In writing these columns over the last several years, it seems to me that several themes are reoccurring, namely: belonging, gratitude, and commitment. I think we assume people who are faithful then display a sense of belonging, gratefulness, and commitment. But it is actually a bit the other way around. People who find an abiding sense of belonging to a worshipping community and are committed to that community, become people of deeper faith. People who intentionally practice gratitude, become more faithful and committed.
Several years ago, as part of a means to draw people more deeply into their living faith, we began a Sunday celebration centered on the idea of Commitment. We are going to again celebrate Commitment Sunday on the weekend of November 4th and 5th . It is a simple ceremony. All parishioners are invited to prepare a written commitment, and then at the Mass they attend, come forward to place the commitment in an offering basket and receive a blessing from one of the friars.
The idea was to take a moment in time when each of us was asked to make a commitment to someone, to something, to an idea, to an action, to something… and to place that before the altar of God, asking God’s blessings for the commitment and the perseverance to follow through.
This will be the third year we have celebrated Commitment Sunday. Almost a year has gone by since our last celebration. It seems like a good time to check in. How did you do on your commitment? Perhaps the most challenging question is, “Hmmm…. I know I made a commitment… what was it?” I am sure that Jesus would have a parable for this moment. Perhaps I can borrow one.
The parishioners participated in Commitment Sunday. And as he left church, the commitment fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Another’s commitment fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Other’s commitments fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some commitments fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Where did your commitment land? Maybe it is right there on the door of your refrigerator, the mirror in your bathroom, or being used as a book marker for that book you committed to read – planted right there in rich soil where it is always before you, reminding you of God’s blessings to endure.
Today would be a good day to stop and consider the fruit of your commitment – that “hundred or sixty or thirtyfold” fruit – and give thanks to God! And then begin to reflect on the year ahead. Do you want to extend and continue this commitment of ministry? Maybe it is time to consider leadership in the ministry. Or after years of service, time to take a break or to move into another ministry that has always been attractive to you. How will you ensure you will be rooted in the good soil for another year?
Our website (https://goo.gl/9Suxsa) has a simple, six-step process to help you in your discernment. Please take some time this week to prayerfully reflect on the on-going life of belonging, gratitude, and commitment.