What is God, Our Father, looking for? What ultimately does God want from you and me?
Jesus answers these questions in this week's Gospel: God is looking for worshippers. Authentic worshippers who will worship him in Spirit and truth.
Worship is the deepest calling of the Church. It is an act of total surrender and love which allows our inner being to enter fully the loving presence of God.
The preacher to the papal household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, compares worship to a river flowing back to the sea. Our life is the river. God is the eternal sea, the source of all that is. It is our destiny to worship God, to allow our lives to flow back into the sea of God's presence.
'The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.'
Lent is the time to get our priorities clear. It is so easy to allow ourselves to, in a certain sense, worship false gods. The gods of wealth, power, self-will and illusion are always looking to overcome our true worship of God.
It is easy to go to Church to keep up appearances. But true worship calls for more. It calls for sacrifice. It calls us to enter into the death of Jesus and unite our lives with his perfect act of worship on the cross. It calls us to let go of all that interferes with our relationship with God.
This is why the saints told us to meditate deeply on the passion of Jesus. St. Alphonsus taught that by contemplating the passion we move forward from grace to grace.
It is in Jesus' total self-giving on the cross that we understand true worship. Jesus gives all. He holds nothing back from the Father.
When we go to Sunday Mass this is our call too. We are called to enter into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the act of total self-giving we call worship. The music, the readings, the prayers all summon us to surrender our lives in humility and love.
But that is not enough. We can never worship perfectly on our own. Jesus says, "Without me you can do nothing" (John 15.5). The Mass is not just our act of worship. It is joining our worship with the ever-perfect worship of Jesus. Mass is our call to do everything through Jesus, with Jesus and in Jesus.
Let's look for a moment at the upcoming Sunday Mass. Am I preparing myself through daily practice and prayer to fully enter into the total worship of God?
Am I aware that God is actually looking for "true worshippers to worship in Spirit and truth?" This is our vocation, our mission and our eternal destiny.
We are worshippers – children of God called by name to worship forever and ever. Lent is our time of consecrated spiritual practice.
So let us begin again to worship right now. Let us bring the Cross of Jesus to mind. See his crucified love crying out to all humanity, "I love you."
Let us choose now to love Jesus in return and enter into his total act of worship. This is what Our Father is looking for from you and me. Let us practice living in the true Spirit of worship in all the events of our lives.
Jesus, I choose to be a true worshipper and worship Our Father in Spirit and truth.