Faith: Where did you see God today?
With the State Fair quickly approaching, I recalled one of my experiences that I have shared with my congregations.
A few years back when my family and I were walking through the multitudes of people at the Great Minnesota Get-together, my brother spotted one of the players for the Minnesota Vikings. Trae Waynes, a cornerback for the purple and gold, was also enjoying the fair that day.
However, because Trae was not wearing purple and gold, most people did not recognize him as one of the cornerbacks of the Minnesota Vikings. My brother and I approached him, and we took a picture together. I wonder how many people missed that opportunity to encounter Trae Waynes?
This experience at the fair made me think about how many people missed the opportunity to encounter Jesus when he was living on earth during his first 30 years or during his three years of public ministry.
In the Gospels, we read about a number of different people encountering Jesus in different ways, but there had to also be some people who walked by Jesus and did not realize the missed opportunity.
Can you imagine people going about their daily duties and not being aware of Jesus? Unfortunately, I can! So often I am that guy! The following questions are powerful: "Where did you see God today? Where did you see Jesus today?"
I took time last evening to think about where I saw God earlier in the day (or more accurately, where I did not recognize him). When I thought about it more deeply, I had more of a list than I initially thought I would be able to formulate.
We so often easily recognize evil and dysfunction in our world, but we tend to miss the goodness of the Lord all around us - we miss our chance to encounter Jesus.
In examining my day, I was able to recognize the Lord in a number of ways - in my silent prayer, in people being set free while receiving the mercy of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in the beauty of creation, in the joy of a young person, and in the camaraderie with a group of guys at the golf course (and through the lesson of humility the Lord continues to teach me through that game!).
I also encountered Jesus through the Eucharist. Catholics believe that Jesus Christ presents himself to us through the "living bread." In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, verse 51, Jesus refers to himself as the "living bread." Though the Eucharist appears as bread, the Eucharist is essentially Jesus through mystery.
We worship Jesus through this mystery, and he brings much consolation to whoever draws close. Whenever Catholics participate in Mass, we worship Jesus in the Eucharist, and we also have time set aside to simply adore Jesus in the Eucharist. We call this time, "Eucharistic adoration."
We regularly have this time at Immaculate Heart Church on Thursdays, and at St. Emily's on the first Friday for an hour after morning Mass. It is a blessing to worship Jesus in this way, and many people do not recognize this blessing.
Adoring the Lord in this way is open to anyone, and I am happy to talk to people about this encounter experience. I know I probably would not be a priest today without Eucharistic adoration.
As you go through your days, I encourage you to strive to recognize God. Oftentimes we miss him as we are moving through life. Don't be that person! Christ is the light amidst our darkness. Thank you, Jesus!