Sunday, December 25, 2016

Simbang Gabi 6 (Fatima Centennial): Eucharist

Jesus, I trust in you!

Mary went in haste to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” It was truly a blessed encounter because both Elizabeth and her unborn baby John were sanctified by the Holy Spirit and this brought joy to both of them. What could be the reason for such joy and for such blessing? The reason is the hidden presence of the Lord Jesus who, at that time, was already in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady did not visit on her own accord. Rather, she brought to them Jesus. He is the lover referred to by the first reading: Hark! My lover – here he comes…here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows… Little did the Virgin Mary know that she was the tabernacle in whom God dwelt. Wherever she went, she brought the Lord Jesus with her. From within Mary’s womb, the Lord Jesus blessed and bestowed the Holy Spirit.

When Our Lady appeared to the children at Fatima, she said, “To prevent this (war, famine, persecution of the Church), I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays.” Necessary to living the Fatima message is Eucharistic reparation. The Blessed Virgin wants us to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of the month in reparation for the sins of mankind. On the third angelic apparition to the children in 1916, the angel prostrated himself before the Blessed Sacrament and after reciting a prayer of reparation “for the countless outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences” committed against the Eucharist, he urged the children to “make reparation and console your God.” After this, the children would spend many hours daily repeating the prayer taught by the angel and Eucharistic reparation became part of their lives.

The 1st apparition of Our Lady of Fatima occurred on May 13, 1917, the Feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. When she opened her hands on the children and communicated to them streams of intense light, the children were overwhelmed and they felt “lost in God” whom they recognized in that light. So, the children prostrated on the ground in adoration and poured out their praise of the Blessed Sacrament.

Our Lady asked that we receive Holy Communion on the 1st Saturday of every month. The angel in 1916, gave Holy Communion to the children. He said: “Receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation and console your God.” The angel was referring to sacrilegious Communions, the desecration of tabernacles and the violation of the Sacred Hosts which occur with frightening frequency throughout the world today. Besides these heinous crimes against the Blessed Sacrament, there is also the lapse of millions of our fellow Catholics to atone for. So many Catholics no longer receive Holy Communion. We must also make amends for the repeated violation of the 3rd Commandment: “You shall keep the day of the Lord holy.” On September 19, 1846, Our Lady appeared to 2 children in the village of La Sallete in France. There, she expressed her sorrow: “I gave you six days to work; I kept the seventh for myself, and no one wishes to grant it to me. This is what weighs down the arm of my Son so much.” That was in 1846, 170 years ago and the indifference to the Sunday Mass has worsened since then.       

Even when she was quite ill, little Jacinta would drag herself to daily Mass in the parish church of Fatima. Sometimes, Lucia would restrain her but she would answer: “I’m going for sinners who do not even go to Mass on Sundays.” If a sick little girl could do this, why can’t we?

It is a pity that we fail to understand how much joy the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament could give us. If only we could experience what the children experienced when they were lost in the presence of God. The presence of Christ in the womb of Mary bought joy to both Elizabeth and John the Baptist. It is the same joy that is bestowed on anyone who receives communion or at least draws near the tabernacle. Many people simply do not know what they are missing. Many of us fail to recognize Jesus who is really present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is the joy desired by the human heart.

In this Christmas season, let us put the Mass at the center of the holy Day. The Festival is called Christmas…the Mass of Christ. The Mass is the center of Christmas because the Eucharist is the continuation of the Incarnation. Here, Christmas takes place anew: the Word becomes flesh. In this Christmas during the Centennial of Fatima, let us make a firm resolve to receive Communion every 1st Saturday of the month in reparation for the sins of men. The Lord wants to be consoled by us in this way. Let us give him joy and allow him to give us joy so that our joy may be complete.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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