Recently I received a note from one of you asking if I could “give a lesson/task we should do for the week to complete and have a new one each week.” That is really a great idea and I have some priest friends who do that during their homilies – in their parishes but especially to children whenever they do school Masses. You, however (the people I try to address every time I preach), are all adults and have the freedom and the maturity to decide on how to live your faith every day of your lives. You also have sufficient wisdom to lead the people under your care (such as your children) in the practice of the faith. I always aim to challenge you when I give my homilies, and, as adults, I trust that you in your own personal prayer times are reflecting on how you can apply the gospel message as you live your day to day lives. More than telling you what to do in practicing the faith, I want to challenge and lead you to do what you believe is best and will help you in the growth of your relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is always at work and He moves all of us in different ways. I would like you to have that experience of allowing the Holy Spirit to move you in doing that which leads to holiness.
The note I got was sent anonymously and I honestly feel honored to be asked to do that – to give a specific “task for the week.” It can only mean that there is trust in the priest’s ability to lead the people in the practice and growth of the faith. But reflecting more about it, there is also that danger that you might be giving the priest a power that he should not have. I certainly don’t feel like I have the right to make you, or to a certain extent, force you to do something. Having a specific “assignment” or task for the week is, as I have said, a great idea and I can give you that option if you would like to have it. But please don’t feel like you have failed in practicing the faith if you are not able to do it. A priest who is given the “power” to give a task for the people to complete can be a source of heartbreak if the task is difficult and not completed.
As always, I will continue to do my best in leading our community in the practice of the faith and in all our journey to holiness. May you always grow in your personal relationship with God and may the Holy Spirit always lead you in all your endeavors.
In Christ I remain. Fr. Maro