As a human person, Jesus had His earthly family, that most precious of relationships, but we also know that He had friends. If you can imagine, a person who is love incarnate must have had many dear friends, people whom He accompanied, people who accompanied Him.
Scripture tells us, in the story of The Raising of Lazarus, He even wept for his friends.
Jesus wept because He loved. It is a love that came from interaction. A love that came from relationship. It came from spending time together. Even now, we are called to this, to spend time with Him, to become His friends.
We are not strangers to our Lord. He knows us, each and every one by name. He has always known us.
Such is His love for us. But His love goes beyond a relationship with friends. He calls all of us to His very Self.
We know that our Lord could have handled all of His work by himself. That was well within His power to do, yet that is not what He did. Instead, Christ called the many disciples to follow Him. He called them from all different walks of life. Fishermen, tax collectors, Jews and Samaritans, poor and rich, sinners… called all of them to a life in Him. He called the disciples to relationship both to Him and to each other. He called them then, as He is calling us now. He calls us to become Church.
The word Church means “congregation,” which comes from “to congregate” or to “put together.” We are meant to be together.
So, what is there to learn from all His calls to us? What do we learn from His desire to be among us? What do we learn from His time as a child and man, son and friend, teacher and redeemer?
We learn that our Lord is not a solitary God. He shows us that He is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His very substance, His nature, is relationship. He is Community, and He knows that we need that too. That is why, when He instituted the Eucharist in that upper room millennia ago, He left himself behind as a gift to us in the consecrated host. Sustenance for us to help encourage, maintain, and nourish us while still here on Earth.
In the Eucharist, Christ is tangible, fully present. Those who believe and are fully initiated into the Faith can commune with Him directly during the Sacrament of Communion. What a great gift for us! We pray that we become what we eat and that, from that union, we may be as Christ is in this world.
Our Lord humbles Himself so greatly from His love for us. He splendidly, yet humbly, comes forth whenever the Priest consecrates the Host at Mass. The Mass is truly the greatest of prayers. It is both sacrifice and banquet.
Our Lord is majestic. We owe Him thanks, praise, adoration, and the gift of our presence, even outside of Mass.
We are always called to be Church, not just on Sundays. We are called not just some of the time but all the time, and not just here but everywhere.
Yes, we are His friends and His disciples. He came so that each of us can have a personal relationship with Him, that we may behold Him who loves us! This call to relationship is so that our eyes can see what our hearts already know, that He is King, that He is God, and that He cherishes us. Are we ready to answer His call?
Let us pray: All-loving Lord, our beloved. You came to offer us the gift of Your love. You call us friends, Your beloved. Help us to accept You into our lives, that we may walk together with You and our brethren on the path home to Heaven. We are thankful for Your love. Amen.
Dearest Eucharistic family,
Blessings as we enter ordinary time!
The week after Christmas, I was home alone cleaning up the house after a beautiful and lovely full-house of company. It was about 1:00 a.m. when I finished dusting, mopping, and putting things away. I was ready for my head to hit the pillow when I went to put my glass-bottom cheesecake pan up on the highest shelf. Yes, I dropped it. It was made up of glass beads which shattered all over the house as the pan hit the ground. Looking at my image of the Divine Mercy on the wall, I said to Jesus, “Well, I guess it’s not time for bed yet, Lord!” In my conversation with Jesus, the clean-up of glass became a prayer.
The thought of cleaning up in love so my daughters, husband, and I would not cut our feet on the glass inspired the grace to do what needed to be done. The responsibility to clean up the mess was a priority, something I had to do, yet following the star of our lives, Jesus, it was not a burden.
Like cleaning up the glass, we have a responsibility to pray for our loved ones, for ourselves, and all our Lord has entrusted to us. To protect our loved ones from the cutting, cunning darkness that surrounds us, we have the power to pray.
As we enter into ordinary time, let us live in the wonderment of conversing with God throughout our ordinary days and unexpected events that come our way. Our prayers, like cleaning up the beads of shattered glass, help us in fortitude get through this journey of life.
With so much going on in our world and with so many intentions coming our way to pray for the ones suffering, how can we imagine getting through the brokenness of life without prayer? Without prayer, we would be confronting life without God, who makes all things possible (Mark 10:27).
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the highest prayer. Jesus, in His true presence, desires to listen to us. Waiting to be in conversation with us, “He makes all things new” (Revelation 21:4-5). Jesus comforts us in His peace as we live out the mystery of our lives.
Sometimes things are so shattered that they cannot be put back together this side of Heaven. However, we can pray, trust, and hope we will find some resurrection from the crosses of life, knowing that God will bring a greater good out of everything we ask in His holy name.
Although I loved my old baking pan, my husband was able to order me a new one.
Our daily plans, relationships, and life may not always go as expected. God will bring something new to us and create anew in us as we offer all to Him.
In the excerpt below, Saint Peter Julian Eymard reminds us of the poor windows that let the bad weather in. The turbulence of life, the unexpected and unforeseen things that come to our days, will bring us closer to the Providence of God and form our hearts in the love of God found in the Eucharist.
Opening our hearts to God’s life in us evermore is a gift. Being mindful of the inner cenacle, the place where our souls are affixed to the altar of God, will keep us in the process, just as Saint Peter Julian Eymard expresses. Prayer forms our acceptance, enfolding us in the promise of what is to come. Receiving Holy Communion is our grace this side of Heaven.
