Holy Thursday

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Fr. Jon
Homily transcription: 



This past Tuesday, Fr. Aaron and I were at our cathedral parish, St. Raphael's in Dubuque, for the Chrism Mass during which Archbishop Jackels blessed and consecrated the holy oils used in all the parishes in our archdiocese throughout the year.  Being out here in the southwest corner of the archdiocese, I go to this Mass just so the other priests will remember who I am.  Some look at me with the facial expression that says, "You look familiar."  


Before the Mass the priests and seminarians have lunch with our archbishop, during which he gives a "state of the archdiocese" talk, and also a meditation for us for holy week.  This year, Archbishop Jackels talked about the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in our lives and ministry.  Last year, he spoke of his support for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and his words have remained with me since.


Eucharistic adoration is a growing practice, especially among the young.  It is a moment is which we are unplugged and focused, a moment which is both transcendent and personal at the same time.  For our culture, adoration is powerful and people who do it on a regular basis are transformed.


In this encounter with the real presence of Jesus himself, we look at him, and he looks at us.  The question is who does he see when he looks at us?  For me, he sees a sinner, who often struggles with discipleship and prayer.  He also sees his beloved.  From the day of my baptism onward, I am his beloved, and that is important to remember as well.  


The archbishop went on to say that adoration is not an end in itself.  The host is not consecrated primarily to be looked at, but to be consumed.  On occasion the consecrated host is taken out of the luna and needs to be consumed.  He said is we are good priests, there will be times when we feel like we are being consumed, times when we feel we are being asked to love and give more than we think we are capable of.  This is true of any disciple of Jesus, any servant of the Lord, especially of parents.  At times we feel like we are being consumed.


We hesitate, even fear, being consumed because we feel like we are losing our sense of self.  We cease being who we are and are becoming something else, something new.


That is precisely the point.  In being consumed, in self-forgetful love, our ego decreases and Christ in us increases, and yes, we are becoming someone new.


Archbishop Jackels concluded that adoration is great if it leads us to being consumed, if it leads us to a life of sacrificial love that transforms us into someone new.


In the Sacrament instituted on his holy night, Jesus is consumed for us out of love.  If we are good and faithful disciples, often we will feel like we are being consumed.  And that is a good thing.