There I was, sitting in my coworker’s comfy office armchair, curled up, sipping a huge bottle of Powerade through a straw and concentrating on not getting sick. This is certainly not where I expected to be on a Sunday morning. After going on an easy morning run, I had intended to clean up and head to mass. Having misjudged the humidity, I found myself instead recovering from a bout of dehydration. Thankfully, a student retreat was taking place that weekend, so the office was well-populated on what would otherwise be a desolate Sunday morning.
After taking it easy the rest of the day, I was feeling much better, and able to attend evening mass. The priest asked that we offer a personal intention specifically for this mass, and keep it in mind throughout the celebration. I chose to pray for people experiencing loneliness, especially for young adults like myself, who have left the social environment of school, and do not yet have families of their own. I prayed for a sense of community. In Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus proclaims to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
Hearing Christ’s words reminded me that the Eucharist is a very intimate act. If we want to experience this intimacy, we have to also offer it. We have to bring our own vulnerability to the holy feast. No matter how many hours we spend in prayer, or time we dedicate to good deeds, if we are not being honest with God, we have nothing. Our faith life needs depth, and that means digging deeper into our own souls and pouring that forth in our relationship with God.
My friend Bridget greets a man experiencing homelessness during her volunteer year. Bridget has a gift for sharing her genuine self and forming relationships with sincerity
When I was in high school, my youth minister once said to me: “You only get as much out of mass as you put into it.” As I prayed over my intention, it came to me that building community follows this same pattern. All day I had been feeling embarrassed about having to admit to my coworkers that I was not feeling well and needed help, but that is how authentic relationships work. If we want to build community, if we want to escape loneliness, it means being authentic with each other. It means offering our honesty, our sincerity, our vulnerability. In order to develop those close friendships, we must be willing to offer more than our time. “Putting in the effort” is not enough. We have to put in the depth. We have to be willing to “be real” with people, to openly and honestly share about our lives, even the difficult and challenging parts. Jesus offers us his very being, his Body and Blood. Are we willing to bring that level of intimacy, vulnerability, and sacrifice to our relationships?
Lord Jesus, we pray that we may choose to be a move vibrant part of the Body of Christ in the world by giving great thanks to God for what you have done in our lives at this Eucharist. May we accept your commission to give Eucharistic love to others in the world.
Thanks for stopping by! Never forget that you are not alone. May you know and believe in the power of Eucharistic love. Have a blessed week!