“It’s the pink week! It’s the pink week!” I exclaimed jumping up and down. I don’t think my parents ever witnessed me being so excited to go to Mass. At my home parish in Peoria, we had children process forward with the candles before Mass, and the “pink week” was when I always volunteered. I remember as a child being very excited about this week. Not only was pink my favorite color, but I figured once we got to the pink week, it was only a short week until Christmas. And, what kid wouldn’t be excited about that? Little did I know at the time, this week marks great joy and excitement which transcends the presents under the tree.
Now I know the color is rose, not pink. I would have concerned looks made at me from colleagues by referring to the color as pink, now that I am an adult. However, I still have that child-like joy and anticipation about this week. Something so big, so profound, so moving is about to enter into our lives. Not a gift under the tree, but a gift in our hearts. A gift that can transform us; a gift that can move us. If we unwrap the gift, accept it, acknowledge the goodness and joy it brings, this gift will move mountains. Any hurdle we encounter, any challenge that seems too big, this gift will help lift us and carry us through every-time. This gift is unlimited and inexhaustible. This gift is Jesus. The gift of Him entering into our lives and transforming us is the greatest gift we can anticipate. In Bishop Barron’s homily of this Gospel he says, “He will affect something in those who he invades, raising them to a level that no philosopher, moral reformer or prophet ever dreamed of. Jesus is not simply one more prophet but the incarnate Son of God. A bearer of the divine life, this life that cannot even in principle be earned, achieved, or merited, it can only be received as a gift.” Focus on this phrase with me, it can only be received as a gift. Jesus freely gives himself, all of Him, to those who receive Him. We need to be open, eagerly anticipating how He can invade us and transform us into disciples.
I feel like we are witnessing a crisis of faith in our church at this moment. I follow many Catholic news agencies, bloggers, and influencers on social media that seem to offer the doom and gloom of our times. Articles regarding low Mass attendance, suffering parish finances, the rise of the “nones,” low sacramental participation, weddings on the beach, the list goes on and on. If we were ever to find a time to anticipate this great gift, my goodness, we need to eagerly anticipate it now. Each of us is called to receive this gift and allow Him to invade our lives. Like all invasions, they spread. This is exactly what we need. An invasion. An invasion of Jesus transforming ourselves into disciples who are brave, bold and holy. We need an invasion to transform us into strong witnesses of the Gospel; stewards not just in believing but through our actions. Stewards who are inviting, welcoming, and hospitable. Stewards who are willing to challenge and be challenged. We have to have an invasion into our hearts and the hearts of others.
The time is now. If you have a family member who has been away from the church, invite them next week. If you have not received Confession in awhile, receive it. If you have been questioning your faith, meet with us. If you are fulfilled in your faith, pass it on.
As I watch my two twins grow too quickly before my eyes, I hope and pray that they encounter this gift. It is a gift that I cannot purchase for them, but one in which I share with them. Let us each pray that we can open our hearts to being transformed by His grace and be bold in sharing this gift with others.
Katie Price is the Coordinator for Stewardship at the Cathedral. She can be reached at [email protected].