Sunday, March 24, 2024, Palm Sunday – Day 40

March 24, 2024

It’s hard to believe that this journey began forty days ago on Ash Wednesday.  Today we begin the holiest of weeks on the Christian calendar … Holy Week. Each day, taking fifteen minutes to read a reflection from Rebuilt Faith: A Handbook for Skeptical Catholics has been a transformative and enlightening experience for me. And I hope for those who took the journey too. As we finish the forty days (and the next two bonus days), we have a renewed call to make STEPS a reality in our lives and our parish. I’ll offer a plan for fellow travelers during Holy Week after the bonus days!

Michael White and Tom Corcoran started this fortieth day saying, “Over the course of this week, we have looked at why we should share our faith, and we’ve learned that the answer is simple: We share our faith because Jesus called us to do so.”  It’s as simple as that, and the insights today give us some reflection on the “how” of sharing faith. 

One of the reasons I find it challenging to share faith is my aversion to intrude on someone’s private life. Maybe its my introversion, or maybe it’s my upbringing. In contrast as a priest, I have a number of tools and an entrée because of my position.  Yet, it’s still challenging, and this week has been one provoked me to better understand the why and how of sharing faith.

Michael White and Tom Corcoran offer these questions today:

Who is someone God is putting on your heart right now to invest in? 

What is the next step you can take to invest in that person? 

What church environment would you invite this person into?

I like the suggestions of how to share faith. The authors call it “invest and invite.” Reflecting on the questions, there are many people I can identify as needing a relationship with Jesus and the Church. I’ll be talking with family this week and even break bread at some point. We’ll wish each other Happy Easter. I’ll be involved with the events and Masses during Holy Week and Easter. Some of my siblings and their children and grandchildren will not have it on their calendar to deepen a relationship with Christ and the Church. I imagine many of us are in the same boat. I need to start on the home front. 

Though they are a drive distance away, I can gently invite them to come and visit at special times in the parish. I can also suggest going out for breakfast afterwards! My treat?  You know, we have the parish picnic coming in May. If I invite a local person, excellent worship and great food is a great one-two. 

The church environment of CCHS is very welcoming. At every weekend Mass, there is a hospitality that welcomes people without any judgement or burden. I’m always amazed how our greeters know the regulars, and welcomes visitors. At one of our Masses, young people go to cars with umbrellas when its raining!  The ushers will aid special needs. That’s just getting into the church. 

Those involved in preparing the celebration of the Eucharist have choreographed the music, proclamation of readings, Children’s Liturgy of the Word (sometimes nearly 50 kids at both centers), technology and servers. It takes a lot of love and commitment to make our praise and worship at the Eucharist alive. The priests and deacons are working with a Message Series Team to coordinate homilies to take the community deeper in its relationship with Jesus and the Church. So far, there have been three series and a fourth is being planned for September. 

Yes, the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit is an excellent environment to share faith and invest and invite someone to be alive in the Spirit.