Want to miss out?

8 Aug
Sometimes, the choices facing you seem a bit mixed up; maybe you think you are on the right path, but then someone tries to throw d0ubts your way. 

In a movie, “Listen to Your Heart,” a musician falls in love with a woman who as a child had lost hearing and speech. A friend was urging him to dump her, arguing that he could never have a fully satisfying relationship with someone who could not share his love for music.

The musician responded, “I’m not going to miss out on something great just because it might be hard.”

At Men’s Bible Study, we have been reflecting on our gospel readings for August, namely, the sixth chapter of John.

An important observation was made: “If I had been present when Jesus preached these words, would I have run off with the disbelievers?”

We receive this message now with the gift of faith, with 2,000 years of Tradition and the witness of martyrs to seal our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.

But a second observation was made: “We go to Mass all the time – could not the Mass and Communion  just become something of habit and not really meaningful?”

And here is the question we face today: Do we really believe what we say we believe?

Is it possible for a person can remain in apathy, in an unmoved and unmoving presence, in the face of so great a gift, so great a mystery as the Real Presence? Perhaps, but such a person will soon realize that apathy never replaces sadness with joy, loneliness with belonging and ignorance with understanding. I see a difference between apathy and disappointment, between fear and cowardice, between isolation and involvement. A lot of people today are terribly disappointed and somewhat fearful for their future. They are frustrated by what is happening in our nation – persecution of religion, widespread unemployment, vitriol and pettiness between political parties and candidates for office.

But if you believe in God’s Word and receive faithfully the sacraments of the Church, you are not ignorant or cowards or lonely. You may be frustrated and a bit fearful, but you are not depressed or sad or hopeless.

It’s true to human nature that at times we come to Mass and can’t seem to be “present” to God and community. But these occasions become fewer as faithful Catholics take time to prepare for Mass: Before Sunday, they reflect on the Scripture to be read at Mass; they ask the Holy Spirit to fill them with awe and reverence as well as understanding ; they focus on the reality of the Mass – that great mystery that enables us to stand, in this time and place, under the Cross of Christ, to witness personally our own redemption through the passion and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When we receive the Eucharist, we receive the Real Presence of Jesus, his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. We‘ve said and heard this truth over the last few weeks. But receiving the Eucharist in faith and trust is not the end of the story.

We must become Eucharist. We must become Christ. If we are the Body of Christ, his faithful Church, we are Christ and we have to do the work of the Lord.

Sure, it’s hard work. It’s hard to force your tired and distracted mind to focus on the reality of God and Salvation; it’s hard to admit your sins and to tame your pride as you seek reconciliation with God and the Church. It’s hard to stand over against the engrained evils in society – the tendency to make oneself the center of the universe, the efforts to reduce truth to one’s own preferences and pleasures. But the Cross was hard, too.

It’s hard – but the challenge remains for each of us: “I’m not going to miss out on something great just because it might be hard.”

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