I darted out of Our Lady of Guadalupe to get across town to St. Gregory’s. Since it is the church where my sister-in-law grew up in and it is near my brother’s house I knew exactly where I was going. Fortunately, there was one path out of the jammed up parking lot and I was able to squeeze my way over to make it in time for the start of the mass at St. Gregory’s.
Going from a packed church to a wide open church of maybe 60 people today felt strange. It was a shame because the homily was a good one! And….it was in English so I understood it.
The priest began the homily with an analogy of a cruise ship. Plenty to eat, plenty to drink, you want for nothing on a cruise ship. All your needs are met, if you just ask. And you can go back for more food whenever you want. You can nourish the body day and night on a cruise ship.
But then he switched to the invitation to the Eucharist that nourishes the soul. He talked about preparing for His Banquet and accepting HIS invitation to be nourished day and night. He talked about the fact that time will pass whether you are prepared to accept the invitation or not. He talked about life being VERY SHORT and we don’t always get time to prepare to be prepared. He talked about the commitment of going Mass regularly as a way of accepting the invitation and the Banquet is always set for you and always waiting through the Eucharist. He explained that the offer of Mass, the invitation to the Banquet, is His Gift to each of us. He had such a nice way of explaining it all and he was so easy to listen to. Such great imagery!
He went on to talk about the fact that Life is a mystery and everything can change in a second. We need to be prepared for the Banquet by being the best human being you can be today and every day. It is a privilege to be invited to God’s table. He made me feel like I was special (and chosen to be invited) just like the priest did in the Spanish mass only an hour before.
He went on to talk about the fact that we can not accept the invitation for others….our children, our spouses, nieces and nephews, etc. This hit kind of close to home since I wish all our my kids and nieces and nephews felt connected to a church….ANY CHURCH….at this point in time…but they do not. He gave us “permission” in a way to let it go and let God work His Plan so that they will each hear, receive, and accept the invitation in their own time….with his Hand to guide them. Again, such a nice image to hear and feel.
At the end of the mass, he said something that stayed with me….it was just a slight change, but I think my heart was very focused on the kids in my world. He said, “May the Peace of the Lord be with You and Your Families”. It felt like such a nice blessing to wrap up the mass…..I felt like he was blanketing all of my loved ones with LOVE.