5th Sunday OT 2012:
Humans are passionate animals. In fact, this might be one of the many features that separate us from the rest of creation. We are full of desires, passions, and interests. We desire family, health, success, pleasure, happiness, etc. Very often people interpret the Church as being against desire. But, this is certainly not true. Rather, as Christians we believe that at the root of every human being is a desire for God. That while our desires and longings probably need to be purified and directed to their ultimate goal, that Goal is union with God. St. Augustine said it so well when he said: you have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
This is why I think we have an inkling in our hearts that there is more than just what we see in this world. There is more to life than simply desiring wealth and prosperity. There has to be something more. Of course, that something more is Christ. Even if a person does not recognize it, we are all searching for Christ. The words of St Peter are as true today as they were when he first spoke them, Lord, everyone is looking for you. From hardened atheists to non-Christians to the pope, we all have one thing in common, we all have a desire for union with God. We were made for communion with God and we will never be happy without it.
This is precisely why Jesus came among us. Christ has a longing for us. He knows that we are looking for him. He knows that we are incomplete without communion with God. He knew that because of Original Sin there was a separation between God and man, but in Jesus, God came in search of us. Jesus says today: to the other towns I must go. Christ is filled with compassion for us, he has a longing desire for communion with us. Christ has come to look for each one of us. He knows that there are many of us here who feel like Job at times, because of the pain and suffering we sometimes experience in this life we might feel like we will never be happy again. Yet in Christ we can find life and peace even in the midst of suffering. Even if we don't recognize it, in Christ we find the fulfillment of our desires.
This desire is what brings us together today. It's why we come here to Mass. Hopefully we don't come here simply to fulfill some obligation, not simply because if we don't we are afraid we might go to hell. Rather, we come here because we have a longing for Christ. We come here because we have found, in Jesus, the fulfillment of all our desires. Here in this Holy Eucharist Christ continues his rescue mission. Here at this Holy Mass Christ is looking for us. Here at this Mass Jesus finds us in Holy Communion. Here at this Mass we find Jesus, who is that eternal spring that satisfies our deepest longings.
And, with this encounter comes a responsibility. Listen again to the words of St. Paul: an obligation has been imposed upon me and woe to me if I do not preach the word. Once we have found Christ, once Christ has found us, once we recognize in him the amazing fulfillment of our desires, we realize that this is too good to keep to ourselves. As Christians, as men and women who have been found by Christ, we want to help others find Christ. Jesus came on a rescue mission, he was a missionary sent from the Father. But, his mission has not ended; rather, he entrusts it to us. This is not an easy task. Paul says: I became all things to all people, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. This is not simply something for St. Paul, this is not simply something for religious or missionaries, but this is the vocation of every Christian.