Tag Archive: Jesus and Me


BE JESUS!

this-is-my-body

At Mass today, at the Consecration, a thought came into my head. I was not thinking along these lines, but there it was… “This is as it was at the Last Supper”! Jesus standing there facing his Apostles, and saying over the bread, “This is My body”.

Why? Why did He do this? Why would anyone say or do that? What did he intend, when He said, “Take this and consume it, for this is My Body”. He gave us a sign of Himself just so that we could remember Him? No, He gave us Himself! With this blessed bread, He told us that He would always be with us. But more than that, He told us that we were to become like Him, become Him.

Through this simple but profound statement, He told us that we were to be Him, and bring Him, through our lives to others. Our sufferings were His sufferings. Our headaches, our worries, our pains, our fears and tears, all of these are to be accepted and carried FOR Him. Accepted? Why would we accept these? This attitude of acceptance is contrary to how the world views them. But there it is, nonetheless. Yes, we are to willingly and even lovingly accept these negatives of the world and turn them into positives. Don’t misunderstand this. We are not to revel in the pain and suffering, but only willingly accept it, and not complain about it. Our willingness to bear these trials in our life for Jesus, is our acceptance of Jesus’ Words and Love into our lives.

Only then, when we are united with Him, can we bring Him to others. The love, the joy of being with Jesus at that Supper becomes part of us and this is what we bring to others. The world does not see suffering as something to be embraced, but rather to be shunned. This is because the world does not see Jesus’ hand stretched out to it. He continually says, “Come take my hand and be Me. Come see the joys and love that I offer you. Come to Me and take Me to the world, by your actions, by your love.”

This is what Christianity is all about, striving to bring Jesus to the people we meet, we encounter, and we live with. Accepting Him is more than a nod of our head, a weekly encounter with Him at Mass. No, to be a Christian is rather an embracing of His life and making it our own. His sufferings become ours. His patience becomes ours. His love for others becomes ours. If we really want to be Christians, then we must become Him.

1) Life’s Actions
2) Our Strength
3) Let Me Use You

through him 1

I would like to focus our attention on a portion of the Mass which, I believe, is not well-understood. But, before we go there, think about the start of your day. You get up in the morning, brush your teeth, (or possibly, like me, retrieve some of them out of their soaking liquid). You then get dressed, go into the kitchen, have a cup of coffee, and maybe a Danish, or a donut. Kiss the husband or wife and the kids, and off to work you go. Wait a minute…let’s go back a bit. Did we forget something? Did we thank God for this day that is starting? Did we tell Him of our love? The prayer, The Morning Offering, goes a long way in doing all these things. In it, we tell Him, of our love, our joy, and most importantly, we dedicate all that we think, say and do that day, to Him. This day, there may be pain and suffering, but we offer that, as well. In our gratitude to Him, we tell Him that our day is dedicated to Him. However, you do know that if we say this in the morning, it makes it difficult to offer that finger gesture, that curse word, that flash of anger to Him. Doesn’t it? I guess we have to watch what we think, and say and do.

Okay, let’s move on. Say it is a Sunday, or a special occasion. This morning you are going to church, to Mass. It’s someone’s anniversary, or, someone who you love is very sick and you want to go to Mass, or, you are attending  a wedding and nuptial Mass, or it is simply a Sunday. What I am saying, here is, you find yourself at Mass. The readings are said. The priest’s sermon (homily) is given. And then, the priest begins the Offertory. (Oh, yeah, I know. That is when they take up the collection.) Unfortunately, THAT is the portion that was being alluded to in the first sentence up above. (Go up and re-read it if you want to. I will wait.) This portion of the Mass is not well-understood. Yes the collection is taken up, but much, much more is happening, something much more personal.

The Offertory is where we can offer ourselves (and mention all of our concerns, our intentions, like sick family members, the dying and deceased family and friends). But what is it that we are really offering? Do you remember earlier when we were talking about the Morning Offering? It was then that we offered to our God, our joy, our love, and every thought, word and action of the day. But isn’t that really like an ant saying to YOU, “Take these efforts of mine, they will be good for you.” Our intentions, no matter how noble; our offerings, no matter how fine; our lives, no matter how good… we are still like the ant giving what we have to Someone infinitely greater than ourselves. You might say, “Then why bother?”

We say that prayer in the morning, every day, so that, when we next attend Mass, we can put all of those offerings on the paten (the little gold plate) together with the bread that will rest on it. The monies collected (representing our sacrifices made to and for others), our thoughts, words and good actions of prior and future days, these are what we bring to the Mass. Our daily offerings are gathered up, and together with the bread and wine, are made holy, through Jesus. All of this is totally associated with the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross. The priest softly utters Christ’s words which He said at the Last Supper, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”. By this far-sighted loving action, before His death, Jesus enables mankind to rise up from its depths and legitimately praise their God. These words will transform these natural, everyday items, resting on the paten, into Christ. But, you know our offerings are resting there, as well as the bread and wine. Our acts of love for one another, our concerns for others, our acts of generosity, all of these are transformed also. If we are capable of doing anything good, it is only because of the love of Jesus within us. Our lives, puny as they are, are made noble on that paten and they will be offered up to God. This is not blue-sky stuff. This is not make-believe. This is the love that God has for His children, His divine plan. We need Jesus to be in our lives, to be part of our lives. Otherwise, we are just so many other animals walking on this earth.

In this way, our insignificant lives become noble and suitable gifts to God, our Heavenly Father. The priest even says later on in the Mass, as he holds up the Consecrated Bread and Wine, now Jesus’ Body and Blood, “Through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” To which we simply reply, “Amen”, (Yes, I know. Yes, I believe that.”) For we know, that without Jesus’ sacrifice, all of our morning offerings would be meaningless.

Forgivenss

Recognize that Christ instituted this sacrament out of love for us. He recognizes our inabilities, our problems, our sins and He responds with the gift of forgiveness. Seven times seven. Infinity times infinity. He is a loving God, a forgiving God.

We enter the confessional with maybe some fear, some uneasiness. Try to eliminate that immediately. Think of Jesus saying, “Let the little ones come to me.” To him we are children, struggling, tripping and fighting amongst ourselves. He wants to hear us call out to Him and tell Him we are sorry. Sorry for the sin, yes. But more importantly, sorry that our lives caused Him to suffer and die.

We are either kneeling or sitting before the priest. “Bless me father, for I have sinned…” Keep in mind you are not talking to a judge, to an executioner. You are talking to a priest, a fellow human being, who also struggles and trips as well. “Judge not, lest you be judged.” He is there to encourage you, to aid you, to help you in understanding yourself.

So what do you, an adult confess on your first time in the confessional? To list every sin, every mistake made, every fault would be an impossible task, and an extremely long one, at that. In the days prior to your first sacrament of reconciliation, it would be good to look for patterns in your lifestyle. Start now. Start looking at areas of your life that are leading you towards a way of life that you know is wrong. Remember the slippery slope mentioned in the talk on Reconciliation. Every imperfection, slides down to something less correct, until we hit rock bottom and commit something severely wrong. (Example: You don’t start out as a murderer, but someone who dislikes people, then bullies these people, then … then… then…)

We are where we are today, by all that has happened in the yesterdays.

Look at your life. Look at those things in your life that cause you to close your eyes and shake your head. Those things, of which you are really ashamed, of which you know that you shouldn’t be doing, they are probably what you need to mention first. The purpose of this sacrament is NOT, “let’s see if I can squeeze forgiveness out of the priest.” It is “what are those things that are preventing me from embracing Jesus”.