We are Never without Hope because We are Never without Christ

Ferverino for Holy Hour
Thursday, April 30, 2020 – 6:30 PM
Sacred Heart (live streamed holy hour during COVID-19)


Photo credit: Steven & Francois LeMire

It is good that we are here.

Lately – a lot of anxiety, fear, discouragement
• The unknown
o “when will it end?”
o Uncharted territory – “we’ve never experienced anything like this before”
• Isolation
• Grieving Losses
o Graduations, weddings, ordinations
o Unable to gather in community
o Missing family – parents, grandparents, grandchildren
o Eucharist/Masses
• Loss of control

Uncharted territory/new circumstances; but a familiar pattern:
1. Status quo: Things are good / OK
2. Trials: things are not so good
3. Heaven – things are good again, and even better

o Adam and Eve
1. Eden: Walking in the garden with God
 2. The Fall and the promise
 3. Heaven: Restored to Paradise (Christ’s descent to the dead)

o Noah
 1. Before the flood
 2. The Flood
 3. After the flood (be fruitful and multiply – the rainbow and the covenant)

o Abraham
 1. Has his own land
 2. Leave your land
 3. Promised Land

1. Promise of a Son; Promise of a great nation
 2. Asked to Sacrifice Isaac
 3. Isaac restored

o Jacob and sons
 1. Prosperity in the Promised Land
 2. Famine – go to Egypt
 3. Reunited with Joseph who is powerful in Egypt

o People of Israel
 1. Favor in Egypt – family of Joseph (esteem)
 2. Slavery in Egypt
 3. Led out of slavery by mighty deeds of God done at Moses’ hand
(led through the Red sea

 1. Egypt – at least they had food
 2. Desert – worry of starvation
 3. Promised Land

o Jesus and the disciples
 1. Preaching a way of life that brings true life; working miracles
 2. Suffering and Death
 3. Resurrection and glory

We’ve never been here before (COVID-19), and yet we have been here before (the familiar pattern).
1. Things were going well, or at least OK
2. COVID-19 hit – we are still in the midst of it.
3. What is to come? We say that we don’t know, and to some extent we don’t. But to another extent, we do. We do know what will come because we know the old familiar pattern. We know what God has done in the past, and we know that God is faithful.

What will keep us going?
What kept them going?


Hope keeps us from discouragement.
Hope sustains us in times of abandonment.
Hope opens our heart to expect beatitude.

Hope is the virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help and grace of the Holy Spirit.

God is the One who restored Adam and Eve to the new Paradise.

God is the One who saved Noah from the flood.

God is the One who fulfilled the Promise to Abraham.

God is the One who gave Isaac back to Abraham.

God is the One who guided Joseph when he was sold into slavery in Egypt.

God is the One who guided the reunion of Joseph and his brothers.

God is the One who raised up Moses through whose hands mighty deeds were wrought in Egypt.

God is the One who, through Moses, led the people out of slavery in Egypt and into the freedom of the promised land.

And, brothers and sisters, it is God who will lead us through these times.

The Letter to the Hebrews says that “hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner…” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

The old temple – 3 parts. Outer court, Inner court, Holy of Holies.

Holy of Holies
• Veil separating the inner court from the Holy of Holies
• Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments
• Where the presence of God dwelt in the midst of his people
• No one could enter, not even the priests
• Only the High Priest – one day/year, on the day of Atonement.
• Lev 16: “Tell…Aaron that he is not to come whenever he pleases into the sanctuary, inside the veil, in front of the [mercy seat] on the ark; otherwise, when I reveal myself…he will die”
• He would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of a sacrifice, and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat above the Ark that contained the Ten Commandments.
• In fear that he might be struck down, a rope is tied to foot of the High Priest so they can drag him out if is struck down. It was his anchor to this side of the veil.

• His death on the Cross

o The veil of the temple is torn in two from top to bottom. (MT 27:51). As Fulton Sheen points out, torn in two from top to bottom, not from bottom to top; because God is the one who tore open the veil. We could not do that.

• His Ascension

o His body pierces the veil of the Heavens. Christ the High Priest goes there where his body stands before the Father’s throne to intercede for us.
o Christ, the High Priest, has the rope tied to his foot as well, not so that we can pull him down to us, but so that he can pull us up to him.
o He is our anchor. And this is our hope. As long as we cling to him, we are never lost.

Listen again to the definition of hope from the Letter to the Hebrews:

Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner…(Hebrews 6:19-20)

Brothers and sisters, Christ is our hope.

We are reminded of this in Easter – the season of hope.

