The first time my friend visited my parents’ home, she was shocked to spy candy dishes filled with gumdrops, Swedish fish, chocolates. My father was my friend’s dentist, and she recalled from childhood enduring annual reprimands for eating too much candy. My dad was speaking professionally and wisely helping his patients to avoid fillings or crowns. But at home, it was a different story as my mom had a wicked sweet tooth. People loved stopping by for a sweet roll or a piece of candy. As mom often remarked, “Everyone needs a little sugar every day!” So, when speaking to His disciples about attracting others to Christianity, why did Jesus use salt? Not sugar?
Over one of a thousand cups of coffee, my dear friend and I were discussing the culture. Becky, navigating her daughter’s teen years, lamented, “Mare, it just can’t get any worse. Certainly, things will change.” Thirty-five years later, Becky and I continue to shake our heads as our culture marches deeper and deeper into the cold winter of darkness.
A young mother entered the ambo to deliver the first reading at daily Mass when her one-year-old daughter, being held by another woman, began crying and reaching out for her mama. The serene mother stepped back, swept the child into her arms, returned to the ambo and gracefully proclaimed the word of the Lord. So fresh, this baby girl is already being immersed into the faith.
Perched on my windowsill, a very expectant Mary faces the east. So ripe with child, her belly button protrudes underneath the flowing deep blue and white garments. Her left hand, placed beneath the bulge, gently caresses the babe inside. Mary exhibits a calm joy while expecting the birth of her baby; her smile reveals a delight in each kick, hiccup, or stretch felt in the womb. The God of all creation grows, tucked safely under her heartbeat. Mary waits. Trusting in God’s timing. Patient for God’s will.
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.
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.