Passing on messages can be a challenge. It’s one thing to talk to a person who represents a tail wagging puppy, and another who is a roaring lion or another who yawns in your face, looking for a soft chair to snooze.
I realize that Jesus is indicating that He is looking for someone to bring his message to others. A lot depends on how do I take in his message. If I don’t really hear it, understand it, take it to heart, I really don’t have much to say.
When the celebrant finishes the gospel he says, "A reading from the holy gospel…Matthew, Mark, Luke or John." We make a sign of the cross on our forehead, our lips and over our hearts while saying, "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ." If anything is going to really have an impact in my life, I have to try to understand what’s being said (cross on the forehead), put it into my own words (cross on my lips) and finally, stir up the love and fire within (cross over my heart). Does this mean that I can be a passive spectator at Mass? No.
Do I understand the scriptures thoroughly? There is nothing more to learn?
Do I say I feel comfortable speaking about what I have heard? Can I bring those beautiful stories, sayings, parables to life through my own words and examples?
Do I sense in my heart the ongoing challenges to my love for God, for those around me and for myself, in a concrete way?
What’s the possibility of asking my spouse, my kids and friends on the way home this weekend "so how did the readings at Mass touch you?" What a wonder-filled experience this could be.
Fr. Peter Berendt, C.P. is a member of the staff at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center, Houston, Texas.