Fr Antoine’s homily (19 April 2010)

Good homilies are treasured. Here is one to share. .. I am one who likes to write when a good homily is being given. These are made from notes and they are not from Fr Antoine himself. God bless!

Why did Jesus want mediators on earth? Is He not the only mediator? Protestants tell us that there is only one Mediator – Jesus Christ. Yes, the sacrament of the Eucharist is what makes the Church. Without priests, there is no Eucharist and without the Eucharist, there is no Church. You will have some people opening the Bible and reading but without any direction. In Chapter 6 of St John’s Gospel, we see the feeding of thousands with only five loaves and two fish. Jesus was testing his future priests. Yes, the first seminarians were the twelve apostles and also the first twelve religious. Jesus was educating his first priests on the level of the Eucharist, the sacrament of our faith, on the Eucharist being the sacrament of our hope and the Eucharist is given to feed our love. It is the sacrament of our faith, our hope and our love.

Faith? Why? What must we do to fulfill the will of God? Don’t look at me. When we have many miracles taking place, we will have to build mega churches. So do we see Jesus as He is or do we see the gifts He offers? Do we follow Him because of the gifts? Is it because He satisfies our needs and our requests? Is He at our service or are we at His service? Priests do not run parishes for themselves. The priesthood is not a job. It is a mission. Priests are sent by Jesus to do what Jesus Himself did. Jesus governed. He gave directions. He told the disciples to go and baptise and to teach. He also told them to go and sanctify.

Priests cannot be substituted. They are not to do everything. Priests are to lead us to desire and to love Jesus. St Therese of the Child Jesus said that she wanted to know God and to love Him in order to make Him known and to make Him loved. To love is to pray, and to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament is good. Priests give us the Presence of Jesus. Now I am giving you a few lights in my preaching. Later, Fr Andrew and I will give you the Presence of Jesus. The most substantial is calling the Holy Spirit, pronouncing the words as only priests can, and this is a mystery. St John Vianney said that if we could see the soul of a priest, we would die not out of fright but out of love.

In the teaching of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, we see the apostles thinking to themselves how little they have and how they have only sufficient for themselves. With only five loaves and two fish, they suggest that Jesus send the crowd away but Jesus told them to give themselves for the people to eat.

This is the mission of the priest. It is not to organise pilgrimages which is really secondary. What Jesus has asked of his priests is that they teach, preach, transmit the lights and allow people to contemplate the mysteries. It is to help a priest to preach and to act on what we have understood. I need to change something in my life if Jesus tells me to do so. I cannot wait till next year but must do it this very day. If I do not do so, I may die tonight and so it is better to change now.

Faith is a trial and a test each day. Jesus, I know you are here in the Blessed Sacrament but you are not very talkative. Once I had a time to adore the Lord with many children. I asked the children if they would like to hear Jesus speaking to them right then. Probably you have never heard or seen a host that speaks. I told the children that Jesus was going to speak words of love to them in two minutes. The children were to close their eyes and say “Jesus, I’m listening.”

In a different voice, I read from the Bible: “As the Father has loved me so I have loved you. Love one another as I have loved you.” Did you hear Jesus speak, children? One of the children said, “It is you, Fr Antoine!”

Yes, we don’t hear Jesus. He is very quiet but in a different form. On the Cross for three hours, He did not talk much. When you are suffering you don’t talk but your suffering makes you pray with a cry. Jesus spoke only seven words. Why the Eucharist? He died for our sins. You are all here because you believe. If not, you should be in front of a television set watching and eating a hamburger.

We want the experience of the Virgin Mary and St John. We want to be at the foot of the Cross when Jesus gave us His life. When we come to Mass, we can be with Mary who is invisibly present. Our Mother is here. Live the mystery of the Mass as she did and ask her: Mother, how did you stand for three hours at the foot of the Cross? Jesus says to us: I’m with you always, yes, till the end of time.” He is with us in the Eucharist. Also, it is said that where two or three are gathered in His name, we have His real Presence. John’s Gospel says that Jesus and the Father will come and make their abode in us. My Father and I are one.

In the Eucharist Jesus is substantially present. More than 140 Eucharistic miracles have happened because so many people do not believe. Jesus did not say that His Body and His Blood are represented by the bread and wine. He did not say that they are symbols. No, we must not twist the words of God. It is the devil who does that, and the devil did that to Eve. Jesus is truly present. Can I offer one hour a week in silence before the Blessed Sacrament? How about twice a week, half an hour each time? Or how about four times a week for fifteen minutes each time? Hope will skyrocket. He does not abandon us. We bring our sins, our problems to Him. We are called to love our enemies.

An act of faith is an act of hope. It is also an act of love. There is no need to feel anything. Blessed are those who do not have to feel in order to believe. After Holy Communion, our body becomes a tabernacle. We are with Jesus, just like the Virgin Mary after the angel had left her and she had become pregnant. Is Jesus now more present in us after Holy Communion or more present in our Lady? We have the same dignity. We have the same gift. After you have received Holy Communion, take time to thank God a hundred times or a thousand times. Thank you Jesus for giving me the greatest gift you can ever give us – Yourself. Amen.