Sometimes people ask for a sign that what we believe as Catholics is true, that Jesus is the Lord and Savior and the source of eternal life. Did you know that there is a sign? A powerful one in fact.
The Jews practiced animal sacrifice as a sacrifice to God. Everyday in the temple in Jerusalem, an unblemished lamb was sacrificed to the Father as an atonement for sins.
Jesus sacrificed himself for the salvation of all, that all could be saved. That is why he is called the lamb of God. He was the ultimate sacrifice to the father that all could be saved. After his death and resurrection, there was no longer a need for the lamb sacrifice for atonement for sins.
This temple and this practice of animal sacrificed was practiced to the time of Abraham. The only exception is when there was the temple was destroyed for the sacrifice could only happen in the temple.
In 70 A.D. the Romans came and wiped the Jewish state off the map and destroyed the temple, since that time, there has never been no temple to do this lamb sacrifice, why? Because it is no longer necessary Jesus is the lamb of God. There is a sign.
The replacement for the lamb sacrifice is the Catholic Mass where of course the bread and wine are made the body and blood of Christ. This is not a new sacrifice every day, but is the same sacrifice that happened on Calvary. So this unites us to the one sacrifice for the salvation of sins. This is the point of the Mass.
This is the center of our faith as Catholics.
In today’s second reading you see St. Paul talk about the unity of the Church we believe in One Lord, one faith and one baptism. We are called to be united in our faith. But for what reason. Simple, this is the Church Jesus founded for the salvation of souls and that is our mission.
The Catholic Church because we are the one Jesus founded has the fullness of His revelation in our mission which is always the salvation of souls. Our role is to allow God to work through us that all may be saved. That is our mission the salvation of souls.
You may have heard the teaching that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, this does not mean that all your protestant friends are going to Hell by default. It means that the fullness of God’s revelation is in the Catholic Church and therefore salvation is through the Church. We invite all to our church to to experience the fullness of what Christ gave that all may be saved and that is through the sacraments. However, those who are part of other churches, who have not rejected the Catholic Church, Christ also calls, actually not through their church, but through ours.
What this all means is that we have a unique responsibility for Christ is calling us to lead all to eternal life through His church. It also means a rather stark reality.
Just as Christ gave all he could that each soul may be saved. The devil does all he can that each soul can be lost. That is real.
So from the inside and from the outside we will have forces that will seek to destroy this Church because each soul is at stake. Never forget that.
In today’s Gospel, you see the Apostles lost at what to do. They turn to the Lord who wants them to feed the people. But they only had five loaves and two fish. It is He who turns them into enough food for all to eat. He is communicating among other things, that we should not expect anything to stand in the way of Christ’s mission, save us giving up. If the Apostles gave up, the miracle would not have happened.
I learned a long time ago that the Lord shows up when there are two outs, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded and you are three runs behind. This is what happens here.
The Lord knows his mission and He uses us to be part of it which is the mission of the salvation of souls. But never forget that there is a battle for each and every soul that you will encounter this week. That is why we do what we do that all may be saved.
Live your faith this week, remembering that Christ called you to the front lines of that battle. Know that there are elements that are battling against that mission both in and out of the Church. We saw that an American Cardinal resigned from the college of cardinals for his alleged sinfulness.
St. Jerome reminds us that Jesus chose Peter, but he also chose Judas. He also reminds us that the Father chose David, but He also chose Saul.
If we do not take the Church's mission seriously, even if we are a bishop or a cardinal we may succumb to those who seek souls for their side lamentably more than we for ours.
Never forget who you are and remember we have a battle in place. It is the Lord’s battle but he enlists us to be part of it, just as he enlisted his apostles to distribute his bread and fish to all those who followed him.
We must never forget what is at stake and give all to Christ for His mission of saving souls through His Church.