In the Advent Season one of the Gospel Readings is the long list of the genealogical origin of Jesus, in the three sets of 14 names. Daunted by the long list and befuddled as to how to preach a homily on this long list of names this thought occurred to me: the healing of our own genealogical tree.
Original Wounds. All of us who come into world as sons of Adam and Eve, inherit the Original Wound as well as its consequences. With the exception of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and the Virginal Birth of Jesus, we all inherit Original Sin and its consequences at the very moment of our conception. True! Baptism washes away the stain of Original Sin but not the consequences that Saint Thomas Aquinas terms concupiscence.
Capital Sins. Those bad tendencies that are defined as the Capital Sins remain within our very being until we die. These are the following: Gluttony, Lust, Avarice, Sloth, Envy, Anger, and Pride. With the help of God’s grace and our collaboration with God these bad tendencies have to be tamed and the opposite virtues must be practiced.
Wounded Humanity. All of humanity therefore has the mortal wound stemming from Original Sin. To compound the state of our wounded human nature is our own moral culpability that flows from our own personal sin. Original Sin wounds from the start; personal and actual sin aggravates the state of our wounded condition.
Walking Wounded. We live in a world walking side by side with a walking wounded humanity and we add our own quota to this wounded and broken world.
Wounded Wounder or Wounded Healer? Taking into account our woundedness, there are two possibilities. Either we are wounded wounders or we become wounded healers. If we do not come to terms with our wounded condition then our woundedness grows, festers and spreads like a disease, like a moral pandemic. We wound others by our wounded condition.
Wounded Healer. However, if we recognize that we are truly wounded and we admit it, and strive to seek healing, then it can truly become a reality. How? The only solution is to run to Jesus. Only Jesus can truly heal us. Indeed, He alone is the Wounded Healer. The Prophet Isaiah made reference to the coming of Jesus and His mission when he said “By His wounds we are healed.”
The Passion: His Wounds & Our Healing. In His Passion, Jesus was wounded for our sake. His scourging at the Pillar, His crowning with thorns, His falling under the weight of the cross, the nails that pierced His hands and feet, His side that was pierced with the lance—all of these manifest the open and gaping wounds of Jesus.
Finding Refuge in These Wounds. If we sincerely seek refuge in the wounds of Jesus, then we can experience His healing. Most specifically the healing of our moral wounds can take place in the context of the Sacraments and most especially in the Sacrament of Confession. In fact every Sacrament communicates not only grace but a specific Sacramental grace that differentiates it from the others. The Holy Eucharist confers nourishment and spiritual strength. The Sacrament of Confession confers moral healing of the wounds that we have contracted due to moral evil that we call sin.
Blood of Christ’s Healing Power. Every time we approach the Sacrament of Confession with good dispositions then with Confession of sins and Sacramental absolution the Precious Blood of Jesus that was poured forth for on the cross on Calvary that First Good Friday washes our sins. The Precious Blood cleanses us and heals us.
Healing Our Genealogical Tree. Recently much has been written on the healing of our ancestors, our relatives of the past, the gaping wounds of past ages. Fascinating as this topic sounds and the variety of ways to approach the healing of our genealogical tree I believe there is truly a most efficacious manner, means or practice that we can undertake. Indeed going all the way back to our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, there are many wounds, gaping wounds, unhealed wounds of the past that have repercussions on the present and can extend way into the future.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Universal Healing. Of all of the possible remedies for healing wounded humanity, past, present and future there is an all-powerful means that we have at our disposal: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Of all the prayers that can be offered in the past, present and the future, there is no more powerful and efficacious prayer than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is truly the opus Dei—the great work of God Himself. It is actually God offering Himself to God; Jesus (the Second Person of the Trinity) offers Himself into the hands of His Heavenly Father through the power of the Holy Spirit and for the salvation of humanity.
