In this evening's homily I told the tale of two siblings, a true story related to me by a parishioner. It was Easter Sunday morning and both Masses were jammed. I used the occasion to remind all present of the centrality of the Eucharistic event, not only at Easter but every time we gather around the Table of the Lord, especially on Sundays which is called a "little Easter". I extended an invitation to the regulars to enter more deeply into these mysteries, and to those who are sometimes called the CEO's (Christmas/Easter/only crowd) an invitation to join us on a more regular basis. I thought it was strong, but good, message. Not effective, because our numbers the following Sunday were down, but, what the heck.
This parent told me that when their adult siblings gathered for dinner or a visit and was asked what they thought, one saying that the sermon was good, what people needed to hear. The other disagreed and stated that I came on too strong, that I probably turned people off, that I needed to be more gentle and understanding. A great deal of the preaching is in the hearing.
Eucharist is central and vital to our life. That may be inconvenient at times, or we may choose to downplay its importance, or we may hold it on the periphery of what makes me who I am. But without the breaking of bread, without the Eucharist, without our joining together as family around the Table of the Lord to tell our story, to acknowledge our dependence upon God and each other, to give thanks, and to be fed for the journey that brings us to life, there is no way of knowing Him who is the source of that life. In other words, we are dead or heading for death. We are like zombies, not ugly and scary, but empty and without a spark of life (which is even scarier).
Tomorrow we have fourteen youngsters coming to the Table of the Lord for the first time (another fourteen next Sunday). I want to share with them the importance of coming to the Table so that they can know him, love him and serve him - which is why God made us and set us on course in the waters of Baptism. Pray that I convey the message ... and pray that the youngsters and their parents and families hear the message - which is the ultimate message of love.