Good morning. My name is Fr. Mike Keucher and I’m the associate pastor at Our Lady of the Greenwood. I’m happy to be with you today. You have a persuasive pastor. He called some time ago to see if I could come here today, and I told him we have six Masses at OLG, and I had a wedding, etc….but by the end of the phone call he had me thinking that he was doing me the favor! And maybe he was. This place is simply breathtaking–as are the other three campuses–and it is a true grace for me to be celebrating Mass at these four campuses this weekend. Thanks for having me.
Our Gospel today begins with a beautiful invitation from St. John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God.” Down through the centuries to today, we Christians have a beautiful way of doing just that: Eucharistic Adoration. Fr. Meyer asked if I might speak about that today since this beautiful parish is preparing to start a perpetual adoration chapel. Thanks be to God!!!
Why adoration? The Church has been chanting throughout most of this past week’s daily Masses an antiphon that comes from Psalm 36:10: With you, O Lord, is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light. This antiphon tells us that Jesus is the fountain of life and the light of the world. I want to reflect on each of those things.
First, the fountain. The psalm says that the Lord is the fountain of life. Maybe you are like me and sometimes feel tired, wiped out, empty, like you have little more to give–like you’re spent. Sometimes people sense those things and think they’re doing something wrong. I think it means we’re doing something right. I think if we live our vocations right, by the end of the day we ought to be tired and spent, we ought to have given until it wasn’t so pleasant to give anymore. I think that’s good because, when we are empty and out of juice–that’s when Jesus says: Come to the fountain, the source of grace!!! Come and be refreshed!! Come to the wellspring….receive new stamina, new pizzazz, new energy. Come to the fountain, you who are thirsty. Your pastor is quite an example to me as he is to so many. I remember asking him one time how he does all that he does, and so well–and he told me: “It’s the daily holy hour.” You see–when we go to adoration, we not only go to ask for a favor or some grace; no, we go to the very fountain of grace! And we can’t help but get wet.
And the light. A friend of mine was in a botany class and they did an experiment. The project was to plant two identical plants and to water them the same. Only difference: one was to go in the dark and the other in the light. The plant that was planted in the light–it grew tall and strong, bearing fruit and with great roots. The one in the dark–it was bent over on itself, weak, no fruit, no roots. We’re the same. We are built fo the light. We depend iupon the light. And Jesus is the light. When we go to adoration, we go in front of the Light! And we can’t help but get a SON tan. A friend in seminary said that adoration is like going to the beach. Some people swim, some lie down, some read, some run…no matter what you’re going to get a tan. Same with adoration. Doesn’t matter too much what you do in there; rosary, bible, Divine Office, meditation, etc….whatever you do, you will get a son tan….you will absorb DIVINITY into your skin, your heart, your life!!
That’s it–Jesus, our Eucharistic king–he is the fountain and the light! No wonder the wise men whom we celebrated last week traveled 1500 miles(!!!!) to the Christ Child! It was a terrible, crazy adventure they went on….through the desert and through the darkness….but they did it so they could arrive at the Child and….do a holy hour! They came to the fountain, the light…and they were changed forever.
You will be too! You will be better mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, kids….all because of adoration. Because when a man goes to spend time with Jesus, Jesus rubs off on him. Take your kids. A guy at our parish (we have a perpetual adoration chapel)….he comes every Tuesday at 9pm with his two kids. They see their father kneeling for an hour….that is a holy man and a good father! Those kids will turn out better for having seen their dad do that all those years.
Be generous with your time. There’s a story I just heard a few days ago, a true story. There was a guy who lived in China some three years ago. It is still illegal to be part of the authentic Catholic Church in China. The authorities found out he was Catholic, and they questioned him: where is your priest? This guy, he wouldn’t tell them. He could not imagine his family and friends not having the sacraments. So….he resisted. They began to torture him, but he held firm. Finally…somehow they let him go. He came to the US. He was so happy to find that here, it’s legal to be Christian! He could go to Mass–and even weekday Masses and holy hours! He was so happy. Then he realized: if I work a bit harder, I’ll get more money. Within a few months, he didn’t have time for the holy hours….a few more months, daily Masses were out…but he said, “I’ll still go on Sundays.” But then some more time went by and he worked even harder. Last year, he went to Mass only at Christmas and Easter. The morale of the story is this. What torture and perscution could not take from this man–his love of Jesus, the Eucharist, the faith–the American dream (nightmare) took from him without his even noticing.
I say that to say this. Our love for the Eucharist has to be real. We have to stir it up, keep it alive, keep our hearts burning for Jesus. We can think of a thousand reasons why we’re too busy for a holy hour, or it’s just not “my thing.” But they fail. Because the reality is this: if we don’t want adoration, if we don’t want the Eucharist, then we don’t want Jesus.
Let us thank God for the chapel that is coming your way. May it renew your lives, your families, your parish, your community…and the world! Lives will change because of it…praise JESUS!!!
With you, O Lord, is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.