Sunday, August 21, 2011
Making Jesus Present
I will begin this reflection by telling you that much of it was inspired by the homily given by one of our young deacons at Mass today.
The theme of the deacon's homily was making Jesus present and how we are called to do that. He also gave a brief crash course in apologetics and the Magesterium. The backdrop for all of this was today's Gospel in which Jesus asks the Apostles the all important question: "Who do you say I am?" Peter instantly becomes the spokesperson for the group, inspired by the Father and responds with his act of faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus' response to Peter is to give him a mission. In telling Peter that upon him he will build His Church, the Church that will take its blows but which the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against, Jesus is telling Peter that he is to make Him present. The other Apostles will be drawn into this mission on Holy Thursday with the institution of Holy Orders and the Eucharist, as has and will be every priest, bishop, cardinal and pope since Peter.
I reflected a bit more on this theme of making Jesus present during my midnight Holy Hour. I felt drawn to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary during that hour and as I meditated on each one I saw not only how Jesus makes Himself present, but also how Mary, John the Baptist and the Apostles made Him present. I could see in these mysteries and through the key players in them, examples of how we are called to make Jesus present.
John the Baptist, at the Baptism of Jesus tell those present to "Behold the Lamb of God", Mary at the Wedding Feast, by urging Jesus to begin His public ministry by performing that first miracle made Him present as the Messiah to those who witnessed the miracle of the changing of water into wine. Jesus commands all of us to make Him present by telling us to repent and believe in the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel. If we believe in Him, it is hard not to spread this good news to others. In the Transfiguration, Jesus reveals His glory and His divinity to Peter, James and John; they are told by the Father to listen to His Beloved Son, and Jesus commands them to put off telling anyone of this until after His Resurrection. Finally in the Institution of the Eucharist, our priests are given the mission to make Jesus truly present on our altars every time Mass is offered.
There are many ways we can make Jesus present to others in our daily lives, but first we too have to answer His question: "Who do you say I am?" If we can respond as Peter did, we will be open to the ways in which Jesus is calling us to make Him present, thereby building His Kingdom here on earth.
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.