September 16-17, 2017

As a world, as a nation, as a community of God’s people, we are in need of SPIRITUALITY. And as we celebrate Catechetical Sunday this weekend, it will be helpful to reflect on this foundational need in our life. “Spirituality” is one of those ideas we frequently mention but for which we do not always have a critical understanding. As a matter of fact, everyone has a spirituality of some sort. Spirituality is our value system, our way of perceiving, our mode of operating, and our heart-felt approach to life. We are people of both flesh and spirit; therefore spirituality is part of our God-given makeup. Our spirituality is our way of relating to life, to God the giver of life, to the human family of which we are a part, and to the whole created world in which we live. 

As we seek to evangelize ourselves (yes, we are in ongoing need of growing in commitment to Jesus!), and as we seek to evangelize others (proclaim and witness Jesus to one another) we need to discover and discern and commit to living the mind and heart of Jesus as a prerequisite for delivering His message to others. Such is the proclamation of the Gospel; such is Gospel spirituality. Evangelization is more than proclaiming and explaining doctrines. It is also, and primarily, BEING compassionate and caring messengers of God’s presence and love. Systematic theology and spirituality may at first glance seem to be separate and distinct courses of study. Upon closer consideration we will find these to be two complementary facets of what we call FAITH, our intimate and personal relationship with God and with our human family. Yes, faith IS relationship, just as hope and love are relationships. Gospel spirituality is our personal and corporate relationship with our heavenly Father in and through and with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. 

The emphasis on this Catechetical Sunday has traditionally been a reference to instructing our younger sisters and brothers in the formalities of living a Catholic-Christian life; we teach them prayers, rituals, rules customs and practices of the Church. This is good and necessary for them to learn. Thanks to those who volunteer to do this ministry of the Church in our parish. May God bless you for your generous service. As we instruct our students we do not want to put a barrier between mind and heart, or between theology and spirituality. Yes, we have responsibilities to God and to one another and to our society and to the whole realm of creation. But why? We cannot forget to let our students know the “why” for what they are asked to believe or practice. Understanding and appreciating the “why” will help our students find motivation, inspiration, meaning, and purpose in their lives so that they can pursue fulfilling their responsibilities with free and generous hearts. Some important reasons why we honor God and reverence all God’s creation are: all that we are and all that we have are gifts from God; we need God and we need one another because God alone can save us. God is good, and all that God does is good. We are good, and God loves us for who we are, for who God made us to be. God wants the best for us, and God wants us to grow into our best selves, not for God’s sake, but for our fulfillment and happiness. Because God is our Father, God protects us, provides for us, understands us, forgives us, and walks side by side with us on our life journey on earth. Yes, life is difficult at times; we suffer, we don’t always get what we want, and we sometimes do not succeed. Yet, our heavenly Father has shown us His care and concern when He became like us in the Person of Jesus who embraced all the sufferings of human life even to death on a cross. As God raised up Jesus, so will He raise us up time and time again when we hurt, when we lose, when we make mistakes, when we are lost and have nowhere to turn. There is no “nowhere” with God, because God is everywhere, and wherever we are, there is God. This is the assurance we all need as we walk with Jesus the way of the cross.

Fr. Dennet