Today, we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, and Mary’s “yes” to God’s invitation to bring his Son into the world. As it is also the mid-way point of Lent, it is a good time to ask ourselves if we have invited someone to Christ—that is have we extended Archbishop Wuerl’s invitation to a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker.
I chose to go the electronic route and sent the video to a good friend who lives in another state. I used the excuse of talking about work as a chance to say “I thought of you while working on this project.” It’s time for me to check back in with her to see if she has accepted the invitation.
Are you hesitating to invite someone because they are not able to receive Holy Communion? Though the reception of the Eucharist is the most complete experience of an encounter with Christ we can have, there are three other ways in which Christ is present in the Mass. Christ is present in the Word, in the priest and in the people who are gathered.
People of the Word
We encounter Jesus in the proclamation of the Word. It is in the Word that we learn the story of God’s love for his people. In the Gospel we hear the voice of our Lord fulfilling the mission of his Father through preaching, teaching and praying. The Word is a living word.
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord
In the community, we see the face of Jesus in our brothers and sisters. We can’t be Catholic alone. We call ourselves the body of Christ and so are called to be full and active members of a parish community. If the parish is our spiritual home, our fellow parishioners are our spiritual family. We believe that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to each member of the body that are necessary for the building of the community. Each of us is a needed and necessary member of the parish community.
Priests as Spiritual Fathers
In the person of the priest we also encounter the living Christ. In the tradition of the prophets, our priests speak the word of God to God’s people. They put skin and bones to the presence of the invisible God as they extend the healing hand of God’s touch, as they speak the forgiving word of God’s mercy and as they call us together to worship.
We are extending an invitation to encounter the Lord who is always present in the Blessed Sacrament. Pope Benedict XVI writes “we reserve the Eucharist so that the church is never a lifeless space. The Lord is there watching–waiting–wanting–to make us Eucharist.
Who can you invite?