Some time ago, I heard a story about a young priest who entered into a barber shop to get a hair cut. After the greetings and questions regarding how he would like his hair cut, the cleric proceeded to read his bible. The barber grimaced, but proceeded along doing his professional task. At the end of the job, after cleaning up and saying their goodbyes, the hair stylist told the customer, “I don’t believe in God. How can there be a God with all of the evil, sickness, pain and suffering in the world.” The young man, not knowing just what to say, nodded meekly and left.
After leaving the shop, the man paused, with his head down, reflecting on what had transpired. Upon lifting his head, he noticed a long-haired man standing outside the shop, just hanging out; this gave him an idea. The gentleman who was the customer convinced the long-haired man to follow him back into the barber shop. Once inside, he told the hair cutter, “I don’t believe in barbers.” The barber said, "thats ridiculous, I am one." The customer proceeded to say; "look at this man with long hair; there are multitudes of people just like him, isn’t this proof that barbers don’t exist?” "Thats just because they don’t go to the barber," the barber replied. "That is precisely my point,” said the priest. The customer continued, "It is the same way with God. A vast number of people are either too busy, or ambivalent to God, and never take the time to spend with God, or eve learn about him. How could they expect to experience the benefits without going to him?"
Ever since the “fall” in the garden of eden, humanity has been saying “I know best,” rather than following His lead.
Like the barber in the story, our modern world is generally too concerned with their own interests to have any care for the sacred. Would they even recognize God if they were to encounter Him in the Flesh?
Are you ready to meet Jesus? As Catholics, each and every Sunday we have the opportunity to encounter the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist. As a former Protestant I find it a great sadness that a huge portion of the Church of Christ deny the corporeal presence of Jesus in the eucharist. Back in the 16th century, when Martin Luther tacked the 95 Theses on the cathedral door, his intention was not to create a revolution in the universal Church. However, that is just what happened in relatively short order, nearly 1,600 years of Church tradition gets tossed out the preverbal door in a huge schismatic break. Sure, there had been schism in the past. However, this is nothing like the so-called “Great Schism” between the churches of the East and West, where the divergences were basically over one Word and ultimately over ecclesiastical control. No, this schism cut to the core of orthodox theology and practice. Basically, Protestant reformers decided that they knew better than the Apostles, Fathers and Apologists of the historic church.
As a traditional Catholic Church, The Catholic Church in America (CCIA) stands firm on the Orthodox principles handed down from the primitive and undivided Church of the first 1,000 years — which includes the understanding that when we receive the elements of bread and wine in communion, we are in the midst of a very real encounter with Jesus, the Christ.
"We adhere faithfully to the Rule of Faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins in these terms: “Id teneamus, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est; hoc est etenim vere proprieque catholicum.” [Let us hold to what has been believed everywhere, always, by all; for this is truly and properly catholic.] For this reason we preserve in professing the faith of the primitive Church, as formulated in the ecumenical symbols and specified precisely by the unanimously accepted decisions of the Ecumenical Councils held in the undivided Church of the first thousand years."
When we are gathered today to worship the Lord and celebrate the sacred mysteries —“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world;” These are among the most repeated words in the English language. Across the English speaking world, whenever the Eucharistic Celebration has reached it’s culmination, priests all around the world proclaim the very real presence of Jesus Christ in the midst of those attending the mystical feast.