Today I would like us to reflect on three simple questions.
The first is this. Why do we come here ?
Every once in a while it is very important to stop and reflect on why we come here each Sunday.
There are many answers.
Each of us has our own reasons.
Many of us have several reasons that we carve out a small portion of our week and give it to God and ourselves.
There are those how come out of fear.
They reason If I don't go to Mass then God will not be happy with them or even worse that God will get them.
There are those who come out of habit. Going to Church... is what my father or mother or family always did so this is what I do this is what I've always done.
Some people come because they see their friends here.
It is a place where they reconnect once a week.
I am amazed at the web of relationships that are centered here in this Church.
There are many people who have known each other for decades here.
Some come because it makes them feel better.
Its like a feel good pill.
Some of us come simply because God asks us to.
They realize that each week at Mass we are challenged by God's word and fed with the Bread of Life.
They take to heart God’s Word in the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel.
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life with in you. “
There are those who have come to understand that Mass on Sunday is the best possible place for us to be.
Yes some of us are here because we have come to see that regular attendance at mass changes us it molds us and shapes us.
Regular Mass attendance reminds us of God's love and helps us be faithful to God's will.
Coming to Mass keeps us focused on how we should live and love.
Without regular Mass attendance it is so easy for the world and worldly concerns to sweep us up and demand all of our attention.
Without giving God a regular part of our day let alone a regular part of our week it is possible to forget the special place each and everyone of us has in his heart.
We all know people who live their life as if God didn't exist.
Living without the consolation of faith can be a very lonely life indeed.
Living our faith and coming to Mass gives us hope.
The second Question is this…
Who brought us here to Mass and who brought us here to faith.
Very few of us found our way here on their own.
Maybe it was our family, our parents who shared their faith with us.
Maybe it was a spouse who brought you back and introduced you to God.
Maybe you are here because your Mother or Mother in law wanted her grandkids to have their religious education and you found your way back to Church through them.
One of our parents from St. Paul School told me candidly that he and his family come to Mass regularly because his little girl asked him to.
His then 1st graders brought the whole family back to regular Mass attendance.
Yes we come for many reasons and someone brought us here.
Someone touched by faith someone moved by love brought us here.
At a recent funeral the Son of the deceased pulled me aside. And said to me “my Dad never lost hope through all of his illnesses and hospitalizations.”
We were all a mess. He was always calm and peace filled
He was stronger than all of us put together... I wish I had his faith.
I looked at him and said you can…
Faith is a choice and when we choose to believe we also choose ho hope.
Hope comes from faith.
In the second reading we hear St. Peter challenge us to share our faith and share our hope... with those we meet.
“Always be ready to share the reason for your hope but do so gently and with great reverence”
Some translations say But do so gently and humbly”
The third and final questions is simply this.
Who have we shared our faith with or who have we share the reason for our hope with?
We don't have the power to make anyone accept faith and to hold on to hope
Faith Hope and Love are a choice but we must never grow tired of lovingly suggesting faith and offering hope.
The starting point for Catholics is going to Mass.
At the Last Supper Jesus said to this in memory of me... and Catholics have done just that in every conceivable place and circumstance for 2000 years.
Weekly Mass attendance is not some rule to priests made up so they wouldn’t be lonely or have a small collection.
We pray the Mass each day because God asked us to do so.
I had this dream once that has always stayed with me.
I was standing at the pearly gates asking to be admitted to heaven.
St. Peter looked me in the eye and quickly asked how many have you brought with you ?
Always be willing to share the reason of your hope but do so humbly.
Have a great weekend everyone.