Immersed in Christ: April 27, 2020
Monday, Third Week of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 119) confronts us with an either-or choice: “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.” Either we have decided to do that or we haven’t. If we have, we need to begin with what God says we should live for.
In John 6: 22-29 Jesus is blunt about what should be the goal of our life: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life.” He is equally blunt about where we find that food. It is “…what the Son of Man will give you.”
There it is: an either-or choice. Take it or leave it.
It is quite possible many of us have never confronted that choice. Not seriously. Not explicitly, as a crucial decision we have to make. (“Crucial” comes from crux, meaning “cross.” A “crucial” decision is one we face at the crossroads of life. A direction-setter).
Why are so few teenagers interested in reflections like these? It is because many are not conscious of setting a direction for life. They have short-term goals: text a friend, pass a test, take a trip, work on their appearance, make a team, win a game. At most they may be thinking of getting into a particular college or preparing for some career. Some may identify fulfillment in life with a career or a happy marriage. Pitiful, but true. Few even suspect there is a larger picture. They are not looking for anything except what “perishes.”
And let’s be honest: the last place they think they will find real joy and fulfillment in life is through relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let’s be even more honest. In this, aren’t most adults little better than teenagers?
Acts 6: 8-15 invites us to look at self-identity. People are willing to murder Stephen just because he is calling into question their national and religious identify as Jews. They see him changing who they are. He is threatening their religion, nationality and culture all combined. They will kill him for it.
Most of us grew up with three identities we took for granted: family, nationality and religion. Would you kill to keep living as an American? As a Christian? As a (insert your family name)? Would you die rather than give up any one of them? Have you ever really thought about what each one means in your life? You received all three without choosing. Have you ever personally, consciously, deeply chosen one or all of them?
In every Mass the Presentation of Gifts invites you to choose your religion. Deeply and personally. Do you do it? Do you place yourself on the altar each time, with the host that represents you, to offer yourself to God as you did at Baptism? Do you focus all your life’s hopes on what “the Son of Man will give you?” Does desire for this rule every choice of your life?
Or would you have to say, to be truly honest, that in what is most important in life you are not really looking further ahead than a teenager?
If you participate in Mass “fully, actively and consciously,” the Presentation of Gifts” will give and sustain focus in your life.
Initiative: Don’t fly blind. Focus on the goal and keep your eyes on it.
View Today's Readings Here