The Last Supper–Jesus Christ, the God-Man, gives us the Heavenly Trifecta

Last Supper                        public domain

By Larry Peterson

Easter Sunday is fast approaching. That glorious day is the focal point of our faith. It is the day that all of us who have followed the Christmas Star have been preparing for. The day of our passing is our personal Easter. It has been promised to us if we lived as asked. On that day, it will not be the morning sun blinding us. We will be looking into a light brighter than the sun, and we will not squint or turn away. The light will be the Risen Christ as He welcomes us home. But we must always remember there can be no Resurrection without the Cross. We all must experience them both.

Lenten Mass Readings—A definite purpose

The Lenten readings for Mass on March 4 seem to sum up where our earthly life is taking us. As God’s children, we all make our choices. Some will take one path and some another. The first reading is from Jeremiah 17:5-10  (these are partial) “Thus says the Lord, cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose  heart turns away from the Lord—

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord, He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream–its leaves stay green–

I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merits of his deeds.

These words are followed by the Responsorial Psalm; “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”

Next is the Gospel. It is from Luke 16:19-31. This is the Gospel that tells the story of the rich man who sits at his table dressed in the finest clothes and eating the best food. Lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, who would have gladly eaten the scraps that fell from the man’s table. He was such a mess that dogs came to him to lick his sores.

When the poor man died, he was taken into the bosom of Abraham. Not because he was poor but because he was kind. When the rich man died, he was not allowed into that place. He begs Abraham to allow Lazarus to dip his finger in some water to touch his parched tongue. His request is denied, and then he asks if he could allow his family to be told how things are? Abraham tells him, “if they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

That Mass and those readings were used precisely thirty days before Easter Sunday, which is April 4. This sets the table for the remainder of our Lenten Journey. There are thirty Collects, Epistles, Psalm readings, and Gospels between those two days. They all take us to Easter Sunday. And what is the most profound and deeply mystical thing that takes place as we complete our Lenten journey? Is it not the Last Supper?

Imagining the Last Supper

Have you ever imagined how the Last Supper was? These were thirteen men traveling around Galilee, sleeping under trees or in caves or wherever they may have been invited to stay. There were no showers or laundromats, so they must have smelled pretty bad. Now they all gather in a second-floor room in a building with no amenities to have a Passover dinner. It must have been something. And where did they cook the lamb?

None of that is important. What is important, what is profound, what is mystical and miraculous is what really happened at this Passover celebration. This is the moment in time, a moment carved into eternity, that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, gives us the Holy Eucharist. How? He is God and He takes on the role of the first Priest.  He gives us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Holy Orders. We, His people, have hit the Heavenly Trifecta. The Mass, The Holy Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Holy Orders all initiated at the same time, in the same place—in perpetuity—-forever.

Something deeply spiritual happens during the Catholic Mass that even many Catholics do not understand.   The Mass commemorates the night when Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist giving us His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity forever. He did this within the framework of what we call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

 

We must have the Mass to have the Eucharist. They are inseparable for it is within the Mass that the ordained Catholic priest can consecrate simple bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Make no mistake, my friends, this is not a “remembrance” or a “memorial” or a “tribute.” It is the unbloody sacrifice of the Cross being offered again and again and again to God the Father for all of us, for all time, in perpetuity.

 

The True Presence

 

Our Catholic faith teaches us that Christ is TRULY PRESENT on the altar at Mass. These words are from the Roman canon: “we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation”. Christ is with us, and we, the people, are offering Him to God the Father. Our reward is the Risen Christ given back to us in The Eucharist by our Father in heaven. This is The Mystery of Faith , and this is what we believe. I know this is what I believe.

 

The meaning of this is beyond the pale. It transcends human comprehension. For this was when yesterday became today and tomorrow became yesterday. The Mass enables us to briefly step into eternity and to take a peek at the life within the Holy Trinity and the love being shared inside it. This Holy Sacrifice is being offered somewhere on planet Earth every day, around the clock. Imagine that, somewhere, every day, around the clock. It is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven. (Even during the pandemic, priests are offering Mass every day, all around the world, even if they were alone without laity in attendance).

