Blessed Sacrament, Greenfield
In his book Rediscovering Catholicism, Matthew Kelly tells a story about an American priest who visited China. He went incognito, and no one knew he was a priest. On his second night there, he heard some noises in the middle of the night and asked his host what was going on. He replied: “We’re going to the wall.” Intrigued, the priest went with him and about 20 other people. As they walked in the darkness, the crowd swelled to over 100 people. Eventually they came to a clearing in a forest, and in the middle was a small wall. As the group came close to the wall they knelt down. Out of a nook in the wall, one of the men took a tiny monstrance holding the Eucharist, and the people spent time in adoration. The next day, the American told them he was a priest. They had not had Mass in 10 years, but several times a week they would go to the wall at night and risk their lives to spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist. That night he celebrated Mass for them.
The word redemption is defined as ‘the act of saving or of being saved’ – we use this term in relation to our sins … The language used in St. Luke’s Gospel today is apocalyptic in nature – a foretelling of that which is to come, namely, the end times. For the disciples to hear these words it meant for them an end to persecutions and terrors that had been characteristic of their history. We know that Jesus was not talking about a political upheaval, we know that He was talking about the inauguration of a different kind of Kingdom … the eternal Kingdom of Heaven – This is about Christ’s mission of the salvation of souls… what exactly then, do these words mean …
Did Jesus abandon the people in China? No, He was tucked into a niche in a wall, He sent them a priest to offer Mass for them so that they might receive Holy Communion and go to confession … He came to them, He was with them. In the same way, we ought not to be anxious or worried, we ought not get discouraged about the difficulties we face in our lives … Our God is with us everyday on this altar – He has not abandoned us… We ought therefore to be entirely grateful for the fact that we have access to the sacraments – to the Eucharist, to Mass, confession, adoration – because currently we have priests available … but what about our future?
Christ’s mission is a mission of redemption – a mission of the salvation of souls… but we need priests to carry on this mission. Jesus will not abandon us – like He did not abandon the people of China at that time … but we need good, holy men, to listen to His voice to be the next generation of priests for our diocese in order that this mission of salvation of souls may continue, that the Mass may continue … The Jesus may continue to make Himself present to us through the hands of His priests … What a great gift that is!
Those people in China did not know there was a priest in their midst … Right now, we do not know who among the young men of this parish, this community, might just be the next priest among us – speak to that man who you think might just make a good priest … God continues to call men to the priesthood and we must not be afraid to lend our voices to encourage men to follow Him along this path … because Christ’s mission of redemption must continue…