Why Go to Mass, Part 2

(Homily for Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C)

Bottom line: Today, Jesus tells us he must suffer and die - he must give his blood for us. In the Mass we enter that mystery and receive the remedy for our sins.

First of all, Happy Father's Day! After the Communion Prayer, I will have a special blessing for all our dads.

Today I want to address a question that faces all our families. I mentioned it on the Feast of Corpus Christi, but it is a basic question and I would like to address it in the context of today's readings. The question is: Why go to Mass? What happens at Mass that is so significant?

This Sunday's readings give us an important perspective. In the Old Testament, Zechariah prophecies, "They shall look upon him whom they have pierced." Jesus makes clear that he is the One, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly...and be killed and on the third day be raised."

At Mass we look upon the one who was pierced for us. In doing so, we participate in the mystery of his suffering, death and resurrection.

To illustrate how this happens, I would like to tell a story. (It comes from Matthew Kelly, somewhat reworked here.) The story involves a plague that breaks out in Asia, then spreads to Africa and Europe. The president tries to protect the United States by cancelling all fights to our country. But it is too late. A case appears in New York and pretty soon people throughout the country fall ill and die. As more and more perish, it seems that doom has come to our world.

After days of terrible news, a ray of hope appears. Research scientists announce that they have discovered a possible cure. The antidote, however, will require the blood of someone uncontaminated. Evidently, the disease has a long incubation period, so when they begin drawing blood samples, everyone tests positive.

When they were almost ready to give up, they finally find someone uncontaminated - a young boy. His dad rushes him to the hospital. As he reads the medical forms, he notices that the amount of blood is unspecified. The doctors explain they may need all the boy's blood. The father chokes as he looks at his son, who says, it is OK.

The antidote does require every drop of the boy's blood - but it stops the plague.

A few weeks later, people around the world gather in gratitude to remember the boy. The dad attends one of the services. Their gratefulness moves him deeply. Even though each service takes a fair amount of time, no one says, "It's too long." Or, "I feel bored." Or, "I have other things to do." No, they realize that without the boy's sacrifice, they would have no life at all.

You can draw your own application from this story. Like that boy, Jesus gave all for us - right to the last drop of his blood. He did it to free us from the disease which afflicts us - a disease of our own making. At Mass we express gratitude for what he has done. As Zechariah says, we look upon him whom we have pierced. In doing so, we receive the remedy - the antidote for the illness festering inside us. Only his blood can provide the cure.

To sum up: Today, Jesus tells us he must suffer and die - he must give his blood for us. In the Mass we enter that mystery and receive the remedy for our sins.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Twelfth Sunday, Year C):

2016: Becoming a Disciple Week 3: Your True Potential
2013: Look On Him They Pierced
2010: Why Go to Mass, Part 2
2004: Take Up Your Cross Daily
1999: Submission to the Cross

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

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Fr. Brad's Homilies

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