When I was a kid, I used to love going to sleepovers. My friends and I would stay up late and watch movies and scarf candy. We’d sneak out of the house in the middle of night for no real important reason and then rush back inside when we got scared. In the morning, we’d sleepily eat pancakes made, usually, by the far too chipper dad of my friends.
More than what we did, I loved the effects of a sleepover. Something about going to sleep and waking up in the same place seemed to bring me closer to my friends. I think this might be because sleeping in the same place is something that families do. Brothers and sisters go to sleep and wake up all in the same house nearly every night growing up. So when we do this with our friends we begin to build family like connections. Maybe that is why freshmen year of college friendships seem to build so quickly.
In the gospel this Sunday, Jesus describes what it means to love God. Loving Jesus means following his word. Jesus promises that the one who follows his word will have Jesus and the Father come and dwell with him.
Jesus is explaining that religion isn’t just a set of rules. There are rules. There is a way to be. But the rules are the purpose they are the means. They are the way to get God dwelling with us. God wants to go to sleep and wake up with us. Jesus promises God’s desire to be close to us.
In our Catholic faith, God just doesn’t want to dwell with us. God wants to dwell in us. Through the Eucharist God shows he just doesn’t want to be around us, but he desires to literally enter into our very being and does so when we consume him. God does this so that we can also dwell in him.
How important is this to Catholicism? When the bishops summarized what we believe in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the very first sentence in the very first paragraph says this:
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.
Our very purpose in life is to dwell in God. Unable to do this perfectly, God reaches out and does this first by dwelling in us.
LIVE IT: This Sunday, go to Mass, if/when you receive the Eucharist, pray, “God come dwell in me, so that I may dwell in you.”