Sunday, September 13, 2009


Yesterday, our Catechetical Year began with Parent/Child Meetings for our Level 1 children. I love working with the little ones. After a brief talk and prayer with the parents and children, we bring the children upstairs where I gather with them around the Baptismal Font in the vestibule. After we discuss why we bless ourselves with Holy Water upon entering church, we line the children up in pairs at the inner doors of the church and I ask them what they see.

Of course, the first thing they see is "the big table." As I explain that we call that table the altar, I tell the children that when we come to mass it is just like when we have a fancy dinner at home. At home, the food we eat strengthens our body. At mass, the food we receive strengthens our soul. And, like that fancy party, when mom's best table cloth comes out, candles may be lit, and flowers may be put on the church, too we have a fancy tablecloth, special candles, and flowers. Mass, is the fancy party where we celebrate Jesus...and...our friendship with Him.

Still, as we stand by the entrance, I point out the gold box on the wall behind the altar. I tell the children that in the Catholic faith we use many BIG words to describe things. I explain that I think we use such big words to try to show the "big-ness" of God. I tell them that the gold box is called a Tabernacle...a big word that means..."little house." And, in that "little house" is Jesus. And, we know He is always there because the little red candle by the Tabernacle is always lit. I explain that Jesus is present there in the form of the host...the small hosts that have been blessed at mass...and a larger one that is always there, too.

I tell them that when we enter a church we must do so in a special...quiet...way to show that we know that there. One of my young helpers leads the way into the church and demonstrates for the children how they must genuflect when they reach their row...their pew. I then send the children in...two by quietly, and reverently take their seats.

Once we are all inside, I ask the children if they have any questions about the things they see. The Level 1 boys and girls yesterday were exceptional. They asked about the "trophies" in the case. I have to admit, the bottles of holy oils in the like "trophies" from a distance. And, they are in a way "trophies" of our faith. When "-trophy" is used as a suffix it means " a condition of nutrition or growth." How smart was the child who called the holy oils used in Baptism, Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick..."trophies!"

One little girl asked why Jesus was nailed to that cross. I explained that Jesus came to teach us a new way. He was a king but not one with a As people began to follow him, the kings with the palaces, gold, and jewels got worried because they thought Jesus was going to take their place. They didn't understand. I pointed out the tapestry of the Stations of the Cross on the far wall, and explained how Jesus was arrested, carried His cross, fell, nailed to the cross and died.

But, that the story did not end there, that God raised Jesus from the dead and that proved that everything He had said was true...that love is the true treasure...and...that Jesus rising from the dead, and God's great love for us is what we celebrate at the party...the mass...each and every Sunday!

Before the parents came upstairs, the children asked about the stained glass windows and what they depicted, and, we ended with a prayer for the new year followed by an Our Father. At that point, the children got up to go with my young helper to get a better look at the window of the Good Shepherd and receive their gift...a children's mass book.

As she walked over to the window with the other boys and girls...the little six year old girl in pink, who had asked about Jesus on the cross...looked over her shoulder at me and said, "I still don't understand why they had to kill Him! Couldn't they have just asked Him to sit down and explain it all a little better?"

Out of the mouths of babes!

So, my dear friend, co-worker, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, challenge to YOU today is this:

Rather than crucify that person YOU are having issues with...

Why don't YOU take the advice of my little friend in pink?

Ask them to sit down with YOU...and...explain it all a little better!

Are YOU up to that challenge?

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