This Sunday, we hear about the miracle of the five loaves and the two fish and the feeding of more than five thousand people (Matthew 14:13-21). The miracle is a foreshadowing of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion (our “pearl of great value” as we heard last Sunday in the Gospel of Matthew 13). It’s at Mass that we receive our best nourishment, as Jesus gives us Himself in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, His glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, truly, really and substantially (see Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25; John 6:48-72).
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1324), with references I just cited, we read: “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself, our Pasch.’” The Mass is the center of all Christian life. We could not truly live life to the full without it. Thank you for revering our Lord at Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament reserved in our parish church (e.g., genuflecting, if you’re able, upon entering and leaving church; praying with a grateful heart after Holy Communion). And thank you to all who attend Mass in person (and via television or computer if necessary), participate in monthly Exposition and Adoration of the Holy Eucharist, and make visits to the Blessed Sacrament at other times.
As we pray for an end to the pandemic, let us be mindful of and prayerful for all those who cannot be at Mass and are making spiritual Communions (and for whom Bishop Donald Hying has given a dispensation from the obligation to attend). Let us keep praying for: a full and safe return to Mass for all of our brothers and sisters; God’s healing and consolation for all who are sick; God’s strength and courage for all who’ve been devastated by the shutdowns, that families, farms and businesses might flourish again and all people may return to work for the good of their families, themselves and society; all people of God to be prudent and reasonable and use common sense; all political leaders to serve the common good with solutions and not shutdowns; all schools to fully open face-to-face (with options for on-line classes).
Since the gift of Jesus’ Mass is at the heart of our faith, let us not become casual about participating in Mass, realizing that people in various countries risk their very lives in order to attend Mass – in radical Muslim-run countries in the Middle East and Africa and in such Marxist and Communist countries as Russia, China, North Korea and Vietnam. Recently, in the United States, Christian churches have been attacked and vandalized by rioting Marxist mobs in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Washington, DC, Florida and California, with such evildoers also destroying businesses and public property and attacking our brothers and sisters in law enforcement and the U.S. Armed Forces. Let us pray for the conversion of those who persecute Christians (including the media, politicians and others who support radical ideologies), for them to stop their evildoing and to follow the way of love, peace and mutual equal respect for all human beings, as we keep praying for the peace of Christ in our hearts, families, country and worldwide, and for God’s justice and mercy to prevail.
May God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless you and your families, and may Jesus’ mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, keep us all in her maternal care.
With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William Vernon