Calvary: The Mass Transcending All Times And Places. Even though it is true Jesus died on Calvary, Good Friday, more than two thousand years ago, the presence and the power of Calvary extends to all times and places even until the end of time. How does this take place? In every Sacrifice of the Mass today, tomorrow and until the end of time this takes us back to Calvary. That First Good Friday as Jesus hung on the cross He poured forth His most Precious Blood. That same Blood that Jesus shed willingly and most abundantly becomes present in every Mass. And it is through the shedding of the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world that the purification of our sins and salvation becomes a reality.
Offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to Heal Our Past, Present and Future
Now to the point of our topic: offer Mass for healing! Now have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for your family and the two different lines (if you are married): husband and his family of the past, then the wife and her family of the past.
The Intentions. Now that Mass intention can be specified in the following way: (Families: Lopez and Garcia—healing of past, present and future.). Therefore, this intention includes the maternal side and her past, present and future, then it also includes the paternal side, the past, present and future. This intention is universal, all-inclusive. In a real sense it is Catholic—meaning universal! Let us now explain the three time dimensions of past, present and future.
Holy Mass: Metahistorical Event. By metahistorical is meant that it transcends all time, places, events and cultures. The power and efficacy of Holy Mass transports back to Calvary (2000 years ago); it is actually present its fruit and effects right now but also its power extends into the future until the end of time. It is through the Precious Blood of Jesus shed on Calvary that wounds are truly healed and wounded wounders can indeed become wounded healers!
Past. By the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—this metahistorical event—the Precious Blood of Jesus can be applied to the family members—both maternal and paternal years, decades and even centuries. In concrete, in the Lopez and Garcia family there are countless numbers. Many of these members were not ready to have direct access to Heaven, but are detained in Purgatory. Therefore, this Mass offered in the present can serve as a most efficacious means to purify these souls detained in Purgatory; not only that: some can be released from Purgatory and arrive finally at their Heavenly Home for all eternity! The healing is total and complete!
Present. These two families have many direct members as well as blood relatives, such as cousins and aunts and uncles. Now the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the present can serve as a most powerful means to sanctify many, convert others, prevent still others from making egregious moral blunders, can serve as a shield against the wily but persistent attacks of the enemy, the devil who is always on the prowl like a roaring lion seeking to devour! Countless lights, inspirations, insights, flow invisibly but most powerfully to the family members and all by means of the Precious Blood of Jesus poured forth on the cross on Calvary Good Friday but applied in the present moment!
Future. It is God Himself who created time with all of its ramifications. However, God Himself is not confined to time and space as we the living experience. In a real sense God lives in the eternal present! This being the case, even though the Mass be offered for the Lopez-Garcia family right now in the present moment its effects can extend way into the future. In all truth, the effects of every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can extend into the future, way into the future. If you like this Mass offered right now can extend in its power and efficacy until the very end of time and into eternity. How might this be the case? Well, a family member of the Garcia-Lopez clan living in the year 2500 is on his deathbed after living an immoral, sinful life for many years. Shortly before he expires he receives a light, and insight, an inspiration to repent and turn his heart back to God. His last words before giving up his spirit are: Jesus have mercy on me a sinner; Jesus I trust in your loving mercy. These words are not only expressed with his lips but deeply intended in his heart. He is saved! What is fascinating is the following: the Mass offered close to five hundred years earlier by a family member in the Garcia-Lopez clan was the means by which on his deathbed, this hardened sinner received the grace of final conversion.
In conclusion, all of us can tap into a source of infinite value: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! Even one Mass offered for our family members can have a universal repercussion. The Precious Blood of Jesus, poured forth on Calvary, but applied in every Mass has a universal extension. Holy Mass can purify our deceased relatives who perhaps lived hundreds of years in the past. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can serve to convert, sanctify, and save the family members living in the present epoch. Finally, how great and powerful God is through His Passion, death and Resurrection, all applied in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Way into the distant future years, Holy Mass can prevent sin, sanctify souls and convert the most hardened sinners. Let us pray that through Holy Mass, the Precious Blood of Jesus that we indeed will not be wounded wounders but rather wounded healers in a broken and wounded world!