| Shepherds of Christ
November 29, 2010
November 30th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 3 Period II.
The Novena Rosary Mysteries
for November 30th are Glorious.
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Homilies by Fr. Joe Robinson
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Given November 5, 2000
Whether we are married people, celibates in the priestly and religious life, or single persons in the world, all of us have to be aware lest we be more concerned with receiving love than in giving it. God wants us to receive love, and we have a need to receive love; however, we must not allow this legitimate desire to degenerate into a morbid preoccupation whereby we always enumerate all the different ways that others should be manifesting love toward us while, at the same time, we ourselves might be guilty of neglecting numerous opportunities for loving them. If our main concern is to love others rather than to be loved by them, I think we will more often than not be surprised at the love others show us over a lifetime. Nonetheless, even in the event that we might feel slighted in this regard, our vocation as Christians is eminently clear: we ourselves must continue to love even when it is extremely difficult to do so, thus following the example of Jesus who loved even those who nailed him to the cross.
end of excerpt
Messenger: There is a lot of love God is given us through others in our lives. He puts people in our lives and they love us. The one who calls and is there helping us day after day, the mail man, the person in the store, etc.
But because our mother or father may not have rocked us when we were babies, we go to the closed door and keep knocking on it hoping they will come out now when we are 54 and rock us and love us and then WE THINK . . . we will feel good, we will be loved.
Here is a quote from Fr. Carter's book Response to God's Love. There may be lots of people giving us love today and we are missing it and not appreciating it because we want it from a certain person.
The people in our lives are with us today. We must thank God for the love we have and accept God's will for our life today.
CLOSED DOORS OPEN DOORS
DO WE WHINE OUTSIDE THE CLOSED DOOR AND MISS GIVING LOVE TO OTHERS THAT WE SHOULD BE LOVING?
CLOSED DOORS OPEN DOORS
WHAT HAS GOD PUT IN OUR LIFE TODAY? IS IT GOD'S WILL WE SMELL THE ROSES AND LOVE THOSE WHO ARE WITH US? IT IS OUR JOB TO PUT ON CHRIST. HE LOVED ALL TO HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS. BE THANKFUL FOR ALL HIS GIFTS AND BE LOVING. MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS I PLACE MY TRUST IN YOU.
Jesus: I desire you to participate more fully in the Mass and to unite all your actions to the Mass every day.
Messenger: To not accept God's will is death, it zaps ones energy and keeps the person standing at a closed door. He opens His door and light is poured out and the way is the way of the open road. We must pray for our needs and our wants with FAITH that He will grant our request if we ask because He has said.
Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.
... In all truth I tell you, anything you ask from the Father he will grant in my name.
In truth I tell you, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, is to disappear from the Law until all its purpose is achieved.
Messenger: But we must live life accepting what He has given us today. We really are entirely dependent on Him and we surrender to His will for us, but we pray with faith for our needs. God is good. THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. ALLELUIA.
Messenger: Please pray for the healing of Father Carter through the intercession of Our Lady of Clearwater.
A Rosary for Healing or for Someone with Cancer.
On one Hail Mary bead or as many as you desire, say: (this is given for Fr. Carter, you can replace your loved one's name).
May God heal Fr. Carter through the intercession of Our Lady of Clearwater in union with the Mass and all the Masses being celebrated around the world.
Pray the Hail Mary or Hail Mary's then pray this after the Hail Mary.
May the cancer be uprooted and thrown into the sea.
We believe with all our hearts.
After the Glory Be— pray the following petition.
May Fr. Carter be healed through the intercession of Our Lady of Clearwater if it be the holy will of God.
Note: You can look at Mary on the image rosary while you pray this rosary.
Messenger: CAN YOU HELP US BY GIVING US ROSARIES FOR THE SCHOOLS REQUESTING THEM?
Mary speaks: PLEASE MAKE WALTER'S ROSARIES. THE SCHOOLS WANT ROSARIES AND THERE ARE NOT ANY ROSARIES LEFT.
Mass Book II Entry
Through Him, With Him and In Him
Excerpt from Response to God's Love
The Church's existence centers in her liturgy: "The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fount from which all her power flows" (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 10). Furthermore, the Church's liturgical life is centered in the sacraments and, most especially, in the eucharistic sacrifice. We will briefly consider the sacraments in general, and then more extensively develop ideas about the Mass.
