19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Almost a hundred years ago an Angel appeared to the three children of Fatima. He was “holding a chalice in his hands, with a host above it from which some drops of blood were falling into the Sacred vessel.” The Angel left the chalice and host suspended in the air, and prostrated himself upon the ground with the children and prayed the following prayer with them three times:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.
The Angel then rose, and taking the host he gave it to Lucy, and to Jacinta and Francisco he gave the contents of the chalice, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Then he prostrated himself once more with the children and repeated the prayer to the Most Holy Trinity three times, then disappeared. It was in this way that catechized in prayer, reparative suffering, and the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, and strengthened by the Bread of Angels, that the children of Fátima were prepared for the visitation of the Queen of Portugal, the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
The 1st reading an excellent story (1 Kings 19:4-8🙂 King Ahab of Israel married a pagan queen, Jezebel, who imported pagan worship into Israel. The prophet Elijah challenged 450 of the pagan god Baal’s prophets, defeated them in a public sacrifice-contest and killed all of them. The furious Queen Jezebel sent soldiers to kill the prophet. Today’s first reading expresses Elijah’s discouragement and frustration as he fled for his life. Collapsed in the only available shade, Elijah fell into a sleep of exhaustion while awaiting release through a speedy death. God heard His prophet’s prayer and sent an angel to feed him and strengthen him in his flight. The miraculous food provided by God sustained him through a 40-day pilgrimage to Horeb (Mount Sinai), where Elijah would be commissioned again as God’s prophet to carry on the struggle and to anoint his successor. Like Elijah, our life is a tough journey of discouragement and frustrations.
God is a Father, and a father feeds his children. Accordingly, God the Father always feeds us, His children. God gave Adam and Eve plentiful food in the Garden of Eden. He miraculously fed the Israelites manna and quail for forty years. He fed Elijah miraculously so that he can reach his destination in life. Finally, God sent His Son Jesus as Food, the Eucharist that feeding on Jesus; we can reach our final destination. Sadly, humans have always been dissatisfied with God’s food. We prefer the food of slavery to the food of freedom, which is the life-giving, miraculous nourishment God freely provides. When we grumble because we have to fast for an hour before Sunday Eucharist, we are like the complaining Israelites in the desert who couldn’t see the daily miracle of manna because their mind was on the salad bar. Incredibly, some Catholics even leave the Church because “they aren’t being fed”! How can anyone abandon the cosmic miracle of the eucharistic Jesus, “the Bread That comes down from heaven for a man to eat and never die”? (Jn 6:50) If our mind is on our belly (Phil 3:19), we can be like Esau (see Gn 25:29ff) and trade the living Eucharistic Bread of the Catholic Church for a hearty potluck supper somewhere else. God the Father has been insulted for centuries by His children snubbing His food. Don’t insult the Father. Jesus commands us: “Take this and eat it”! (Mt 26:26)
A woman handed me an envelope after Mass a few weeks ago. It had a note that read something like this: “Father, I am 91 years old now. I thank God for all His blessings in my life especially for my health and the love of my family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Please pray for my special intention, that God will give me long life.” My initial response was, “What? How long does she want to live?” I realized that was none of my business so I prayed a sincere prayer to God, asking Him to grant her as many more years as she wanted, even if she wanted to live for another half decade! 91 years old and still wanting a long life! It is obvious that she is grateful but not satisfied with 91 years of a blessed and fulfilled life. She wants something more. This shows us something about life here on earth. What is she really searching for? What she intensely desires is much more than a long duration of life, but the fullness of life, the perfect and blessed life, what we call eternal life, that life that is a participation in the very life of the God who created us and keeps us in existence today. As long as we do not possess and are growing in this eternal life within us, nothing in this world will ever satisfy us.
Jesus said “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
This Lady was taking to me after the Mass. She said ‘If the Eucharist contains the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, then what else do I need”? That is the reason why I go to daily Mass! Remember next time you are at Mass, do not to take communion out of habit, but really focus on the beauty and miracle that happens right before your eyes. Every time the priest says the words of institution, a miraculous event takes place, never take that for granted. I challenge each and every one of you today -if you are not 100% convinced yet ask someone who go daily Mass? Why in the world are you getting up 6.15 in the morning and going to daily Mass? They will have the answer for you!
I thank God for the instrumental role that the Eucharist played in bringing me home to where I belong in His Church.
– A recent convert to Catholicism
“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”
– St. Maximilian Kolbe