First Down (July 29, 2018)

Dear Friends,

The world is filled with many good people. There are many who say they believe in a god, they believe in a higher power, they believe in a golden rule of treating people like we would want to be treated. There are good atheists who believe there is nothingness once we die yet believe one should make this life about doing the best we can for ourselves and others.

Those of us who are of the Catholic faith may hear such statements and see a modeling of living where we can see God present in such good works, intentions and ideas. Yet, any baptized person is never called to find fulfillment in such ideas or ways of life. We are called to a more complete way of living, a good life, and that life is found in Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is not just one of many good ways, He is not part of what is truth rather he is the truth. Jesus is not just another lifestyle choice; He is the fulfillment of all life.

What this means is that the world needs great storytellers of God the Father, Jesus Christ his Son and the Holy Spirit, the gift from the Father. It is never enough to receive only part of the story. To keep one’s life at a level of simply saying, do good for others, believe in a god, do no harm to anyone, and have good morals is a life nowhere near what God wants from humanity. There is more depth to that and we can only discover it if we are willing to listen, to ponder and search for the full story of God.

All Christians do this through faith formation. It is done at every age level for one’s entire life. Formation for the littlest ones, to elementary age, middle and high school, and adults of every age need to listen, to ponder and come to know the complete story of God. Our community will be asking parents to register their children for formation programs next month. We have a strong formation program that draws children and youth from all over. We also offer adult formation to remind everyone that the story of God has so much depth that we never reach a place in our lives where we can say we know enough, or this will do.

Parents, it is not enough to say it is fine to have your children be good people and believe in good thoughts and good things. To forget the story that Jesus is the way, truth and life, is to treat Jesus as just another person with nice ideals. No other human being, ever, is the complete truth, only Jesus who became human for us. Parents, your children in Catholic schools, not private schools, have been given the gift of being formed in the future leadership of Catholic communities. They will raise their own children in Catholic communities. Yet, if they have no experience in forming relationships in church communities, the entire church misses out on their Catholic education. Parents with children who are involved in many activities make room for Jesus and His story. I pray that your gift of parenthood will receive grace from God to help tell the story of Jesus by making room for Him in your family life.

It is not enough to be good people and have good thoughts, for that is NOT the teaching of Jesus. His teaching tells us to follow Him, which is always moving towards knowing the complete story of God.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric