As we celebrate the last Sunday of Advent I wanted to revisit a post from last year.
Reading this post http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/2008/12/keep-mass-in-christmas.html by Fr. Longenecker inspired me to meditate on the goal of Christmas and the dreams of the Child Jesus.
Do you remember as a child being asked “What do you want to be/do when you grow up”? I wanted to be a mom and a veterinarian. Little did I realize the first joy in my life would be being Catholic, a Faith I have been gifted by our Lord and of being a wife to my husband, Patrick. I am also very grateful the Lord gave me the gift of motherhood, something that so many today take for granted or think of (their fertility) as a disease to be conquered and in many cases annihilated, many even killing their children within their wombs. Anyway, let’s look at goals, dreams, and hopes for the future in the Light of the Child Jesus.
2000+ years ago God humbled Himself and became man. In Jesus the Word became flesh. He was born to the mother of His choosing, Mary. Not being limited by time as we are, God handpicked her from the beginning and then used the gift of Good Friday/Easter in advance to provide himself an unblemished womb. He was then born in a stable, fled to Egypt, was lost to Mary in Jerusalem for 3 days, and He remained obedient to Mary, His mother and Joseph, her husband. So far we read the facts of His life, but what about His dreams. What was it He looked forward to? We know He knew of His crucifixion and that he actually sweat blood for the physical terror of it, but what did he look forward to? Rising from the dead on Easter? The Ascension into Glory? Hmmm, He already had that Glory before He became man to save us. So although because of the Fall, Original Sin, He “needed” to come in order to save us, it is not what Jesus tells us He desired, what He looked forward to.
Let’s take a peak at Luke 22:15 “And he said to them,”I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” As a faithful Jew, Jesus would have faithfully eaten the passover every year of His life including the three years of His public life. What was so special about THIS passover that He had earnestly desired to share it with His apostles? We learn of this coming gift most clearly, passionately, and emphatically in John 6:51 and 53-58 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” - “Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
How does John 6 connect us to the Last supper, the meal Jesus looked forward to, that he desired greatly? First it is interesting to note that John 6 takes place just before a previous passover. Of that passover Jesus says it is not yet His time. So what about this Passover is different? It is at this meal that Jesus provides the the gift spoken of in John 6, the gift of Himself – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity under the appearance of unleavened bread and wine. He came to save us, yes, but He ardently desired to give Himself to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist, Holy Communion. This is a gift even Adam and Eve did not enjoy in the Garden of Eden. To be nourished by God physically with His Flesh/Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He is not content to just be in our hearts spiritually. He wants to be ONE with us. To enter into us in a real and total life-giving love. The giving of this “extra” gift is what brought our Lord such joy and anticipation. This week, as we celebrate the gift of His Incarnation and Birth, let us remember the gift He most longed to give us, Himself in the Eucharist. This incredible, difficult to believe and harder to understand gift is available every day of the year, in Catholic Churches throughout the world. At every Mass we are called to receive this gift, the Eucharist, as real today as it was almost 2000 years ago. Wow!!!
I know today we are railing around a call to keep Christ in Christmas. but the gift most desired to be given to us by Christ is found in the Mass. This Christmas when our friends and family are around us let us not forget to go out and receive the real gift Christ desires to give us on His birthday and every day: the Eucharist.
If you are not Catholic and would like more information on how you to may receive this incredible gift from Jesus of Jesus, please contact me or your local Catholic Church’s RCIA program. As with the Apostles there is a need to learn and understand more before you partake in the Lamb’s Supper here on Earth. Read Paul’s warning to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:27
May the Faith, Hope and Love of Christ fill you with His Joy and Peace during this season and all through the year. Sussette