Friday, February 14, 2014


Pope Francis recently spoke about the theophany that occurs at each Eucharistic celebration.  It is our chance, our privilege to participate in the true sense of the sacred.

Theophany is described/defined as a direct communication or appearance by God to human beings.  Events that are theophanies recorded in the Old Testament are among more than a few God's appearance to Adam and Eve, Moses meeting God in the burning bush event and when Abraham seeks mercy from God on behalf of the Sodomites.  These were one time appearances.  However, in the New Testament a different kind of theophany has occurred:  the Incarnation of Jesus Christ which began with his conception but which will never end.

The Lord speak to us in different ways.  We read in the Old Testament prophets conversations with Yahweh.  We have heard it from priests for years.  We hear from Sacred Scripture.  Theophanies, however, are different.  God is actually present to someone in a theophany experience.  God comes to us in theophanies today but, no doubt, many among us seem to have forgotten when the one theophany God has given us occurs.

We have the privilege of this sacred presence each time we are present for the celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass, the Sacred Liturgy.  Ask younger people in today's Church if God is actually present when they attend Mass.  Responses are unbelievable!  Pope Francis reminds the whole world of our belief that during the celebration of the Eucharist "the presence of the Lord is real, truly real."

What we experience is not a representation of the Last Supper.  The Pope continued saying, "... it is the Last Supper itself."  And here is the mystery, in this daily celebration of the Mass, the theophany given to us is "the Lord is made present on the altar to be offered to the Fatter for the salvation of the world," the Pope further added for us as a reminder of the sacredness of the moment of consecration.

We look up the Child Jesus in the Nativity scenes that are visible during the Christmas season.  Jesus is not an image in the Mass.  Jesus is present for us.  Our Sacred Liturgy is much more than our recited prayers, our contemplating Jesus in the Way of the Cross.  The time we are present for the liturgy each day, each Sunday we are present once again on Mt. Calvary.  If we are fully aware of this unique belief of our religion, how strange it is to hear someone say "Mass is so boring.  The priest doesn't know how to preach.  The music is terrible.  It's all about the collection."  The Mass is more than all of those issues.  God is with us in the Mass.  God is truly present among us on the altar.  The sacrifice of Calvary takes place again in each Mass.  How can our salvation be boring?  It is the moment of our continued Redemption.

If we truly believe what this extraordinary theophany is, wouldn't we want to be present at every celebration of the Eucharist that we can attend?

This letter is not meant to be a preached sermon.  It is a reflection on a recent homily of Pope Francis where is reminds his hearers and those who would eventually read or hear read his words about this extraordinary blessing from God to each of us.  If we stop and think about it for a few moments, isn't it mind-boggling?

Happy Valentine Day everyone!

Oremus pro Invicem.

Fr. Milt