memory is not enough

God understands that just like we need the real presence of those whom we love to live in communion with them….

We need His real presence, His body and His blood to live in communion with Him

Why is this so hard to understand?
Why is this so hard to believe to accept?

If God can make the whole universe with all its wonder and beauty..
Why can’t we accept that God can take some bread and some wine ordinary things and turn them into his body and his blood so that we might live in communion with Him?

Holy ones… our world, our culture, our nation, our neighborhoods and sadly even our families  are becoming more and more isolated and isolating.

Even with the advances in mass media it becomes harder and harder to simply live in communion with another person.

Don’t be afraid

It is possible to live in communion with God,
and God longs to be in communion with us as much or more than we could ever desire to live in communion with Him.

“Eat his flesh and drink his blood”
Live in communion with the very Word of God made flesh.

You can never be alone…
He is here
He is present

Not simply in a memory or a written text or a picture
He is here His body and His blood, His Soul and divinity.

He longs for you to live in His presence of and be nourished by His body and blood.

Year after year this chapel has been filled with people longing to sit in the very presence  of God.

To sit with him
To listen to him
To sing to him
To pray to him.

It is my hope and my prayer that in your lives you will always find great solace both at the celebration of the Eucharist or at the feet of our Lord at  Eucharistic Adoration.

It is my hope and my prayer that the real presence will be a great source of hope and courage and comfort for you as you journey home to Him

His Body and
His Blood are the best possible way to live in communion with Him who loves us and created us.

I will miss this sacred place.
I will miss kneeling in that back corner and turning off the lights.
I will miss watching some of you lost in prayer.

But every time I kneel in the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Our savior,
Our brother.
And our God.
I will also be kneeling in communion with you.

Seek his presence always.
No a picture or a memory is not enough.

Trust surrender believe receive.


(Given at my last Praise and Worship Adoration in Caldwell Chapel)

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