Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost—26 June AD 2016

“… if we have been planted together in the likeness of [Jesus’] death,
we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.”[1]

[ Ordinary of the Mass ]
[ English Text ]
[ Latin Text ]

    The feeding of thousands by multiplying loaves of bread is one of the few miracles described in all four of the Gospels.[2]  It is hard to know whether or not each Evangelist was describing the same event, but Matthew and Mark each recount two separate events, so our Lord may have multiplied loaves several times. The multiplication in Saint John's  Gospel come just before our Lord's  discourse on the Eucharist, giving the impression that in addition to feeding the hungry, Jesus was trying to prepare the crowds for the possibility of the Blessed Sacrament.  One of the less obvious difficulties in believing in the Eucharist is that it necessitates our Lord making His body and blood present in large quantities and simultaneously in a number of places.  Any one of these multiplications of loaves would answer such an objection—that he did it a number of times demonstrates limitlessness of His power.

    It seems to me that the Church has placed today's Epistle and Gospel together in one Mass in order to associate this same limitless power with the Sacrament of Baptism.  It has to be limitless if millions upon millions of Christians can be united with Christ in His death through the simple pouring of water-—limitless if those same millions upon millions might be freed from their sins.  It must be limitless power for our Lord has delegated it's administration not just to priests and bishops but all who intend to do what His Church does in pouring that water.  It must be limitless in that the water may be contained in a roaring ocean, or a mighty river, or a tub, or poured out of a clam shell, or an eye dropper, or even squeezed out of wet clothing.  The power is not in the water, but rather the power is God Himself exercising the limitless power of His Sacrament through the conduit of a human operator.

    It is important for Catholics to understand that all of the seven Sacraments work in this way.  The matter and form employed by the appropriate minister with the correct intention have effect only because they channel the limitless power of God.  All of them bring God's graces, which are not contained in any of the constituent material elements.  Three of them even make a mark on the soul of the recipient—a task that would be absolutely impossible to carry out through merely human means.

    I say that this understanding of the Sacraments is essential because so many claiming to be Christians or even Catholics deny all of the Sacramental realities.  For many of them the only reality of the Sacraments is in their symbolic value.  For such people the Sacraments work only in our minds—they work only the human power of suggestion.  For those not of the Faith, Holy Communion is no more the body and blood of Christ than the Flag is our Nation—they esteem both Communion and the Flag for what they represent, but not for what they are.  In the so‑called “Reformation” people were told that there were only two Sacraments (often referred to merely as “ordinances”), and even these two were only symbolic.  Baptism was reduced to a ceremonial expression of belief.  The Eucharist became merely the “Lord's Supper,” devoid of all sacramental and priestly activity.  If retained at all, Confession was mere counseling.  Marriage became a civil contract. There were no Holy Orders, for there was no longer a sacrifice to be offered, and no need for priests without sacrifice.

    Not surprisingly, there was an emphasis on exterior forms.  Baptism had to be by immersion, and could be received only by those old enough to express belief.  Holy Communion had to be under both forms otherwise it would fail to symbolize both body and blood.

    The awful thing is that this sort of thinking has had an impact on Catholics.  While there may not be anything wrong with the symbolism, it is certainly wrong to make the symbol more important than the reality.  On some level, it belittles the power of God to say that He gave us the symbols but lacked the power to give us the reality.

    In researching for this sermon, I came across an article on the Internet that referenced a sermon given by a Catholic priest to “explain away” the miracles worked by our Lord in multiplying loaves.  This man claimed that the people in the crowd came to hear Jesus with loaves of bread hidden under their clothing, and the only “miracle” was that Jesus convinced them to share their bread.[3]  If this sounds like a Marxist fairy tale to you, you are right!  There is nothing in any of the six Gospel accounts to suggest that Jesus had been asking people to share anything.  And, just like the Sacramental errors of the so‑called “Reformation” this sort of denial, when applied to the miracles of Jesus Christ, belittles the power of God, and makes Jesus Christ out to be a mere human who tricked the crowds into thinking He was God.

    So, please be on your guard against innovations that place greater emphasis on symbols than on the reality of God’s power.  Certainly, every Christian should be looking forward to being part of Jesus greatest miracle—the one in which we participate by virtue of our Baptism—His Resurrection from the dead.

“… if we have been planted together in the likeness of [Jesus’] death,
we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.”




Postscript:  Perhaps this is the source of that priest’s confusion.[4]




Dei via est íntegra
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