Tag Archives: Mass

Jesus offers the twelve their freedom to walk away from him and his teaching about the Eucharist – again, no change there then!

The peoples response to Jesus teaching is: “This is intolerable language.” But what provoked such a strong reaction?

Whatever way Jesus delivered this teaching – which is obviously about the Eucharist – he left the people in no doubt that he wasn’t speaking symbolically, and he wasn’t speaking about signs.

When he’d finished his teaching they clearly understood he meant actually eating his flesh and drinking his blood and they found it “intolerable language” and concluded, “How could anyone accept it?”

Remember the reaction wasn’t just words, they didn’t just talk the talk, they walked away. They were clearly shocked, possibly even disgusted!

And Jesus didn’t even try to stop 🛑 them!

He didn’t try to stop ✋ them because the teaching he’d shared was the truth. He was saying “this is how it is in Heaven and I can’t change it.”

This is my Fathers will, that you eat my flesh and drink my blood; that you celebrate Eucharist. But we must celebrate it in such a way that we’re actually eating and drinking him – and the bread and wine are not signs or symbols but his actual body and blood, his very self.

Jesus makes no effort to soften his teaching: “Does this upset you?” he says, and pushes on trying to open up the huge expanse that exists behind his earthly body, the spirit that’s behind the flesh. “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer” he says. Yet we spend so much time focused on the flesh – and money too.

Then Jesus states that we cannot come to him unless the Father allows it. Once again we’re told that there’s order to all this, that not all are admitted to the kingdom of God – qualifications are required – that there are some who will always be outside it because they remain “lost” in their own flesh which Jesus says “has nothing to offer” – it ends in dust! This is Peter’s point at the end: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life.” Without you, we’re just dust!

In the end, having lost large numbers, Jesus turns to the twelve; “What about you, do you want to go away too?”

Jesus offers the twelve something beautiful, their freedom, their freedom to walk away from him and his teaching about the Eucharist. Is it a reflection of how Jesus offers people today the same freedom to walk away from Mass? Are the people who walk away from Mass today using their freedom in much the same way as the people who walked away from this teaching about the Eucharist?

Have we changed at all?

Corpus Christi and Fatima; the centrality of Mass in God’s design.

Corpus Christi: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The whole mystery of God – from Christmas to Easter and beyond – packaged and given to us to be opened… plundered.

This is how God becomes ‘concrete’ in time, how he becomes personal, how he enters our lives…

This then is the big one!

But unfortunately for us (and it will be unfortunate!) in our day we’ve lost the importance of Mass. So, during the week I gave some thought to how I might register the cosmic significance of the Mass – even that’s understating it! Eventually I settled on using the events in Fatima to stress the centrality of the Mass in God’s design.

There’s a little known detail about Fatima that is so instructive in this regard. Shortly before the appearances of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917 an angel appeared to the three children. But the angel didn’t come empty handed.

The angel carried a host and a chalice in his hands… blood spilled from the host into theAngel of Fatima Image chalice. The children instantly recognized the host and the chalice as the central elements of the Mass.

Let’s stop at this point to reflect.

Why didn’t the angel bring a can of coke and a packet of crisps? Why not a glass of beer and a steak burger from the BBQ?

Then the angel did something even more instructive. Leaving the host and the chalice suspended in mid-air, the angel prostrated himself (bowed down before) the suspended host and chalice, taught the children to do the same, on their knees with their foreheads touching the ground and taught them a prayer.

Let’s stop again.

Why didn’t the angel say they should surf the waves on a Sunday morning and find God there? Or climb a mountain? Or go for a walk or a 10 kilometre run?

Why? Because God has chosen the way in which he gives himself – in bread and wine, the Mass!

Let’s look at the prayer, it’s equally instructive.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which you are offended. Through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

“Holy Trinity” (last Sunday); “Body and Blood… present in all the tabernacles” (today, Corpus Christi); “Sacred Heart” (next Friday) – there’s reason to these things, order!

Of all the prayers the angel could have taught, why this prayer?

The immediate purpose of Fatima was to prevent World War II – Our Lady told the children in 1917 that if people didn’t stop offending God a more terrible war would break out…

There’s a basic spiritual principle to be extracted here – the rejection of God (in other words the acceptance of sin) always ends in the figure of a crucified humanity. The rule of sin always leads to ruin.

I’ll finish with a question; according to the events that occurred in Fatima how important is the Mass?