‘Come to Him who comes to you’

By Joel Padgett

One of the most frequent petitions that we hear during Advent is “Come, Lord Jesus!” During this liturgical season, we foster a spirit of expectant longing as we lovingly await the celebration of Our Savior’s birth. Historically, this waiting was that of the people of Israel as they yearned for the coming Messiah. Eschatologically, it is that of the Church, as we wait for Christ to come again at the end of time. But, in the meantime — this current time between Christ’s coming in His Incarnation and His second coming at the end of the ages — let us not overlook the ways in which Jesus mysteriously comes to us in our daily lives.

One of the most privileged ways in which Christ continues to come to us is through His coming in the Eucharist. It is one of the ways by which He fulfills His promise to remain with us always: “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). But, as remarkable as it is for Christ to continue to come to us, it will personally do us little direct benefit if we do not, in turn, go to Him.

Jesus’ command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28: 19), is at the heart of why Christianity has spread throughout the world; and His command, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19), is what underlies and sustains the celebration of the Eucharist down through the centuries. Two-thousand years later, these very words of Jesus make it relatively simple for us living here in southwestern Indiana to go to Him in the Eucharist. However, God always respects our free will; and even though He commits Himself to come to us, He does not force us to go to Him. He invites us simply because He loves us. He knows that not going to Him — the source of our happiness, purpose, and realization — is to our own detriment.

One of the most ordinary ways that we, as Catholics, go to Christ in the Eucharist is through participating in Sunday Mass and preparing ourselves well to receive Him in Holy Communion. However, in addition to the ordinary ways, there are also extraordinary ways to go to Christ in the Eucharist. Here, I wish to point out just one such extraordinary opportunity.

On Jan. 13, all of the faithful of our diocese are invited to gather together, with Bishop Joseph M. Siegel and our priests, around the Eucharistic Christ at our Diocesan Eucharistic Congress. The Congress will be held at the Old National Events Plaza in Evansville; for more information, please visit eucharisticcongressevdio.org. Although we have the opportunity to gather together at our individual parishes on a regular basis, it is quite extraordinary that we have the chance to come together as a diocese — to intentionally set aside and dedicate a day to especially celebrate Christ’s presence in the Eucharist through adoration, Mass and various reflections.

In keeping with the Advent petition of “Come, Lord Jesus,” I wish to express three invitations to come to the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress — if you are able to do so:

  • Come gather around Christ, really and truly present in the Eucharist — body, blood, soul and divinity! Come to adore, praise and give thanks to God for the tremendous gift that He has made of His very self to us.
  • Come be nourished and strengthened in your faith. Be fed by Christ, be nourished by those who will be bearing witness through their words, and be strengthened by your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from around our diocese.
  • Come bear witness to others. Share your witness. We all form part of Christ’s mystical body. Your presence is important. Just as you are strengthened by the presence of so many others gathering together to share their faith and love for the Eucharistic Christ, so you strengthen others through your presence.