I just left Jam for the Lamb, which is a morning of Worship, Praise and Adoration that kicked off our Catholic Schools Week. It is intoxicating to hear the children sing so wonderfully! The Eucharist is exposed in the gym, center stage, and all morning young persons, faculty, staff, and parents flood the gym with prayer. It truly is proof that faith is living and effective on our campus and in our school!
As I was soaking in the atmosphere of 800 people, children and adults, singing at the top of their lungs I was struck by the GIFT that I was witnessing. It moved me to preach to the kids with this opening line, "As I hear you worship, I am struck by the Gift THIS is!" Then I asked, "But what is the 'THIS' to which I am referring?" And I ask you the same question: when you worship, what is the GIFT for which you are praising God?
For our students it could be their parents, teachers, fellow classmates, or the staff of the parish and school. Or it could be the gym to play basketball, the fields to run on, or the playground to swing on. It could also be the classroom to learn in, the roof that keeps water of their heads, or the Church in which they can pray and worship. All of these could be the "this" to which I was referring.
And for you? What could be 'this' gift to which I am referring? Perhaps it could be your job, health, house, car, cat, paycheck, refrigerator, food, or running water. Perhaps it could be your friends, spouse, coworkers, boss, neighbors, or fellow parishioners. Perhaps it could be the beauty of snow, the warmth of the sunshine, or the quiet stars at night. For you, what is 'THIS' gift?
For me, in the moment when I was with the kids, I realized what "THIS" gift was by which I was struck. It was the Father himself. HE is the greatest of all gifts. The gift of gifts. Before all eternity he knew each of us by name, before anything existed, he planned to create us because he WANTED us. Consider your guardian angels. Before physical creation, he created every angel all at once, including your guardian angel. That means that, before he created even the angels, he knew that he was going to create you, therefore he created your guardian angel with you in mind! Before the earth or the world were brought forth, God knew you and wanted you so that he could love you!
The gift of all gifts is the Father himself. He made himself a gift for us when he created us and called us to love him in return. And not only that, but even when we messed everything up through our knot headed sins, he didn't abandon us... he didn't chuck it all in. Rather, he sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from sin and restore us to life in him. And before Jesus suffered and died for us, he gave us the Eucharist, so that he could be with us always, even unto the end of the age. Even Jesus' own Ascension didn't remove him from our presence! He remains with us in the Eucharist. And still Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us, to dwell in us as in a temple.
THIS IS THE GIFT!!! This is the gift of all gifts!!! This is everything!
Take a moment and be grateful for THIS gift: the gift of the Trinity. Recognize it. Call it to mind. Think deeply upon it. And worship God for it. We are disciples because we were called to worship this gift. We are stewards because we want to participate in this gift, now, and for eternity to come.
Father Jarrod Lies, Pastor