The number of empty chairs in the high school classroom startled me until I remembered many of the school’s young people were on a bus heading to Indianapolis for NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference). This three-day experience of dynamic speakers, praise and worship music, and newfound friendship draws over twenty thousand teens from throughout the country. The weekend culminates on Sunday morning when Lucas Oil Football Stadium transforms into the house of the Lord, with thousands of young people receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and rejoicing in His presence. This mountaintop encounter awakens teens to a deeper faith. As I observed the few students remaining in their classroom, some sleeping on their desktop, I wondered how many would regret skipping NCYC. There is nothing worse than failing to do the work, missing the bus, sleeping through an opportunity—of being left behind.
“Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.” President Ronald Reagan’s son smirked at the end of his commercial on behalf of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.* Really? Not afraid of burning in hell? Though startling, not surprising as our culture has become increasingly secular. But this is not the first nor the last time that a culture, government, or individual has mocked Jesus Christ.
A young woman’s eyes turned misty as she spoke of her grandfather’s death: “Though I’ll miss him terribly, I’m at peace because he’s been waiting to be with my grandmother since the day she died. They were married for sixty years and now they’re dancing in heaven!” What a sweet sentiment, but will they? Is it true?
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.