Pause now and reflect; think back now to January. And March. And even the early weeks of May. Then, step outside of that air-conditioned church/home/car, look up at those bright green leaves radiant with life in the light of the sun against the blue sky. Feel the humidity embrace you, sink into your clothes and your hair, and soften every sound that might try to interrupt your reverie. Wait for the first beads of sweat to form and roll down onto your collar.
And know ye: It is not winter! Give thanks to God, who makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Mt 5:45b) So even in that moment we find reason to give thanks.
Also, this weekend, we of our Archdiocese have other reason to give thanks: we receive seven new priests. Give thanks to God for Father Tony D’Souza, Father Charles Luckett, Father Ken Gill, Father Aaron Qureshi, Father Cesary Kozubek, Father Christopher Seith, and Father Tim Daniel.
Why should we bother? What does it have to do with you? On this great solemn day dedicated to the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, let us see what Saint John Vianney has to say about the most Blessed Sacrament, and the priesthood, and the relationship of the two.
"All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man."
"Without the Holy Eucharist there would be no happiness in this world; life would be insupportable. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive our joy and our happiness. The good God, wishing to give Himself to us in the Sacrament of His Love, gave us a vast and great desire, which He alone can satisfy. In the presence of this beautiful Sacrament, we are like a person dying of thirst by the side of a river — he would only need to bend his head; like a person still remaining poor, close to a great treasure — he need only stretch out his hand. He who communicates loses himself in God like a drop of water in the ocean. They can no more be separated,"
At the sight of a church tower, you may say, "What is there in that place?" "The Body of Our Lord. " "Why is He there?" "Because a priest has been there, and has said holy Mass. "
"Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth...What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods...Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping the beasts there... The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you."
So give thanks, early and often; give thanks especially for God’s presence in our midst, for the hands that feed us this food of immortality, and for the sunshine that reminds us of the omnipotent God who gives us every good gift.