Be Present?
Off the Wall, June 29
, 2012

One night as I was waiting for my wife to return home from work, I decided to turn on the TV. I landed on one station whereby a Protestant evangelist was telling his viewers that Jesus Christ is expecting to return in December of this year.

That, if you can imagine, attracted my attention. Those who are familiar with Scripture know that the Bible states that no one knows when Our Savior will return to this earth. Oh, but I guess Protestants do from what this fellow had to say.

For those who know me by now, that caused a series of little gears to start rotating in my head. I think that’s good, otherwise they would get rusty and who knows where I’d be.

Anyway, a woman sitting beside him, presumably his wife showed numerous newspaper clippings allegedly proving Christ’s return. If that were really the case, I would think churchgoers would gather in large groups weekly to anticipate His arrival.

I ask then, why the lack of attendance in our churches? People nowadays have an attitude that they can commit acts of charity, be nice, but have no need to go to church.

I get the feeling right away that many residents of our city and surrounding areas don’t only want to be told what to do, but want to do their own thing. I’ve heard it already said, “Nobody’s going to tell m what to do.” Does that include God? After all, it is He who stated that we must eat His body and drink His blood. How is this done if we don’t go to church?

And look at the state of affairs concerning the degradation of society. Many “nice” people have made up rules of their own, defying the Word of God. That’s called sinning. When one sins, he is walking away from God, plain and simple. People who think they can do their thing without the intervention of God’s help are only fooling themselves.

Two things additionally come to mind. Do you know when we go to church not only is the Trinity present, but all the angels and saints as well? That is an awesome place to be, yet so many people choose to stay away because of various reasons too numerous to list.

When we go to church we are worshipping our Lord as a group, large or small. Scripture tells us, “Where two or more are gathered, God is in our presence.” Why would anyone want to stay away from such an unconditionally loving threesome – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Recently, we invited the public to Holy Family Parish to listen to Brad Tupi talk about the difference of society today and how it was when the Constitution was written. Yes, the Trinity was there, because I was touched by the Holy Spirit after talking to a gentleman from Pittsburgh who really blessed me. Second, where two or more are gathered, as stated before, God is present. In short, what this visiting attorney related, I could subsequently write a book. So I won’t go into His excellent presentation.

But I did get an email from a good friend who asked, “Since we had such a great speaker this year, who would be the hot one for next year?”

Then I thought about the evangelist telling his viewing audience that Jesus would be returning in December. Since we Catholics don’t believe we will be going anywhere any too soon, I wrote back to Him and stated, “We could always invite Jesus Christ.” We could title His appearance, “Breakfast with Jesus.” He would surely fill us with nourishment from His Word. But would anyone be present? After all, many are not coming to worship Him or partake of the Eucharist now, what difference would it make? Would we have to book Him way ahead? And concerning a stipend, Scriptures tell us there is nothing we can do in our humanness that can repay Him for His dying on the cross. Just being present would at least show Him a reciprocation of love, in my opinion.

And where would He sit? That would be the next question. Tupi, a religious freedom fighter, sat on the end so he would be close to the podium. Since Jesus sat in the middle of the table at The Last Supper, surely He would not need to sit where Tupi sat. We would have to place Him at a table by Himself and the officers among the audience.

I can just see it in headlines on the society page of The Latrobe Bulletin – “Jesus Christ to Speak at the HNS Breakfast.” The question remains. If people are not showing up to praise and worship Him now, what difference does it make if a formal invite is offered? Will people say, “No thanks” and walk the other way? It’s highly probable, you know.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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