Last week, I ended the Way of the Disciple with the question: How can we help one another rediscover the love Jesus has for us? These columns always have to be written a week or so ahead of time and I am surprised how often God gives me an answer before it is seen by anyone.
After 10 am Mass last Sunday, a group of parishioners invited me to Pizza Ranch. Even after my initial hesitation, they encouraged me to join them. We ended up sitting at two tables and I was with the guys (all farmers near 80 years old). I anticipated a conversation about the land, yields, favorite tractors, and telling stories about growing up on a farm. (In other words, I would be in heaven.)
My assumptions about 80 year old farmers and what they would talk about was false. It was one of the most in-depth conversations about knowing or not knowing the love of Jesus in our lives. One man said, “That God loved us was simply not talked about when I grew up.” I think we ended up sitting at Pizza Ranch for 1 ½ hours and if felt like 25 minutes.
Sharing the love of Christ with one another.
There was an inherent joy in sharing our faith in this moment and as all conversations with parents, we arrived at the same question: How do I share my faith with my children? Parents feel a real inadequacy in this area and the ways that it works or doesn’t work. There is no one answer, but somehow both the head and the heart have to engage the love of Christ.
This dinner at Pizza Ranch reminded me of the importance of simply trying to have a conversation about the love of Christ. We can so easily get consumed by the mundane or the familiar and not talk about the real stuff. What is more real than knowing that I am loved? We have to have these conversations more often.
Don’t make it so darn hard!
The last lesson I learned from my Pizza Ranch adventure was not to make it so darn hard. Why did I hesitate in going to the lunch with a group of parishioners who were laughing and enjoying themselves? Was there something else really that important to do? Sharing our faith does not have to be a meeting, a program, or some fancy theological analysis. Just enjoy life and talk about the real stuff.
Our Catholic faith only makes sense when we can first speak of the love Christ has for us. Pope Francis recognizes that this language is sometimes difficult so he highlights mercy as the best way of experiencing God’s love.
How we talk about the love of Christ really does not matter to me. That we talk about it is the key. If that happens in our church, in our home or at Pizza Ranch doesn’t matter either. Just do it!.
Sincerely Christ, Fr David