In the previous chapter, we stated that the Church, in union with Christ, her head, helps continue the work of Jesus according to the pattern of Jesus. One aspect of Christ's existence, we stated, was that he was the primordial sacrament of God. We concluded, therefore, that the Church is also sacrament. The Church's sacramentality is then actualized in a special manner through the seven sacraments. In the same way that the Church in general is the visible continuation of Christ's Incarnation, so also can her individual sacraments be considered particular, visible extensions of Jesus.
It is evident, therefore, why the sacraments are special encounters with Christ. Jesus unites himself with the sacramental sign as he offers his grace to the recipient. In this sense, Christ and his sacraments become one; the sacrament and its minister are merely instruments that Christ employs to give himself anew. The primary sacramental encounter is between Jesus and the recipient.
Christ offers himself through the Church and her sacraments so that we might become ever more united to him. This incorporation into Christ begins at baptism, through which the Christian becomes a member of both Christ and the Church. What is more, this incorporation into the life of Christ means being incorporated into his paschal mystery because death-resurrection was the summary mystery of Christ's existence. Death-resurrection was the central mystery whereby Christ gave us life, and it is the central mystery that the Christian must relive in Christ.
Each one of the sacraments deepens our incorporation into Jesus' death-resurrection; each one achieves this in a somewhat different manner according to its primary purpose; finally, and very importantly, each of the sacraments deepens this incorporation within an ecclesial framework. The sacraments, because they are realities of both Christ and his Church, intensify the Christian's relationship not only with Jesus, but also with the members of the Church and, ultimately, with all others.
The death-resurrection of Jesus, which is encountered in a special way through the sacraments, is most especially renewed in the eucharistic sacrifice. Consequently, we can see the logical connection between the sacraments and the Mass. Indeed, all of the sacraments point to the Mass.
The eucharistic sacrifice renews and summarizes the Christ-event, and likewise summarizes our participation in this mystery of Jesus. Obviously, then, the Eucharist is a multisplendored reality. All dimensions of the Eucharist are profoundly interlinked with one another; as a matter of fact, all are dimensions of the Eucharist as sacrifice because the sacrificial note is the fundamental characteristic. We say fundamental because we presuppose the idea of Christ's real presence in the Eucharist. These two aspects have always been stressed in Church teaching, as Richard McBrien has pointed out: "Catholic eucharistic doctrine has been focused on two issues: the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the real presence of Christ in the consecrated elements of bread and wine. It is official Catholic teaching . . . that the Mass is a true sacrifice . . . without diminishing the value of the sacrifice of Calvary. Christ is the same victim and priest in the Eucharist as he was on the cross, although the mode of offering is different at Mass. The sacrifice of the cross was a bloody sacrifice; the sacrifice of the Mass is unbloody" (Catholicism, vol. 2, p. 763). Because the idea of sacrifice is so fundamental to the understanding of the Mass, we will begin our discussion of the Eucharist from this perspective.
Christ's redemptive activity can be placed within the framework of sacrifice, a framework that had been developing over the centuries before the coming of Jesus. The theology of sacrifice can be summarized according to five elements: (1) the interior offering; (2) the external, ritual offering centered around a victim; (3) the immolation of the victim; (4) the acceptance of the sacrifice by God; and (5) the sacrificial meal.
A very critical element of these five is the first, the interior offering. Our first duty is to surrender ourselves to God out of love; this fact flows from the truth that God is the Creator and we are his creatures. If we are ideally to fulfill our creaturehood, we must respond as perfectly as possible to the loving demands of our Creator. Because we ourselves and the gifts of creation that surround us are from God, we should offer ourselves completely to the Creator. Our gift of self to God is, in turn, centered in loving conformity to the divine will.
In formal religious sacrifice, this interior offering is ritually externalized around a victim that is immolated or slain. The slaying or immolating of the victim symbolizes that it is being completely dedicated to God, and this, in turn, symbolizes the complete dedication to God of those who are offering the sacrifice because the victim symbolizes them. The sacrifice, if properly enacted, is accepted by God and is concluded with a sacrificial meal. Here, then, we observe in a succinct way the five elements that comprise sacrifice.
