We begin our observance of Ordinary Time: these weeks between the end of Christmas and Ash Wednesday.

Ordinary Time: from the Latin, ordinare (to order, to arrange). This time is for us to be nourished by the Word of God, our reception of the Eucharist, and gathering as a Eucharistic Assembly. These days are ordered to our growth- now that we know the Child born at Christmas is the Messiah, our lives can be ordered and arranged around his Identity as our Savior and the Head of our Church- the Body of Christ.

 It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to postpone the first two events of our Centennial Celebration: the Kick Off Breakfast scheduled for January 30 and the Centennial Concert scheduled for February 13 will be rescheduled.  I am happy to announce that we’re getting ready to launch a Centennial Swag Website that will offer some memorabilia for purchase: my thanks to Heather O’Keefe, Deacon Joe Weintage and Angela Fiordelisi for leading these efforts. We’ll look forward to sporting our Centennial gear.

Today, I’d like to start a three-part essay on the theme of the Eucharist. The ‘source and summit’ of our Christian life, the Eucharist is quintessentially Roman Catholic and it is both Him who is the Bread of Life and that which nourishes, prepares and equips us for Eternal Life in Heaven.   The best summary of what we believe of the Eucharist is contained in John’s Gospel, chapter 6(vv. 22-59), called the Bread of Life Discourse. From the Bread of Life Discourse I want to reflect on three theme: Belonging, Believing and Behaving. We’ll take each in turn. This week: Belonging.

In the Bread of Life Discourse, we hear Jesus say, “Everyone who listens to my Father and learn from him comes to me” (v. 45). There’s a universal invitation to the human family to come to learn who Jesus is and what He means for us. This is the work of Evangelization. The human heart longs for a sense of belonging. John Donne, the 17th century British Poet and Churchman wrote, ‘No man is an island, entire to himself, each man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main’ (From Meditation 17, 1623). As humans and Catholic Christians we desire to belong; to feel connected to something larger than ourselves. The Eucharist is the means by which we cultivate and maintain belonging with God, and then belonging with the church community.

Membership in the church brings with both the invitation and obligation to belong. Grafted onto the Body of Christ by Baptism and sustained by prayer and Eucharist, we are invited into the Communion. But then we are also obligated to cultivate that Communion so that it grows, like the mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, which grows into a large bush, providing shade and respite for all the birds of the sky (Mt 12:31-32).

And here’s the highlight, the big take-away: not only we were built for this, it’s the most essential part of who we are as people and as Catholic Christians. So, today, friends, we receive the invitation and obligation to belong. To receive and cultivate the Communion that is the Father’s Gift to His people.  You belong here: around the Altar. And one day, hopefully, we’ll hear those words from behind the Gates of Heaven: You Belong Here!

Know that you are loved dearly and prayed for daily.

Fr. Craig Holway, Pastor
314-962-2311  x116