Just a Thought…
One of the “trickiest” parts of the priesthood “job” I think, is coming up with a homily for an assembly of children. Despite the difference in age and wisdom (at least, I hope I have some wisdom!?), bringing the mysteries of faith to a kid’s level is not always the easiest task, at least for me. I always get nervous before one of our liturgies with the kids, either among our Partner’s program or most often with the students of Frances Xavier Warde School. What perhaps may look easy really is not. Attempting to simplify or even connect the gospel message or part of the Tradition in some kind of “kid-friendly” or engaging way can be challenging. I encountered my anxious-self again last week when we celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation with our 3rd and 4th graders here at the school. “Forgiveness” might seem like an easy topic, but try to connect the Sacrament, God’s unconditional love, confession, penance, and let that make sense to a 3rd and 4th grader… How do I approach this one?
I decided to use Spring Training as the example. I know that baseball is well under way and spring training has given way to the regular season. But for all the non-professionals and kids playing in park leagues, it’s still Spring Training time. “And what about spring training,” I asked the kids, “what does it do for you? It helps you get better at the game!” Spring training is about honing our skills; fine tuning the position we play; learning new strategies; acquiring new plays and methods for success.
I believe that’s what Lent and Holy Week are all about. As we have acknowledged: Lent means spring time. It’s time to let new life enter our souls and, likewise, for our renewed souls to bring some new gospel-driven life into the world. Hopefully this Lent was a time of renewal and getting back to what is essential for us to be fully alive. Through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and doing life differently these past six weeks, we have been able to “fine tune” our life skills and maybe even get better at this thing called Faith.
Now we enter Holy Week. Holy Week is our most sacred time, our culmination of the Lenten journey. I hope we will be like racers getting to the finish line with a little more distance to go, and we need to give it one last good push of spiritual energy to the end. Holy Week is our Spring Training: by engaging and entering again into the mysteries of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, our prayer is that “we’ll get better” at this thing called life, holy life, discipleship. In the column just next to this one you’ll see all the times and locations of our sacred gatherings together this week. I hope you’ll join me.
Prayerful best to all of you this week as we conclude this sacred time of “Spring Training.” May it not be our “ending,” as much as it is a new beginning for all who want to get better at our life of Faith.
A Blessed Holy Week to all,
Fr. Tom Hurley