Life is best placed in God’s hands

By Linda Zahorik | For The Compass | February 24, 2017

The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.

One day, while shopping at my favorite thrift store, St. Vincent de Paul of course, I found a sign that said “Leave Your Worries at the Door.” I placed the sign in the gathering area of our church because I thought it was perfect in expressing that the liturgy is a place where we can be relieved of our burdens. A parishioner, noticing the sign, said, “Isn’t this the place we should be able to bring our worries?” That remark made me realize how one quotation could have such an opposite meaning for each of us.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells us not to worry about things. To take it a step further, I think Jesus says to us “Leave your worries at the door.” Jesus does not say this to us because he does not want us to deal with our worries and concerns, but because he already has.

When you come into a church, see it as a place of quiet, peace and sanctuary. See it as a place where we experience Jesus in his is infinite all-knowing, forever-loving nature. Engaging in the liturgy allows us to set aside our worry, our restlessness, the busy things of life, knowing that our life is best placed in God’s hands. By listening to the readings and the homily, giving our attention to the prayers and receiving the Eucharist, we prepare ourselves to allow Jesus to be in control.

As it so happened, the day I began preparing this article, I also attended Mass. A standard line of the Mass that I have heard for years and years, suddenly presented itself in a new way, reminding me that the Eucharist is a place of refuge.

The prayer, just before the sign of peace, states “… look not on our sins, but on the faith of your church, and grant us … peace.” Consider breaking that line open further to say, “do not look on my sins, on my anxiety, or on my fears, rather look on the faith of all who are gathered here with me. Through my unity with them and the whole communion of saints, may I find your peace and consolation.”

What a beautiful reminder that our need, our “obligation” to attend Sunday Mass is not only because we desire personal time to worship God and grow in holiness, it is also because we have a need and obligation to be part of a community. We need to give ourselves in prayerful presence and participation for the good of all gathered.

Jesus welcomes everybody into his place of sanctuary. With this in mind, consider reaching out to a family member or a friend who has not been to Mass in a long time. Encourage them to come with you to experience Jesus in his word and in his real presence. Invite them to encounter a community who can help give meaning and support to their lives as Christians.

And, as if these are not reasons enough, tell them they can leave their worries at the door.

Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.

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