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Bishop Edward Lohse: Going Forward in Faith, Wherever the Eucharistic Lord Jesus leads

STEUBENVILLE, OHIO, June 23 — At the beginning of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage's last day in the Diocese of Steubenville, Bishop Edward Lohse, Bishop of Kalamazoo and new Apostolic Administator for the Diocese of Steubenville, celebrated Mass at the Church of the Holy Rosary/Triumph of the Cross in Steubenville and gave the homily, in which he introduced himself to the faithful of the Diocese, and, with the help of the Gospel of the day focused on the apostles in the boat on a stormy sea, focused on finding peace no matter the storms we face from the Eucharistic Christ.

Here is the outlined text of his homily, which he courteously provided.


First thing, introductions are in order.


This gathering, this Mass today, is no ordinary gathering.


We are celebrating the Mass of the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, but there is nothing ordinary about this

            National Eucharistic Pilgrimage – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route

            I am the New Apostolic Administrator.


We are experiencing the convergence

·      of things eternal and unchanging

·      with things that by their nature are temporary and changing.


What is eternal and unchanging? The Eucharist and the Lord Jesus.

What changes? We do.


We change. We grow up, and sooner or later we grow old. Communities change.  Even bishops come and go, but what is enduring and unchanging is our identity as Catholics:

·      as members of the Body of Christ in the communion of saints,

·      united in the Eucharist, in the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ,

·      across time and space with all the members of the Body of Christ

·      in the Church in heaven and on earth and in purgatory.


Where we are going as the members of the Catholic community in the Diocese of Steubenville is uncertain. What is certain is that we need to entrust ourselves completely and entirely to Christ.


Wherever he leads, we will follow. 


What is rock solid is our identity as followers of Christ, as Catholics who find our communion in the Body of Christ and who proudly profess our faith in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.


We must approach the future with the attitude of faith called for in today’s readings.


In the Gospel there is a ship being tossed about in the storm ...


 ... possibly even as early as a mere thirty or so years after the resurrection, in Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we see the Church herself being referred to as a ship (Eph. 4:14)


“so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.”


A ship was an ancient image of the Church, the bark of Peter, and the early Church experienced that ship being tossed about on the waves amidst tremendous persecution and in risk of sinking. It was not only the disciples in the boat who cried out, “Lord, do you not care that we are perishing?” We can imagine that the early Church at times was offering that same prayer.


This Gospel passage, therefore, spoke not only about the storm itself but also spoke to the experience of the early Church being tossed about on the waves, pressed in on every side, appearing to be in danger of sinking ....


But only appearing


Because the Lord of all was peacefully on board, almost unbelievably sleeping through the storm.


There was and is a calm within him which all of the chaos outside cannot touch.


The disciples were looking everywhere outside of themselves to find the calm that would bring them to safety, while all along where they really needed to look was not all around them but into the depths of the heart of Jesus.


That’s where the safe haven was to be found that would protect them from every danger and difficulty.


When they awakened the Lord, he calmed the storm and reassured the disciples, but they would have been okay regardless, as long as they took refuge in the Heart of Christ. Years later they would realize this, but not that night in the boat.


And so, we find ourselves in uncertain times, not knowing exactly where the path ahead will lead us, not knowing exactly what it is that Christ will ask of us.

·      But we do know that whatever he asks, the answer must always be yes.

·      Wherever he leads, the answer must always be “We will follow.” 


We need to seek that calm, that peace which lies within Christ himself, who rests peacefully even when everything around us seems to be in turmoil.


It is a peace that comes from offering ourselves in union with Christ time and time again, Sunday after Sunday, on the altar of the Eucharist, as we do so today, and knowing that in giving everything we have and are, we receive back so much more in return.


Saint Augustine urges us to become what we receive ... to become a part of the Body broken, become a part of the Blood poured out, to become a part of the incarnate presence of Jesus in the world, and to trust in the way forward, even though we may not know where it will lead us, because with Christ in the bow of this ship, wherever it takes us is where we ought to be.


We go forth in faith, forward in Eucharistic procession, forward in hope, forward in faith, forward in love. We look to the heart of Christ, to the Sacred Heart of Christ, for that calm with which he presides peacefully in the bow of this ship, the Church.


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