|Today’s first reading from Exodus took me directly to my childhood. Growing up, the evening of Easter Sunday was must watch TV when the Ten Commandments was shown on television. As I settled in to watch the movie with an overabundance of whatever I gave up for lent (usually Pepsi) I was amazed that Pharaoh was blind to the miracles Moses performed, all the while refusing to grant the Israelites their freedom. This refusal led to the tenth and most serious sign and introduced me to the Jewish tradition of the Passover. This final sign led to Pharaoh releasing the Israelites and today made me contemplate if I too am blind to the signs and miracles that surround me. As I reflected on this I found that quite often I am and realized how much peace is found enjoying the everyday miracles of God’s creations such as a beautiful night sky, the sound of nature in the country, or the smile and laugh of an infant.
This also recalled whether I am indifferent to other miracles, most importantly the miracle of the Eucharist. Sadly, I realized that at times I am, too often simply performing the ritual of standing, getting in line and thinking of whether I should mow the grass after Mass or of other tasks that await me as I go to receive Christ. Recent comments Pope Francis made on the Feast of Corpus Christi emphasized the need to avoid this. Pope Frances reminded us that in the Eucharist “It is Jesus, Jesus alive, but we must not get used to it: it must be every time as if it were our First Communion.”. He also called on us to receive it “with gratitude,” and “not in a passive, habitual way.”
The Gospel also presented a great opportunity for reflection. In the Gospel the Pharisees called out Jesus’ disciples for performing tasks on the Sabbath. Jesus’ response is direct and calls out the religious leaders of the time for being more concerned with passing judgement on others for not strictly following laws while forgetting that ultimately the laws should lead us to love, compassion, and mercy. Unfortunately, such judgements still occur today, as I see many who demand the strictest adherence to doctrine while judging, degrading and showing indifference to others and their state of life while offering little to no help to them.
For me, a fantastic way to avoid such an attitude would be to fully and faithfully recognize the miracle of the Eucharist. If approached with the attitude asked by Pope Francis, I know the Eucharist will naturally help inspire a life full of love, compassion and mercy, as opposed to one of judgement.