"We come for Jesus"

Archabbot Lambert Reilly talked tonight at the second installment of the parish mission at St. John’s. His presentation covered a lot, and I can’t say as I remember it all.

But he mentioned the true gift we have in embracing Jesus, as real on the altar in the host as he was at his birth. What an extreme gift we have in the Eucharist and the Holy Mass. I think it complimented Dr. Howell’s presentation last night at St. Charles very nicely.

Yet despite the amazing gift of the Eucharist, we all too often think too much about the “how” instead of the “what”. We all have liturgical preferences. And we all like our priests one way or another. We even, from time to time, think (or worse, say): “That priest should never have been ordained.”

But let’s take a step back. We have quite a gift in the Eucharist. We ought not get too caught up in petty grievances we have with our clergy or some custom in practice in our parish that we are at odds with. (Unless, of course, it differs from Church teaching. Then we are justified in our disagreement; but we must act on it with prudence.)

What’s necessary for Jesus to become present is a duly ordained priest (whether he spent the previous night in adoration for five hours or in a brothel), bread and wine (no matter the brand), and an approved Eucharistic prayer (the Canon or a short one).

That’s it folks. And Jesus, the God of the Universe, becomes present to us–present to nourish us, strengthen us. And bring us into communion with him and the Church. We end up with peace.

But we certainly don’t get peace fretting over the priest’s habits and other petty things that, in the long run, don’t matter as much.

This is not to say that form and “smells and bells” don’t matter; they do, and there is theology behind it all. That’s why we use them: they do bring us to a more profound meeting with Christ.

But it is to say that we ought not focus too much on “the way we want it,” and focus more on the profound gift God extends to us. God comes to us even if there is no organ, even if the altar is a card table, even if the priest spends his free time in sin. And THAT is something to be grateful for, and THAT is what we come for.

I need to remember this.

4 thoughts on “"We come for Jesus"

  1. This is true yet sometimes when youth discover for the first time that a parent, a priest, a person that we've tried to teach them to be respectful of…fails big in an obvious way, then oftentimes the faith of that youth is shakin mightily. You and I can separate things in our minds and hearts and know better. Sometimes youth discover these things without our knowledge and sometimes are even fearful of talking it out and we never know why they left the Faith, so for adults it may be one thing, but to a youth, it could be another. No, it shouldn't matter and Christ is there. I think we just have to somehow help our children to understand as they are growing about these things better, but sometimes, it is plain difficult how to word this with them, if you see what I'm saying. For me…I like your post and I do agree. Thanks again, Mike..since we didn't get to this mission at St. John's.

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  2. Suzanne:

    How true. I hadn't considered it from that point of view. I wonder what Fr. Archabbot would respond!

    But his presentation was clearly geared towards a certain crowd–a crowd who might find themselves at odds with some liturgical changes on the horizon or at odds with various clergy.

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  3. Mike,
    Yes, I did figure that out too.
    Kevin,
    I fully believe you know and love the Church and I am so happy for you.
    Always hold onto what you've learned in good times and in bad. Always know the Church loves you and you are home until you leave this earthly place. I also know you are thankful for the Church and for your family who have given you good example..great example, actually! Remember in your prayers those of your age that do not understand and seem to have the gift of Faith that you hold onto..pray for them and help them understand what you can when the opportunity presents itself. I only wish I could express this to my son and all of my children for that matter..some connect it all so well and some aren't there yet or are holding back. There are many young people though who do not have the same parental example and they may hear or see something from a priest or Catholic adult that is very hypocritical and because of their immaturity or lack of good support from family, fall away..never to return or only after a very long sad while. That is what I was also trying to express and for sure didn't mean all of youth. Anyway, God bless you both! đŸ™‚

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