Monday, June 20, 2011

"Open the door and see all the people"

It is one of those days when there are many things to write about, but I have little time or desire to write about any of those things. Besides, there is nothing about which I want to comment that can't wait until a better time and day. I was speaking to the rector of the Cathedral at which I serve yesterday just prior to our midday Mass. We were discussing the many things going on and how they affect both the Church in general and our parish community in particular. It was a nice conversation because it wasn't world-weary or cynical in any way. It also wasn't about money, but a productive pastoral discussion about the people we both serve, whom we both love.

Towards the end of our conversation, he was telling me some advice he had very recently given to a few people independently of each other: "The best thing you can do for your life, for your faith, for your family is come to Mass every Sunday, find a pew, and join in. That is what will change things." I agree with this very wholeheartedly! Occam's razor is best applied to advice and wisdom, the simpler, the better. I mean, the parish is where church happens for just about every, single member. It doesn't happen on television, even on EWTN, in popular Catholic magazines, or via media of any kind, including blogs! Without a doubt, what I like best about our downtown Cathedral is that every Mass is like the eschatological banquet described by Jesus in Luke (14:15-24).

The Cathedral of the Madeleine

Trinity Sunday was the perfect day to point this out. After all, just as God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a communion of persons, the Church, too, is a communion of persons, albeit of human persons (often all too human, to cite Nietzsche), instead of divine persons. In and through the Eucharist we celebrate together (we call it the liturgy, meaning our common work), God is at work drawing us into the very life of the Most Holy Trinity. But what keeps this from being merely a nice, abstract idea is the concrete community to which I belong. Like the disciples at Jesus' Ascension, my gaze is levelled, my attention brought back to reality, which is my path to destiny. This is just as true of priests, deacons, and religious as it is anyone in the church. Plus, this has been true of the Church of Jesus Christ from the beginning: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42- ESV).

As we approach the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, let us be mindful that the only empirical evidence that the bread and wine really and truly become Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, is the witness given by those of us who partake of it.

1 comment:

  1. This is worth repeating:

    "the parish is where church happens for just about every, single member. It doesn't happen on television, even on EWTN, in popular Catholic magazines, or via media of any kind, including blogs!"

    Oh, how I wish everyone realized that. There are some people who have left the Church who equate Church to what they read in the media (especially the internet), in which everything revolves around the priest scandal and the Bishops.

    I have often reflected back upon the faith of my paternal grandparents. They had a very simple faith (and it was a very deep faith too), and it was a role model for me in my early years.

    Maybe it's a consequence of the information age. We can make things so complicated, when really, it is so simple. Faith is knowing you are beloved by God, and letting that love transform every part of you so that your life becomes a reflection of God's love. So simple, yet so profound.

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