As I Have Loved You Week 7 - The Gift of Presence

(June 19, 2022)

Bottom line: Jesus shows his love by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist - his Real Presence. In return one of the greatest gifts you and I can give is our presence at Sunday worship and faith formation.

Happy Father's Day! And happy Juneteenth! Today as we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, we are drawing to the conclusion of our homily series "As I Have Loved You" We've followed Jesus on his appearances to his disciples after he rose from the dead. He gives them convincing proof that he is not a ghost. For example, he tells Thomas to touch the wounds in his hands and side. And he actually takes a baked fish and eats it in front of them.

Jesus has a true physical body, but without the restrictions we experience. For example, even though the doors are locked, he can suddenly appear in the midst of the disciples.

Jesus gives the disciples a spiritual gift and a physical gift. The spiritual gift is the Holy Spirit. At the first Pentecost the Holy Spirit showed himself as tongues of flame, but normally he comes as a force or power. The fact that the Holy Spirit is invisible does not mean he is unreal. Some of the most powerful things we experience are invisible: honor, mercy and love. The Holy Spirit is the substantial love between the Father and Son.

Jesus gives another gift and this one is visible: the Eucharist, the bread and wine that become his Body and Blood. to illustrate these two gifts I make a comparison. It is appropriate for Father's Day. The comparison involves my brother who died on May 10. He left two gifts for his wife and sons. One gift is physical, the other spiritual.

The physical gift is the inheritance. Greg worked hard at Boeing; he was frugal and a sound investor. When Marianne uses the different rooms in the home, when she drives her car, does her shopping, she knows these things speak of Greg's continued care for her. Those physical gifts are pretty obvious.

Greg also left a spiritual inheritance. My nephews could speak more to that than I can, but I will give one example. Even though Greg was a quiet, somewhat introverted man, he gave the gift of his presence to his sons and to his grandchildren. That's a huge gift. People often quote Woody Allen: "Showing up is 80 percent of life. Sometimes it's easier to hide at home in bed. I've done both."

Well, at enormous cost Jesus gives us his ongoing presence in the Eucharist. This Sunday we celebrate that presence by our Corpus Christi procession.

Now, if Jesus sacrificed everything, if Jesus went through unimaginable suffering so he could nourish us with own Body and Blood, what should be our response? Our first and most important response is simply our presence. I am asking our parishioners and families to make Sunday a day dedicated to the Lord. In the morning attend Mass and participate in faith formation. Then in the afternoon have family activities or activities aimed at personal renewal such as gardening, reading, listening to podcasts, taking a walk, watching a movie together, etc. When we keep holy the Lord's Day, we grow in spiritual and emotional health - and the other days of the week fall into their proper perspective.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a section on the Third Commandment: Keep holy the Lord's Day. "The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." (Catechism 2180) How do we fulfill this precept? The Catechism tells us: "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."

It continues: "Just as God 'rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,' human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives. (#2184)

Keeping the Lord's Day is an essential part of following Jesus. More next week when we hear Jesus' invitation, "Follow me." That invitation will bring this homily series to its conclusion. Don't miss it.

People sometimes say "love is love" but as we see today, Jesus' love is not any old love. Jesus shows his love by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist - his Real Presence. In return one of the greatest gifts you and I can give is our presence at Sunday worship and faith formation. "As I have loved you, so also you should love one another."


From Archives (Corpus Christi):

2021 (Year B): Blood of the Lamb
2020 (Year A): A New Beginning
2019 (Year C): The Best I Can Give You
2018 (Year B): It's Good to Have a Body
2017 (Year A): Life in Christ Week 10: High Point
2016 (Year C): Not a Prize for the Perfect
2015 (Year B): Through Him Week 1: A Dynamic Presence
2014 (Year A): Like Someone Dying of Hunger
2013 (Year C): Eucharistic Coherence
2012 (Year B): Afflicted with Hunger
2011 (Year A): Most Precious Possession
2010 (Year C): Why Do I Have To Go To Mass?
2009 (Year B): What Have I Given You?
2008 (Year A): Who May Receive Communion?
2007 (Year C): Our Daily Bread
2006 (Year B): Language of the Body
2005 (Year A): Reverence for Eucharist
2004 (Year C): Communion for Kerry?
2003 (Year B): To Worship His Body and Blood
2002 (Year A): Broken Bread
2001 (Year C): The Eucharist Makes It Through
2000 (Year B): Combatting Impatience
1999 (Year A): Notes for Homilist
1998 (Year C): This is My Body
1997 (Year A): Jesus: True Bread of Life (How to Receive and Reverence the Eucharist)

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Easter Season 2018*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru