The actor and comedian Jim Carey said this: ‘I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of, so they would know that’s not the answer.’ It is always good when we see our economy doing better. I know it doesn’t affect every one of us directly, but it is encouraging and at least it means there are more jobs around. Yet how is it that despite better times economically, we don’t seem to be much happier? There is often more pressure on people to ‘succeed’ and we have less and less time for the ordinary things. Everyone seems to be mad busy trying to get money. Suicide is on the increase and so is the rate of crime. So what is wrong? We thought we finally had it all together.
I believe one of the reasons is that we forget that we are body and spirit, and that we have to look after both sides of ourselves. We are experts at looking after the body, but most people are extremely ignorant when it comes to looking after the spirit, or soul. No amount of money, or work, or the right house, or car, will bring us happiness, because there is an emptiness inside us that material things cannot and will not ever fulfill. This is the spiritual side of ourselves, which can only be fulfilled by what is spiritual. Sometimes it takes a death, or serious illness, to make us wake up to this fact.
Sometimes we forget that our life comes from God, and that He is the only one who can keep us alive. We say, ‘God didn’t give me my life, my parents did.’ Our parents gave us our bodies, but not our soul. That comes from God and that’s what will live on when we die. God gives us our life and God is the source of our life. So to fulfill the spiritual side of ourselves we turn to him, because He is the only one who can fulfill us and make any sense of why we are alive in the first place.
When Jesus taught the people about the Eucharist, he said, ‘If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.’ ‘Whoever eats me, will draw life from me.’ There it is from the mouth of Christ. This is where we will find fulfillment, in Jesus and we receive Jesus in the Eucharist every time we receive Holy Communion. God makes it so easily available to us, so that everyone can receive it if they want to. We won’t find fulfillment anywhere else. God is the only one who can fulfill us and this is why Jesus is constantly inviting us to spend time with him and to receive him often. But you object: ‘I don’t have time!’ Let me tell you a short story.
Mother Teresa, who founded ‘the Missionaries of Charity’, recalls the following experience. Shortly after she had begun her work among the poor and there were only a handful of them working together, they found themselves being overwhelmed because there was a huge amount of work to be done. They were struggling to cope, because the needs were so great. They prayed to God and asked him to show them what they should do. And they felt that the Lord was telling them to spend an extra hour a day in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This didn’t make any sense to them since they felt that they already didn’t have enough time to work, so how could they give an extra hour to prayer? And yet they really felt that this was what God was asking them to do so they decided they would try to be obedient to it. So they began to give an extra hour a day to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an hour less to work. What happened? After a short time many more people began to join the order soon they had many extra people to help them with the work.
If you give time to God He will make it up to you, because God will never be outdone in generosity. God is inviting us to discover him again, to make time for him again. You won’t find the time, you have to make the time and I guarantee you that for every minute you give to God, He will make it up to you.
It is important to remember that while Jesus is humble enough to give himself to us in Holy Communion, we should be careful about how we approach him. He has come for sinners; that is true. And we are sinners; that is also true. But if we receive the Eucharist often we should also confess our sins often. God has given us the gift of Holy Communion, but He has also given us the gift of confession, so that we can be free of sin and so that we can approach him as we should, with humility. That is why we begin every mass by acknowledging our sins. This is one place where we cannot demand rights. Before God we have no rights. Everything from him is a gift. So we should confess to a priest, especially if there is something serious that we have done and don’t say that you have no sins. In the first letter of St. John he says: ‘If anyone says they have not sinned they are calling God a liar’ (1 John 1:10). This is God’s word. Would you dare to say the Word of God is wrong? It is a great gift to be able to confess our sins and be free of them. Don’t be afraid to because it is for our benefit. God works through the priest and it doesn’t matter how holy or sinful the priest is. It is God’s forgiveness you receive, his gift to you, so that you can be free. The priest is just the instrument. In the same way, it doesn’t matter how holy or sinful the priest is when it comes to the Eucharist. God will be present just the same, because God would never allow his presence to depend on a priest being holy enough. Hopefully the priest does live the kind of life that God asks of us, but either way, Jesus is present just as much in the Eucharist.
If we have emptiness within us, it is because our spirits are starving and there is only one who can satisfy that hunger. ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in them.’