On a number of occasions when speaking to my Mother, she’s sort of mention that she prays for her boys every day, but she has expressed from time to time, what did I do wrong that only one of my four boys goes to church? And they’ve all been baptized, and they’ve all made their First Communion, and she hopes and prays that they all come back to church. And I know that’s a difficulty for parents, when they have children that they’ve brought up in the ways of the faith because they know how precious it is, and them the children sort of wonder away for the practice of their faith and it’s hard for parents. And I thought about that last Tuesday, when we had a wonderful gathering here in the courtyard, and it was called “Popcorn & Popsicles”, and we had story telling, and it was a really nice opportunity to gather. It wasn’t just for kids, it was for everyone, and we had lots of young people, and young families, and I thought, this is wonderful! I really wished all of those there would come to church every Sunday, then I thought to myself, but this is great, this is a great celebration of community and church here right now. After the event, when somebody said to me, you see that family over there? “She’s the daughter of so and so who comes to the 8 a.m. Mass, and you see those kids there, they are the grandchildren of so and so that comes to the 10 a.m. Mass”, and all the pieces came together, there was a gathering if you like of the offspring, of the young members of the Church of the Holy Spirit in our courtyard, in a very Eucharistic Body of Christ way, and it was lovely to behold and to be a part of, and it was very encouraging I think to see that.
Of course we’d like to see them all here around the Altar, but they were gathered because we had popsicles and popcorn, and stories, but the real reason that made them come was Jesus Christ, because He was the one they all had in common, he was the one that brings them together, He is the one that makes us Church of the Holy Spirit, that forms this community, He is the Bread of Life which draws people to Him, and feeds us and nourishes us. And there is no limits, or boundaries, or frontiers to the depth of that love, of that community, of that gathering, and we sort of very Eucharistic solid gathering in the courtyard this past Tuesday, and it warmed my heart, and it made me feel so good, and I felt so good for all of you parents of those wonderful people that gather here at Church of the Holy Spirit.
So, I think that we can be hard on ourselves, especially as parents, you can be hard on yourselves, because you try so hard to give the best to your children, to bring them up with the best of values, and to bring them to the altar of God faithfully, and to show them the ways of the faith, and you want your kids to grab it, to hold on to it, and you may tend to feel that they haven’t, that they’ve forgotten, and they haven’t you see. The seed that was sewn during their Baptism which was nourished by Jesus here through all those Masses you brought them here as kids, it continues to grow, maybe not quick enough for us, but it grows in its own way, and it brings people to God, brings people to Jesus as and when God decides. So, we must feel in some ways blessed, blessed through the efforts that we’ve made through each of you over the years, which makes such a thing as Popcorn & Popsicles happen, and we need to do more that here at Church of the Holy Spirit, because it brings people to Jesus, that’s what we are about here, about bringing people to Jesus, and if it takes popcorn and popsicles, or hamburgers and hotdogs, that’s what we need to do, and do it joyfully knowing that this is really what Jesus Christ, bringing us together, little by little, and in His time, when the time is right.
One of my favorite ministries is the Ministry of Care, and when we get called out to anoint somebody. Especially, somebody when they are in their final moments, and they are transitioning if you like, into eternity, they are getting ready to die, so I get called to anoint people, and it’s a very special, intimate moment with those people, and during that time if they are able we give them Holy Communion, we give them Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and that moment of giving them Holy Communion in the church has a special name, and that special name is Viaticum, which means, for the road, it’s one of the road, it is food for the journey, provision for the journey, as these people spiritually journey into eternity.
Now, that spiritual journey began with their Baptism, and continued when they received First Communion, and the grace of that Sacrament never stopped flowing, never stopped working, never stopped bringing them to Jesus throughout their whole life, it doesn’t even stop at that moment when they are about to die, and to move into eternity. And that’s how I think we need to think about and understand the extent of Jesus’ love for each one of us. What really matters is that Jesus comes to us as the Bread of Life, and down from heaven and He brings us to us, through all ways, through all channels throughout our life. And a lot of that good work that you did with your children, maybe you’ll never see the results in your own lifetime, but it does bear fruit, because the grace of the Sacrament, the grace of Jesus, and the reality of Jesus in your life, it always brings rewards, reaps benefits, time after time again.
So please, don’t be hard on yourselves, be thankful to God that the faith which is stored in your hearts, you share with other people, and you continue to share with people. Our mission is to bring people to Jesus, and you are doing that here, and you’ve done it, and you will continue to do so here, at the Church of the Holy Spirit.