When does the familiar become boring? Does routine lead to boredom or is it the busyness of our lives that leaves us unable to concentrate? Have we become so comfortable with Jesus that we don’t even work at growing in relationship with Him anymore?
The folk of Nazareth thought they knew Jesus, after all, He grew up among them. They knew His parents; spoke to Him throughout His formative years. Yet Jesus, who healed all over the countryside, is not able to perform many miracles in Nazareth. At one point, the people become so angry with His words, they try to throw Him down the cliff outside the town. Are we much different than them? Do we expect Jesus to prove Himself to us?
Routines like Mass, the rosary, and morning/evening prayers can become just things that we do. We check them off the list of what is required and continue about our lives. During Lent we may try to give up chocolate or an extra cup of coffee and keep our Fridays meat-free, but maybe we think of it as just more to add to the checklist. Whose checklist? Our checklist, the one we think will tally up to get us a pass into heaven when we die. Only what we forget, or maybe never knew, is that it’s not about a checklist, it’s about our relationship with Jesus. And it’s not a once and done. We can become too comfortable with routine, thinking that we know all we need to about Jesus and let daily distractions disrupt the relationship.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of judging an entire Mass based on the homily. If it wasn’t relevant to our current life, then we feel cheated and complain we “got” nothing from going. But the Mass is more than just a homily; it includes a time to reflect on our relationship with Jesus and our weaknesses that strain it, it includes the Word of God from the Old and New Testaments, the re-presentation of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary and our communion with Him. Jesus may speak to us at any moment of the Mass…or not. Perhaps it occurs hours or days later when we remember something we heard and it hits home. But if we are so engulfed in our daily lives outside Mass that we have difficulty not just concentrating, but being open to Jesus speaking to us, there is no chance to grow in relationship with Him.
Lent is a time to give ourselves a shake. It’s an opportunity to go outside of our comfort zone. It’s a time to look at our relationship with Jesus and try new ways to go just a bit deeper. Can we turn off the outside world, not pay attention to the time and just listen to every word spoken at Mass? When saying the rosary, can we really mean and believe every single word we speak? Can we make a sacrifice of time and participate in Lenten events at parishes, like the Stations of the Cross or making a holy hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?
Jesus is not bored with us. Let’s make sure our routine of worship does not turn our relationship with Him into a bore for us.