Holy Thursday – The Bread of Life!
A few months before he died in 1979, Bishop Fulton Sheen gave a television interview. The reporter asked, “Your Excellency, you have inspired millions. Who inspired you? Was it the pope?”
Bishop Sheen responded that it was not the pope or a cardinal or another bishop or even a priest or nun. It was an eleven-year-old girl. He explained that when the communists took over China in the late forties, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory. Looking through the window, he saw the soldier enter the church and break open the tabernacle, scattering the Blessed Sacrament on the floor. The priest knew the exact number of hosts: thirty-two.
Unnoticed by the soldiers, a young girl had been praying in the back of the church and she hid when they came in. That night the girl returned and spent an hour in prayer. She then entered the sanctuary, knelt and bent over to take one of the hosts on her tongue. The girl came back each night, spent an hour in prayer and received Jesus by picking up a sacred host with her tongue. The thirty-second night, after consuming the final host, she made an accidental sound, awakening a soldier. He ran after her and when he caught her, he struck her with his rifle butt. The noise woke the priest – but too late. From his house, he saw the girl die.
Bishop Sheen said that when he heard about this, it inspired him so much that he made a promise that he would spend one hour each day before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He always said that the power of his priesthood came from the holy hour.
My dear brothers and sisters, in the Gethsemane garden, Jesus had asked his disciples to keep vigil with Him in prayer for a little time, but they could not, because they could not resist their “sleeping mode.” And you know what happened to them when they did not keep vigil, they FAILED the test. How many times in our lives have we fallen into our own spiritual slumber? Maybe thousands of times? Those failing moments have contributed much to our sinfulness! Today the Lord asked us again, to keep vigil with him. To spend some of our time with him!
Tonight, on Holy Thursday, we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, which is the ultimate love that Jesus had for us in his passion, death and resurrection. The Eucharist is the sacrament of love, that unites us with Jesus. At the end of the Mass we will have a procession to carry the Lord to be reposed in the day chapel. We will keep vigil of Jesus until mid-night today and we invite you to spend some time with Him. About 11:45 PM I and Deacon Bill will be leading a Night Prayer to pray for the people in our parish. I ask you try to make every effort to attend.