What is at stake here? As the teens in Confirmation preparation this year can tell you, in the words of Matthew Kelly, “You’re here to become the best version of yourself,” not a “second-rate” version. Life is about making choices, saying yes to the things that help you in this quest and no to things that don’t. It sounds so simple. Yet some days even before the Angelus bells ring at St. Luke’s (at 7:15 a.m.!), I can be off to the races with my own perspective, judgments, and anxiety leading the way, responding to circumstances, demands, and expectations in ways that do not reflect the best version of me.
With a focus only on our own obligations, needs, and desires, we can rush from one thing to another, barely remembering where we’ve been or what we’ve done, or who we have met along the way. There are treasures of connection and beauty, and opportunities for growth and learning, that we may miss completely in the midst of our rushing about. A choice we can make to help us become our best selves, to open up that wider lens described by Richard Rohr, is to participate in worship. This can give us the time and space to focus and to practice surrendering to what God and the moment are offering.
This weekend we have the opportunity to focus on the profound gift of the body and blood of Christ offered to us in the Mass. Because it is a sacrament and a mystery, even when we receive the Eucharist frequently, we can approach it without a lot of intentionality. Writing in America magazine, theology professor John Marten reflects: “Sometimes I find myself in a line-up with a bunch of strangers, shuffling down the aisle in church, and I forget that I am standing with my family on the pathway to heaven about to partake of the body and blood of Christ offered once for all time for the salvation of the world. Perhaps you have walked down that aisle with me?”
It seems to me we are all walking down that aisle together. No matter where we are on the journey, we have moments of forgetfulness, distraction, fear, and judgment. It’s so easy to feel that we don’t belong, that we’re not being attended to, that nobody is paying enough attention to us. I imagine Jesus experienced some of those feelings along the way. But right now, Christ is inviting us to let go of our ideas about finding happiness on our own. He is inviting us to allow him to transform us through our participation in the Eucharist. May our sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ together nourish our friendship with God and with each other.
Take your next step:
Spend some time reflecting on how Christ may be working to transform you through the Eucharist, on what choices help you to become the best version of yourself and what choices do not. Identify one thing you will say yes to this week, and one thing you will avoid, to help you become the best version of yourself. Consider offering these choices to Christ when you hear the words “the Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.”