Friday, August 21, 2009

The Truth is Out There: The 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

The truth is out there. That was one of the tag-lines for the cult-hit television show, The X-Files, which ran in the 1990's. In the show, FBI Agents Mulder and Scully searched for paranormal activity as well as extraterrestrial life. Some would watch the show and think, "look at these whacko bastards." Well, I have something to tell you about that that is crazier than space aliens, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster. What I'm about to tell far exceeds anything that some guy wearing a hat made out of tinfoil will tell you on the coo-coo scale. What I'm about to tell you is the foundation of the Catholic faith and the truth is not out there. It is right here. The truth is in the tabernacle.

The truth is that God made the world. Sin entered the world through man. God loved man so much that he wanted to be reunited with us so He became man. He was born through a virgin. He was persecuted, died and was buried and on the third day he rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven. Wait . . . Wait---that's not all. At every mass, the sacrifice is re-presented and bread and wine is transformed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Personally, I think that is as far out there as any science fiction book but it's the truth. It's not easy to believe now and it was not easy to believe then. In the previous few weeks, we've looked at John 6 and Jesus has repeatedly told us that He is the bread of life and that to have everlasting life we must eat his flesh and drink his blood.

The Jews had a hard time dealing with this claim. "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" they said. It was just a difficult concept for them to get their heads around that many of them left him. Jesus didn't stop them though. He didn't say, "Whoa!! You misunderstand!! I meant that as a metaphor!! The bread and wine is only a symbol!!" Nope. He did not do that at all. He let them walk away.

Jesus must have been upset. They didn't believe him after everything he had shown them. He turns to the twelve and asks them if they were going to leave him too.

Simon Peter (our first pope) steps up to the plate and says, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life." Simon Peter tells Jesus that he believes and is convinced that He is the "Holy One of God."

This is the truth. We do not have to go searching the vast reaches of space. We only need to inspect our heart. As St. Augustine says there is a God shaped hole in our heart. As Joshua says in this week-end's first reading we must decide today who we will serve. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Jos 24)

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