Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Catholic Defender: We Have An Altar

"Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.  It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace and not by foods, which do not benefit those who live by them.  We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.  The bodies of the animals whose blood the high priest brings into the sanctuary as a sin offering are burned outside the camp.  Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood.  Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.  Through him then let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name." (Hebrew 13:9-15)

In the Catholic Church there is a continual offering taking place all over the world as one voice.  What a powerful truth this is.  St. Paul asks this question: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf." (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)

St Paul then will reference the altar of the Lord stating, "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons.  You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.  Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger? Are we stronger than he? (1 Corinthians 10:21)

If we are to analyze St. Paul's description of the Altar, something very extra-ordinary is taking place on the Altar.  Something holy is taking place.  God's presence is made manifest with the consecration of the Eucharist, "Do this in memory of me." 

This happens at every Mass in every nation and the Lord's voice is being heard in the face of all the enemies of God who seek to eradicate His image on earth.  But they will not succeed.  This past week
a little girl (Yasmin Gomes) was born prematurely at 2.6 pounds this month and stopped breathing soon after and they declared her dead and issued a death certificate

The Mother, Jenifer Gomes da Silva said, "My world crashed down right then. It was the most desperate moment when all my dreams were snatched away.” (Brazilian media)

Yasmin was pronounced dead by doctors after unsuccessful attempts to bring the child back.  A nurse Ana Claudia Oliveira, asked hospital officials to send the baby’s body to a local Catholic church instead of the hospital morgue.  Ms. Oliveira told International Business Times “I can assure you, the child was dead. Her pupils didn’t respond to light. All her signs pointed to the complete absence of life.” “I saw it with my own eyes. She was blue all over, completely dead.”

The Child Yasmin was dressed in a burial gown when Church authorities placed the baby’s body on  altar. Three hours later, the baby came alive.  That is the most amazing thing.  A miracle takes place on the Altar every Mass, this is unique because this is a visible transformation from death into life.

 Yasmin's Grandmother, Elza Silva, was on her way to the chapel to transfer the baby back to the hospital to the morgue when she saw the miracle take place.  She states, "At first I couldn't believe it, we couldn't accept that it could happen.  Then we saw that she was breathing.  We hugged each other and started to shout, 'she's alive, she's alive."

Doctor Aurelia Filipak stated that what happened he had not seen in his 20 years of medical practice.  Everyone involved believed this to be a miracle. 

When Pope John Paul II went to New Orleans in 2000, he wanted to go to a Church that had not been vested so security quickly went to the Church before the Pope was to arrive.  They brought dogs into the Church to ensure that there were no bombs or anybody that would be a threat to the Pope.  Once inside the Church, the police officers were shocked to see the dogs reacting at the tabernacle that there was a human body present.  What a sign that the police officers were able to see.  It is important that we also see the value of the Altar of the Lord.

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