This past Sunday, our parish held its annual Parish Picnic at a beautiful county park. We celebrated Mass under the trees with a soft late summer breeze rustling through the trees (and knocking down plenty of acorns!) Every family brings a dish to pass, and a crew of men spent all night Saturday with grills and smokers preparing delicious barbecued pork, chicken, hot dogs and brats. After the meal, many people played BINGO, and some others enjoyed a small tournament of corn hole, or “baggoes.” I don’t know the official term. I just watch!
This year, the Mass readings included the powerful passage from the eighth chapter of Mark’s Gospel:
He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’
Our pastor gave a beautiful homily, encouraging everyone to grow in their love for Jesus, to not just know about Jesus, but to truly know Him personally. I was so happy to hear him share this message (he has shared this before) because my heart breaks when I think of loved ones who are just going through the motions. I used to be like that. I went to Mass often out of obligation and duty only. Worse yet, there were times in college when I went because it was “fun” singing in the choir and it fed my ego; my thoughts barely approached a true heart of worshiping God.
Now, my spiritual journey has taken on new significance. I am increasingly aware of the blessings in my life, despite my numerous shortcomings. The people in my life, the ministry opportunities, and the consolation found in my times of prayer…all of these are reasons why I can confidently call Jesus Messiah and Lord. And because I know He is there for me, I have hope. Hope for strength and perseverance in dealing with my health. Hope for the Church to be healed from the recent scandals (my thoughts on that coming soon.) Hope for my loved ones to someday also call Jesus Messiah and Lord.
Who do you say that He is?