Sunday Reflection – 22 September – The Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Jesus’ Sacrifice on Calvary
In the book “Padre Pio’s Mass” written by Fr Tarcisio of Cervinara, we again are given proof that the Holy Mass is the unbloody Holy Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, offered once and for all on Calvary. At the Council of Trent in the 22nd. session it states:
“Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, when he was about to offer himself once on the altar of the Cross to God the Father, making intercession by means of his death, so that he might gain there an eternal redemption, since his priesthood was not to be extinguished by death, at the last Supper, ‘on the night that he was handed over’, left to his beloved Spouse the Church a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, by which the bloody sacrifice achieved once upon the Cross might be represented and its memory endure until the end of the age and its saving power be applied to the remission of those sins which are daily committed by us.”
St Padre Pio is the first priest to have received the “stigmata,” the wounds of Jesus in his body (hands, feet and side). St Francis received them but only as a deacon. This is important because Padre Pio offered the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and St Francis was only able to assist.
St Padre Pio’s Holy Masses would last from 3 to 4 hours. People came from all over the world to be present. They would have to get there very early to be able to get a place in the church. No-one complained about it being so long and quiet. The only person for whom it was excruciating long was St Padre Pio. During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he would actually re-live the passion and crucifixion of Jesus.
First we need to be reminded, that at every Holy Mass, Jesus is, in an un-bloody form, offering His life on the Cross for the salvation of sinners. Then that the priest is truly an Alter Christus, which means the priest actually becomes the victim with Jesus Christ at the Holy Mass. This is shown by the priest saying: “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”. The priest does not say: This is Jesus‘ Body or This is Jesus‘ Blood.
So when St Padre Pio would offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he would become literally this Alter Christus in suffering the crucifixion and bleeding in his wounds. One priest who was next to the altar during Padre Pio’s Mass, said he could never do that again, because he could not stand to see Padre Pio go through that agony again.
Cleonice Morcaldi, one of the spiritual daughters of Padre Pio, asked him several times what he felt and lived in each of his Masses. She wrote carefully each of his answers and thanks to her, we have a unique testimony from the Father himself about his Mass.
– Father, what is your Mass?
– A sacred accomplishment of the Passion of Jesus.
– What should I comprehend in your Holy Mass?
– All of Calvary.
– Father, tell me all that you suffer at the Holy Mass.
– All that Jesus suffered in His Passion, I inadequately suffer to the extent a human creature can possibly suffer. All of it, at no merit of my own and only because of His Goodness.
Father, is it true that you suffer the torment of the crowning of thorns during the Holy Mass?
– And you doubt it?
– During the whole Mass?
– And also before and after it. The crown is never taken away.
Saint Padre Pio’s Feast Day is tomorrow, 23 September.