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Dear brothers and sisters,

And people will come from the east and the west

and from the north and the south

and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.

(Luke 13:19)

 

As our Lord continues to lead us to Jerusalem, He teaches us about the necessity of not only His suffering, death and resurrection but also the necessity of our sharing in that same mystery. 

We need to participate in His suffering, death and resurrection somehow or we cannot get to heaven and to be with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit with all the angels and saints. The ordinary way, but not the only way, we get to do this is through the sacraments.

We remember that God can encounter people and touch people ordinarily through the sacraments but also beyond the sacraments and outside of the sacraments. The Christ who suffered, died and rose for all humanity is able to draw people to Himself also outside of the celebration of the sacraments.

The person of Jesus Christ is that narrow gate by whom alone we can enter the kingdom of heaven and it is our intimate participation in His suffering, death and resurrection that develops our relationship with Him.

This is why the ordinary means of growing in our relationship with Him is through the sacraments because it involves a real and frequent intercourse of our very own persons with the Person of Christ in real time and space.

The sacraments are the ordinary and privileged way of knowing Christ and being known by Him because it is a commitment to the regular and total sacrifice our very persons to Him as a bride and her bridegroom to each other in real time and space.

Since the COVID pandemic, some have chosen to continue to celebrate the sacraments from afar, that is, online or via television. While our Lord is still able to reach us and move us, it is not to be preferred as our permanent way of relating with Him just as much as a long distance relationship between a bride and bridegroom is not to be preferred as a permanent way of relating.

Those of us who are physically unable to join our parish family in real time and space for our communal participation in Christ’s passion can still be reached by Christ spiritually or physically also through the visit of a priest or an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

The most intimate and privileged way of our sharing in the Passion of Christ is always the sacraments celebrated in real time and in person and with great attentiveness and devotion. 

Our commitment to come to Him and to be with Him and the people that He is gathering to Himself on a regular basis goes a very long way into building that intimacy with Him, and participating in that intimate communion that He Himself enjoys with His Father in the Holy Spirit. – Fr. Simi.