3/19/2017-"What a Beautiful Name It Is!"
This past Sunday Jesus revealed to us very clearly His desire to lead us to new heights and to bring us to an experience just as He led Peter, James, and John to the heights of Mt. Tabor. In fact, it was a common theme this past Sunday in all three readings: the living God calls us to move, to grow, and to grow closer to Him.
GOD CALLS US TO MOVE, TO GROW, AND TO GROW CLOSER TO HIM! In the first reading, we saw our Lord called Abram to leave his native land and people, the land of the Chaldeans, to go to the land of the promise. As long as Abram listened to the voice of the living God and heeded His promptings, Abram would experience blessings upon his life and would also become the source of blessing for all the families of the earth. St. Paul helped us to understand that God’s calling on our life doesn’t always involve a change in physical location. Our Lord is calling all of us to holiness: to belong ever more fully to Jesus! As you and I listen to the voice of our Father and heed His promptings, our life resembles more and more the life of Jesus. Then, in the Holy Gospel, we witnessed how Jesus led Peter, James, and John to the heights of Mt. Tabor. Because Peter, James, and John obeyed Jesus and followed Him, they had a most wonderful experience: Jesus lifted the veil and revealed to them His Divinity, His Glory, His Beauty and Splendor! This experience was essential in the formation of the Apostles. Through it, their faith in Jesus was strengthened. This desire of Jesus to lead us to a similar experience reaffirms one of our themes for this year: our faith in Jesus has an inherent power to grow and develop and this takes place in a special way when we allow our Father to lead us through an experience in which our faith in Jesus is confirmed.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE OF FAITH GROWING AND DEVELOPING! Recently, I have experienced a wonderful growth in my own faith in Jesus. As a priest for 12 years now, I have offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass over 4,000 times. And yet, I still have so much to learn and Jesus still desires to see my faith in Him grow. When I was spending time in the Blessed Sacrament chapel in our rectory and doing some spiritual reading, I was moved by an appeal of Jesus that He desires our gratuitous love. He wants us to come and spend time with Him simply because He is present and so loves us! As I began to weep before our Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, I exclaimed: Jesus, have I even begun to love you! This experience of our Lord’s presence really confirmed my faith in Him. It was also a powerful testament to me of how real heaven is: we will never be able to exhaust the beauty, the glory, the love, the mercy and the power of Jesus on this earth! Thanks be to God, we will have all eternity to love Him and praise Him!
SACRED MUSIC AND THE HOLY EUCHARIST: TWO WAYS YOU AND I CAN EXPERIENCE THE GLORY OF JESUS! This past Sunday, we talked about two ways that we could open ourselves up to this experience during our celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The first way was through the song, “What A Beautiful Name It Is” and the second way was through the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In the teachings of the Church, Sacred Music is to give glory to God and to sanctify God’s people. As we went through the stanzas and refrains of the song, we saw together how every word of that song was inspired by and seeping with God’s Most Holy Word! Through that song, our Lord was speaking to our mind, our heart, and to our hands.“What A Beautiful Name It Is” helped us to focus our minds on the truth of who Jesus is. He is the very Word of God, He is God, and all the beauty of creation is revealed in His loving countenance. We also entered into the mystery of our salvation. The desire of Jesus is to bring heaven to us so that He could lead us to our true and eternal homeland. As the refrain went from “what a beautiful name it is” to “what a wonderful name it is” to “what a powerful name it is”, the song was speaking to our hearts! It was inviting us to have a real and bold confidence in the love and victory of Jesus over sin and death. As the song helped us to enter into a spirit of praise, we were learning the greater dimensions of prayer. A life of prayer that consists of only talking to God when we need something is not a response worthy of all that Jesus has done for us and all that Jesus desires for us! Just as Peter, James and John saw Jesus lifted high and the veil removed, we too can have this experience during Holy Mass. When the priest lifts Jesus high in the Eucharist, we can ask Jesus to please remove the veil. Although our eyes see bread, the gift of faith gives us the power to get a glimpse of the glory, beauty, and power of Jesus present in the Sacred Host! During Holy Mass, it is a beautiful prayer to ask Him: Jesus, I want to see your face today! Jesus, I want to behold your glory!Have a blessed week and remember to pray for one another.