Is the eternal banquet your first summer destination? – July 2023

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves (Matthew 11:29).

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Where have you found Jesus in your daily living? I ask this question hoping your first answer will be, “I found Him in myself, in the depth of my soul.” I ask this question hoping your second answer will be, “I found Him in my family, friends and neighbors; and in strangers whom I just met.

Jesus offers Himself in every possible way to guide and walk alongside you. Through the gift of the Eucharist, He never leaves you. His invitation is open and gentle; but you have to respond to His invitation. Otherwise, you close yourself from Him and you turn to what St. Paul describes as living according to the ‘flesh’ instead of allowing the Spirit of God to dwell within each one.  Then with Jesus, you create a hope-filled world as you become a tabernacle or dwelling place for Jesus.

Think about how our world might change if each one agreed to come to the eternal banquet and thus a dwelling place for Jesus. During the summer months, you would use the time for prayer.  You might start the day praying the Liturgy of the Hours offering all that you are and have and come to receive to God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. You would pray a blessing at each meal, whether partaking privately or publicly. You would make sure that the celebration of Mass was the first ‘destination’, instead of a theme park or the swimming pool or golf. You would attend to the needs of others; noticing those in need and offering them a place at your dinner table through the donation of food; or you might distribute food from Catholic Charities of Central Florida or your parish food bank. You might take a drive to visit family you have not seen and forgive whatever has kept you apart. You might avail yourself and your family to the Sacrament of Penance, even though it is not the season of Advent or Lent, the focus of which can be reconciliation.   

Jesus reveals Himself to us. It is a revelation of the knowledge or experience of God’s very self.  You come to know God through the person of Jesus. You come to know God through the person of Jesus as you take His yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. He will refresh you to begin His mission anew each day. He forgives you when you leave Him and calls you to forgive the trespasses of others. He is the masterful servant. 

Jesus defines the divine gift of freedom, forming your conscience to believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. He calls you to truly understand that the gift of life is a continuum. It is not just believing in the divinity of conception. The divine gift of freedom acknowledges the sacredness of each person so that your love for the person transcends his/her life from conception to natural death. By participating in the eternal banquet and receiving Jesus, you are given a special charge to love one another as Jesus loves you all the days of your life.  That love transcends all and cannot be parsed out as you determine. The divine gift of freedom requires your prayer, reflection, and action. 

Freedom is often found in offering to God what is hardest to give up. Pope Francis said, “What matters is that our trust is placed in the Lord of the universe, who loves us immensely and knows that we can build with him something wonderful, something eternal.” The person who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. May your works give thanks to the Lord that you bless Him.

Take the yoke of Christ and rest in Him. The ‘rest’ is an embodiment of Him for all ages.