 

I wrote this many years ago and I would like to share it with you.

 

The Answer

By Larry Peterson


Every minute somewhere

Upon this Earth

Amid chaos and pain

Shadowed by greed and pride

Perfection.


While within so many

Silent screams resonate

And fade unheard

Pain unanswered

Yet each minute

A constant Light

Always there for us to share

Somewhere—The Answer

 

But—choices

Perfection unbridled

That tells us why

And will let us understand

If we choose to see

this splendid Oblation

A perfect purity

This gift called The Mass


Ignored yet

Somewhere each minute

For us to share

The Answer there

The Perfect Love

But—choices.

 

The focus of life’s journey is preparation for our transition to and participation in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When our Easter morning arrives, and we sing out, “Alleluia, Alleluia! Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again,” that is what will happen. Eternal life with the Risen Christ becomes ours. All we have to do is follow Him. If you do not know how or where to start, The Answer you are looking for is right here, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

 

HAPPY EASTER


The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is embodied in the Mass: The two are inseparable and it is an ongoing Miracle that is always occurring

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist                    public domain

By Larry Peterson

The United States has a population of close to 330 million people. Of those, there are more than 74 million people who claim to be Catholic. 70 million are registered (signed in with a parish as members). That means that Catholics comprise more than 22% of the entire population of the USA. Approximately 38% of the 70 million attend weekly Mass (roughly 26.5 million).

Of those claiming to be Catholic, many do not practice their faith, and among the millions who do attend weekly Mass, many do not even believe in one of its most fundamental teachings. This teaching is known as the Real Presence. The Real Presence means that Jesus Christ becomes truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine, on the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (note the word—Sacrifice). Pew Research did a recent survey and found that 7 out of 10 people who say they are Catholic do not believe this.

That finding is hard enough to comprehend, but this is the one that seems hardest to fathom; of those Catholics who attend Mass once a week, 63% know the church’s teaching, but 14% of those attending  do NOT believe it, and 23% say they “do not know of it.” That means that 37% of those going to Mass has no clue what is going on. Why are they coming to Mass? What’s the point?  Why not just go to a revival meeting in a tent? What happened to all the “believers?”

We must have the Mass to have the Eucharist. They are inseparable for it is within the Mass that the ordained Catholic priest can consecrate simple bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Make no mistake, my friends, this is not a “remembrance” or a “memorial” or a “tribute.” This is the unbloody Sacrifice of the Cross being offered again and again and again to God the Father for all of us, for all time, in perpetuity.

Something deeply mystical happens during the Catholic Mass that many Catholics do not seem to even be aware of, no less understand. When the Catholic priest bends forward over the bread and wine and says the words of consecration, “This is My Body—This is My Blood”  the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

From the catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1376) “—this holy Council (The Council of Trent  1545-1563) now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called Transubstantiation.”  

The Last Supper was the very first Mass celebrated, and it was offered by Christ Himself. Jesus instituted the priesthood at this moment in time, and the Apostles became the first priests (Judas had already left). This was when Jesus empowered them to do as He did.

Our Catholic faith teaches us that Christ is TRULY PRESENT on the altar at Mass. Pick up your missalettes in church and go to the Roman canon. See the wording after the consecration:

“—we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.—“

“—In humble prayer we ask you, Almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel; to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty,So that all of us, who through this participation at the altar Receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, May be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen

 Christ is with us, and we, the people, are offering Him to God the Father. Our reward is the Risen Christ given back to us in the Eucharist by our Father in heaven. This is the Mystery of Faith, and this is what we believe (or are supposed to believe). I know this is what I believe.

The meaning of this is beyond the pale. It transcends human comprehension. This is when yesterday becomes today, and tomorrow became yesterday. The Mass enables us to briefly step into the “eternal now” and to take a peek at the life within the Holy Trinity and the love being shared inside it. And never forget that this Holy Sacrifice is being offered somewhere on the planet every day of the year, round the clock. Imagine that, somewhere, every day, round the clock. It is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.

