An Acid Test of Christian Discipleship
May 6, 2016
In significant ways, our life as parishioners parallels that of life in our families. Both exist to meet a basic need that we all have, namely to belong. As we grow toward adulthood, on the one hand, we don’t always want to be tied down by our family. We need to go outside of our family to participate in a variety of activities. On the other hand, most of us value our families as a reference point to which we can return, both to receive and to extend the support that we need to carry on.
At its heart, our faith in the Lord is a communal reality. We belong to the Lord as members of the Church. To make personal that sense of belonging that is inherent to our nature, the Church normally insists that we register in a specific parish. With this in mind, I am requesting each of our graduating high school seniors to register separately from their parents in the parish with which they’ve been affiliated. This enables our graduates to appreciate that they are recognized and respected as adults even though a number of them, like myself, may continue to live with their parents for a number of years after they graduate from high school. Although from time to time for a variety of reasons, we participate at weekend Masses in other area parishes, many of us value our home parish as a reference point to which we can return, both to receive and to extend the spiritual support that we need to continue to go forward on our common journey of faith.
God’s love for us in Jesus serves as the basis of our connectedness with one another, both in our families and in the extended family of the parish to which we belong. If family life and parish life are to enable us to be fully alive with the love of Christ, we have to do our part to make this happen. For both family life and parish life to be sources of enrichment for us, we need to be together and do things together on a regular basis. Standing activities for spiritual growth are offered in each of our parish communities. These include opportunities to be enriched by the preaching and teaching of the Gospel and occasions to celebrate the Sacraments. Celebrating Mass is at the heart of the life of each of our parish communities. As we resolve to participate faithfully in these activities, we will grow in the desire and in the ability to witness to our faith in a variety of ministries and ways both in and beyond our parish communities.
Both in our families and in our parish homes, as we make time and room to experience the Lord’s support from one another, we will literally want to give the shirts off of our back to help one another. A number of us are already doing this.
In our families, financial resources are needed both for on-going regular expenses, as well as for special occasions that arise, such as weddings, graduations and other milestone events. In our families, we make room for spending money in both of these areas. Parish life is like this. From time to time, needs or occasions arise that call for a significant financial commitment. Time takes its toll on parish buildings and facilities. At the same time, if our parish faith community is to continue to be able to witness to the Gospel of our Lord in a vibrant manner, the practice of on-going financial sacrificial giving from each of us is called for. I pray that we will each take to heart and make our own all that the Lord offers us in our parish home. As we do this, we will more and more regard financial sacrificial giving to our parish as an opportunity to be embraced rather than as an ordeal to be endured.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor