Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Patrick,
Because the Church needs healing. And the world needs the Church. I read this tag line as part of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ narrative for our Eucharistic Revival. This revival is a national initiative for every Catholic to deepen our appreciation of the Eucharist as the core of our discipleship.
Because the Church needs healing. So true! Every member of the Church, from the newly baptized baby to the aged, from the lay person to the pope, needs healing. We each suffer from some form of wound, sin, or trauma comes from our human nature. Some injuries have been caused by our own doing while others have been committed against us by others. Each of us needs the healing grace of Jesus Christ and the strength of His Holy Spirit.
The powerful enemies of healing are pride and fear. When either dominates we can become paralyzed or blocked, unable to freely move forward. The answer is found in Christ who came to reveal the Father’s love, to heal, to set captives free.
And the world needs the Church. Also very true. People may struggle with aspects of the Church but this is like a family who comes together even in the midst of tensions or disagreements. Whether we like it, or not, being part of a family is essential.
And, like family, the Church has to be more than a mere event. Why? Because membership in a family is not an event. Being part of a family is rooted in relationship with the all-inclusive reality of the good, the bad, the joy, the sorrow, and even the annoying. All grounded in love.
So, how do you see Church?
As a family of believers, the Church gathers together with some basic form of established relationship. We greet and are greeted. We find our place. We take note of who is new at the table and who is no longer joining us. We tell familiar stories. We pray. We give thanks. We eat. We commit to our next gathering.
Going to Church is merely an event. We pay admission. We show proof that we have a place there. We watch the event. We go our separate ways. And then we do one additional thing: we measure the success of this event – was it worth the price of my admission?
Yes, there can always be the cold greeting from an aunt, a wobbly dining chair, the niece’s annoying boyfriend, Uncle Rudy’s boring story, the playful toddler during grace, and complaints about lumpy mashed potatoes. But we showed up. We participated. We honored our family.
Because the Church needs healing. And the world needs the Church. No perfect member. But we showed up. We participated. We honor this family of believers.