God is Already Here and Among Us Now
Today’s Gospel gives a precise historical time as to when Our Lord came into this world – “In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign…” So this is real history.What we are preparing for this Advent is not a myth. Our Lord came because He wanted to have a personal relationship with us and be involved in our lives. God doesn’t just create us and then forget about us. He is always trying to guide us into a deeper relationship with Him.
One of the greatest proofs of this is His presence with us in the Holy Eucharist. At every Mass He becomes truly present under the appearance of bread and wine. It is at the Consecration of the Mass that Christ is literally born again into the hands of the priest. It is like another Christmas, another Bethlehem. God is truly among us now, and we bend our knee to Him in adoration just as the shepherds and the Magi did two thousand years ago.
Bishop Patrick, as part of his programme for the spiritual development of the diocese wants to foster more Eucharistic Adoration so that we can encounter Our Lord more deeply. In his recent Pastoral Letter he wrote, “In particular I would like to seethe development of times of Eucharistic Adoration in our parishes, schools and chaplaincies.”
There is a beautiful story of a group of Catholics in Communist China who were imprisoned because they had protested at the arrest and imprisonment of their Bishop. They soon found themselves in prison right next to him. Every morning a small girl was permitted to visit and bring each prisoner a small loaf of bread, but wrapped inside each loaf in a small napkin was the Holy Eucharist so that they could receive daily Communion. But they would always leave one loaf uneaten each day and put it in the corner of the cell so that they could adore Our Lord and pray to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.So even during these times of Communist persecution of the Faith, Our Lord ensured He remained truly among His people and involved in their lives.
Let us resolve this Advent to make good use of the many opportunities we have for Eucharistic Adoration in our parish. Adoration,Benediction and Corpus Christi processions are not something ‘old hat’ or remnants from a past age. They are part of the very essence of our Faith and of what it means to be Catholic. In every Catholic church JESUS is physically present in the Blessed Sacrament. St Alphonsus Ligouri once said, “The sovereigns of the earth do not always grant audience readily; on the contrary, the King of Heaven, hidden under the Eucharistic veils, is ready to receive anyone…” “O come let us adore Him,Christ the Lord!”
Fr Paul Gillham IC