A Mirror to the Faithful • Our Parish Mission at Holy Rosary

What a privilege to share the week of Parish Mission with each of you at Holy Rosary!  Even Superbowl night we had a significant crowd attending, and I am most grateful for your prayerful participation throughout the week.

When someone asks what it is about “itinerant preaching” that I find most fulfilling, I always respond that it’s in the Reconciliation Room. The grace of journeying with someone conscious of their woundedness or those who may have drifted away from the sacraments is such an honor. I am humbled and inspired to hear their narrative, and how God continues to work in our lives.

I think of preachers as mirrors. We come to church, bouncing the profundity of our human experience — love and betrayal, career success and failure, hope and disillusionment — off his or her words, and return to our lives to reflect, for that is what mirrors do best. The Scriptures tell us several times that Our Blessed Mother “pondered these things in her heart.”  Whether it was the event of Annunciation, or as she and Joseph found the child Jesus in the temple, she reflected. I appreciate the opportunity to ponder this time with your faith community.

What I find most inspiring about Holy Rosary is the mature faith development of so many. Your catechetical and theological formation has been really good, and you embrace an adult faith. Sometimes when I’m at a parish it feels like folks have been told to “leave their brains at the door” and come in and worship!  A better metaphor to apply at your parish is (Genesis 32) Jacob wrestling with the angel. I don’t think the Bible is an answer book, and it’s not a science or history book either. If we are choosing to engage with God as Jacob did, we can expect to struggle. But only then will we get the blessing that Jacob received!

It’s no secret that many Catholics have quietly walked away from commitment to a particular faith community. In some ways, our church-going population has been hemorrhaging numbers for years. One of the reasons is the absence of an adult faith. Looking at the Gospels we see a Jesus who chose not to massage the bruised egos of the entitled well-to-do. He comforts the afflicted, but he also afflicts the comfortable! That’s the difference between charity and justice. This means that he not only does kind things for poor people… he also addresses the injustices that render them poor in the first place.

Now my prayer is that you continue this marvelous journey of adult faith!  God bless you, and may you experience the compassion and wonder of our God… something you so generously radiate!