Where Mary was the Church is.
Where was Mary? She stood at the foot of the cross while her son paid the price of sin for all humanity.
I have stood alongside Mary at the foot of the cross on Calvary. I have seen the Lord upon the cross and I have participated in his crucifixion.
The latest polls tell us that seven out of ten people who call themselves Catholic no longer believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Even sadder is the number of clergy who no longer believe in the real presence.
For them, the Mass has ceased to be the Sacrifice and has become a service, a memorial, or a recreation. It is just something you have to go do on Sunday, if you can get yourself out of bed to go. It is something your parents drag you to. It is something your aging grandmother believes in like magic. Oh if she could only get with the times. For far too many Mass has become anything but what it truly is.
We are a modern, enlightened people. We believe in science and everything we see on Oprah. We have lost sense of the supernatural around us. Obi Won said it best, “It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds us all together.” Ok, maybe old Ben wasn’t talking about the supernatural but he was accurate in describing the supernatural.
The supernatural is real even if we cannot see it. If more people could see the reality of the Mass we would not have enough room in our Churches to fit everyone who wanted to be present for it. Mass acts as a conduit between time, space, the natural, and the supernatural. It is called the Sacrifice of the Mass for that very reason. Through the Mass we are transported to the foot of the cross on Calvary to stand with Mary, John, and all of the angels and saints throughout all time to be part of the single greatest act of love that will ever take place. This is not a re-creation. It is not symbolism. It is not metaphor. It is reality. It is a reality veiled to our human eyes because to see it removes all doubt. It ceases to be a matter of faith and becomes a matter of knowledge.
Remember this at Mass when you are sitting there and find yourself bored, mind adrift to meaningless things. Remember this when you are not fully present because you are thinking about that Facebook post or something a family member did to upset you. Remember this when you show up to Mass in flip flops, shorts, and a T-shirt. You are not only in the presence of all God’s creation, his angels and saints, and all of your loved ones who preceded you. You are in the presence of Christ upon the cross who died to redeem all humanity. In that moment where heaven touches earth upon the altar Jesus comes off of his cross and becomes fully present in the Eucharistic bread offered as our sacrifice to God.
Seven out of ten practicing Catholics no longer believe what they cannot see before them. As for me, I will stand with Mother Mary on Calvary, first weeping, then rejoicing as the resurrected Lord comes to me and says, “Take and eat. This is my body which was given up for you.”