June 20: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Readings: Zach 12:10-11; Gal 3:26-29; Lk 9:18-24
First of all, Happy Father's Day! After the Communion Prayer, there will be a special blessing for all our dads. The readings of this Sunday raise three important questions. Who is Jesus for us? What did he do for us? What is so important about coming to Mass Sunday after Sunday to thank Him? The prophet Zachariah in the first reading prophecies, "They shall look upon him whom they have pierced." In the Gospel of today Jesus identifies himself with the one pierced. "The Son of Man must suffer greatly...and be killed and ont the third day be raised." It is clear that at Mass we look upon the one who was pierced for us. In doing so, we participate in the mystery of the One who, through his suffering, death and resurrection, has give us life. I once heard a moving story told by the famous Catholic writer, Matthew Kelly. The story involves a courageous dad and his only son. The story is about a plague that breaks out in Asia, then spreads to Africa and Europe. The president tries to protect the United States by cancelling all fights to our country. But it is too late. A case appears in New York and pretty soon people throughout the country fall ill and die. As more and more perish, it seems that doom has come to our world. After days of terrible news, a ray of hope appears. Research scientists announce that they have discovered a possible cure. The anitdote, however, requires the blood of someone uncontaminated. Evidently, the disease has a long incubation period, so when they begin drawing blood samples, everyone tests positive. They are about to give up. Then suddenly the scientists finally find someone uncontaminated - a young boy. His dad rushes him to the hospital. As he reads the medical forms, he notices that the amount of blood is unspecified. The doctors explain they may need all the boy's blood. The father chokes as he looks at his son, who says, it is OK, dad. The antidote requires every drop of the boy's blood - but it stops the plague. Some months later, people around the world gather in gratitude to remember the boy. The dad attends one of the services. Their gratefulness moves him deeply. Even though each service takes a fair amount of time, no one says, "It's too long." Or, "I feel bored." Or, "I have other things to do." No, they all realize that without the boy's sacrifice, they would have died.
This moving story helps us to understand why in the Gospel Jesus wants us to know who He is and what he did for us. “Who do you say that I am?” This question is also addressed more directly to us today: Who do you say that I am? Who is Jesus Christ for me? In other words, what difference does Jesus make in my life? If his life, death and resurrection make any difference, then we must never get tired or bored coming to Mass, Sunday after Sunday to thank Him for what He has done for us. The message this Sunday centers on three points: 1) Jesus offered his last drop of blood that I may have life. Today Jesus challenges us to accept that same destiny so that others may live. 2) We come to Mass to offer our praise and thanksgiving to the One who offered His last blood, and we must never get tired or bored in such a joyful event; 3) The Eucharist is like the antidote in the story and thus all who recive it worthily are saved from the terrible plague. The implications are rather serious. Not not to receive the antidote - Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Mass, may indeed lead to spiritual death. Think about it.
©2010 John S. Mbinda