In Jesus' sacrifice, the same five elements occur, although not exactly in the same order. There is the interior offering; Christ as priest offers himself to the Father in love for the purpose of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and satisfaction for sin. This interior offering is then externalized at the ritual of the Last Supper. The victim, Jesus himself, is immolated upon Calvary. The Father gives a miraculous sign that he accepts Jesus' sacrifice through the resurrection. Finally, there is the sacrificial meal at the Last Supper.
Because the first element of Jesus' sacrifice is the most important—the interior dispositions of his human will—let us expand a bit upon it. Jesus' offering of himself was a total offering, wondrously diversified in its rich completeness. It was an offering that contained the entire life of Jesus; although Jesus' sacrifice became formalized only at the Last Supper and upon Calvary, it nevertheless embraced his entire life. The offering, or sacrifice, of Jesus contained, then, his teaching, his healing the sick, his acts of kindness to the poor and the ignorant and the unimportant, his patient training of the apostles—all this and more was included. Jesus' offering also included his personal relationships with Mary, Joseph, Lazarus, and others; it embraced, as well, his thrill at the beauty of nature, the simple joys shared with friends, his welcoming the children who loved to come to him, the enthusiasm and zeal that buoyed him as he went about his Father's business. Moreover, Jesus' sacrifice included his endurance of the unpleasant side of the human condition—the pettiness and meanness of some, the hardness of heart he often encountered, the ugly selfishness that bursts forth and often mars the beauty of the person and that, ultimately, put Jesus to death.
Unlike Christ's earthly sacrifice, which he and he alone offered to the Father, the Eucharist, by God's gracious design, is also the Church's sacrifice. It is Christ's sacrifice, but it is also ours, for we are priests and victims along with Jesus, the chief priest and chief victim. As Christ's offering of himself is renewed and continued in the Mass, our offering of ourselves is also included. Furthermore, just as Christ's earthly offering included everything in his life, so also the offering that we make of ourselves at the Eucharist is meant to touch all the authentic experiences of our Christian lives. Our friendships, our love for one another, our service to mankind—all this is part of our eucharistic offering. Bearing properly with physical pain, frustration, failure, misunderstanding, boredom, anguish of spirit—this, too, we offer at the altar. To love and be loved by another human—and to be in wonder at this mystery of love—is also a cherished part of our eucharistic offering. To enjoy a meal together, to walk by the seashore, to drink in the morning freshness, to feel the warmth of the summer sun and the invigorating cold of a winter day—this also we offer with Jesus. The Eucharist, then, gathers up what would otherwise be the too-fragmented pieces of our lives and gives them a marvelous unity, a Christ-like unity. The Eucharist permeates these pieces of our lives with the love, the beauty, and the strength of Jesus' own offering and then presents them to the Father under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We see, then, the richness and extensiveness of the eucharistic sacrifice's first element—the interior offering.
The second element of sacrifice—that is, the external, ritualized offering—is easily recognized at each Eucharist because each Eucharist is a ritual of celebration. We all know that special days of celebration are important for both families and civil society. The celebration of a birthday or a wedding anniversary can do much to lift family spirits. The strictly ordinary is temporarily dispensed with; family members dress up a bit, have special food and drink, and otherwise make the day of celebration different from the usual routine of daily existence. Civil society acts similarly for its days of celebration; business and industry often close down for the day, parades frequently mark the occasion, and special banquets or galas help make the day seem special.
The Eucharist is the main setting for the celebration of the Christian community. Some liturgies are very special moments of celebration—Easter and Christmas are obvious examples. But daily liturgies are celebrations, too, although obviously on a smaller scale than that of the major liturgical feasts. The daily liturgy can truly be called a celebration because a special event—the Christ-event that is centered in Jesus' death-resurrection—is always being called to memory and sacramentally re-enacted. Furthermore, each liturgy briefly raises us above—notice, we are not saying that each liturgy falsely separates us from—the ordinary setting of our lives. Refreshed by the special setting of the Eucharist and nourished by Christ himself, we are meant to return to the secular framework of life with a deepened desire to live Christ.
