Sacraments Encounters With Christ
admin - Added on Monday, June 30, 2014

Jesus issued very few commands in his time on earth. So we can assume that the commands he issued were extremely important.


One of them was directed to the Apostles. He broke bread, and he told them the bread was his body. And then he commanded them: Do this in remembrance of me.


His followers had begged him, “Stay with us, Lord!” And that’s our wish too. Stay with us, Lord!


Jesus answers our prayer through the sacraments. He stays with us, through the ministry of the Church.


This is something he made clear from the day he rose from the dead. What did he do first? He went for a long walk with two of his disciples. They walked all the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about the current events and then about the Scriptures. But that wasn’t enough for Jesus. He wanted to draw even closer to them. So he broke bread — and he vanished from their sight. But they knew he had stayed with them, because they knew him in the breaking of the bread. He was really present in the Eucharist. In the sacrament.


It happened again that very day. When the Apostles were locked in the Upper Room, Jesus went to them. He passed through the locked door to reach them. And then he established a way to remain with them. He breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit. Pope Benedict said about that moment: “The Spirit is the breath of the Son. One receives him by coming within breathing range of the Son.”


In the sacraments, Jesus comes “within breathing range” of the whole world. You can see this in the Bible’s stories about the early Church.By the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles are already busy with the work of baptism, repentance, and Eucharist. “They devoted themselves,” Saint Luke writes,“to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).


The Apostles boldly preached God’s Word. But that’s not all they did. They also followed a certain ritual order that had been given to them by Jesus. They forgave sins. They laid hands on people to give them the Spirit. They baptized people with water. They called and commissioned ministers for special service in the Church.


The Church is the place where Jesus comes to meet us, and the sacraments are the moments he established for our encounter with him. Jesus entrusted the sacraments to the Church, and he did this out of love for us. He wants to meet us in Communion and Confession.


The Church has many rites, but only seven sacraments. They are Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Confession, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the anointing of the Sick. Each has a different purpose. Some are for the sake of healing. Others are for the sake of serving others. Some are sacraments of initiation — those first sacraments that lead us into our new life as Christians.


The Church urges us to “frequent the sacraments.” What can that mean? Well, there are only two sacraments we can receive frequently: Confession and Holy Communion.


Let’s make the most of those moments, then! Let’s receive Our Lord regularly at Mass — every Sunday and holy day at least, but maybe even more often. And let’s make an effort to get to Confession at least once a month.


Jesus wanted so much to meet us there that he issued those rare commands to his Apostles. Let’s not keep him waiting.

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