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8-7 Topic

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TOUGH TOPICS BY FR. RON

Dear 7th & 8th graders and parents,

The question is, “why should I go to Mass?”  But I think it’s the wrong question.  The question is much more basic and can be asked in a number of ways, “who is God to me” and “what do I need God in my life for?”  Do you need God to know that you were created out of love?  Do you need God to know that you aren’t just an accident or a coincidence or “fate”?

As Christians, we believe God created us, and the whole world for that matter, out of love.  And more than that, He revealed himself to us over the course of time.  How would I even know that if God had not somehow revealed Himself to us?  As Christians, we believe this revelation ultimately concluded with the Jesus of Nazareth who ultimately revealed God as Trinity and He, Himself, as the Word, the Son of God.  At the heart of this revelation is that Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, loved us so much that He gave His life for us, died for us, so that He might conquer death, and through His death and Resurrection, assure us that WE also will live forever, as He does.  This stands at the heart of revelation, at the heart of all we believe.  Jesus the Christ, in His death and Resurrection, gives us the promise of eternal life.  You and I will live forever.

If you believe this, if I believe this – then now I can answer that first question.  I go to Mass because Jesus promised that by eating His flesh (under the form of bread) and drinking His blood (under the form of wine) I would have life.  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” (John 6: 54-56). 

Why do we eat, and why do we drink?  Of course, the answer is obvious, to live, to grow, to be strong, to be healthy.  If the flesh and blood of Jesus, in the bread and wine, is true food and drink, then it also gives us life, makes us strong, helps us grow and keeps us healthy – SPIRITUALLY.  It also assures us that God is close to us, even within us.  Because our lives are so hectic, because we’re always running here and there, school or work, sports, dance, etc., we can sometimes forget that, that God is with us.  And when we forget it, life can sometimes become tougher than it has to be.  But when we are constantly reminded that God is with us, in the Eucharist, then we know we are not alone, that God is there to help us.

When Jesus instituted this special meal at the Last Supper, He told those present, “do this in memory of me.”  And the disciples took those words seriously.  Even though those very early followers of Jesus continued to go to the Temple and synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday), they also met again on Sunday, to celebrate that special meal which, in those days, was often called the “breaking of the bread.”  It was only later that they began to see themselves as apart from the Jewish faith and began to celebrate only on Sundays.  And it was even later still that the Mass developed into the way we know it today.  But no matter how it was celebrated, from the very beginning Christians followed the words of Jesus, remembering Him by receiving His body and blood, in order to live His life in this world and to gain that eternal life He promised in those lines I quoted above. 

Basically, we go to Mass to receive Jesus, to be strengthened by Him in our daily living during the week.  No doubt, there are other things that happen at Mass.  We hear the history of God’s revelation in our scripture readings.  We hear about Jesus and from Jesus in the words of the Gospel – to help us live our lives in the ways God has promised that we would find happiness.  By being in a congregation, a community, we strengthen our faith by our sharing it with others.  And we have the opportunity to give thanks to God for all the blessings of the past week and to ask for God’s help in the week to come.  But basically, we go to Mass to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus – to have life, and to have it to the full.  (John 10:10). 

God bless,
Fr. Ron

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