Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mass Reflections

Last week's readings didn't give me an 'Aha' moment, but it did give me a thought to ponder. I drove out to Mesa early last Sunday to pick up my friend Alicia. I listened to Mass on the way out to get her and during the homily the priest talked about this passage from John 1:35-39-

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
"What are you looking for?"
They said to him, "Rabbi" - which translated means Teacher -,
"where are you staying?"
He said to them, "Come, and you will see."
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.

What's so special about the time? The priest mentioned that the disciples noted the time as being important. It doesn't say anything about it being the Sabbath, or some other reason that the time would be important. It was important to the disciples because that was the moment they found Christ. 
Now, I know to my protestant friends and family this is kind of a 'well duh' moment. As protestants we almost all know the moment we 'accepted Jesus into our hearts'. Cradle Catholics don't have that experience in the same way. Born into the family of faith in baptism as infants, it's easy to forget the milestones and moments when one encounters Christ for the first time. But, where protestants have one central prominent 'meeting' with Christ, Catholics are blessed with many such times.

First communion, first reconciliation, and confirmation are all milestone encounters with Christ. Catholics tend to honor and remember those times differently than protestants, with celebrations and family gatherings (and hopefully with good, solid catechesis).

We also encounter Christ in a very real way every time we go to Mass. Not just in the 'where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am too' way, and not just in his Word (although both of these are very important ways we meet Christ), but in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

Each of these personal encounters with Christ is worthy of remembering. His Word, His Real Presence, His Church, all these are designed to set our hearts on fire for Him and to bring us closer to Him.

Remember them all with as much intensity as the first disciples did, as we did when we accepted Christ, and when we took our first communions.

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