"I am the Saviour of all people, says the Lord. Whatever their troubles, I will answer their cry, and I will always be their Lord." (Entrance Antiphon 25th C)
To this place of worship we return over and over again, carrying in our hearts that fractured jigsaw puzzle that is our life with its hurts, its fears, its doubts, its shames, its victories, its blessings and delights, its ongoing and sometimes tearful struggles amidst that pervasive and mysterious mixture of joy and sadness with which a loving God so intimately identifies.
This, then, is what we bring. This is what will, in a few moments, be offered to God on the paten and in the chalice.
Such are the essential and unique elements of this bread and wine that without our personal and conscious input they are, to say the least, greatly diminished.
Through the offertory of the Mass, every concern, every emotion that we have brought with us is accepted, cherished and becomes sacred.
We all know that life can be incredibly raw. Passions ignite with little warning. Intense emotions wage war in our hearts and beyond.
This is the unvarnished material that we bring to this altar, to Calvary.
Think about it! Everything in our lives becomes sacred. Even our faults and failings become sacred precisely because they are the object of Divine understanding and mercy.
And then, wonder upon wonder, we are able to look upon the body and blood of Jesus Christ and hopefully sense that He accepts and knows our pain, understands our disillusionment, our doubts, frustration and confusion ...that He rejoices in our being loved by others and in our being moved to love in return ...that He smiles upon our successes and on our quest for goodness, truth and justice.
Know then, beyond a doubt, that He incorporates all this into His own Sacred Heart and offers us, in return, not only good advice and a prescription for greater holiness, but much, much more.
He offers us a life-sustaining intimacy. He offers us an intimacy, which is immediate, and yes, physical.
Let's not shy away from the marvelous reality of Holy Communion that brings about an actual and sensual awareness of the Body and Blood of Jesus within us.
This, my dear friends, is the exemplar of all life giving intimacies.
During His lifetime, Jesus spoke many words, a few of which are recorded in our Gospels.
But before He died He showed that He understood and indeed shared one of our most basic needs ...the need to be touched.
And so He went beyond words and gave us the Eucharist as His presence, His embrace, His way of holding us to His heart, so that, to this very day, when words are not enough, He touches us.