We Roman Catholic believers believe: Life is not meant to be a life sentence, a form of slavery and oppression punctuated by consistent moments of suffering, hatred, selfishness, disappointment, betrayal, grief, disharmony and division. And while all these sins against God’s love may manifest themselves in the behaviors of ourselves and others; they are lies and corruptions. Instead, we believe: Life is meant to be a sharing in the life of our creator, in the love of our incarnate redeemer, and the hope and promise of God’s very Spirit.
Our faith does not make what is challenging and hard suddenly easy, it rather, makes our call to embrace God’s gift of life possible. Life is not all sweetness and light. Life truly lived, really lived, fully lived is ever challenging and always hard work. Life requires of us vision, commitment and ever faithful trust. Please hold that thought.
I’ve been feeling lately weary, bone tired, listless, cynical and overwhelmed; and I’m certain I’m joined by many many of you in these feelings. I wonder in my quiet moments alone if I’m losing my faith. And no not like REM, I’m not losing my religion, I need a job after all; but religion without faith is the cruelest joke we can play on ourselves. I’m sorely tempted to quit, to give up, to squander God’s gift of life by surrendering to evil as it shows itself in hate, in violence, in destruction, in revolution without reconstruction. I’m tempted to believe that most people when it comes right down to it will show themselves ultimately to be liars and thieves, people who play at living until it gets hard and then the bail out, do what is easy rather than what is right, doing what is momentarily pleasing and pleasurable rather what is loving. Give most people the chance and they will break your heart, not because they are committed evil doers, but rather they are just weak enough for corruption to win out.
Thank God, just in time, for 1st communion. Holy Communion, the sacrament of life, of union, the sacrament of more. We are now in the midst of our young ones receiving for the first time that which fuels our faith and makes us courageous, the sacrament which makes us more.
Our unity as a people, everyone members of the human race, endowed by our creator with value, dignity and worth is not based on uniformity or sentimentality. It is based on what can be when we join the One who showed us how to die well so as to live well, how to build up even when it costs everything, to give and forgive so that what is true in us is fueled by love without end, freely given without counting the cost, so that we can grasp our true destiny and become the more we are meant to be.
I’m so grateful that the simple faith and witness of our children can speak so clearly to us and remind us so deeply, what life truly is; especially when calamity, injustice, hatred, and selfishness, all forms of sinfulness which seems so much in the ascendency wants to break our hearts, our spirits and our resolve. Holy Communion, we are capable of just that, because we are fed so that we can become what we eat: the one Body of Christ, brothers and sisters all.
So, let the children give witness with their simple faith as they receive with joy and anticipation. See again what we believe about life. And then with courage, with faithful love, with long suffering hope, let us build our world to become more fully what is truly is meant to be: God’s kingdom of justice, where peace flowers and communion is shared by all.
And yes, this will be hard work, and never ending, but possible surely. Let us hold out our hands, receive and eat, let us be transformed by grace. Together let us become what we worship, let us become what we eat. Fr. Jim