Nicholas Stebbing on Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Benediction is a beautiful word. It means a blessing, a greeting, an expression of kindness. That is what Jesus gives us today. And Jesus gives it because God gives it. God gave us the greatest blessing of all in Jesus. Through Jesus God reaches out to bless us, and strengthen us, and reassure us of his loving kindness towards is.
The greatest blessing God ever bestowed on us was the sending of his Son. That was like the beginning of a new day for the human race, like a sunrise bringing light and hope to a dark world. It is a day that will never end, a sun that will never set, for the eternal Son has promised to be with us until the end of the world.
And he is with us today and every day in his Body and his Blood. Just as that first appearing was like the rising of the sun over a darkened world, so today when the Host is lifted up in blessing it is like the rising of the sun upon us and we receive the radiance and warmth of God’s blessing through him whom he has sent.
The blessing given to us in this service today is simply the vivid renewal of that great blessing of God in the sending of Jesus Christ. Just as men in ancient times were waiting for the Lord, eager for a glimmer of light through the gloom, so we who have come to Benediction come with waiting, expectant hearts. We don’t have to understand it, we don’t have to talk much at it. We simply kneel here, telling God we are empty, hungry, and thirsty. Only he can help us. As we sing the hymns and look upon the Host we open our hearts to God, knowing that he who sent the blessing of his Son to lighten the darkness of the world still sends his blessing to us through his Son Jesus.
It is not only about receiving God’s blessing. We also give our blessing. We thank God for his goodness to us all. We adore God for being the wonderful God he is. We adore and praise this Holy Sacramental Presence of Jesus. We don’t just receive blessing and presence from God. We give ourselves to him in love and joy. We don’t need to worry about whether we are worthy, whether we have special gifts, whether we can do good things for God. Here God invites us simply to give ourselves to him in humility, knowing that he accepts us with joy. ND
This homily was given by Fr Nicholas Stebbing CR before Benediction at St Alban’s, Holborn, on 14 November 2015.