Lent is a time of journey. Many will be accompanying those who are journeying their way to the Easter Vigil where they will be baptised as new Christians, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit through confirmation, and join the Catholic community in the celebration of the Eucharist, receiving Jesus Christ for the first time in Holy Communion. This is the fruit of our mission as evangelisers: to bring new disciples to Jesus. More than followers, these new disciples configure their lives to that of Christ.
There may be many followers of Christ, who regard him as a friend, someone worth listening to, whose teachings make sense. Following is a good thing; but it is not enough. When the disciples first encounter Jesus, they ask him, ‘Where do you live?’ He replies, ‘Come and See’. Later on, along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus’ invitation becomes a calling, ‘Follow Me!’ In our readings in Holy Week, we hear how the calling becomes a command, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
If we are to be disciples then, we are to love others as Jesus loves us. The journey of Jesus in his mission from the Father took him to Calvary. Now, we may not be called to give up our lives, but each of us will have our challenges, whether small or great, when we are called, indeed we are commanded, to love as Jesus loves. In meeting those challenges, we are never alone. Jesus is always with us and he gives us a constant reminder of the great sacrifice that he made to love others, in the sacrifice of the Mass, the Holy Eucharist.
During this Lent the resource for Faith-Sharing Small Groups, ‘“We Adore You, O Christ, and We Praise You”: The Gift of the Holy Eucharist’, gives us an opportunity for us to learn and be reminded once again the wonder of how Jesus Christ accompanies us in our daily lives through the Eucharist, this Blessed Sacrament, his very self. You may already be a member of a group, meditating on how in the Mass we are there with Christ on Calvary; and how through the Eucharist Jesus is a constant companion, feeding us with his body, strengthening us in our challenges. At times of sadness or joy, anxiety or celebration, we can turn to the Blessed Sacrament present in the tabernacle, and in quiet moments as we strive to configure our lives to become true disciples, we are there with Jesus. He gives us courage as he shares our journey, and invites constantly be ever his companion as he is ours.
Lent brings new disciples to the culmination of their journey to become Catholics. Let us remind ourselves during this period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that the journey of discipleship never ends; we continue our journey ever striving to be true disciples of Jesus Christ; and it is in the Eucharist that we join our evangelising mission to his, and Jesus joins his mission to ours.
The six part study resource ‘“We Adore You, O Christ, and We Praise You”: The Gift of the Holy Eucharist’ has been produced with September’s National Eucharistic Congress in mind and can be used throughout the year http://rcdow.org.uk/faith/small-groups/
Deacon Adrian Cullen