27 September 2016

Team Work

Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Pius X Church
One of the fun parts of being a parish priest is the different events to which I get to go: football, basketball, and soccer games, just to name a few.  This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to watch our 7th and 8th grade girls basketball team play basketball.  We didn’t get the result we wanted (that is to say, we lost), but it was great watching our girls play.  They work well as a team, passing the ball, shooting when they have the shot, and getting back to play defense.  Each of them has to work together; none of them can do it all by herself.  Jaelynn relies on a trusts her teammates like Layla to pass to, Ari can support Emily and set a pick, and Mimi, Lauren, Sierra, and Emma have to support each other in the plays they run and in the constant back and forth of basketball.     
I also have attended some of the Powers boys soccer games this season.  I played soccer for 9 years when I was younger, and it’s fun to be involved with it again.  Soccer is definitely a sport, like basketball, where each person has to contribute in a particular way; no one person can do it all by himself.  If a defender like Trevor or Connor decides on his own to try to play offense and score a goal, it can lead to big trouble; if mid-fielders like Mason or Dominic don't adjust to the flow of the game, pushing up when the team is on offense, and falling back when the team is on defense, the team is likely to lose; even if the forwards, whose primary job is to provide offense and score goals, like Drew or Brian or Blase, don’t occasionally look up to see if someone else has a better shot, the team may not score as many goals as they could have.
Today we celebrate the Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Pius X Church.  On 23 September 1956, this building, a grouping of bricks and mortar, was dedicated to God as a place to worship Him.  This place was set aside as a pre-eminent place to call on God, and where God promised that He would always be present, especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Tabernacle.  Experiencing God here is different than praying in our rooms, or in nature, because this place is set-aside from the rest of the world to be a special place where we can encounter God and worship Him in spirit and truth.  Here God’s covenant with us in the Precious Blood of Jesus is re-presented, made present to us again, in a way that happens no where else.  That’s why Catholics are generally required to get married in a church building.  As they make their covenant with God and each other, they are in the presence of the covenant God has made with us.
This church building, too, is a sign to us of what we are called to be as members of the Body of Christ.  Each brick plays its own important role; each piece of the window does its part to let the light of the sun in; each piece of liturgical furniture works together to allow God to become present through His People assembled as one, through His Word proclaimed, through the Priest acting in the Person of Christ the Head, and especially in the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist.  So, too, we each have our role in the church.  We each contribute to making up the parish of St. Pius X.  As your pastor, my primary role is to provide you with God’s grace, especially through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance, and to oversee the work of the parish.  Some of you help in proclaiming God’s Word; some of you are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and help bring Jesus in the Eucharist to those who are here and those who are not able to join us at Mass; some of you work on staff; others volunteer in a variety of ways and in different organizations; some of you are already so busy with taking care of your family that your role is joining us for Mass, helping to provide for the parish by your stewardship of money, and helping to spread the Gospel in your daily lives through word and deed.

Like our girls basketball team or the Powers soccer team, we have to work together.  We cannot do everything ourselves.  We work together to achieve our goals as a parish.  Imagine if the roof decided it didn’t like providing cover from the direct sun, the rain, and the snow.  If it doesn’t perform it’s important, though perhaps not glamorous, duty, we’d be sunburned or wet.  Imagine if the doors wanted to be closer to the tabernacle, so they moved into the sanctuary.  We’d have no way to welcome parishioners and visitors in, nor ways to keep vandals and thieves out.  If our girls basketball team members decided that they each wanted to score every basket, or only wanted to play defense, we wouldn’t win a game.  If the Powers soccer team decided they weren’t going to play their positions and support each other, we’d be last in the Saginaw Valley League.  Today as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Pius X Church, we are invited to work together in our diverse and unified roles to help build up the Body of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.