|Memorial, Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian
1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
Psalm 40:7-8, 8-9, 10, 17
“I hear that when you meet as a Church there are divisions among
St. Paul admonishes the Church of Corinth for not maintaining the proper attitude during the celebration of the Eucharist. In order to ‘do this in remembrance of [the Lord Jesus]’ they must have the attitude of self-giving and aim for unity among all present. This made me reflect on how my own parish welcomes individuals at Masses; and how I as an individual interact with others around me. Do I greet friend and stranger alike? Do I introduce myself to people I see often, but do not know? Am I tolerant of the little children’s activity? Am I impatient with the older person with the walker that is going so slowly?
How am I treated when I attend Mass at another parish? My children have commented often on ‘friendly’ churches. We have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit especially in the American Southwest so we have experienced Latino churches, Native American churches, rural churches and churches in smaller towns and cities. I think the big city churches could learn something from the smaller churches. The clichés always say country welcomes are insincere and they just want to know your business. In my experience their curiosity has always been one of sincere interest and easy acceptance. Can I be as easy and secure of myself and reach-out to strangers in my church? Even people I see on a regular basis, but have never spoken to?
In the Gospel today Jesus is impressed by the faith of the centurion; a Gentile. Would He be impressed with my faith? Would He find me impartial? Would He know me as a Christian because of how I love others, even strangers and enemies? Do I find God in all things, especially other people? Are my ears open to obedience? (Ps 40:7) Do I delight in God’s will? (Ps 40:9) Do I announce justice to the vast assembly? (Ps 40:10).
Today’s readings leave me with many questions about myself and I am not sure I like my answers to a lot of those questions. Jesus is Eucharist. We are grains of wheat destined to become Eucharist. We are bearers of Jesus, echoes of His word, reflections of His presence. His love is not meant to be exclusive and selfish. Jesus is always “sending his disciples forth”; sending us forth beyond ourselves. It should be a simple thing to reach out to others at Mass. Why don’t we do it?
St. Ignatius’ prayer comes to mind: “Lord Jesus, grant that
I may see you more clearly (in my fellow humans), love you more dearly
(in all things), follow you more nearly (through loving and serving others
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