Ordinary Time, 19th Sunday (B) We are on a pilgrim journey to Eternal Life, and the Eucharist is food for the journey. Every Sunday is a pilgrimage to your local Catholic Church. Through the mystery of the Eucharist, we stand on the hill of Calvary and kneel at the foot of the Cross. Jesus offers himself as the perfect sacrifice for my sins and yours.
Remember Adam and Eve? The two thieves, the loincloth and the crown of thorns point back to the sin of our first parents. These clues remind us that God has not forgotten their sin -- not to hold it against them, but to atone for it. The cross is the Tree of Life and the Body of Christ is the fruit.
We begin Mass by confessing our sins. Before receiving Communion we say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." The Mass is dripping with our need for repentance and new life. Do you want to start over? Bring your regrets to Jesus.
I often get the question, "Father, I keep committing the same sins over and over again. What do I do?" I have a novel suggestion: stop trying not to sin. Where Jesus is, there is no sin. If we find ourselves repeatedly sinning, it is because we need to invite Jesus in or turn something over to Jesus. Draw near to Jesus. Stop trying to do it yourself. Invite him under your roof and receive forgiveness, healing, and new life.
This is the symbolism behind the Offertory at Mass. The money that is presented represents your successes and achievements that you are offering to God. The bread and the wine, made from crushed grapes and ground grain, remind us of our failures and regrets. We give it all to God, we put it on the altar, and he blesses and transforms it.
Every area of my life that I have struggled with, God has used for grace. When I turn these areas over they become sources of healing, hope, and new life -- not just for me, but also for the people I minister to. Bring Jesus your mistakes, failures, and regerts, and let him give you new life.
Going Deeper: What did I offer at Mass today? What should I be offering on the altar the next time I am in Mass? Is there a place in my life that I need to give to Jesus or welcome him in?
Next in the series >> The Holy Mountain: An Hour in Heaven | #1139
Icon of the Resurrection | Image Source | Thank you to my staff and parishioners for your patience and support this first year.