Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pange Lingua

My two parishes (Our Lady of Good Counsel, Marysville & St. Bernadette, Duncannon) held their annual Forty Hours Devotions this past weekend (May 23, 24, 25). Rev. Mr. (Dr.) Paul Schenck was the homilist and several priests from the faculty of Mount St. Mary Seminary attended along with several priests and deacons of the Diocese of Harrisburg (currently sede vacante)

Dr.Schenke is a convert from Judaism who was baptized a Christian at the age of 16, joined the Assembly of God and later became an ordained minister for the Reformed Episcopal Church. He is Founding Director of the National Pro-Life Center on Capitol Hill, located directly across from the United States Supreme Court.  On November 1, 2008 Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades appointed him Director for Respect Life Activities for the Diocese of Harrisburg (PA). He was ordained a Deacon in February 2010 and Deo Volente will be ordained a Priest in June of this same year.

The clergy and laity were blessed with an erudite and eloquent homily. Dr. Schenck reminded us of the Jewish roots not just of Jesus' humanity but also the roots of formalized worship. Our tabernacles often resemble the Ark of Covenant on purpose since the original contained the written Word of God in stone (the Debarim or Ten Words or Ten Commandments)  Our Catholic Tabernacles contained the Word Made Flesh but the Holy Eucharist is confected when the Priest SAYS THE WORDS of Christ spoken at the Last Supper. The Word becomes Flesh and dwells in the tabernacle which is found in the SANCTUARY where the ALTAR OF SACRIFICE resided. In Old Testament times, a lamb was slain on the altar and forgiveness of sins was prayed for, especially on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Jesus, the Lamb of God, is both Priest and Victim and offers Himself as spotless Lamb on the altar of the Cross.

Deacon Schenck reminded us of the utmost importance of ALTAR and TABERNACLE and PRIESTHOOD. When the Romans destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Temple worship ended for the Jews but for Christians, every church, chapel and oratory is a temple where the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary is reenacted for the salvation of souls and the forgivess of sins.  As important is the preached written and spoken Word of God, the Word Made Flesh is a real PERSON, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  The Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. It IS Christ Himself. His words are powerful, creative, efficacious, miraculous, infallible, etc., but Jesus Christ is more than the sum of His words. He is God and Man (human and divine). He is the Son of God and the Son of Mary.  Eucharistic Worship makes sense and is the greatest treasure of our Catholic faith.


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