One of my favorite experiences is to watch families entering the Church. Who knows what was going on before they came in. However, a beautiful reverence comes over them when they enter. Upon entering the Church, parents often take the time to teach their children how to put their hands into the Holy Water font and then bless themselves making the sign of the Cross. Once in a while I will see a father with both arms full of children, who doesn’t have a hand free to bless himself. Frequently, his wife may have a free hand and she will put her hand into the Holy Water font and then make the sign of the Cross over her husband, first, then over her children in his arms, and lastly over herself. Sometimes I see the same thing with a person being pushed in a wheel chair, when their family member and caregiver crosses them with Holy Water.
We show ourselves to be Trinitarians in the way we enter the Church. The sign of the Cross is a short summary of the Creed that we say at Sunday Mass. We declare our belief in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God in three Persons. Each is a Divine Person but one God. This is our faith. And we declare it over and over again when we make the sign of the Cross.
It is not enough for us to say we believe in God. Of course we believe in God! However, we continuously declare our belief in the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And, we declare our bond with them: The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and ME!
When we cross ourselves we remember that Jesus died on the Cross for us, and we revere the Cross, where Death was defeated, and Jesus opened Heaven for us. The Cross signifies and combines both suffering and victory over death. We also remember our Baptism, “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” By our Baptism into the Holy Trinity we gained Heaven and the Sacramental life of the Church, and the Holy Eucharist, which gives eternal life and eternal fellowship with the Saints.
The Holy Trinity includes a human, Jesus. There is a human being in the Holy Trinity! God became Man so that man could share eternal life and fellowship with God.
God loves the human race. He created us in his image, to live with him forever.
At the end of his time on earth, at the Last Supper, before His Passion and Resurrection,
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
One of the things he would tell us over and over again through the Holy Spirit would be how much he loves us, and the many gifts he would give us through the Church, his Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist and the Saints, and how to live with Him and one another in His Church.
Without the Church we would be without the Holy Eucharist. The annual feast day of the Holy Eucharist is next Sunday, June 22nd, the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or “Corpus Christi”. We will have a procession of Corpus Christi on Sunday afternoon, June 22nd after the 1:30 Mass.
Friday, June 27, is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and our parish feast day. It is no accident that the celebration of the Sacred Heart comes the first Friday after the feast of Corpus Christi. That is exactly what Jesus told St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. In June 1675, He told her,
“Behold this Heart, Which has loved men so much, that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself in order to testify to them Its love….”
Jesus told this to her in a vision while she was praying before the Blessed Sacrament on the feast of Corpus Christi. He said to her,
“Therefore, I ask of you that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honor My Heart, by communicating on that day ….” Jesus told her to receive Holy Communion.
There was a powerful movement in Europe at that time, a heresy, instructing people in the Church not to go to Holy Communion often. The Popes were attempting then, as now to encourage frequent reception of Holy Communion; but the heretics were blocking the people from frequent Communion. Jesus told St. Margaret Mary to “receive Me in Holy Communion as often as obedience will permit, … and to communicate on the First Friday of every month.”
With the spread of the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus throughout the Church, the heretical teachings against receiving Holy Communion were quickly overcome. Devotions to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus spread like wildfire throughout the Church, worldwide, even with the blessing of the Popes.
There is an intimate connection between the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I have spoken with you about coming together as a parish community to celebrate both feasts in June, and to receive Holy Communion on these feast days. In this parish we should practice the Novena to Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart, beginning this coming Wednesday, June 18th. We will have Mass in devotion to His Most Sacred Heart every First Friday, as Jesus instructed St. Margaret Mary. All are encouraged to receive Holy Communion on the Feast days of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on all First Fridays of every month, and as often as possible, as Jesus has instructed us.
Do not forget, it was Jesus, himself, who told us,
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”