FREEDOM IN THE EUCHARIST
In this Third Sunday in Lent I would like to focus our attention on perseverance. The Scripture readings at Holy Mass have a two-fold theme: The Old Testament reading and the Psalm speaks of the commandments; the New Testament reading and the Holy Gospel proclaim the commandments in action. The commandments and the laws of the Church can oftentimes seem to us burdensome. They may appear as strictly restrictions (do this, don’t do that), but when we examine them closer we will discover God had good reason to issue these.
I’m talking about freedom. Freedom, contrary to popular belief, is not the ability to do whatever I want, when I want. God created us to thrive as unique individuals. However, it’s difficult to do so because of the fallen world in which we live, and our own spontaneity towards sin. Authentic freedom is to live the way God intended us to live. This life is to remain within the “narrow path” of what makes us truly happy and fulfilled. And that narrow path is how God has shown us through the example of His Son.
To give an example lets just say that we struggle with anger. Things get under our skin all the time that disagree with us in one form or another and we can’t help ourselves but lash out. Doing this creates instability not only in mind and body but wreaks havoc on us spiritually. We know it’s wrong to lash out, to give someone a piece of our mind, but we somehow keep doing it anyway even though we hate it. This is an example of how sin works in us and God’s command to love and forgive. Our conscience tell us unjust anger is wrong and sinful (Mt. 5:43-44) and it makes us feel awful. But when we choose to forgive and to love we feel amazing! This shows us that we were created to forgive and to love. And by doing so, we are free.
This is just one instance among many. Have your pick: pride, lust, anger, greed, envy, sloth, gluttony, etc. During Lent we temper ourselves to be able to control these nasty desires and temptations. We willingly teach ourselves through our fasts to say “No!” to the temptation to be prideful, lustful, greedy, etc. And do you know where we get the strength (the grace) to do that? The Holy Eucharist!
Jesus is fully present in the Blessed Sacrament just as much as He was when, in righteous anger as we read in the Gospel today, flipped the tables of the money changers in the temple. Let your prayer this week in Lent be for a greater understanding of recognizing your true greatness as a child of God, and how to absorb His grace during Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. You will then know and feel the freedom God wants you to have in Him!