I am obsessed with setting goals and then trying my best to meet them. Whether it’s my family, my weight, exercise, or any other activity, I always find myself aiming high. I guess you could say that I have a real “Type A” personality—with all of its good and bad attributes.
One of my most significant goals is tied to the Mass: I want to sense the presence of the Lord. So after Mass is over, I always ask myself, “Did I meet my goal? Did I sense God’s presence?”
One of the ways I try to achieve that goal is by looking at the cross during Mass and repeatedly saying, “Thank you, Jesus.” I must say it fifty times! I think about Jesus walking the earth two thousand years ago. I think about who he is and what he was willing to do for me and for all of us. And then I say, again, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Another step that I have found equally helpful comes when the priest consecrates the bread and wine. At this moment I always see myself as an unworthy sinner. But then I thank Jesus because he came to forgive me and to fill me with his life and love. Thoughts like these make me all the more eager to receive him in Communion.
If I accomplish these two steps, I usually meet my goal. I sense Jesus’ love for me and I feel his presence as I am worshipping him after Communion. Then, when I leave Mass, I am filled with joy, hoping to do great things for Jesus. That’s why I love to go to Mass.
Fix Your Eyes. At every Mass, we have the opportunity to come in touch with the beauty of the gospel message. We can hear our heavenly Father tell us, “I spared nothing, not even my own Son, for you.” We can hear Jesus tell us, “I gave all of myself for you, my brothers and sisters.” And we can hear the Holy Spirit tell us, “I want to fill your heart and guide you every day of your life.”
This Easter edition of The Word Among Us has one primary goal: to help you come into the Lord’s presence during Mass. Together, let’s resolve to come to the liturgy ready to receive God’s grace. Let’s fix our eyes on the cross and focus on what is happening on the altar. As we do, we’ll find Jesus showing us more of who he is, what he did for us on the cross, and what he wants to do for us today.
Finally, I want to extend a special note of thanks to all the parents who bring their children to Mass each week. I remember how hard it was for me to keep my focus when my children were young. Sometimes it went well, and other times were more challenging. But the reward was worth the effort. So I want to honor and applaud your efforts. You are being blessed in a special way—even if your kids take ninety-five percent of your attention! Never forget Jesus’ words: “Let the children come to me” (Matthew 19:14).
May God bless all of you as we celebrate this glorious Easter season.