Monday, August 31, 2015

Does something keep you from going to church? Do you realize that Christ is always present there in spite of distractions? - Daily Reflections August 31,2015

Nazareth was an extremely small place during the time of Jesus. Not more than 250 to 300 people lived there. Everybody knew everyone, so gossip must have been a common pastime. Everybody knew Mary and Joseph. The rumor that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus had not died down even after more than 20 years. We know how rumors can destroy the reputation of a person. The people in Nazareth probably would have accepted Jesus if He had worked some spectacular miracles there as He had done in other places. But He did not. Jesus did not do things to please the people and to be praised. He always stood up for the truth. This makes us think about ourselves and the way we act and speak in our communities.
         A second point is interesting. St. Luke tells us that Jesus went to the synagogue “as was his habit.” We know that Jesus did not agree with all that went on and was taught in the synagogues. He often violated the rules observed there, such as when He healed on a Sabbath inside a synagogue. And yet, He went “as was His habit.”
         I have met several Catholics who told me that they don’t go to churchanymore. Some do not like what the Church is teaching; others find the church too noisy and would rather watch the Sunday Mass on TV (note that by watching the TV Mass, they have not fulfilled their Sunday obligation). They give many reasons for not going to church, but are they valid?
         The very fact that Jesus went to the synagogue, “as was His habit,” shows that Jesus looked beyond what He could not agree with. He saw that the synagogue service is, first of all, a meeting of the people of God. Then the Word of God is proclaimed and explained there. It is a time of prayer and of uniting as a community with God.      
         That is what happens when we celebrate the Eucharist — no, even more, because Christ Himself is always present. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Does something keep you from going to church? Do you realize that Christ is always present there in spite of distractions?
Lord, I often feel distracted when going to church and I am tempted to pray alone at home in peace. Let not other things keep me away from You.

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