From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…January 28, 2018

Last   week   we   reflected   on   Christ’s    Real Presence   in  the  Eucharist.   He  comes   to  us  in  this intimate  fashion  first as food  for our souls.  He comes under the appearances of bread and wine so that, by our consumption of the Eucharist, Christ can quite literally dwell at the heart of our being.

In addition  to  that,  Christ  comes  to  us  in  the Eucharist so that He might remain with us. At the end of Mass  the  consecrated  hosts  not  consumed  during  the Mass are placed in the tabernacle. There they (Christ!) remain for a couple reasons. First, the Eucharist remains so that in case of need Jesus can be taken to the sick and the   dying.   Second,   Jesus   remains   with   us   in   the Eucharist so that we can come into His Real Presence in prayer, praise, worship, and adoration.

The first and greatest  commandment  is to love God with all that we are before everything else. We do this, in part, by the praise, worship,  and adoration  that we  give  to  God.  There  is no  better  way  to  be  in  the presence of God and to worship and adore Him than to come   before   Christ   in  the   Eucharist.   This   is  why churches  down  through  the  ages  tended  to  be  open during the day, so that the faithful could come into the presence of God in prayer and worship.

In many instances  this  has changed  because  of changes   in  society  and  in  people’s   practices,   but  it remains  a  vital  part  of  the  Christian  life.  I  am  very grateful to Msgr. Hankiewicz  for the renovations he did at St. Mary and making room for the 24-hour chapel. It is  a  wonderful   opportunity   to  put  one’s   self  in  the presence of God.

How different this is from our ancestors in faith, the ancient  Israelites.  God dwelt  in their midst, first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple in  Jerusalem. Scripture contains dramatic scenes of God’s  presence entering the Tabernacle and the Temple. However, not everyone could enter into the presence of God. In fact, only the high priest could come before God in the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year, carrying the blood of sacrificed animals for the forgiveness of sins.

For everyone  else,  they  remained  outside.  The priest’s and Levites could only enter the Holy Place, the sort of antechamber to the God’s  dwelling place. It was there  that  many  sacrifices  were  offered.  The  regular people  remained   outside   even   then.   If  you  were   a Gentile,  you  had  a  whole  separate  place  even  farther from God. God was hidden away at a distance.

Not now. Now God is near to us. Now He is so near that we could almost reach out and touch Him. Yes, we  keep  the  Eucharist  under  lock  and  key;  we  care deeply  for  God’s   presence  and  we  do  not  want  His Presence to suffer sacrilege. Even so, He is close to us, and we can come into His Presence to worship Him and to be enfolded by His love and mercy.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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