Archbishop Eamon's Homily

(Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin at the concluding Mass of the 2014 Triduum of Prayer. Saturday 21st June 2014)

Be still for the presence of the Lord. The Holy One is here.

Come Bow before Him now, with Reverence and Fear.

In Him no sin is found. We stand on Holy ground.

Be still for the presence of the Lord, The Holy One is here.

“’Be Still’, that beautiful hymn puts it, ‘for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here’. Just think about that for a moment: Jesus, our Saviour, is walking among us, really present in the Eucharist. We are standing on Holy Ground. My dear people, one of the great things about this Corpus Christi Triduum is that it is gathering us together as One Body. It does not matter who we are, or what our station in life is, we are One in the presence of our Lord – woman or man, rich or poor, famous or forgotten. It doesn’t matter what our qualifications are, where we live or what we do for a living, the important thing is that we stand here as brothers and sisters in communion with Christ and with one another!

And what might Jesus be saying to us right now as we gather in his presence? Well – precisely what he said to the Jews in today’s Gospel Reading: ‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world (John 6:51)’.

We are together in the presence of the ‘Living Bread come down from heaven’! But don’t you wonder sometimes: why would Jesus want to be with us – we who are sinners, who often do the exact opposite of what he calls us to do or be; we, who can be so wrapped up in ourselves at times, blind to our brothers and sisters in their need; we, who can be so critical and judgemental of others, but slow to recognise our own faults? No wonder we say before receiving the Eucharist: ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof’.

The Gospel reassures us that Jesus wants to be present with us, even though we are sinners – no, it is precisely BECAUSE we are sinners that Jesus reaches out to us, because he wants to show us His mercy and heal us. Jesus sees the good in us despite our sins and unworthiness. He notices the glimmer of faith even in those of us who may have drifted away from the Church. Jesus detects the spark of hope in the darkest minds; he kindles the fire of love in the coldest of hearts. The Gospels tell us that He liked to go out of His way to be with the sinful, the lepers and all those who were rejected or considered unclean by society. He preferred to spend His time with the outcasts, the poor, the weak – yes, even the dreaded Tax Collectors. When the Pharisees asked: ‘Why does your Master eat with Tax Collectors and Sinners?’ Jesus insisted: ‘I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners’.

‘Be still for the presence of the Lord. The Holy One is here’, reaching out today to sinners like me and like all of us. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His Real Presence in the sacrifice of the Mass makes present that moment when he sacrificed himself on the cross for us sinners. ‘This is my body given up for you. This is my blood poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins’.

Last month I had the privilege of leading the Eucharistic procession in Lourdes. I was humbled at the way so many people, many of them obviously sick or severely disabled, looked with great longing and yearning at the sacred host as I gave the blessing with the monstrance. Their faith in the healing power of the Eucharist was palpable.

My brothers and sisters: Let the Real Presence of Christ transform you this evening! Open yourself up to the power of His holy presence. Allow Jesus to change you and renew you. Allow Jesus to forgive you and heal you. Go home feeling loved and wanted. Leave here knowing that, no matter what burden or obstacle you are facing in life, Jesus can ease it and help you cope with it. Let the presence of The Lord shine into your life and accompany you wherever you go.

Imagine if people this week could experience through you, the effects of Jesus’ presence this evening? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when you walk into a room, people sense the presence of The Lord and smell the fragrance of Jesus?

That’s how Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman put it in a beautiful prayer he wrote called the ‘Fragrance Prayer’. Mother Teresa prayed it every morning after receiving Holy Communion. Let me pray a little of it with you:

‘Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.

Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus…’

My dear brothers and sisters, ‘Be still for the power of The Lord is moving in this place’. May the power of The Lord continue to move in our lives, to move our hearts with compassion and love, to cleanse and heal us, to transform our lives and, through us, fill the world with the power of the ‘Living Bread come down from heaven’.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;

He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace

No work too hard for him. In faith receive from him.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.