RSVP to Grace

Under normal circumstances, receiving an invitation on a Sunday is unusual. The post office is closed and no mail is delivered. Then there is Sunday Mass.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the first reading from the prophet Isaiah. In my more formative years it was a passage that consoled me during a very challenging time of discernment. It was a way-point on life’s pilgrimage where I had to choose one of the forks in the road. I couldn’t decide. Rather than choose and move forward I sat on the side of the road, wrung my hands, and remained stuck in paralysis by my analysis. As anxiety mounted due to my lack of uncertainty God’s grace led me to the following passage:

“All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come receive grain and eat…why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy” (IS 55:1-2).

There was comfort in that invitation that led me deeper into prayer, to discern the right path and which helped me stand up and begin a new leg on my pilgrimage. It has been several years since that time. I heard this passage a new and it was a sweet balm yet again. In one respect, a sweet balm of nostalgia that reminded me of where I’ve been. In another respect, over the last few years, a reminder that very little comfort, consolation, or lasting inner peace comes from earthly distractions of pleasure, riches or titles. This passage in fact is an echo of a very similar invitation heard in the gentle voice of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (St. Matthew 11:28).

Clearly as far back as 700 years Before Christ people were in search of satisfaction. Jesus further proves that in the 30th Year of Our Lord it remained an issue. We see it as much in the Gospel according to St. John when Jesus performs miracles of multiplying loaves and preaching on the Kingdom the groups of people that follow Him are getting bigger and bigger. They follow Him because He is feeding them, but not in they way they think. Jesus, very much aware of this, perhaps fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy, reminds them, “Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures for eternal life” (St. John 6:27). He proclaims what will satisfy our hungry souls. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (St. John 6:35). He further exhorts, “let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as scripture says, “rivers of living water will flow from within him” (St. John 7:37).

The directions are twofold — go & believe. (1) When we go to Jesus in the Sacraments our souls no longer hunger [for earthly delights] because through the Eucharist we are filled with His love for us. He nourishes us. (2) When we believe in Him we will not thirst because His wisdom and His teachings satiate a parched soul that seeks a firm foundation in truth.

This is His invitation. An invitation sent. Will you RSVP?

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