“Dear Daughter in our Lord, better late than never! You surprise yourself in the process...Surely, when nothing is regulated, we don’t find time to do anything serious or of consequence. It isn’t necessary to regulate everything in detail: it isn’t possible. But should plan our day in the morning, foresee some major thing that must be done. Five minutes of preparation would be helpful. I like your penance at twenty. Later you will reduce it, we must rest to renew our strength. It isn’t the weather outside which is at fault, but poor windows which let it come inside.” (Letter to MME Mathilde Giraud-Jordan IV18/19/March 18,1869) - Saint Peter Julian Eymard
I will never forget the day we both lost our jobs. My husband and I were working at the same place…our first job straight out of college. The hours were flexible, and our boss was great. We were both learning new things and were very well paid for our work. We even liked our co-workers and played ping-pong in the breakroom when we needed a break. It was truly a dream job.
I still remember the day when our boss stopped by my office and said to stop whatever I was working on immediately and go to the conference room. “The company has decided to close this office,” we were told. My husband and I looked at each other first and then looked around the room. Our hearts searched to identify the fellow passengers of this proverbial boat we were now all in. Each searching, bewildered, in shock… trying to make sense of what we had just been told. Yet also experiencing a strange comfort in knowing we were not the only ones going through this, in knowing we were not alone.
The following two weeks were bizarre as we continued to show up at the office, but there was no work to be done. We were all working on our own resumes, on finding our next job. I remember walking into my manager’s office and breaking down crying as I began to talk. He passed me a box of tissues. “Here, this is what these are for.” I never thought I would be getting pointers from my managers on fixing my resume. Most people have to hide that from their current employer, but we were all in the same boat. It didn’t matter that our particular circumstances were different; he was also looking for a job.
This is the memory that sticks; that feeling of companionship, that experience of grieving as a group, that look we gave each other as we walked by in the hallway…the look that said, “I know… I understand what you are going through; I am here with you. You are not alone.”
I sometimes wonder how different that experience would have been if we had closed in on ourselves. What if my husband and I had battened down the hatches and pretended no one else mattered? What if we had thought that taking care of our family meant ignoring the suffering of those around us? I believe we would have survived, but I am convinced we would have been worse off. We find solace and hope in our shared humanity, in accompanying one another, in the strange comfort of knowing we are not alone.
Earlier today, a friend asked if anyone else was having difficulty concentrating lately, and I immediately related. I told her I think we are all experiencing grief. A global grief for what was, for all the lives lost, for many big and little losses. I told her that I was going to try to name it, accept it, and give myself permission to grieve. And to my surprise, the simple action of acknowledging our shared grief somehow lifted the weight a little, made it easier to breathe.
When you feel lonely, look up… look around… behold… Jesus is waiting in the eyes of our brothers and sisters.
Over 2,000 years ago, our Lord was born in a humble manger. Born of the Virgin Mary, Most Holy by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord, God himself now dwelling amongst us… He could have chosen to come as a grown man in the fullness of His power, but that was not the Divine plan.
In all love and humility, Christ Jesus chose to be born, just like most of us, into a family. Our Lady Mary was specially selected so that our Lord would have a most exemplary mother. Our beloved Saint Joseph was chosen specifically so that our Lord would have a pious foster father from the House of David, a special protector. By arranging this situation for His birth, it is clear that God values the wholeness of the human family and understands perfectly the strength of the personal relationship. With His most blessed Incarnation, our Lord shows us that He came to establish an authentic, personal, and human relationship with us.
Think about this. Our beloved Jesus, the second person of the Trinity and the Lord of Heaven and Earth, chose to dwell amongst us. Fully present.
Our Lord of Lords and King of Kings is worthy of all recognition, adoration, and praise, yet the announcement of His birth was presented to only a few poor shepherds through the words of an Angel. Why?
Christ came for personal relationships, and His relationship to the poor and the humble is very special indeed. Christ teaches that the poor are first in the Kingdom of Heaven, and so it was that the humble shepherds were the people invited to the first-ever exposition of our Lord.
While Christ was in the manger, the shepherds from all the fields around Bethlehem came to witness the Lord Jesus and beheld Him for the first time, prostrating themselves before Him in adoration.
And we read that after their first Eucharistic Adoration, after they experienced that personal relationship, after that communion with the child Jesus, the shepherds went out everywhere glorifying and praising God. They were gifted with the clarity of recognition. They were gifted with the conviction of understanding. They were gifted with the fullness of awe, and for that, they rejoiced!
Now we, His people, have our Lord Jesus available to us all the time, at every Mass, whenever there is Eucharistic Exposition, whenever we have access to a Chapel, and even in personal prayer. Are we aware of Him? Are we in awe of our Lord? Do we go out and glorify Him with our lives? Do we rejoice in the discovery that our Lord is here to be with us?
Today, like every day, is an opportunity to work on our relationship with God. We must learn from the shepherds how to be poor, humble, joyful, and in awe of our Lord. We must learn to approach and acknowledge God personally.
Do we give thanks to the Father for His love and mercy as Jesus taught us? Do we give thanks to Christ for His Word and His perfect sacrifice for us? Do we acknowledge and invite the guidance of the Holy Spirit into our daily lives? With all the love, trust, and humility that we can muster, let us take advantage of the opportunity this life presents us and invite God into our days. He is actively waiting for our call.
Let us pray: All-loving Lord, our beloved. You came into the world to redeem us and show us your perfect love. You came to establish a personal relationship with us. Help us then to see You in everything. Help us talk to You often, keep You in our thoughts, and ask for Your guidance and help. Help us see You walking with us in this life. Amen.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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