The first line of The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck is a very simple and, yet, profound line. Three words: “Life is difficult.” I can sum up the whole book: Life is difficult, but the good news is that life is not impossible.
It is difficult but not impossible. I want to walk through the readings and talk a little bit about this. Let’s think about our own lives right now and anything that we may find difficult. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible.
Elijah is a prophet who is getting chased out of his town. People are basically ready to kill him. He runs out to the desert. He is so exhausted that he lays down next to the broom tree in the shade, and before he falls asleep, he prays for his death.
He says, “This is enough Lord. Take my life for I am no better than my fathers.” Afterward, something very mystical happens, something wonderful happens. As he is asleep, angels come and minister to him. He wakes up, and he finds this jug of water next to him.
The angels say, “Eat and drink else the journey will be too long.” He has this profound experience with God. It comes as he prays this prayer: “Take my life, oh God, for it is enough.”
It is important to realize that sometimes we have to get to rock bottom prayer. We have to get to that point where we just scream out: “God, I have had enough. I cannot take it anymore.” You have to be really honest with him. It might be at the point of exhaustion when we are so physically tired and so emotionally drained.
We are so spiritually exhausted that we fall asleep. We find that the angels come to us mystically, and now in a very wonderful way, they come with the Eucharist. Jesus comes in the Eucharist. In the Gospel, Jesus says, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” Do you know why you are here right now? Do you know why you are at mass? Because God the Father drew you.
“You cannot come to me unless my Father draws you to myself.” You are here at mass today because of something God the Father has done that brought you to mass. That is the wonderful thing. You are already here. The miracle is already starting to work. The same is true for us. Sometimes we murmur about life. Sometimes we murmur like the Jews did, and we say, “Is this really Jesus? Are you really going to do anything at this Eucharist? Are you really here? Are you going to work this miracle in my life that I need?”
I think the problem is sometimes we are not real enough when we come to mass. Sometimes we come to mass, and we check out. We get this hour, and we go back to our lives. He wants to heal us right here at this mass. He wants to transform our lives right here at this mass.
Part of it might just be calling out from the depths of our heart, from our emotional exhaustion, from our spiritual tiredness, from our physical labor and saying, “Lord, I need you to work in my life.”
We need to come with that expectation that Jesus is going to appear to us. The Jews did not really believe he was Jesus, and sometimes that happens today. People say, “Oh, he is just another human like anybody else. He might have been a smart man. He may have been a prophet, but he was not really the Son of God. Come on.” Jesus is saying to them, “I came down from heaven.”
In just a few moments, I will pray these words of consecration as a humble priest. Jesus will come down from heaven into the bread, which will become his body. If we can receive him into our poverty, into our tiredness, and into our exhaustion, all of a sudden we can experience that same type of miracle. All of a sudden, we can experience rest even amongst our labor.
All of a sudden, we will discover that life may be difficult, but it is not impossible. All it takes is a little glimpse of his miraculous working in our lives, and then life all of a sudden doesn’t seem so heavy or so difficult. Whatever that situation is in your life, it all of a sudden can be transformed into grace. As the gifts are presented today, I invite you to offer up anything that you are struggling with.
Lay it down with the bread and wine, and let it be carried to the altar. Let me hold you in my hands as your offering and present you to God. If we look and believe, that miracle can happen here. Jesus truly does come down from heaven. Whatever was difficult in our lives can become not only possible but with his grace, the burden can become easy. We prepare our hearts, and we prepare our lives to allow him to enter now into our poverty and to enter us into heaven.