Thursday, July 27, 2017

A break dancing priest? Say what!?

July 26, 2017

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 397

EX 16:1-5, 9-15

PS 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28

MT 13:1-9

My ten year old and I have been going to Mass together the last few days.   I don’t force her to go to daily Mass.  I invite her.  The last two days she has really had no choice.  Her sisters weren’t home and I had the honor of being lector so I really wanted to go.  It was great having her there.  She walks around with me as I do things.  Genuflects towards the tabernacle and feels comfortable enough to join in on discussions.  She also talks kindly to the other people there when they interact with her.  It’s good to see that she not only respects our religion but also has the demeanor of someone who is really kind and patient with others.  That’s important to me as a parent.

With today being the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, I think it’s important that we remember that.  Our example is the first and foremost pedagogy for our children.  It’s not someone else's job to teach our children their faith.   It’s great when a Church offers Religious Education or a Bible Study, but those should be secondary tools to flesh out what they already know.  They should see us, the parents, living a Sacramental life.  Sure, there are times they aren’t going to come when you invite them to Mass.  There are gonna be days when they roll their eyes at you when you offer them the opportunity to go visit Jesus in Adoration or to go to Confession with you on Saturday.   The key though is they must see it!  Let them say no.  Let them roll their eyes.  But let them see that you believe!  

We don’t know much about Joachim and Anne.   We know their names only from a document that isn’t even considered divine revelation, an apocryphal book called the Protevangelium of James.   Any details we have on their lives are possibly legends, though some have claimed to have visions to see them.  None of that is required belief, all private revelation that you can believe or not.   What we do know about them is the kind of girl they raised.   They raised a devout believer who said an absolute Yes to God’s plan in her life.  Even if it meant suffering and persecution.  What kind of kids are we raising?  My kids are good kids.  We would all say that right?  What they need, what they deserve, is a good set of parents.  Parents, who no matter what life throws at them, trust in God and head to the Sacraments, the Scriptures, and Prayer.

Let them see you praying.  Alone and together.  Let them hear you saying a rosary, doing Lectio Divina, or the divine office.   Make sure they know when you are going to Mass and never let them forget they are welcome, and that you want them there!   Make sure they know you want them to be a part of your faith life, that you feel more complete when they are with you.  That’s what this faith should be about.  I am better with Jesus, and I want them to know Him so He can show them the best of themselves.  So far I’ve spoken only about parents, but this applies to all Christians.  Aunts, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends, teachers, priests and religious.   Let the youth see you practicing your faith, and not just practicing it, but being joyful in the process!  

Recently there was an uproar over a Priest who was break dancing.   Should he be doing that, some gasped!?   Yes!   Let him dance!  Let the youth see that the Catholic faith isn’t supposed to turn us into sour pickles that have no fun.  It's supposed to free us from the shackles of sin that we can find holy and righteous ways to be joyful.  Dancing, adoring, praising, singing, and sitting quietly.  There are times for all of it.  Jesus should bring us life, not death.   Joy, not sadness.  Peace, not anxiety.  There will be times when we feel the whole gambit of emotions, just like the in the Psalms.  There will be ups and downs.   We need to show them where to go when we experience both, and that should be to Jesus in the Sacraments, in the Church, and in each other.