Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The holy communion is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet with the Lamb.

March 23, 2009

Sacramentum Caritatis

Death and suffering and lamentation were never God’s intention for the world He loved into existence. Our human pride and rebellion brought these ills into the world, and by the grace of God they are doomed to be extinguished from human existence–even from human memory. The presence of Jesus, God Himself in the flesh, signed and effected the beginning of the cosmic healing that is our ultimate destiny. By his life, death and resurrection He has brought the Church into existence–an existence that is God’s promise of wholeness for the world made as complete as can be in this weak and weary world. Jesus was limited by time and place in his ministry, but the story in today’s Gospel shows that such limits are ephemeral. Jesus continues his ministry in all places and all times through His Church.

The sacraments are an essential element of Christ’s redemption of the world. They are a real foretaste, as the Holy Father writes, of the eschatological fulfilment for which every human being and all creation are destined. (30) We are created for happiness–God’s happiness, but we are created free, and that “wounded freedom would go astray” if it could never experience in some way the reality of the coming kingdom of God. Our wounded freedom also needs guidance toward our final goal, Christ Himself. And so we have this eucharistic celebration, which is the sacramental presence of Christ, our healer, our nourisher, and our guide. That is why we have Liturgy of Word, and Liturgy of Eucharist. By it, the Church brings into the today the reality of the eternal. By this temporal banquet, we experience the heavenly banquet with the Lamb. That’s why, at least on Monday evening, we always sing the song of the Lamb of God who takes away our sins and gives us peace and mercy.

What must be our response? Each of us is incomplete; being here is a recognition that we need to repent, be forgiven and healed. So each time we celebrate Eucharist, let’s listen for some word of guidance, and then as we come forward to take communion–to become one with each other in Christ–let’s also accept the power we need to change our behavior and be the image of Jesus and Mary that God intends.

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