Just over the recent Christmas break, I had the opportunity to travel back to my hometown and spend about two weeks with my extended family. It was such a wonderful time of rejuvenation, connection and fun. I am blessed with an incredible extended family that is a huge source of joy and support for me. One part of our daily routine is to go to daily mass. My son loves daily mass and so this is helpful in getting us there each day. There is something so comforting about hearing the same words of consecration over and over. In saying that, though, some of the words seem to wash over me as opposed to through me. That is not the case for my son, however.
Seemingly out of the blue, in a completely unrelated context, my son will ask me the meaning of some bits of the mass. He really wants to know what the words mean, why we say them, what is the significance both historically and personally, etc. During one of these question periods, he asked me what it meant that Jesus entered willingly into his passion and death. Why did he enter willingly? I am pretty sure I stopped short in my tracks, as he asked me during a grocery shopping trip, and realized the significance of that one word: willingly. I realized that I had never really ‘heard’ the word ‘willingly’ and had never contemplated what that meant for Jesus then and for my own life now.
I let it sit with me for a while and told him I could discuss it on the way home from the store. I had tears in my eyes, both with gratitude at what a gift my son was to me, helping me on my faith journey and also to Jesus in terms of knowing that he entered his passion and crucifixion willingly. It really got me pondering about how I enter situations in my own life, especially ones that I think will be a sacrifice for me to do. Do I enter these situations willingly? Or do I enter them begrudgingly, hoping for them to be over as soon as humanly possible so I can rest or do what I like to do? What is the point of making a sacrifice if I will just be mentally complaining in my own head while I do it? Where is my spirit of self sacrifice as modelled by Jesus for us, especially when He knew the terrible time that he was about to face?
As I enter this new year, full of uncertainty, I have decided to make a new kind of resolution: to enter more willingly into service and efforts for others; just as Jesus did that we hear when we attend mass. One homily talked about looking at any situation as a blessing or a curse and I think this is the perfect frame of mind to ensure my new resolution bears fruit. Is it possible for you to do the same?