‘We, Too, Can Encounter Christ Today …’

On Friday, Oct. 21, Bishop Raica filmed his 32nd episode of Grace & Peace. The complete text of the bishop’s remarks follows herein.

My friends, may the grace and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

As our Eucharistic Revival builds steam, I am so very grateful for the energy and fervor I am witnessing around our diocese. I thank pastors and parishes who are taking to heart the challenges we face today by reviewing the basics of our faith that lead to a greater appreciation of the real presence of Jesus in our midst. This is a journey we must do together as we pray about and study the gift of our Catholic faith. At the heart of this renewal and revival is a greater appreciation of the Eucharist itself. It is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus with us.  Perhaps even that sounds formalistic, but it is more. It is the fundamental encounter we have with Jesus Christ today! My sisters and brothers, that makes all the difference in the world. The presence of Christ is a factor for us daily. He is truly with us today! We can know Him. He reveals to us His Father. The encounter with Christ is something that occurs in a special privileged way every time we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays, during the week, and on special occasions.  

Our Lord assured us that He would remain with us until the end of time. “I will be with you always,” Jesus promised. Jesus is not merely a passing thought about something nice in the past. No, Jesus is present today!

That means that, like those who met Christ 2,000 years ago, about whom we read in the Gospel passages, we can encounter Christ today in the same way. The encounter speaks of the surprising, unexpected moment in which we became aware of Jesus right before us. The Gospels outline a wide variety of circumstances in which our Lord came upon the scene – to fishermen, to the woman at the well, to a tax collector, to a blind man to name a few. Similarly, our Lord becomes present today, and each person who meets Christ recognizes that the meaning of life and one’s future are wrapped up in that man and not in my own doing.

Today, I invite you to keep your hearts, ears, eyes, and minds open. I believe, and it is my own personal experience and conviction, that the encounter with Christ gives us a new opportunity and direction in our life – away from sin and toward a greater freedom and fulfillment. I become more myself and recognize the gift of God present in others as well. Through Mass and the events of our faith, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. By do so, we become more of what God intended – a living witness to faith and life!

During this Eucharistic Revival, may I ask you to join me in praying for each other for the outpouring of God’s grace and life throughout our diocese so we may witness through coherent lives, the presence of Christ in our world today. May God bless you!