Just Be the Witness

One day a long time ago, I got the chance to catch up with an old friend, and we got to talking about Eucharistic adoration. My friend was not a believer in it: the Eucharistic is meant to be consumed in the liturgy. It’s not meant to be stored, much less to be taken out and presented before people to pray in front. It’s meant to be eaten.

I was in agreement that it’s meant to be eaten, but that there can also be leftover and presented for adoration, too. It’s not a clear-cut thing, and it’s a mystery. But my friend was insistent. It should not be done, period.

But you know what made this a little strange is that my friend really likes my spirituality. And my spirituality is a lot linked to Eucharistic adoration.

Over 20 years ago, at a crisis and convergence point in my life, having not really been involved with anything about “God” since my youth, I walked into a church for a Mass in Boston, and heard the most amazing preaching I had ever heard. I was convinced it was the Word of God speaking to me. And at the end of the Mass, I saw for the first time Eucharistic adoration, and it was like Jesus was looking right at me. The preaching and the adoration, it was like I had a full-on encounter with Jesus. From that moment on, my life started to change, and I think that everything I’ve done since then has been shaped by that experience. All the writings and reflections, the ministry, the change of lifestyle, the going to Ecuador, the new vision of the church – all of it comes out of those first experiences.

And so, as I listened to my friend, I couldn’t figure out how they could see all the evidence sitting right in front of them, and not see it. How can we be so blind?

There is a story in John’s Gospel about a man who was born blind, who then encountered Jesus and regained his sight. The Pharisees, part of the religious people of the day, wanted to know how that happened. So, the man who recovered his sight became a witness, while they grilled him. He repeatedly told them exactly what happened with Jesus, that’s it. But the Pharisees couldn’t accept it. It’s hard to understand how they couldn’t even accept the simple story the man was telling them. The evidence was right in front of them, an actually witness who had an experience and actually changed, and they couldn’t see it.

Later on, Jesus gives the man an explanation: “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” (Jn 9:39)

In the journey of faith, not everyone is going to understand you. Not everyone is going to support you. And not everyone is going to see things the way you do. But there is something important to remember.

Rely on your experiences. Trust in what you’ve seen. Don’t worry about the blindness that might be around.

Just be the witness.

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