Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. – Pope Benedict XVI
(Gospel Text: Mt 13:54-58)
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
"Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter's son'
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas'
Are not his sisters all with us'
Where did this man get all this?"
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house."
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.
Isn’t it also true that we can become hardened?
Don't we too often get ourselves into a place where our sophisticated "knowledge" of so much can block our ability to be open to mystery, i.e., what we don't know, don't understand, can't yet imagine?
Do these statements sound familiar?
I've asked before, and I didn't get the answer I wanted. I know this priest. We know what he's going to say. I know the prayers by heart. The liturgy is the same each week.
Unfortunately, when we aren't open, Jesus's hands are tied. His Holy Spirit does not penetrate our heart, manifesting itself into service and action in our very lives.
I sometimes think about how we receive the Eucharist - a gift so familiar, almost something that has become "ordinary" to us. I think, in contrast, that whenever a famous person (in fact, even a few people I've never heard of) come to my town for a concert or a talk, an incredible number of people stand in line with great excitement and pay really steep prices for a ticket to sit in a crowd of thousands, just to catch a glimpse at the person, or to say "I was there." And, if we get to get close, or perhaps shake the celebrity's hand or get an autograph, that would be memorable for a long time.
Yet, each Sunday, for many of us (and for some of us, on a daily basis), we are able to receive the "Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity" of Jesus himself. We receive what we call a "Holy Communion" with him. Yet, sometimes we get up in a "communion line" as if we are bored, distracted, focusing on the clothes and behavior of others.
Wouldn't it be an incredible unleashing of Jesus' power, if we were to be really open, alert, and ready for this encounter with him?