Addicted to Jesus or Why I Dread the Parish Mission

I’m probably the last person people would expect to say they dread the parish mission. I have been to some awesome mission talks at the night sessions but as a working person mission priests make attending daily mass pure torture. I remember one mission where I was unable to receive for 3 days. You see the most important part of the mass is not the homily but receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. It is pure torture to sit there during a homily as the minutes roll by and it becomes uncertain if you will be able to receive that day. There are times I want to yell stop already, give me Jesus.
Do we have to go over the directions for the mission over and over before beginning mass? Can they not wait until after people have received Communion so that those who work can go? I wonder if you really understand the Eucharist and why people receive Communion at daily mass.
It is much more than a ritual to me, more than gaining grace for eternity. Jesus came so we might have life and have it abundantly. He longs to pour grace upon us, not just grace for eternal life but also the graces we need to cope with in our daily life.
It is in the daily Eucharist that I received the grace I needed to take care of my mom the last year of her life. It is in the Eucharist that I received the grace to handle the stress of walking into a home not knowing if the person I will be taking care of will be dead or alive. It is in Communion that I received the grace to cope with watching people I’m close to deteriorate day after day.
The Blessed Sacrament was the source of the patience I needed to teach junior high, to cope with demanding principals and bosses. It gave me the grace I needed to work in customer service and deal with irate customers and also to deal with the drudgery of retail work.
Working people need the Eucharist. It is not a luxury, something nice to do but a very real need for the grace to cope with the demands of modern life.
Jesus wants to be received in the Eucharist. He wants to pour out His love and grace upon His people. He wants to meet people where they are and bless them. He longs for them to come to Him. It is a part of the reason He created the Eucharist.
It is difficult enough to work and attend daily mass. Very few bosses care about our spiritual lives. Please give me Jesus and save all of the unnecessary directions and comments for the end of the mass.

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Sick of Inflategate

Are you sick of Inflategate, the football controversy where allegedly the New England Patriots gained an unfair advantage because a mysterious someone let 2 pounds of pressure out of 11 footballs used against the Indianapolis Colts? Shocking isn’t it? A pro football team trying to get every advantage in a game that wasn’t even close! Isn’t this the most important news since the death of Osama bin Laden?
You think that nothing else happened in America. What are our priorities? This same week marked the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Once again about 400,000 people marched for life in Washington yet the weekend version of USA Today ignored it. The death toll approaches 58 million yet Inflategate is much more important. Neither Hitler nor Stalin was responsible for so many deaths. That should be shocking. Abortion killed more Americans than all of our wars put together. Abortion killed 1000 times as many Americans as the Vietnam War so why isn’t Liberal America trying to stop it
Over a third of all African-American children have been eradicated by Abortion. Where are the Civil Rights leaders fighting for African-American lives? Where are the athletes who supported the protests in Ferguson and New York? Why don’t these black lives matter?
What kind of people have we’ve become where the air pressure in a football is considered more important than the life of a child, never alone thousands a day. Why were these footballs more important than the atrocities committed by Gosnell and other late-term abortionists?
Doesn’t all this make you proud of the American media?

The Wrong Question

The Wrong Question

Yesterday, the day before we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, an African-American woman in my church was asked if she felt uncomfortable being the only black person in church. That was the wrong question to ask. We should be asking how we could get more African-Americans and Latinos to come to our church. We should be wondering what we are doing wrong.
We have to remember that Jesus died for them as well as for us. He loves them as much as He loves us and He wants them to know the great love that He pours out in the Eucharist. He didn’t create the Catholic Church so that only certain people could fit in. The word catholic means universal, everyone belongs.
Secondly, Africans have a long history in the Church. Ethiopia was Catholic before Ireland. Before the rise of Islam much of Northern Africa was Catholic. There were even 3 African popes, Pope St. Miltiades, Pope St. Victor I and Pope St. Gelasius.
Today the Catholic faith in Africa is growing by leaps and bounds. There are missionary priests coming to America from Africa. The Catholic faith is probably stronger in Africa than in many parts of the U. S.
Do we remember our own history in the U.S.? Until we proved our patriotism in World War II Catholics were considered a minority in the U.S. and discriminated against. American history classes will tell you that the KKK was against 3 groups during the 1920’s, Catholics, Jews and African-Americans. Even in the 1970’s there was prejudice against Catholics in parts of the South. How can we be prejudiced against anyone

