Hearing the scriptures publicly proclaimed at the sacrifice of the Holy Mass is an often overlooked—perhaps forgotten—treasure. Frequently, Protestant worship services neglect this vital component of hearing the transforming Word of God.
Children, with their sounds and stirrings during Mass, should not be looked at as disruptions, but as living images of the love of Christ, the blessings of the sacred vocation of marriage, and as gifts integral to a life-filled, growing parish community.
Like the shepherds, we encounter Christ in a very personal way at every Mass–especially in the Eucharist. Yet it is not enough to simply and passively receive this great gift with joy. Joy naturally is received and shared. The full meaning of Christmas and its encounter with the Christ-child moves us to become evangelists, that such an immense joy might be shared with all.
Could barren churches be just one reason why young people leave the Church in droves? After all, what is beautiful and attractive about such a space? Not only did I find it uninviting, it was most inhospitable to the very Person of our Lord, Jesus, who had been relegated to some area behind a wall, almost apologetically.
With the approach of All Souls Day, let us remember that the love of St. Augustine for his mother, St. Monica, moved him to continue to offer his love for her through the supreme and saving sacrifice of the eucharistic celebration.