It is time for the clergy to lead us all forward in an ongoing offensive bombarding their worldwide flock with the truth of the Holy Eucharist. Then it is up to the laity to carry this fact forward. It is fundamental to the Catholic faith, and somehow, somewhere, this miraculous truth has been cast aside. Maybe a different kind of Resurrection is now needed, the Resurrection of Christ in the Eucharist.  (See tangible proof at this link  Eucharistic Miracles)

CHOICES

Perfection unbridled
That tells us why
And will let us understand
If we choose to see
this splendid Oblation
A perfect purity
This gift called
The Mass Ignored yet
Somewhere each minute
For us to share
The Answer there
The Perfect Love
But—choices.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019  


St. Eustace the Hunter and the Magnificent “Stag”

Photo Credit: Flickr/jacquemart – Reliquary Head of St Eustace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Larry Peterson

At the beginning of the second century there lived in Rome man named Placidus. Placidus was the commanding general of the Roman army under Emperor Trajan. He was an outstanding soldier who was also married to a woman who loved him dearly and respected him. He also respected her, and they had two sons.

Even though they worshipped pagan idols, Placidus and his wife always gave alms to the poor and helped the needy. They knew nothing of Jesus Christ, but indeed, God had filled them with the graces to perform the corporal works of mercy. They responded to these graces.  Many people receive these graces and ignore them. That is what is known as “making choices.”

Placidus was a great hunter and loved to spend spare time hunting with his soldiers. But there was one day that would change his life forever. He was riding through the woods with his men, following a herd a very fast deer aka “stags.” In unison, the herd would turn left and then turn right.

The men did their best to keep their eyes on the fleeing stags. Suddenly, one of the stags broke from the group and took off on his own. Placidus, telling his men to continue, turned his horse and followed the lone stag which led him deeper and deeper into the forest. Placidus tried to catch up to the stag but, try as he may, he could never quite get to it. Finally, the stag stopped.

Placidus reined his horse in and also stopped. He realized that they were on top of a high peak. Placidus quickly began planning how to catch the prize stag. Then the stag turned to Placidus and began staring at him. The magnificent animal had tremendous antlers.

Placidus became transfixed by them and just stared. Between the antlers was a bright light and within the light was what appeared to be a cross. On the cross was the image of a man. Then Placidus heard a man’s voice coming from the stag. “Oh Placidus, why are you pursuing me? For your sake, I have appeared to you in an animal. I am the Christ, the only True God.”

Jesus told Placidus that it was his acts of mercy that had  Him appear to him like an animal. Jesus told him that He could read all hearts and that and knew that Placidus searched for the truth. He was told that anyone who searches for the truth with good will, will always find Jesus.

Placidus, filled with fear, fell from his horse. When he recovered, Jesus explained who he was. Placidus said, “Lord, I believe you are the Christ, and that you made all things, and that you convert the erring.”

Placidus was instructed to go to the Bishop of the city and get baptized. He was also told to have his wife and sons baptized. Jesus told him he would come back with further instructions. Placidus went home, woke up his wife, and told her what had happened. Incredibly, she told him that she had a similar “dream” and knew what he was going to tell her.

They hugged and then gathered up the children and left immediately for the home of the bishop of Rome who was also The Holy Father, the Pope.  The Holy Father was thrilled with his new converts and gave them new names. Placidus’ wife would be called, Theospis, their one son, Agapetus, and the other, Theospitus. Placidus from then on would be known as Eustace.

It is recorded that Eustace and his family did experience much hardship after their conversion. But they were exalted in the richness of the Spirit and did not suffer long. It is reported that Eustace was martyred in the year 118, which would have been under the papal reign of Pope St. Sixtus I. How Eustace and his family died is not known.

Saint Eustace’s feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church on September 20. Eustace is the patron saint of hunters, firefighters,  a patron of Madrid, Spain, and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the Church.

St. Eustace, pray for us.