Christ is our anchor in the storm that rages around us. No matter where we may be blown, no matter where we may be tossed about by the winds and waves that pound us, we are never lost so long as we cling to him.

Hope looks to the future beyond the present moment.

For the sake of the joy that lay before him, Christ endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:12)

Remember what God has done in the past
so as to strengthen your hope in the present
of what God will do in the future.

Remember what God has done, not what we have done.
It is God who will see us through this storm, it is not all up to us.

We have our part to play, but it is God who works through us to bring us through this. It’s not all up to us, it’s up to God, and that is a great inspiration to hope. God has done it before and God will do it again!

Hope looks to the future, but it impacts the present.

Hope looks to the past and to the future to give us the strength to endure the present when the present is painful.

Hope is nourished in prayer. And so, tonight we come before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Tonight we come before our High Priest who has passed beyond the veil of this valley of tears, and we hold on.

We hold on to the anchor that is Christ.
We hold on to our hope.

The Eucharist reminds us that we are never without hope, because we are never without Christ.

Jesus, we trust in you. Cast out all fear, anxiety, and discouragement. Strengthen our hope.

I leave you with a prayer by St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever possesses God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

Reflection: The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy

Sacred Heart School
Reflection for High School Students during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
October 8, 2018


The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy

In the 700s, in the town of Lanciano, located southeast of Rome, some monks of had established a monastery under the patronage of St. Longinus, traditionally believed to be the centurion at the crucifixion who proclaimed, “Truly, this was the Son of God” (Mt 27:54) and pierced the side of our Lord with his lance (Jn 19:34).

One day, a certain monk was offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He was versed in the sciences of the world and had had been plagued by doubts about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist: he agonized over whether the bread and wine actually changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord at the words of consecration, and whether our Lord was truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

This time, when the monk pronounced the words of consecration, the host was miraculously changed into flesh and the wine into blood. The monk was awestruck. Weeping joyously, he regained his composure. He called the congregation around the altar and said, “O fortunate witnesses, to whom the Blessed God, to confound my unbelief, has wished to reveal Himself visible to our eyes! Come, brethren, and marvel at our God, so close to us. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our Most Beloved Christ.” Those who witnessed the miracle soon spread the news throughout the surrounding area.

Shortly after the occurrence, the Blood coagulated into five globs of different sizes, but the Flesh remained the same. The archbishop ordered an investigation. The testimony of witnesses was recorded. The Flesh and Blood appeared to be human flesh and blood. The archbishop sent a scale for the weighing of the globs: each individual glob weighed the same as the other individual ones (although different in size) or as all five together or as any other combination. Eventually, the Flesh and the globs of Blood were placed in a special reliquary, but were not sealed. Church authorities certified the miracle.

Since the first basic investigation, the Church has permitted other studies on the relics. In 1574, Msgr. Rodrigues once again weighed the five globs of Blood in the presence of witnesses and arrived at the same conclusion. Eight eight centuries had passed and no visible sign of deterioration had taken place.

The most thorough study occurred in 1970-71, less than 50 years ago. Pope Paul VI permitted a series of scientific studies on the precious relics to verify their nature. Dr. Odoardo Linoli, professor of anatomy and pathological histology, chemistry and clinical microscopy, and head physician of the hospital of Arezzo, conducted the study. He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, professor emeritus of human anatomy at the University of Siena. The analyses were performed in accord with scientific standards and documented, and Dr. Bertelli independently corroborated Dr. Linolis findings. In 1981, using more advanced medical technology, Dr. Linoli conducted a second histological study; he not only confirmed the findings but also gathered new information.

The major findings from this research include the following:

  • The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium (heart wall), the endocardium (membrane of tissue lining the cavities of the heart), the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
  • The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

Professor Linoli asserted that the blood, if taken from a cadaver, would have deteriorated rapidly. Given that these samples were centuries old, free of preservatives, and never hermetically sealed in the reliquaries, they should have deteriorated. However, he underscored that the samples had the same properties as fresh human blood and flesh.

The beauty of the miracle of Lanciano reflects the words our Lord spoke, “I am the Bread of Life. He who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood has life eternal and I will raise him up on the last day. For my Flesh is real food and my Blood real drink. The man who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in Me, and I in him” (Jn 6:35, 54-56). We must, therefore, never forget that when we participate at Mass, we witness a miracle, and through the reception of Holy Communion we share in the divine life of our Savior.

The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The name of our school and parish is “Sacred Heart”.  We have placed ourselves under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Eucharist is the living, beating, Sacred Heart of Jesus…and he waits for you to come to him with the desires of your heart.

Slightly edited for brevity and reworded in order to put the text into the language of high school students, but taken almost verbatim from these sources: