"We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).
What is the purpose of life? Some might debate that human life has no real meaning, and our existence is transpired by random chance in nature. It is divinely revealed in Scripture that we were created to live in communion with God. He certainly did not need us, but His plan was to share the beauty of His Creation with us. Gratitude is a fitting response for one who has received so much. How do you thank our Creator?
Advent prompts us to prepare for the second coming of Jesus. We have hope while waiting for the birth of our Savior, with time to reflect on the dignity and value of all human life. In the story of Salvation History from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we unfold the true gift of God’s plan for our eternal life with Him.
In our adult catechesis class, we are studying the divine inspiration of Sacred Scripture, and the influence of God’s grace upon the human writers. St. Jerome insisted that all biblical interpretation rests upon literal sense, and this means what the human author directly intended and what their words convey.
In the light of the Apostolic Church, our faith becomes practice and worship. The greatest example of literal sense in the grasp of true meaning comes from John 6: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life” (John 6:54). Scripture scholars affirm that John’s gospel is historic in nature, and that he wanted to preserve both the words and actions of Jesus. As an eyewitness to the life and teachings of Christ, John’s literary history reveals the Bread of Life Discourse, the bread that offers eternal life.
From the fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, to the “burnt offering” of Abraham’s only son Isaac, to the Israelites manna from heaven, to the table of the Last Supper on the Feast of Passover, and finally in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus obediently accepts the Cross, we witness God’s plan to deliver us! In Mary’s yes to God, and the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross, we have redemption from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Mary, the new Eve and Jesus, the new Adam, became God’s plan for a new rescue mission through the victory of the cross. “For God so loved the world He gave His only Son”( John 3:16).
How do we thank this gracious God? The word Eucharist means giving thanks. This gift of His Real Presence is Communion with God. Yet, according to polls, it is revealed that a large percentage of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. Nine out of ten attendees for daily Mass believe, but it is reported that only one-third of Catholics in the United States understand the Real Presence. We need to do a better job sharing the good news about the gift of the Eucharist and the grace we have available to us at every holy Mass. Commentators in an article written in the National Catholic Reporter blame “communion in the hand,” lay Eucharistic ministers and even the Second Vatican Council for this lack of understanding the Real Presence.
Children preparing for their First Communion may not be able to fully grasp the meaning of transubstantiation, but we must continue to provide catechesis about the Real Presence for everyone. When we truly appreciate the words of Jesus, “Do this in Remembrance of Me,” and believe in this mystery of faith, a much larger change will come to life for all of us!
“God saved you by His grace when you believed” (Ephesians 2:8). Amen!