We can easily conclude from what we have been discussing that the externals of the liturgy should not become too commonplace. Certainly the rather rigid ritualism of the pre-Vatican II liturgy is not what we now judge to be desirable. Any celebration, despite the fact that it purports to be something quite different from what the participants daily experience, still must allow the participants to feel at ease with one another and the total situation. The setting of the Eucharist must likewise allow the participants to feel basically comfortable with one another and able to experience a sense of familiar connaturality with the celebration. On the other hand, if the Eucharist is celebration, its setting, its ritual, cannot become so ordinary that its participants tend to lose sense of the specialness of the event. Remember, one of the purposes of celebration is to provide a special type of experience, something quite different from the ordinary course of our lives. Consequently, the liturgy, as sign or ritual, has to achieve a rather delicate balance; it must be enacted in such a manner that we will feel at ease while, at the same time, it still remains something special.
The balance of ritual also has to be concerned with another factor. Ritual is also meant to be meaningful, that is, ritual is meant to point to the invisible realities of the liturgy in a way that is pertinent and attractive to the participants. The participants, for their part, have a responsibility toward the sign of the liturgy. The liturgy, as sign, presupposes the faith of the participants; no matter how perfect the external liturgy might be, it cannot be really meaningful to one who lacks faith. Conversely, the deeper the participants' faith is, the more meaningful is the liturgy of sign. We can also say that the more mature one's faith is, the better prepared he or she is to bear with possible deficiencies in the liturgy of sign. Persons of mature faith might well decry these shortcomings and take all reasonable steps to better the situation, but they will still love the Eucharist and derive deep meaning from it rather than give up participating in such a treasured event just because the external liturgy might be deficient.
The third element of sacrifice, immolation, touches Christ and us because we are both victims in the eucharistic offering. The immolation of both Jesus and us is, obviously, an unbloody one. Traditionally, the immolation of Jesus has been seen in the separate consecration of the bread and wine. Moreover, the very words of consecration manifest Christ as being in the state of victimhood.
Our immolation in the Eucharist is a mystical one. Summarily, we become victims with Christ by conforming our wills in love to the Father's will. Conformity was the essence of Christ's sacrifice, of his victimhood, of his immolation; a similar conformity must therefore be found in the victimhood and immolation of Christ's members. This mystical immolation is a lifelong process; each Eucharist that we participate in should mark a growth in our victimhood. As true Christians, we should desire to die more and more to all that is not according to God's will so that we might rise to greater life with Christ—both here upon earth and in eternity. Jungmann strikingly portrays the situation: "Every sacrament serves to develop in us the image of Christ according to a specified pattern which the sacramental sign indicates. Here the pattern is plainly shown in the double formation of the Eucharist; we are to take part in His dying, and through His dying are to merit a share in His life. What we here find anchored fast in the deepest center of the Mass-sacrifice is nothing else than the ideal of moral conduct to which the teaching of Christ in the Gospel soars; the challenge to an imitation of Him that is ready to lose its life in order to win it; the challenge to follow Him even, if need be, in His agony of suffering and His path of death, which are here in this mystery so manifestly set before us" (The Mass of the Roman Rite, p. 146).
We have said that the fourth element of sacrifice refers to God's acceptance. If sacrifice is to have its desired effect, it must be pleasing to God. That the Father always accepts the eucharistic offering is certain, for the principal priest and victim is Jesus himself who is always supremely acceptable to the Father. What is more, the Father always accepts the subordinate priesthood and victimhood of the People of God, for even though the Eucharist may be offered through the sacrilegious hands of an unworthy priest, there is always a basic holiness in the Church that is pleasing to God. Because of this holiness, the Father always accepts the Church's sacrificial offering, for each Mass is the sacrifice of the whole Church and cannot be fundamentally vitiated by the basic unworthiness of any particular member or members—even if that member is the officiating priest.
What do we say concerning the Father's acceptance of the sacrificial offering of the individual Christian? Such an offering will be acceptable in proportion to the Christian's conformity in love to the Father's will. Again, Jungmann has words for us: "It follows that an interior immolation is required of the participants, at least to the extent of readiness to obey the law of God in its seriously obligatory commandments, unless this participation is to be nothing more than an outward appearance" (Roman Rite, p. 146).
