The Thirst

Have you ever butt-dialed someone? When you see on your phone that there’s an active conversation, you probably asked, “Hey, did you call me?” That’s kind of like prayer. We’re a little confused on who made the call (even if you don't know it). It can feel like we are the ones who wanted to speak with God and picked up that good ol’ God phone, but that’s not actually how it works.

Prayer is ALWAYS a response to God. We desire to pray because He desires to speak with us; much like in this Sunday’s Gospel. The Samaritan woman thought she was thirsty. Jesus offered her water that would make it so that she would never thirst again, and she was totally interested in that. However, it was Jesus who was thirsting. He was thirsting for her—for her salvation—just like He is thirsting for us and our salvation. You think YOU’RE thirsty? He’s way thirstier.

The Move

We ask God for a lot. Think about some of your recent prayer requests. Maybe something like: “God, I know I didn’t study for this test, but can you help me do well?” or “God, I know that girl/boy doesn’t even know I exist, but can we go to prom together?” We ask some really big things of Him, but He also asks really big things of us.

Two years ago, I was living in California. I could get to the beach in less than 10 minutes, and life was good. But God decided to ask something big of me… and not just of me, but of my new bride. Despite never having lived anywhere else, He called us to Texas. He called me to St. Monica. Even though it was scary, I said, “yes,” and we moved two months after getting married. In that moment, even though it was hard, I trusted Him. I had to. Do you?

The Battle

This Sunday’s Gospel reading was both terrifying and reassuring. It’s terrifying in the sense that Jesus too was tested just like we are. It’s reassuring in the sense that… Jesus too was tested just like we are. Confused? It’s terrifying because Satan and his minions were brazen enough to tempt God Himself, but it’s reassuring that the same God who has our backs was able to resist that temptation.

Luckily for us, Jesus has won the fight. He won it for you, for me, and for everyone else, but we have to call Him into battle for us. If we try to face this world on our own, if we try to resist temptation on our own, if we try to go head-to-head with the devil on our own… we will lose. We’re facing an enemy much stronger than ourselves. We need Jesus. Where can we find Him? In prayer, Sacred Scripture, and the Sacraments.

The Afterthought

I don’t think most of us would admit to worshipping false gods, but I do think most of us do whether we realize it or not. On Sunday, we heard Jesus say, “You cannot serve two masters.” Most of us try to serve just one (Jesus), yet we get very distracted by others. You might be thinking, “Psshhh… That’s not me!” But hear me out.

On Sundays, does your schedule work around Mass? Or does Mass work around your schedule? Are you making sacrifices in your gifts to the Church, or are you giving from your surplus? How much time do you spend on social media versus how time you spend in prayer? If God is an afterthought, there is another god ruling your life.

Most of those things aren’t inherently sinful, and don’t lead us away from God; however, they aren’t exactly leading us to Him either. This Lent, let’s work on letting God be God.

The Enemy

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone leaving the Catholic Church because it was “too easy.” Being Catholic, especially in this current culture, is actually quite difficult. Jesus’ teachings get easier the more we fall in love with Him, but they are never “easy.” This is especially evident in Sunday’s Gospel.

We heard that we must not only love our neighbors, but our enemies as well. Enemies aren’t just people we feel indifferent about. They aren’t people who simply annoy us. Enemies are people who are directly opposed to us—like Batman and the Joker, Spider Man and the Green Goblin, or Jedi and Sith. Jesus doesn’t say to tolerate or just be nice to our enemies. He says to LOVE them.

This is especially sound advice given how divisive the country is politically at the moment. Love requires sacrifice. It means we must be focused on the other’s well-being. Is that how you’ve been treating the opposition?

The Rules

No one likes being told what to do. It’s like we are all offended that someone would think they needed to tell us to do something because we wouldn’t have been able to figure it out on our own… or it’s just something that we just do not want to do. Despite this, we have laws that we have to follow. We have schools and teachers with rules that must be obeyed. And we have parents who tell us to do things all of the time. All of these rules or laws are meant to protect us and make us stronger.

Similarly, Christ and (through Him) the Church have called us to live a certain way. However, it isn’t following rules that will get us to heaven. We have to follow Christ. When we love and respect Him, the rules aren’t rules, our way of living should align with the “rules” simply because we love God.

The Light

In the Catholic Church, we stand for the human dignity of every single person from the moment of conception until natural death because we firmly believe that everyone has been created from love for love in the image of God. Part of being created in His image means we must also share the light of Christ. Christ was the light that shined brightly into the darkness, but we must continue to carry this torch even as His light still brightly shines.

Amidst darkness, even the smallest light stands out. Sin, hurt, and brokenness add to the darkness, but Christ can overcome it. We received our marching orders at our baptism, and we have to continue to let our light shine brightly to their world. If the darkness is taking over in our life, we have to fan the flame by running to the Sacraments. We are a part of the Body of Christ, and we have a job to do.

The Lemons

Despite having generally awesome lives, we never seem satisfied. We always want more. We want a better phone, a better grade, a better house, etc. For the most part, this is just greed because what we have is suitable (and in most cases, more than we actually need). However, at Mass this weekend, we heard that in many cases, we can expect a reward for our struggles.

Jesus shared the Beatitudes with us during the Gospel this weekend. What we can learn from them is that life isn’t always easy… but it isn’t meant to be. When life gives us lemons, we might not be able to make lemonade on earth, but we’ll get our lemonade in Heaven.

Life isn’t supposed to be perfect. Jesus didn’t die to save us from suffering. The good news, though, is that suffering is good for us and our reward is in Heaven, and that’s some tasty lemonade.

The Load

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re running from something, but it feels like you’re running under water because you’re barely moving? Typically, we’re running from something that is terrifying. It’s no fun, yet we go through life like this. We hang onto things that don’t matter. They slow us down in our sprint towards God and Heaven.

We let suffering, hurt, and sin hold us back and slow us down in our relationship with God. In addition to these very heavy things, we add to the weight with things like busy schedules, social media, etc. All of this slows us down. One of these things isn’t that bad, but we keep piling it on. It makes it harder to run the race.

In our Gospel reading yesterday, Jesus called the Apostles to follow Him, and they dropped everything (the stuff that slowed them down) to follow Him. It’s time we all lightened the load as well.

The Reroute

If you drive using GPS and make a wrong turn, GPS reroutes. It finds a new course for you. Our ultimate goal is Heaven. Hopefully, in your spiritual GPS, that is set as the final destination. Sometimes, we make a wrong turn and the GPS needs to reroute, and sometimes it just finds a better route for us to take.

In the Gospel on Sunday, the Magi got rerouted the moment they encountered Christ. The same should be true for us. When we encounter Christ and have that epiphany moment (like a light bulb over our heads in a cartoon), everything should change. Every Sunday, we encounter Christ in the Eucharist. The Sacraments, but most importantly the Eucharist, are encounters with our God. What impact has that had on you? 

We have countless opportunities to change our course, and we don’t even need to wait to encounter Christ in the Sacraments. You can change your course right now if needed.