Healthy Diet

I love this time of the year in our lectionary cycle. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road, and we get some concrete instructions on how to follow Jesus. Let’s face it; being a true disciple is hard, especially when it’s often even hard to decipher what that means for us. Sometimes it even feels like the longer I seek to be a disciple, the less clear the path becomes. The messages we are inundated with throughout our days can be daunting. Just when I think I’ve found the path, the weeds creep in and suddenly, it’s not so clear anymore. The scariest part of losing your way, though, isn’t realizing you no longer know where the path is taking you. It’s far worse to have known where you were, and when you turn around, you find that the path back is just as covered with weeds as the way forward.

This is a bit like what happened in my own faith story. Like so many Catholic parents, mine put me on the right path on September 13, 1975, the day I was baptized. They taught me how to pull weeds when I was seven; I still remember that, when I went to confession, all my weeds had to do with fighting with my brother. On Mother’s Day that same year, I received the True Food and True Drink for the very first time. And, admittedly at the time, the most exciting thing about that day for me was that I would finally be getting my ears pierced the next day.

Somewhere in my teens and into my 20’s, I stopped going to Mass. The Holy Spirit had hold of me the whole time I was gone. After a few of my own half-hearted attempts to bring a little religion back into my life, the Holy Spirit led me to the Mass with the eyes of my heart wide open. If you feel like your path, or the path of a loved one, is choked with weeds, don’t lose hope. To the Holy Spirit, the way is always clear. The Spirit showed me the way to the Bread of Life, the Mass, the very Source and Summit of our faith.

In the Eucharist, Christ leaves us the very nourishment we require to become and remain disciples. This idea was shocking to many. In fact, many of his early followers seem to have left after falling prey to their own doubt, but Peter and the rest of the disciples remained. After all, it wasn’t the first time they’d seen what Jesus can do through the sacraments that he was leaving with his church. Each sacrament takes something very basic in the world and turns on its sacramental powers. Sins washed away in Baptism by water. Illness, even death, reversed with oil, or sometimes, just a human hand. Now, the simplest of breads and some wine are used as the means for us to deepen our relationship with Jesus. We meet God in this mysterious and dramatic way: God gives himself to us, and we try to shape our lives into a loving gift for Him.

God wants us to approach Him with a hearty, almost starving, appetite. This way we will begin to be formed by the sacrament, not mechanically, but by allowing ourselves to become more and more like Him over the years. I know that everyone’s lives get busy and that summer weekends are precious and few here in Minnesota. Mine are like that, too, but I try to eat at this Table, as often as possible. Maybe it’s because I spent too many years away from our Church, and I remember how different I feel now than I did when I wandered around, unaware that I was starving to death.

Now that I see the Feast, I can no longer be content to just snack here and there. Try that with a regular diet, especially when you still lead an active life. In little to no time, you will be fatigued and defeated. In the same way, if we don’t feast on Christ, we will be ill-prepared to face and overcome the world, and we certainly will not live the life that Christ offers. I know I don’t want to lose my way again, so snacking just won’t cut it for me.

My prayer for each of us this week is this: That we will…Believe him. Receive him. Taste him. See him. Become him. Amen.

Lisa Amos
Pastoral Associate

 

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