Thursday, April 21, 2011

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15).

Thus begins Pope Benedict XVI's homily for Holy Thursday Mass. That caught my attention because it is what goes through my head every time I approach the Eucharist in communion. I always think of Jesus continually saying to each of us, "I eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you..."

The homily continues a few sentences later with this.
... In this eager desire of Jesus we can recognize the desire of God himself – his expectant love for mankind, for his creation. A love which awaits the moment of union, a love which wants to draw mankind to itself and thereby fulfil the desire of all creation, for creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:19). Jesus desires us, he awaits us. But what about ourselves? Do we really desire him? Are we anxious to meet him? Do we desire to encounter him, to become one with him, to receive the gifts he offers us in the Holy Eucharist? Or are we indifferent, distracted, busy about other things? From Jesus’ banquet parables we realize that he knows all about empty places at table, invitations refused, lack of interest in him and his closeness. ...
Just having read about the Catholic Phillipines Postponing Earth Day because the largely Catholic Filipinos would rather keep the focus on Good Friday, the point about being distracted really hits me. I think that I read about U.S. churches being urged to tie in their Good Friday homilies with Earth Day. Here's the twist. In the Phillipines, they put off Earth Day so that they could be assured of having proper attention given to it. Meaning that the Filipinos would not take their gaze off of Good Friday.

Would that we could say such a thing or live such a thing with that certainty in the U.S.

I cannot.

Much later, speaking of unity, the Pope continues:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:31). Today we are once more painfully aware that Satan has been permitted to sift the disciples before the whole world. And we know that Jesus prays for the faith of Peter and his successors.
Of course, we are "painfully aware." Think of it though. Jesus prayed for us and prays for us even now. We are not promised that we will not be sifted. Things may not be easy. In fact, we can pretty much count on the fact that things will not be easy. But what matters is not the hardship or the sifting, but that our faith not fail.

There is much to ponder here. Read the entire homily at Whispers in the Loggia.


  1. Sigh. Wish I lived in the Philippines right least in my corner of the US, tomorrow is Good Friday. Full Stop.

  2. Why can't we cancel Earth Day? It is wonderfully stunning that the Philipines did that.

    That's a great homily by the Pope. I never zeroed in on the "eagerly" part of that passage. It's amazing what one passes over. I want to live in my earthly life as long as possible, but I so want to meet our Lord face to face and sit with him at a heavenly banquet.

  3. Of course, Earth Day is part of the "new religion" in the U.S. (so to speak). It ain't never gonna get canceled unless the people's hearts and minds change.

    I think it is interesting that the "eagerly" is the part I always think of and not the "before I suffer" part. But I guess that is what helps me keep my heart in the right place for coming eagerly for communion each week instead of thinking of it as routine. To each, his own, and God knows how to keep us on target. :-)