priest pointing to empty tabernacle

O Sacraments That Are Not Most Holy | #1022

Fr. Joel Homilies

Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper • Why is this night different from any other night? Instead of presenting the oils, renewing priestly promises, and washing feet, we are all celebrating at home. This gives me an opportunity to reflect on another symbol at Holy Thursday, that of the empty tabernacle. We start Mass with an empty tabernacle because it is like the Eucharist has not existed yet. You join Jesus at the Last Supper and, on this special night, he gives you his Body and Blood as food and drink. O Sacrament Most Holy!

Many Catholics have come to think of the Eucharist (with the other sacraments and the priesthood) as if it were the only presence of God in the world. This is not true, and it’s not Catholic at all! Catholics throughout the centuries have seen the whole world as a sacrament of the Creator. Living things reveal God’s creativity, order, and beauty. And above all human beings are a sacrament of God’s self-giving love. We were surrounded by God’s love and we live always in his Divine care.

Modern Catholics have lost this way of seeing the world. As science got better at looking at the stars and at seeing bacteria and viruses, we started to lose a sense of meaning and purpose to them. It was as though God’s presence had retreated to the edges of scientific inquiry, to meet us only when we die and in some unlikely miracle.

The Eucharist is the decoder. Seeing God in a piece of bread is the key to seeing God everywhere, all around you. The whole universe continues to sing God’s praises the whole world is filled with his careful craftsmanship. God has never left you. Jesus will truly be with you in your prayer corner today. Ask him to open your eyes to see the world as it truly is — full of God’s love for you.

(9 Apr 2020)

Going Deeper: Science can tell us what things are, but it can’t tell us what it means. How does the world look different when you see it as a sacrament? How does your present situation take on a different meaning when you know that God is with you?