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The love of God isn’t virtual — it’s real and it’s in Person at every Mass, waiting for us

by | Aug 29, 2021

An attractive, likable woman who’s running for local office was lamenting the fact that knocking on doors in neighborhoods to share her message with voters just wasn’t working out as well as in previous races.

“Two years ago when I ran, we found that 35 percent of people would answer their door. Now, everybody’s got Ring and it’s down to like 13 percent.”

The popular video doorbell camera system she’s referring to enables people to “answer the door” without ever leaving the couch. It’s a clever tool that surely increases security and peace of mind for those who have installed one of these systems. Still, it contributes to an ever-increasing de-personification trend. From Zoom meetings to FaceTime calls to ordering your groceries online, we’re able to avoid a lot of in-person encounters these days. That’s great during a pandemic, but what about the long-term implications?

What does it mean when a society is broken down into millions and millions of phone zombies who’d rather curl up on the couch with Netflix than interact with a living, breathing human person, eyeball to eyeball?

It means trouble.

From dwindling memberships in service organizations like Rotary and plummeting church attendance, it’s easy to see that people would just rather stay home, thank you. It’s more comfortable.

Then there’s this age-old excuse that came way before the COVID-19 pandemic: “I don’t need to go church. I can pray at home. Besides, I don’t get anything out of it anyway.”

Where were you, The Soulful Catholic remonstrates, when the catechist explained that you can indeed pray at home and you should pray at home but that you need to gather with the Christian community each Sunday? That we go to Mass to honor the Lord and thank Him for all His many blessings? That the Mass is the un-bloody renewal of the sacrifice on Calvary in which Christ gave His life for us and in which we renew our pledge to Him? That we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in Holy Communion?

Oh. They didn’t explain that? Well, now you know.

We have the privilege of attending Mass and the actual freedom to do so in a country where they don’t blow up churches on a regular basis, so much so that no one blinks anymore when that very thing happens. (Did you know more than 3,500 Nigerian Christians have been martyred in 2021 alone? Right. The mainstream media isn’t reporting that.)

Here’s a counter-cultural insight: Life is not all about convenience and comfort and consuming. It’s about serving and loving and giving, just as our Lord Jesus demonstrated by giving Himself completely for our salvation and inviting us to share in His life through the Eucharist. He told His followers “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for the many (Matthew 20:28).”

That’s right. He didn’t send salvation to us through a thunderbolt. He showed up in person, in the flesh, to sweat and bleed and weep alongside us and show us the way.

He’s knocking on the door of our hearts, hoping we will allow Him to enter there and reign, hoping we will receive that Bread which gives life. Hoping we will come out of ourselves and realize we are not alone.

Eucharist means thanksgiving and it is with thankful, humbled and repentant hearts that we dare to approach the Sacrifice of the Mass each Sunday — more often, if possible. For it is there we prostrate ourselves before that great Mystery of the life, death and resurrection of the One who set us free.

Free to love. Free to serve. Free to be there in person, face to face with the great I AM.

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I can still picture the middle-aged man, Stephen, standing in our driveway, a huge grin on his face.
“I knew it!” he exclaimed. “I just knew it. Catholics do know Jesus! They’re not bad people!”
What an unforgettable conversation that day. Stephen had been our bug guy for several years, coming out every quarter and helping to stem the tide against scorpions, black widows and other nasties that tended to disrupt the harmony of the Soulful Catholic’s humble homestead. The outline of the fish on the back of his mini Toyota truck gave evidence of his Christian faith and, impressively, he usually found a way to bring Christ into the conversation. Every. Single. Time.

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