I remember one woman I had the privilege of working with in RCIA, who ultimately decided to become Catholic because of the Eucharist. She had experiences in other denominations that held celebrations of Holy Communion, but they did not see the Eucharist as the real presence of Jesus Christ. When she realized what the bread and wine truly became in the Mass, she stated that she could not truly be whom she wanted and needed to be without weekly participation in Mass and reception of Eucharist. After she became Catholic, she soon became a daily communicant for this very same reason.
In The Life of a Christian Steward: A Reflection on the Logic of Commitment, published by the International Catholic Stewardship Council, one reads, “To be most effective in service to God and humankind, Christian stewardship must stem from the liturgical worship in the Church. Here one finds the supernatural motive, the word of faith, and the grace necessary to get the job done.” Then the document quotes John 15, with Jesus teaching, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” The reality is that without nourishment from the vine, Jesus, the branches, you and I, cannot bear fruit and will wither and die.
During this Easter season, recommit yourself to the Eucharist. Come to church in time to calm your heart and mind. Be attentive and participate. Be mindful of your actions, your senses, and your intentions. Approach the Eucharist reflecting on the reality that you are encountering and consuming the actual Risen Lord. Do not let moments in Mass pass you by without reflection. Then, you will find the nourishment needed to bring the Good News of Easter to the world. You will be equipped to “get the job done.”
The next Avengers movie is almost here and superheroes in film and on TV seem to be taking over. As a person who sometimes still feels like a little kid at heart, I personally love it. I remember when these types of movies or TV shows were few and far between. When a Superman movie here or a Batman movie there came out, it was quite an event. But now, this genre is everywhere, and as the genre matures, gone are the bright-colored suits and an over emphasis on supernatural powers. Now the heroes seem to be more and more like us. Characters like Daredevil and Arrow are ordinary people who encountered things in their lives that made them extraordinary. I think these characters are connecting with people more than alien beings that have super strength and can’t be killed by bullets. These heroes are super, but they have similar vulnerabilities to us all.
I was thinking there are people I encounter everyday that fit this description. These people bear much resemblance to superheroes. They protect the innocent and keep those who need protection the most out of harm’s way. They endlessly give of their time, talent, and treasure so that others may have rewarding lives. Often times, they have sacrificed their own security and no one really sees the enormity of that sacrifice. It is not uncommon for them to be awake in the middle of the night while the rest of the world sleeps, keeping watch and waiting for any trouble that might brew. When they have seemingly no strength left, they still muster up something that allows them to continue in their job. And because of their lifestyle, they have to sometimes forfeit other relationships, devoting themselves to cause that means everything to them. With all this, they still easily feel the pain of their battles and as strong as they seem, they are not completely invincible. Each new day brings new challenges and new villains to battle. They are superheroes and super stewards. They are parents.