Third Sunday of Lent
February 28, 2016
“I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
It may bear fruit in the future.”
I have a good friend who is an ordained minister in another Christian tradition. We first met when she and her husband moved into the area and found a home at the church where I was serving as director of music ministries. They've often told me that they had felt “called” to this church because of the hymns, psalms, and Mass settings that we were using and also because I welcomed them when they first came through the church door and every time I saw them thereafter. Eighteen years have gone by, and their four children have all been baptized at Mass on the Feast of the Holy Family in the year each one was born. You see, family is everything to them.
This year, my friend asked me to be her sponsor as a candidate for reception into the Catholic Church. When I asked her why she was making this move, she explained that she had felt incomplete at worship because she had come to believe and thus to desire to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. I heard what she said and was amazed at the way Christ had been working in her life, leading her to a kind of second spring of faith (to borrow an image from Cardinal John Henry Newman).
Another experience recently confirmed the way Christ works quietly, daily, to provide a strong foundation for belief. At Communion one Sunday, Father needed another minister to serve the Host. I pointed to myself. He nodded, and after I had received, I began to share the Body and Blood of Christ with those who came to me. They were young, old, tired, African, Asian, Hispanic, Black, Anglo, and as my eyes met theirs, when I said, "Body of Christ!" they looked at me and smiled as they answered "Amen!" I knew in a way I had never known before that Christ was at work in each of these people, giving the gift of himself, nurturing, healing, leading them into union and inviting each one to take him out to our very weary world.
O Lord, help us: to see with our hearts your work of renewal and new life in our world; help us to keep hope alive; help us to keep believing that the world will become a better place because we're willing to share your presence, your gift of mercy with others in need. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
College Park, Maryland