The last element of the eucharistic sacrifice, the meal, is, obviously, a very important part. The Eucharist as meal is a rich reality. It is the sign of Jesus' complete self-giving and, consequently, a sign of Jesus' fathomless love for us. This sign actually contains what it signifies. In the Eucharist, Jesus comes to us in his entirety. There is no holding back on his part; his boundless love for us results in boundless giving.
If the Eucharistic meal is a sign of Jesus' self-giving, it is also a sign of our self-giving. In receiving divine food, we pledge ourselves to a deeper God-like existence. We pledge that, in love, we will strive for a more radical giving of ourselves to both God and others. Each eucharistic meal that we participate in is a new opportunity for a more perfect assimilation to Christ and his mysteries, especially the mysteries of death and resurrection. Each eucharistic meal that we participate in increases our responsibility to live Christ, that is, to more fully incorporate the Gospel ideal in all that we do.
The fact that our participation in the eucharistic meal is a sign of our self-gift not only to God in Christ, but also to one another leads us to a consideration of the communal aspect of the meal. The eucharistic meal is a great sign and cause of our unity in Christ. Rahner maintains that "insofar as everyone participates in the same meal of Christ, who is the giver and the gift at the same time, the Eucharist is also the sign, the manifestation and the most real actualization of the church insofar as the church is and makes manifest the ultimate unity of all men in the Spirit, a unity which has been founded by God in grace" (Foundations of Christian Faith, p. 427). We are therefore to receive the one and same Christ, the implications of which are far-reaching. In receiving the one and same Christ we are actually pledging ourselves to unity both among ourselves and with all mankind. We are pledging ourselves to uproot from our hearts those attitudes that work against the building up of community in the Church and in the world. We are pledging ourselves to look upon others with a sense of respect, love, and even wonder as we marvel at how God's love has created and redeemed each one, at how the blood of Jesus has salvifically touched each one. Our participation in the eucharistic meal truly pledges us to these ideals. We, for our part, must ask ourselves whether we are actually assimilating these ideals. We must ask ourselves whether we are allowing the Eucharist to transform us into more loving and concerned persons, persons less and less influenced by forces that disrupt and tend to weaken and destroy communal unity.
The discussion of the communal aspect of the eucharistic meal reminds us that the entire eucharistic sacrifice is a covenant act. What is covenant? In the context of salvation history, a covenant is an agreement, a bond, a union, a life relationship both between God and his people and among the people themselves. At the Last Supper, Jesus emphasized the covenant aspect of the Eucharist: "During the meal Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. 'Take this and eat it,' he said, 'this is my body.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. 'All of you must drink from it,' he said, 'for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins' " (Mt 26:26-28).
When Jesus speaks of his blood as "the blood of the covenant," we are reminded that blood sealed or ratified the Mosaic covenant at Mt. Sinai. Moses sprinkled blood upon the altar, which represented God, and upon the Jewish people. Because blood was a distinctive symbol of life for the Jews, such an action had a deep significance for them. This action of Moses symbolized the sealing or ratification of the covenant—a new life relationship between Yahweh and the Jews.
The blood of Jesus has also formed a covenant—the new covenant. In the shedding of his blood, Jesus has established a new life relationship between his Father and mankind. Forming a core focal point of redeemed mankind are the people of the new covenant, namely, the members of the Christian community, the Church. The Eucharist, in recalling and sacramentally re-enacting the shedding of Jesus' covenant blood, is the Church's great covenant act. The Eucharist sustains the life of the covenant, nourishes it, causes it to grow to greater maturity. Through participation in the eucharistic liturgy we should be growing in covenant attitudes—in a sense of community, in a deep love of the Church, in a desire to contribute our share to the building up of this Body of Christ. We should be learning to curb our selfishness because it deadens a dynamic concern for the Christian community and makes us a burden to the brethren. Participation in the Eucharist should also be curbing divisive jealousy, forming us more and more as persons who want to deeply love one another so that it can more often be said of us, "See those Christians, how they love one another." The Eucharist can more radically shape us according to these covenant attitudes if we allow it. We repent concerning the times we have resisted; we rejoice concerning the times we have opened ourselves to the Eucharist's transformative power.
end of excerpt & November 5, 2000
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