He Just Couldn’t Help Himself

There’s just something heart-breaking about the beauty of God. When we have this encounter with God and it is clearly the most beautiful thing we’ve ever known, it slips away and hearts yearn for it again. Or when we see someone else having this face to face encounter with Christ, and we feel nothing, and we want that. Just how beautiful God is always seems just outside of our reach. We just can’t grab a hold of it and keep it for ourselves.

But that’s the Gospel, isn’t it?

That our God is so unreachable, so far away, it seems sometimes. But he comes to us anyway. He makes himself available to us anyway. He puts His life into us anyway.

A couple of years ago, I went to Lifeteen Inspiration at Six Flags Magic Mountain as a Seminarian for the first time. I had been a bunch of times before as a teen and as a peer leader/junior core. That time though was so stunning, to be up on the altar, to see all of you teens out there, in awe of Him Who has come down to us, so humbly in the form of bread and wine.

Now, I got a chance again to join you all again this time around. It was a last minute thing, but I’m so glad I went. I was glad, because so many other Seminarians went that they didn’t need my help (not that I don’t like being up there at the altar). I was so joyful because I got to be with you all, pray with you all, sit on those uncomfortable bleachers with you all, kneel on that concrete with you all, sing Let It Go” with you all, dance to Taylor Swift with you all (ok, not really my thing).

And through it all, with you all, it really struck me: I could have been anywhere else, doing anything else. I could have been up at the altar, I could have been out on the roller coasters, or stuffing my face with funnel cake. But I wasn’t. I was there with you, not because I had no other choice, but because I just couldn’t help myself. It was just a part of who I am and what I do, and it moves me.

And if that’s true about me, simple as I am, as much as I do things just because I want to, sometimes, how much truer is that about God?

Just look at the Eucharist. It’s Jesus having given himself completely to us. There’s no other way we can receive Him more intimately, more powerfully, than for Him to put His Body and Blood into our bodies and our blood, so humbly, so intimately in the form of food and drink, bread and wine. But you know what almost drove me to tears preaching about this this morning?

He didn’t need to do it.

It’s not like He had no other choice.

He just couldn’t help Himself.

He could have ignored us. He could have passed us by and forgotten about us.

But He just couldn’t help himself. Our God is love. And because He is love, it’s just who He is. It overflows out of Him and into our hands and into our mouths and into our bodies at every Mass. Oh! If we could only learn from this self-giving love and see that that is what he wants us to do too! We have every choice in the world to not love those around us, to ignore those who need our love the most, to refuse the love of our parents and our family members and our friends.

But if we pay attention, if we really keep our eyes on Jesus in the Eucharist, we’d realize that if we loved like He does, we just wouldn’t be able to help ourselves. We would love. We would be just like God.

-Tim

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