By Fr. John Jasica

“Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves…”
(Pope Francis Sunday Angelus June 28, 2015)

What does faith do for us?

Why do we come to Mass or celebrate as a community of faith? Our lives are so busy, so full of good things but also filled with distractions, challenges and struggles. We often run from one thing to the next and never have time to pause, slow down, or stop. This is why we come to Mass. We come together to quiet the noise of the world and to touch Jesus, drawing from him the grace which saves, strengthens, heals, and sends us out. For this to happen, we need space, time, each other , and an open heart. This is why we don’t rush the celebration of the Mass, all of us need to be forced to slow down, pause and rest to see where we have been and where we are going. We need to engage and support one another in a genuine way not caught up in our own day to day activities. Coming to Mass lets God into our lives. Here are five ways for us to transform our faith and indeed transform our lives!!

Praying over the readings before coming to Mass is so important. There is a link on the front page of the parish website that will take you various Mass resources. You can buy a Sunday Missal or even a monthly LIVING WITH CHRIST book to reflect on God’s Word at the Mustard Seed. You can also listen to the WARM UP, a weekly podcast produced by the pastoral team to help you get ready for the Sunday Gospel. We prepare for meetings, sports and trips but rarely ever for Mass.

When I go see the London Lightning, London Knights or even referee basketball, I get there early so I can prepare and not miss anything. This is even more important when coming to Mass. Getting to church early allows us to get a good seat, focus ourselves to encounter Jesus and connect with parishioners who are there to support us in our journey. If we rush in unprepared and scrambling we cannot really focus and open our hearts to what God wants to give us. Make it a habit to get to church early. It will allow you to sit in the most wanted seats — the back rows!!

Coming to Mass is not a passive activity. We sing, respond and listen to the readings, the homily and most importantly, be attentive to what God wants to tell us. This may happen while listening to the readings or something said during the homily. This may also happen while kneeling during the consecration or it may happen when we meet with friends before or after Mass. It may even happen in the parking lot. Regardless of when, God is always trying to connect with us. Are we listening?

I am not sure why people leave right away after receiving the King of the Universe? Are there so many emergencies that happen at that exact time that we rush out? I know that we all have so many things on the go but are we really listening or open to God’s grace and His presence in our lives when we don’t take the time to give Him thanks and allow Him to enter our hearts and souls? One of our RCIA candidates was leaving Mass after communion because he thought it was what he was supposed to do. He saw so many people leaving. One of the unwritten church rules is that “the priest is the last one in and the first one out”. Take some time after communion and see what happens when you spend a bit of time giving thanks!!

Coming to Mass early, having a prayer partner and taking time after Mass to chat with those people around us (and even at a parish breakfast after Mass) helps us to truly become family. We are not in this alone, we as a parish are called as disciples to know, love and serve one another. Find out who you are praying with and that will change your faith!!