Where Should We Go?

Week of August 23, 2015

Catholics embrace this question often in their lives. Where should we go to Mass? Where should we go to get spiritually fed? Where should we go to find the Lord? Where do we go to find and hear the truth? We also hear how many have left the faith. We hear of many who now go to other churches. How do we answer the questions for ourselves?

The Catholic Church is a church that is based in the seven Sacraments. We are at our best when we are sacramental. God offers the followers of Jesus these seven moments and experiences in which we come into contact with the Real Presence of Jesus. With that as our base, how could we go anywhere else? Some look for a better sense of community, some look for a Bible-based experience. While these are fantastic doorways to God, the Real Presence found in the seven Sacraments are undeniable, unrelenting and amazing. These gifts from God are a promise that no matter where we are in the world, whatever country or state we find ourselves in, Jesus will be physically and really present to us. As a person of faith, I could never leave this gift from God. I could never find the peace I find in the Sacraments anywhere else. If we know what we experience, if we open ourselves to it, we gain a connection with the all-powerful and almighty God. We connect with His life, love and joy. We are redeemed and His presence in the Sacraments reinforces this.

Ever since I was in college and searching, that which has always attracted me to the Catholic Church is the Sacraments. What makes the most sense to me is the Sacraments. What humbles me the most as a priest is the Sacraments. I do not have any control over the Sacraments. They begin with God and end with God. I like that God is in control. While Scripture is the inspired Word of God and it is powerful to me, and while community drives home a sense of welcome, it is the Real Presence that I can never leave. The Real Presence for me goes beyond the Scriptures because what the Scriptures tell us about is how physically present to us Jesus is in bread and wine, water and oil. It is an amazing experience. In reality, there is nowhere else to go but through the doors of the Catholic Church and to dwell in the mystery of these seven gifts.

Rev. John J. Ouper