The following homily was prepared by Father John Testa for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. Father John Testa is pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, Willingboro.
This homily is third in a series of homilies with Eucharistic themes to be used in churches across the Diocese over the next year. Recently commissioned by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., the series includes the work of 13 priests and features sample homilies – in English and Spanish – along with other notes and information to assist any members of the clergy who opt to use it.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt. 20). For us, this has become a Mystery of Faith. We are gathered together but Jesus is not physically present. Why do we believe? What is the drawing card? It has to be our faith commitment, our hunger for the Eucharist and what that means for us and for the salvation of our souls.
After the Consecration, when the bread and wine have become the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest immediately invites the congregation to proclaim the Mystery of Faith. There are three memorial acclamations; most commonly used is “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.”
The Mystery of Faith expresses our belief that what we have just witnessed, the Eucharist, contains within itself the entirety of the mystery of salvation through Christ’s Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension made present in the Eucharist.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that 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” (CCC 1324).
So how are we to approach this great mystery, this great gift given to us? We should approach this mystery with humility and reverence. Pope Paul VI points this out in his encyclical Mysterium Fidei: “And so we must approach this mystery in particular with humility and reverence, not relying on human reasoning, which ought to hold its peace, but rather adhering firmly to divine Revelation” (16).
As we continue in this next phase of the Eucharistic Revival in our Diocese of Trenton, we turn to St. John Chrysostom, who dealt with the Mystery of the Eucharist in such eloquent language and with great insight, and who said: “Let us submit to God in all things and not contradict Him, even if what He says seems to contradict our reason and intellect; let his word prevail over our reason and intellect” (Mysterium Fidei 17).
At the heart of the Christian faith is the Paschal Mystery, God’s promise to save!
There is no reason why we can’t revel in the Mystery of the Eucharist. When we receive Holy Communion, Christ is giving himself to us. He comes to us in all humility, just as we should prepare ourselves to receive him with all humility, so that we can receive him and be one with him. We receive him with our response of “Amen” which is the profession of our faith in the Real Presence of Christ and reflects the intimate personal encounter with him.
Even though some naysayers might say that the meaning of “when two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst” is all about discipline, I would counter that when we gather together to receive the Eucharist knowing and believing that it is the sacrament of faith, love and hope on which our whole live evolves, we can solidly proclaim that he truly is with us in our midst.
When we proclaim the Mystery of Faith in the Eucharist, we are proclaiming Christ’s love and communion. Christ gives himself to us so that we may achieve our salvation and share life with him in his heavenly kingdom.
To view all of the Eucharistic Revival homilies, visit HERE.