The bottom line is - if we don’t want the Eucharist, we don’t want Jesus. And if we have left the Catholic Church, we have turned our back and abandoned the Eucharist. What this means is that that we have denied and turned our back on Jesus. I hear so many of us lamenting that we have decided to leave Mass because we “just don’t get anything out of it”. Wait, excuse me? We don’t get anything out of the Mass? This absolutely boggles my mind. I do get it though, now. Because I too, until very recently, had been very poorly catechized, although I received a “Catholic” education from the time I was in first grade through 8th grade. I too, regrettably sought fulfillment in superficial aspects of the Mass and neglected the true miracle that erupts on the altar every day. I got caught up in the music, and the feel good postures of holding hands and the cheeky exchange a peace greetings with friends and family. I let the superficial hinder my focus and concentration on the true Sacrifice that we come to offer up each Sunday, and every other day of the week.
If we aren’t offering Sacrifice, then we aren’t worshipping God in the way that he has outlined and dictated throughout all of human history. That 500 or so years ago, a certain segment of the “Christian establishment’ decided that this was no longer necessary or needed, is outrageous. Do we offer worship according to our own passions, desires and self-supposed needs, or do we offer sacrifice according to how the Scriptures and Tradition have outlined the practice from the very beginnings of the Bible, in the Old Testament? It seems that for most of us, pride, arrogance and the sensational stirring of our desires and passions have gotten the best of us, and have determined how we worship the Creator of the Universe. So many have decided that we know better and more than the God and King of our Existence and we have created our very own worship services that sooths our appetites and itches for pleasure and self- actualization.
We can even see this to a certain extent within the confines and dictates of the Holy Mass, where individuals assume their own postures and practices instead of abiding to the postures and practices outlined in the rubrics. Unfortunately, what is missing in all of this is God, because when we fall prey to our passions and what we want, we lose focus on what God wants for us, and what will truly make us holy. Worship is not about us. Worship is about God. We will become what we worship, which is the major problems seen in society today. We have become self-serving, selfish, relativistic people, because what most of come to worship on Sunday is ourselves. We don’t focus on God, the focus is on us. It is evident even at Mass - in the songs we sing, and the postures we assume.
It is evident in the lack of reverence we show in the house of God, the immodest dress, and the lack of prayerful atmosphere. We enter God’s holy temple and chit chat with our neighbors, fail to bow or genuflect before the tabernacle and then become distracted immediately once prayers and sacrifice has begun. We fail to realize that we have entered a space devoid of time, where the veil between Heaven and Earth unites in a Sacrifice that transcends this existence of ours. And we miss it all. We miss Jesus, we miss the miracle, we miss the healings and the forgiveness, we miss the community of Saints, the call for sanctification, that can all be ours if we only remove the distractions and enter into the celebration entirely. That does require sacrifice, and even some self-denial.
It involves a love for God that causes us to do what He wants, desires and even demand of us and for us. It involves relinquishing our will to His, because He knows what we need, and will give it to us, even if it hurts and causes us suffering. It requires that we Trust our Heavenly Father, because he is love, and desires what is best for us, and what is best for us, is to be with Him for all eternity. When all is said and done, the only thing that matters in this life and in this world, is our getting to the next one, to be with Him in his Glory and Majesty forever. Truly, what does it matter if we gain the whole world but lose our souls in the process? Think about this Sunday, wherever you find yourself, and determine if you really are where you must and need to be – either spiritually, physically or even emotionally. Rid yourselves of the emotional desires that we all yearn for and instead come to know what God desires for you. You will only find Him present physically: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at the Mass – in the Eucharist. Do you want Jesus?