Simple Enough

We pray that in this eucharist we may find the fullness of love and life.

This is part of the prayer with which the Mass of Holy Thursday begins. We pray that we will find the fullness of love and life.

Whether or not we find the fullness of love and life seems to depend solely on a simple act of faith.

God transcends every possible thought; He unfolds Himself to us as an inexhaustible mystery. And yet He proposes to us this evening something so exquisitely simple that it stops us short.

So, Lord: Can we get this straight? Are you really saying what You seem to be saying? You say it every time we come to Mass, but it just seems too good to be true.

We got the Incarnation. On Christmas You, God, were born. Amazing, yes. Everyone wants the all-powerful God of heaven to be here, close. You satisfied this desire, and not as a fearsome raging flame, or as a towering colossus—but as a human child.

Amazing. But we got it. And we got what You have been saying all through Lent, namely that You, God, will die as a man; that You will offer Yourself–righteous, innocent–You will offer Yourself as one of us, for us. In other words, You came to our eyes on Christmas not just to tour the earth for the thrill of it, but specifically for this: to die as a perfectly just man for the sake of sinners and set right what we ourselves could never fix.

So, okay. We got this. Lord, we got it. But come on. Now, what are you trying to do to us? You have already bowled us over with Your Incarnation and Your plan for our Redemption. But tonight You are doing something that frankly blows us away.

God made man. A well-swept room. Twelve other men. A table. A chalice. Bread. Wine mixed with a little water.

The turning of an age. The fulfillment of millennia of preparation. The decisive moment of history: judgment falls on the guilt of mankind; the Messiah promises resurrection and eternal life. Heaven opens…

And He gives them something to eat and drink. This is my Body. This is my Blood. He commands that they fill the age to come with the same ceremony, until kingdom come.

Lord, are You really saying that You are giving us Your Body and Blood to be our offering to the Father and to be our spiritual sustenance of food and drink? Can it possibly be this simple, and can You possibly be this generous? Your Body and Blood on our altar and on our own unworthy lips? For real?

What is He saying in reply?

–Yes! You numbskull fool of a priest! Which words don’t you understand? This. Is. My. Body. This. Is. My. Blood.

Lord, frankly You are terrifying us here. This is too good to be true. Holy Thursday is too good to be true. The Holy Mass. Too good to be true. The sacred priesthood. Too good to be true.

We can’t take this. You are blowing us out of the water. We are reeling. Are You sure it isn’t more complicated or difficult or something?

He says: “Reel all you want. Stare at me with a slackjawed gape all you want. I don’t expect you to understand, or take it in stride, or get it. I simply expect you to believe what I tell you and obey me. This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this…Be humble enough to do what I tell you to do!!”

Alright, Lord. Praise You! Have mercy! We will.

2 thoughts on “Simple Enough

  1. You are so right, Father. It is Awe.Some.
    And, at this time, I try to remember to pray especially for those that were here last year, but not this year; that they have l found the fullness of love and life…

  2. Dear Fr. Mark,

    I’ll bet it’s not “numbskull fool of a priest” to HIM; but, my beloved numbskull fool of a priest, whom I delight in beholding each day of his Earthly existence, in eager anticipation of holding him close to me forever.” [that is, I can’t imagine God’s thoughts being as SIMPLE as you imagine, there always must be more]

    Did you note the commonality between “The Truth Is A Confusing Thing” and “Simple Enough”? The ability to perceive the enormity of the truth in the simple — all in one, one in all — with apologies to Alexandre Dumas — may be the very essence of all that we so desperately seek.



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