What do you want from Jesus?
Do you come to Mass on Sunday looking for an hour of peace? Mass should bring us “peace” but not simply as an escape from everything else going on in our lives. In faith, we should seek a peace that transcends a moment in time. The peace that God offers is to be in relationship with him and to know that He is always with us.
Do you come to Mass on Sunday looking for something that makes you “feel good” for the hour you are there? Our presence and participation at Mass should help lead us to a deeper joy. The message may be hard to hear in the moment. It may be challenging but the Lord is leading us to something better that lasts for more than one hour on Sunday.
Do you come to Jesus looking for an “easy life”? After all, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Life is easier with Jesus in it but that doesn’t mean life with Jesus is without suffering. Sometimes suffering is exactly what draws us to Jesus.
Yes, in the above passage Jesus says “For my yoke is easy, my burden light.” However we must remember He also says, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Just as Jesus took up his Cross to save us, we must be willing to take up our cross to follow him. In accepting our cross we are uniting our sufferings to his. It is only in taking up our cross that we give it to Jesus.
What do I want from Jesus?
I don’t simply want an easy physical life in this world. The Lord offers us much more than we see in this world. In Isaiah 25:7 we read, “On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations. He will destroy death forever.” If we see this world as all that there is, death becomes a veil that hides eternal life in Heaven. Death is the veil that keeps us from seeing what we are created for.
Jesus tells us “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24). Do you cling to your life in this world or are you willing to let go of earthly things to find the life that the Lord offers us?
What must we do to have the life that Jesus offers? Jesus gives us the answer in his Bread of Life Discourse (John 6) when He says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (John 6:53). It is the flesh and blood of Jesus that we receive in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. It is the source in the grace we receive in the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is the summit in that it is the greatest thing we celebrate.
When we come to Mass, we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Yet, our participation at Mass is more than just receiving the Body of Christ. We begin with readings from the Bible to us know and understand how God calls us to live. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are celebrating the sacrifice that Jesus made when He gave up his body and shed his blood for us. We need this every week. (For more the Mass, see my three-part series, Uncovering the Treasures of the Mass).
From hearing God’s Word and celebrating Jesus’ sacrifice in the Eucharist, we are then called to “Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your lives.” We are called to go out in the world, led by the Holy Spirit, praising God with works of mercy and sharing our faith, living our faith as Jesus has taught us. (For more on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, see my presentation, The Journey to Jesus: Acts of Mercy).