Unedited and lots of typos

Homily Ė Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday celebrations mark the anniversary of the institution of two of our 7 sacraments: The Eucharist and Holy Orders. It is no mistake that these came about at the same time. They are tied and ordered to one another. Every sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible grace. The normal way we learn about something is through one of our 5 senses. Christ gives us many graces or gifts that are not perceptible to us. They are invisible. He ties them to visible signs in order to communicate his love to us in a way that is natural to us, that is through one of our senses. The night before he was to be killed he left his Church with these gifts. It is these gifts that we celebrate tonight as we prepare to liturgically live the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. I offer you a few thoughts about the value of each and way we can make best use of them.
The Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover. The Passover in a land of Egypt was a shadow of things to come in the New Testament. For Catholics the Old Testament doesnít pass away but is fulfilled. The things of the old are fulfilled in the New in ways that give us realities that were only hinted at before.
The Passover feast took place the night before the Israelites were delivered by God from Egypt and escaped their slavery. In the new Testament the Passover feast was the night before we escaped our slavery from sin. The community would come together for a family meal. A unblemished lamb would be sacrificed and the family would eat the sacrificial meal. For us we come together at the family meal of the Eucharist ever week. Our spotless lamb is the Lamb of God himself. He is unblemished and was sacrificed for our sins and we eat the sacrificial meal. In the Passover they had to eat the lamb and mark their doors with its blood in order to have the angel of death Passover their houses. We too must eat the lamb, the true lamb of God, and are delivered from death by the blood of the lamb. The lamb of the Old Testament was a shadow of the new. In the Gospel Jesus feeds us with his flesh. It is not symbolic because symbols were for the Old Testament. It is not a shadow of reality but reality itself and as it says in John unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no life within us. This is the gift of the Eucharist. It is none other than the gift of Christ himself. Not a symbol. Jesus Christ, truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity. Why because he said This is my body. Not this represents my body. That is why we genuflect when we come into the Church. We do not bend our knee to a piece of bread. We bend our knee to the King of Kings. We do not say Amen which means So be it when the priest says The Symbol of Christ. We say it when he says the Body of Christ. Fr. Todd does not purify the vessels carefully after mass because he is worried about Crumbs of bread going down the sink but because he treats the Body and Blood of Christ with the reverence it is due. This is the truth of the gift we have been given. At any time we can go to any tabernacle in the world and visit God in the flesh not a symbol of God but God himself. That is why the Eucharist is called by the Catholic Church the source and summit of Christian life. Because all life comes from Christ and flows back to him. The invisible grace is the real presence of Christ given to us in the visible sign of food: bread and wine. Not a food for our body only but food for our souls. That is the Eucharist. Moses commanded the Israelites to keep the feast of the Passover as a perpetual institution. Jesus fulfilled it and made it something more than it was and commanded us to do this in memory of him.
He gave that command to the apostles when he instituted the priesthood. A priest is one who offers sacrifice to God on behalf of the people. That is why we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But the ministerial priesthood is a participation in the priesthood of the one high priest Jesus Christ. Priests are configured to Jesus Christ in a special way in order to confect the Eucharist. We cannot make bread change into the body of Christ on our own. Jesus reorders our soul at ordination in such a way that he can act through us to bring you the sacraments. That is why I stand In Personae Christe. Not because I am particularly holy, or smart or good looking. But because God called me from among men to serve you and to bring you the bread of life. When I stand at the Altar of God or sit in the confessional or anoint it is Jesus Christ who is working through me. That is why you can confess yours sins to a priest because you are in reality confessing them to Christ. That is why he can forgive you, because it is truly Christ that forgives you through the priest. You can say amen when I say the body of Christ because Christ acts through me not because I act on behalf of myself. The invisible grace is the participation in the priesthood of Christ and the visible sign is the man who represents him. This is the gift of the priesthood.
Christ chose certain men to serve the people of the God who became man himself. Priesthood is a special gift but not one that is earned. It is a gift that is given and given so that it in turn may be given to others. That is why Christ modeled the priesthood for his apostles. A priest gives his life for his people. He is to serve not to be served. And he is to lay down his life for his flock as the true high priest did if it is necessary.
As we reflect on the gifts we have been given tonight in the sacraments of Eucharist and Holy Orders I want to challenge on trend I see appearing among Catholics. Some people at times are tempted to base their church attendance on which priest is saying Mass. The true reality though is that at every Mass the High Priest Jesus Christ is the only one that matters. We need to come to mass for Jesus in the Eucharist, the true high priest. Not because we like or dislike the particular priest the Bishop has sent to our parish. If we have our faith life based on a Man you will end up disappointed no matter how talented or gifted he might be. There is only one reason to come to Mass and that reason is Jesus Christ. He is truly present at every mass, no matter how good or bad the music. No matter how great or terrible the homily. No matter how smart or dumb the priest is. The true high priest is acting through him and that is what guarantees we get what we need. If a man is validly ordained and says the Mass given to us by the Church then Jesus Christ is truly present: Body, blood, soul and divinity. Donít settle for the shadow of reality. Donít look to be entertained. Go to worship our King and our God. Go to receive the bread of life without which you have no life within you. That is the source and summit of our life. Let us appreciate his gift and give him the honor he is due. For it is right to give him thanks and praise.


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