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A Eucharistic People, A Loving People

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet. By Ford Madox Brown, Via Wikipedia

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet.
By Ford Madox Brown, Via Wikipedia

One early morning several years ago, on the radio I heard a father tell a story about his son, home from college on a semester break.  According to the father, the young man with his hair reaching down to his shoulders, his shirt unbuttoned and with no shoes, went to church services with his parents on a Sunday Morning.

On the way home from the church of their faith, no particular one received mention in the story,  the collegian came up with a profound conclusion.  With a  faraway look in his eye, perhaps one of disappointment, the young man spoke quietly.  “You certainly can tell who the Christians are in Church on Sunday morning.”  On his coming into church, some had openly rejected him, while others deliberately gave him the cold shoulder, moving away from him when he sat in their section.  However, a number of people welcomed him with a smile and a friendly nod of their heads.

At the Last Supper, after washing the feet of His disciples, a humble work of love, Jesus spoke, “As I have done, so also you do to others.”  Shortly afterwards, He gave them and all to come after them, the Eucharist.  Jesus knew how difficult the work of being a loving person would be.

Maybe the present day churches have many empty seats because the modern day disciples of the Lord do not show enough of a loving spirit to the world about them.  Young people might say, “What good does the Eucharist do?  I don’t see church-goers any more charitable then those who never receive the Eucharist.”  Perhaps we do not emphasize enough to ourselves what the first effect of the Holy Eucharist should be, namely a growth in love.

To cite a few examples of love going out to others that I have witnessed as a parish Priest.  An auto struck a 12 year old boy riding his bicycle.  In the hospital he hung between life and death, so his parish called a prayer service for his well-being.  700 people came to pray.

At Sunday Mass, the parish Priest announced, “Virginia L—- will be buried tomorrow morning.  She had no living relatives.  Since it is likely that no one will be at her funeral Mass, if you can, please come.  80 parishioners came the next day for her Mass of the Resurrection.

The night of and the days following the attacks of 9/11, our churches were filled with people from all walks of life, crying, praying, singing together for a common cause.

The Eucharist should make us a loving people.  If outsiders saw our church filled with love, cheerfulness and concern for all, they would come in droves to be in such a place.  They would say, “What’s going on there?  We want some part of that action!”

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:35

Fr. George Mc Kenna

July 30, 2016 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Christ In The Marketplace

My grand-nephew Matt (3rd from the right), like me, is an avid golfer. For 7 years, he and his high school friends have traveled the country in an annual golf outing. This year, they found their “Acres of Diamonds” here in Chicago at Harborside International Golf Center. He shot an 83 at this world renown golf course!

My grand-nephew Matt (3rd from the right), like me, is an avid golfer. For 7 years, he and his high school friends have traveled the country in an annual golf outing. This year, they found their “Acres of Diamonds” here in Chicago at Harborside International Golf Center.
He shot an 83 at this world renown golf course!am

Around the year 1900, a lecturer, Russell Conwell, made a fortune by touring the country with a speech entitled, “Acres of Diamonds”.  The talk, a true story, went like this.  A farmer in Africa heard of the fabulous diamonds being discovered in his native country.  Quickly selling his farm, the hapless man spent all his energies in searching far-off places for the elusive diamonds, eventually dying penniless and heartbroken.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the new owner came across strange black “pebbles” in the little stream that meandered through the property.  To his delight the “pebbles” turned out to be the largest diamonds yet discovered in Africa.  The lecturer told his audiences the lesson to be learned, first look in your own backyard, in your own vicinity, for what you are hoping for:  riches, success, or happiness.

Over the years, this true story has influenced my thinking as regards to my work in the Priesthood.  In my frequent walks around Midway Airport, my prayer had always been, “Lord, show me ways to make good use of my Priesthood before my time is up.”  My path always brought me through the busy concourse of the Airport, a place on cold days to warm up for the last part of my journey home.

The sights of the crowds of people in the place began to make me think.  I was rubbing shoulders with people from all over the country, many of whom were Catholic.

I thought to myself, wouldn’t this Midway Airport be an ideal place for an Inter-faith Chapel where a Priest could offer daily Mass for employees and travelers?  All would have an opportunity to receive the Eucharistic Christ.  This Inter-faith Chapel would mean a place of peace and solitude where weary people could spend time in the Presence of the Lord, since the Holy Eucharist would be reserved in the Tabernacle.

Spiritual guidance, counselling, the Sacrament of Reconciliation were all possibilities for the people of Midway Airport.  As the saying goes, “the rest is history”.  Our “Acre of Diamonds” was here in our own back yard, and the Chapel has proven to be an ideal place to bring Christ to the marketplace!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 3 Comments