The Greatest Act of Love
Jan 29, 2019
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the Apostles.
This week we have the honor of Bishop Rivituso offering Mass for the parish! The Church teaches us that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father; and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world. Lumen Gentium (18). The bishops have been given the gift of the fullness of the priesthood of Jesus. They are our shepherds who are devoted to teaching us the Gospel of Christ. In this quote from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how the early Christians were devoted to the teachings of the Apostles, that is Christ Himself, and to the communal life, the breaking of the bread and the prayers.
That phrase the breaking of the bread is in reference to the Eucharist- the Mass. The Mass teaches and evangelizes us. Each week we come to Mass. You are all so faithful, coming rain, shine, or snow. You all witnessed to this faithful courage in venturing out into the snow the last two weekends!
Growing up my mom and dad, I can now say, took my sisters and me to Mass every Sunday. At the time, I didn’t really get into it. I liked going to Mass to see my friends and to see the priests. But, again, I wasn’t thrilled. When I was a little older, I started serving Mass with the other boys in my class. Serving Mass at least gave me something to do at Mass. But as the saying goes, I still wasn’t really getting anything out the Mass. Such silly things young boys think.
How can we not get anything out of Mass? When we go to Mass we hear the word of God in the Sacred Scriptures proclaimed to us. We hear Jesus speaking to us through His word in the Gospel. But on top of all of that- we receive Him into ourselves in a substantial way. We receive Him, Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity. We receive Jesus!
Receiving the Eucharist means adoring Him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with Him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself. -Pope Benedict XVI
At Mass we give something of ourselves to the Lord as well. We give Him our Praise and Adoration. We give Him all our needs, prayers, and sufferings. We give Him our lives and our very selves. We give this to Him even if we’re not into the singing. If we’re a little distracted. We can participate in Mass in many ways. In the prayers, in singing, but even in a deeper way-in silent reflection in our hearts of the great mystery of sacrifice and love we participate in each time we come to Mass. Each time the Mass is offered, sacramentally, the greatest act of love is acted before our eyes. We remember Jesus Passion, Death, and Resurrection, He give Himself to us and gives life back to us. For all the Father has given to us. We can in return give one hour back to Him. We have all the other hours of the week to live out what we hear and receive in the Eucharist. Sunday or Saturday evening, is the time when we fulfill our obligation to give praise and adoration to the Lord and when our hearts are open and prepared spiritually- we receive the beauty and light of Christ into hearts. Jesus strengthens us and we trust He is always with us.
When you have received Him, stir up your heart to do Him homage; speak to Him about your spiritual life, gazing upon Him in your soul where He is present for your happiness; welcome Him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of His Presence. - Saint Francis de Sales