We Yearn For Relationship – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily November 8, 2020

“That Gospel to me is always a little bit of a paradox or difficulty because we’re not used to that custom of having the virgins there waiting for the bridegroom and going out and their lamps and all that so that’s a little foreign to us, but nevertheless the point is very very direct and that is that we need to have ourselves filled with the power of love, the presence of love and that love has to be not just for other people, but for God because at the very end of that Gospel, the parable it says, ‘I don’t know you.’ I don’t know you. That would be the worst thing that God could say to us is, ‘I don’t know you. I haven’t seen you much.’ That is the real point of that parable is that we are called to truly know God and to allow God to know us, the depths of our heart and of our lives. It’s been interesting to me during this pandemic time how many people have said how much they’ve missed, those couple months, being able to go to Mass. Mass virtually was not the same and I understand that very clearly. People saying how much they miss Mass, how much they miss being able to receive Christ in Holy Communion because that is at the heart of our spiritual life, but the other thing that I was told is how much they missed adoration, that perpetual adoration that we have within our parish community and how sorely so many people who had made a commitment over the years of being in the adoration chapel, someone is there 24 hours a day, seven days a week always in that time of personal prayer and people mention how much they miss their hour of adoration and of course we have not been able to open that smaller adoration chapel, but next Sunday we have one of those moments in our parish that is particularly important as we have the blessing of our new adoration chapel which is much larger and therefore can even accommodate people with social distancing taking place. The adoration chapel will be open for an open house for people to see it next Saturday morning as well as late Saturday afternoon and so we invite you, if you wish, to come and take a look inside the adoration chapel, but on Sunday is when we really have the blessing of our chapel and the enthronement of Christ in the Eucharist in that chapel space. Archbishop Naumann is scheduled to be here at the 10 o’clock Mass and immediately after Mass to go out and bless the chapel. You’re invited to attend that celebration, but then in the afternoon at 2:30 we’re going to have a procession from the church through the parking lot winding around through the cars in the parking lot that will end up in the chapel and the blessed sacrament will be enthroned there in the chapel and we will recommence Eucharistic perpetual adoration. I’m not sure that all really appreciate how important that Eucharistic prayer is and it is so very very crucial. I’m convinced that one of the main reasons that we have a strong vital parish here at Ascension is because for years, almost 25 years, we’ve had Eucharistic adoration and that is not only redounded to the spiritual good of those who have participated personally, but also it has redounded to the good of our parish, the overall spirituality, the spiritual life of our parish community and of our families and so how important that is. It’s a beautiful practice of taking just a half-hour or an hour once a week to be there in the presence of the Lord. When I was a child my family made a Holy Hour and I remember the prayer book that was there and it always said something that bothered me. It said, ‘Lord Jesus, lonely tonight in so many tabernacles throughout the world.’ Lonely tonight in so many tabernacles throughout the world and I thought about that and it made me just a little disconcerted and I thought to myself, yes there are many tabernacles throughout the world in which there is no one there praying. That is true, but Jesus is never lonely. Jesus is never lonely. We are lonely. I am lonely. Loneliness comes because we yearn for love. We yearn for relationship and yes, relationship with other people is so important to us and that’s been part of the challenge here with social distancing that we yearn for relationship with other people, but we also yearn for relationship with God. We need to be in touch with our own need for a deeper holiness, a deeper intimacy with God. That responsorial psalm from our Mass this evening is so beautiful. My soul is thirsting, my soul is thirsting for you my God. Yes, each one of us when we put aside the distractions of our life realize how much we truly yearn and thirst for God. Taking time for Eucharistic Adoration is so important and Jesus responds to us when we say, ‘Lord my soul is thirsting for you.’ Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.’ Come to me. Spend time with me. Unburden yourself. Allow me to touch you with my presence and with my grace. That is the beautiful gift that we have in the abiding presence of Christ within the Eucharist. It would be wonderful if each and every individual, each and every family would take time to spend in the adoration chapel once a week. What a tremendous blessing that would be for you as individuals, for you as families and one of the things I’ve been impressed with as we made plans to reopen the chapel next Sunday evening, how many people who have been doing it for years are recommitted already, recommitted to spend that time with Christ in the Eucharist, but we invite everyone in the parish to take time to be with the Lord. (We have a signup online to register for a Holy Hour) The primary thing is our own spirituality. It’s our union with Christ Jesus. That’s what is talked about in that Gospel today about being filled with that oil. That oil is love of God and love of neighbor. That is the oil that truly will bring us life and light that will shine forth. It is with that oil of knowing God’s love and reflecting that love for others that we truly grow in holiness of life. Jesus invites us. ‘Come to me. Spend time with me and I will enrich and bless your life.’”