My Sisters and Brothers in Christ: Do you love Jesus? If we love Jesus, then wouldn’t we want to do what He asks? Jesus ever calls us to a new commandment. He said, “love one another as I have loved you” (cf: John 13:34). When we participate in the celebration of Mass and approach the altar, we make of our hands a throne to receive Jesus, the Bread of Heaven. From receiving Jesus, we are compelled to go forth wrapped in His love to bring His love, the Eucharist, to one another. We become His dwelling place. “When, at the Visitation, Mary bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a “tabernacle” – the first “tabernacle” in history – in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed Himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating His light, as it were, through the eyes and the voice of Mary” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 55). Like our Blessed Mother, receiving the Eucharist means that we accept God’s call to be His—to be a Eucharist in the world. The prophet, Isaiah, tells us we must remove from our midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech. Just as our spiritual hunger is satisfied by Jesus through the Eucharist, Jesus calls us to bestow our bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted. Pope Francis said, “God’s love cannot stand selfishness of not sharing the bread.” Jesus asks us to bring His Peace to each other; His light infusing the earth through each one of us. Through Jesus the Eucharist, we are enfolded in forgiveness and we go from the altar within the sanctuary, to the altar of His earth – bringing His generous mercy to one another. There are many moments in these past few weeks where I have been among you and witnessed the beauty of the Eucharist. We prayed unceasingly during Christian Unity Week that all may be one. The Mass for Life celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe spoke to the gift of God’s life from conception to natural death and how we care for each other as God names us His own. We celebrated Catholic Schools Week January 29-February 4, acknowledging the precious children offered to us, that we might form them through, with and in God’s love and teach them how God’s love transcends every moment of our living. We praise God for our parents and guardians, our faculty and staff, our clergy and religious who all participate in this formation. We celebrated the Lunar New Year with the Vietnamese community who come together at St. Philip Phan Van Minh Catholic Church to praise God for the new year and the gift of life. Family and friends crowd the church, remembering their history and traditions while offering themselves to God for another year. The Red Mass for Catholic Lawyers reminds us of God’s justice and our call to uphold His justice when considering the civil law. St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Charities of Central Florida staff converse in synodality that they might partner as best as possible to assist each one of us in helping those in need. As we bring God forth in this ‘Ordinary Time’, let our good deeds shine His extraordinary light before others so all will know Him and love Him.
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