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SS Peter and Paul Parish

36 N. Ellsworth, Naperville, IL 60540 | (630) 355-1081


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Holy Thursday Homily – Father Thomas Milota

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I.                   Homily – Holy Thursday – 2017
II.               “…the Mass is a mysterious participation in the heavenly liturgy,” wrote Pope Saint John Paul.
III.            In fact, the great saint went further.  He wrote:  “The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history …”[1]
A.                 Really…Pope Saint John Paul was really being the good thief…what He wrote, he took from the Second Vatican Council that wrote:  “In the earthly liturgy we share in the foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the Sanctuary and of the True Tabernacle.”[2]
B.                 The Eucharist makes Jerusalem, past and future, present in every Church around every altar in the world.
IV.             What does this mean?  What does this mean that the Eucharist makes Jersusalem, past and future, present in every Church around every altar in the world?
A.                 Let me give you an example:
1.                  When I utter the name: “Hiroshima,” what comes to mind?  If you have some knowledge of history, you would undoubtedly not think first not of the City of Hiroshima itself…not think of the people going about their daily lives…going to work…eating dinner with their families, you would think of an event…you would invariably think of the United States dropping an atomic bomb for the first time on August 6, 1945.
2.                  When I utter the name:  “Normandy,” you would most likely think of the event that happened there on June 6, 1941 when the Allies landed at “Normandy.”
3.                  What is interesting here is that the event that occurred in that place, Normandy or Hiroshima, was so important and so significant that the event in some way has defined that city or place.
4.                  In fact, we can speak this way:
a)                 We might simply say, “Hiroshima was the first time an atomic bomb was used in war.”  The event is described by the name of the place.
b)                 We might describe a great athletic event by saying, “Rio was the best Olympics of the 21st century.”
5.                  And, yet, the association of these events and these places is arbitrary…Harry Truman could have decided to drop the bomb on Tokyo if he had wanted…and Eisenhower could have decided to land at Calais instead of Normandy…in other words, the association between Normandy and D-Day was arbitrary and not necessary.
V.                Bearing this in mind, then, what do you think of when I say the word “Jerusalem?”
A.                 There are many people in the Western World and many in the East who, when the name of this city is uttered, think of that which we celebrate today…tomorrow and Sunday.
1.                  When I say, “Jerusalem,” it is highly likely that Jesus Christ and what he did there pop into your head.
2.                  And, this is not arbitrary.
B.                 What if this is not just a logical connection, but something which God has made so…what if the identification of our Lord’s crucifixion and Resurrection and their association with Jerusalem were not cursory or accidental…what if the City and the Event do not have an accidental relationship but an essential one?
C.                 In other words, Jerusalem from all time and for all time was, is and will be defined…in fact, identified with…Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection.
D.                Ok, Father, that is all well and good…so what?
E.                 Let’s go a step further…
1.                  Jerusalem is not just one event but one event that encompasses an entire history, a concrete present and a prophetic future.
a)                 Jerusalem and Jesus Christ are identified with one another so completely that everything the prophets said…everything the patriarchs did…the covenants they made with God…the sacrifice offered by Abraham…David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant are contained and fulfilled in Jerusalem…in Christ.
2.                  For Jerusalem is not only history…Jerusalem is not just about the past…Christ is not just a fulfillment of that which had already been said…Jerusalem and Jesus Christ are now and forever…here and now and on into the future.
a)                 Jerusalem is not just some city with a bunch of people in it…Jerusalem is not just defined by its past…and Jerusalem is not even one location.
b)                 The last book of the Bible tells us:  “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.”
F.                  What does this have to do with Holy Thursday and the Last Supper?
1.                  When we say Jerusalem…we mean Christ’s death and Resurrection…and we mean Christ Himself…the person of Jesus Christ…we mean the Last Supper at which bread become His body, blood, soul and divinity.
2.                  Let’s remember again, Pope Saint John Paul, he wrote:  “The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history …”[3]
G.                 JERUSALEM IS HERE…THE PROPHETS ARE HERE…THE PATRIARCHS…HEAVEN IS HERE…CHRIST IS HERE…right now…we are in Jerusalem…we see and hear and take into ourselves the mystery of Jesus Christ…we hear Him and see Him and touch Him and…he touches us…and this is not arbitrary…God has made is so.
[1] Ecclesia de Eucharistia, #19
[2] SAcrosanctum concilium
[3] Ecclesia de Eucharistia, #19

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Fr.Dan Bachner, Parish Administrator