I’ve got more thinking exercise for you. Keeping in mind what you thought about family quality time apply it now to the Church. Think how you could do what you thought about family quality time in your parish community. Think how it could be done in the wider Church community...
My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
These little mental exercises I’ve asked you to do were not to protect you from dementia by stimulating you do some unusual thinking. By the way, recently I have heard an interview with a psychologist who said that learning new skills, reflecting on new things can protect us from Alzheimer. In the situation of applying family quality time to the life of our Church protection from Alzheimer is a side effect, though a good one. The primary effect is enhancing our being as Church.
If you use a daily Missal you may have been surprised that the readings for this Sunday weren’t taken from the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. It wasn’t done to throw off your normal routine. The Readings have reminded us that our Catholic Church in Australia is doing some family quality time now. It’s got a professional name of the Plenary Council. However for those who have no idea what it means we can explain that our Church family is doing family quality time.
Our Blessed Lord during the Last Supper promised his disciples that if they kept his word he and his Father would love them and would come to them and make their home with them. He also promised the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, to teach them everything and to remind them of what he said to them. It is awesome. God who has got a perfect home in heaven comes to us to turn our Church into a home. We are not an organisation. We are not an institution. We are not a corporation. We are not a club. We are home. After the consecration of bread and wine the priest will address God saying: Listen graciously to the prayers of this family, whom you have summoned before you. We are family because God has called to the Catholic Church. We are family because God is in our midst: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Plenary Council which commences this Sunday, this family quality time, involves all of us. We shouldn’t think that it is for few unlucky people who will have to sit through long meetings. Quite contrary, this is our family quality time to grow closer to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is our family quality time to grow closer to each other. This is our family quality time to grow in our mission to draw others to this family, to this Church, where the Father comes with his Son, where the Holy Spirt is sent too.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers. When the Church held a Universal Council in Ephesus in 431, which was discerning whether Mary could be called Mother of God, it was recorded in the chronicles that the sellers at the local market were having hot disputes about it too. Next time you pray to our Lady as the Mother of God you may think about all the carrots, onions and chicken thighs being thrown by the people who held different views at the time of the Council of Ephesus. However thinking about all that meat and vegetables remember that it was their family quality time. Such time is not boring. Such time is filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit working through our human highs and lows. Such time is the time we are entering this Sunday.
Let me finish with the words of St Paul from the Letter to his beloved Christian community in Philippi: ‘If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with common purpose and a common mind.’ What a Church we will become when these words become reality. Amen to that.