The Way the Church Is Supposed To Be

Weren’t the crowds attending mass this Christmas awesome? Don’t you wish it was like this year-long? Actually, this is the way it is supposed to be every Sunday, not just on Christmas and Easter. This is the way Christ intended things to be. Our challenge is to figure out how to bring these people back to mass and the Church.
The first thing we have to do is clear up people’s misconceptions about the Mass. Too many treat it like an obligation, something they have to do rather than something we are privileged to do. When you think about it Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon never had the privilege of receiving Jesus.
The Mass is not something we have to do like punching a time clock but an encounter with the living God, the God of Infinite Love who passionately wants to pour out His grace and love upon us in the Eucharist. In communion we encounter Jesus in all of his divinity, power and glory, the same Jesus who healed the paralytic, raised Lazarus from the dead walked on water and fed the 5,000. This is the Jesus we receive, one with all of His majesty and power not some watered down version of Jesus.
Too often we have been like the people of Nazareth who couldn’t get past the fact that this great miracle worker was someone they grew up with, the Carpenter’s son. How could He perform miracles? And due to their lack of faith Jesus did not performed any miracles in His home town.
Aren’t we the same? We go to mass expecting nothing, hoping at most for a short or interesting homily. We give no thought to the God of power and might, the God of miracles, who comes at the Consecration. Too often our attention is on who is there, what people are wearing or where we are going for breakfast or lunch.
Jesus came so that “we might have life and have it abundantly”. He is the “same yesterday, today and forever”. He is present in all of His Divinity and power in the Eucharist and He longs to bless us just as He blessed the people of the Gospel and He knows what is best for us. Remember the story of the paralytic whose friends lowered him through the roof. The first thing He said to him was your sins are forgiven.
Jesus longs to heal us in mind, body and soul. He waits for us in humility in the Eucharist so He could pour out His blessings upon us. Our job is to open ourselves up to the graces He so ardently wants to give us and allow Him in the Eucharist to change us into the people we were created to be.
The Mass is so much more than something we have to do. It is such an opportunity to be blessed beyond our imagination by the God who loves us with infinite love and mercy, who has so much to give us. There is so much that we are missing out on because of our misunderstanding the Mass. We have to get the word out.

We Need the Eucharist

A few years ago my parish had a mission based on the changes in the mass coming in Advent. The priest giving the mission started by asking why we went to Sunday Mass. As I listened to the various answers I kept thinking a better question would be why we don’t go to mass as often as possible. Don’t we know how much we need Jesus in the Eucharist? Don’t we realize how desperate are the times we live in?
So often we get slammed by the world. We’re battered and beaten so much we feel like Rocky. Over and over we get hit with bad news economically. Unemployment is still high. We feel uncertain about our jobs. Prices are sky rocketing. Record prices are predicted for gasoline next summer. The European Debt Crisis has the Stock Market reeling. The future seems to be a frightening place.
So many people have been rocked by natural disasters. Tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, freak snow storms, hurricanes and flooding are just a few of the disasters this year. If you weren’t affected you probably knew somebody who was.
Many families are rocked by bad news medically. A five-year old has leukemia. A 34-year-old has breast cancer. Our parents suffer from dementia. How many people do you know who are hurting from illness?
How many people do you know who are suffering, from illness, addiction, unemployment or underemployment, the economy, abuse or family strife, or natural disasters? How many do we know suffering from the wars? We know so many people who are hurting who need our prayers that is overwhelming.
How do we cope? How can we endure such difficult times? Where do we get the courage to go on, to face the future? The answer is in receiving the Eucharist as often as possible. Each communion is an opportunity to encounter Jesus and be blessed by Him. He longs to bless us, to give us the graces we need.
We have to realize that the Eucharist is pure love. Human words cannot describe the intensity of the love present in each host. Present in every consecrated host is Jesus Christ. Do we realize how much Jesus loves us? Jesus loved us so much He decided to make Himself present in the host to us. This is the same Jesus who loved us enough to be scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified for us. The same Jesus who carried the Cross on His whip torn back and shoulders to Calvary out of love for us is present in the host that we receive. We will never understand how He does this until we reach Heaven but why is simple. He loves us more than we can imagine. If we were to combine all the love we’ve ever felt or experienced in our lives it would not match the immensity of the love Jesus has for each person who receives.
The Jesus who is present in the Eucharist is the same Jesus who walked the roads of Galilee and Judea. He is the same who healed the lepers, the blind man, the lame, the paralytic. He is the same Jesus who raised the daughter of Jairus and also Lazarus from the dead. This is the same Jesus with all His compassion and power.
Just as Jesus poured His love and blessings upon the people of Palestine He wants to pour His love and blessings upon us every time we receive Communion. Every Communion is an opportunity to open ourselves up to His incredible love and awesome power. The only limit on His gifts is our openness. Too often we seek only material blessings or just go through the motions of receiving Him. We go up the aisle expecting nothing to happen and that is what we receive. We need to open ourselves up to His mercy and love. He knows best what we need. All we have to do is approach him honestly asking for the best He has to give us at this moment.
The Eucharist is life itself. Everything we need to be really happy will come to us through the power of the Eucharist. It is here we receive the power to change to become loving human beings. It is here we receive the grace to turn away from the anger, negativity, self-centeredness, and impurity that surrounds us.
There is no limit to the graces and power of God. There is no limit to His generosity. We can never imagine the immensity of His love or the blessings He wants to give us. We can never trust Him too much. He longs to grant us all that we truly need and more.
Unfortunately we have forgotten what a privilege it is to attend mass and receive Jesus. So often even on Sundays our pews are empty. Too often the attraction of mass is the opportunity to see our friends rather than to encounter Jesus and experience His love. Too often Father is the main attraction. We need to change this. Our emphasis needs to be on Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. We need to point to Jesus and proclaim His desire to be with us now, to bless us now, to overwhelm us with His love. We need to teach people how to open themselves up to the graces He longs to pour upon us. We need to help people to approach communion expectantly in joyful surrender knowing that God will bless them beyond their imaginations. There is so much that Jesus wants to give us, so much He wants to do for us, so many blessings He has for us. We need to let the world know. Jesus is here. He wants to bless you, to make your life better. He waits longingly passionately. He waits just for you.