Can you think of a generation of any age with our loneliness and our fears? In the midst of a revolutionary communications technology there are more lonely people around now than at any other age: we are filling our nursing homes and senior citizen apartments with millions of lonely people – we leave them with their TVs and their cats to fend for themselves; as if TVs and pets can fill the gaping void of the human heart. More people commit suicide now than at any other age; more people are mentally sick now. And think of the fears we have. We are living in fear of drunken drivers, street muggers and terrorists. We are living in fear that our children will end up junkies or alcoholics; we are afraid of recessions and depressions and a million other real and imagined fears.
And yet, the Lord is with us, waiting to lead us out of these forests of fear, these dungeons of darkness and the deserts of loneliness into the paths of freedom. Do you remember the woman in the crowd who touched the Lord and was instantly healed? Do you remember Zacchaeus who changed from being a tyrant to a generous philanthropist because the Lord entered his house for a moment? Do you remember Mary Magdalene who sat for awhile by the Lord’s feet and listened to His words: how she received the gift of peace after years of sin and dissipation? We read these gospel stories and think of the blessedness of these short encounters of humans with the Lord. But think of the blessedness that has been granted us when we have the Lord present with us, accessible to us, near us, all the time in the Eucharist.
At every Mass, on the altar, bread will be broken again, and will we recognize Jesus? Or are we so preoccupied with our own problems, or worse, have we become so indifferent to the miracle of the Eucharist that we do not want to recognize Him? Can anyone touch our brokenness and heal, touch our sinfulness and forgive, touch our guilt and atone, touch our fear and reassure, touch our loneliness and console, touch our despair and redeem? And this is exactly what the Lord in the Eucharist can do for us.
Every Sunday, or every day that we come to Mass, ought to be the day for us to celebrate the great miracle and mystery of God’s love for us in the Eucharist. It is also the day for us to turn to Him with deep faith and He, we can be sure, will wipe our tears, bind our wounds, call us by name, and take us by hand and lead us to joy, peace and happiness. How truly blessed are we!