by Ken Rolheiser
Bringing our loved ones home

We all chuckled at the story of a young priest who sees Jesus walking down the street in his town. He quickly calls the Pope, “Jesus is walking down the street, what should I do?” The Pope replies, “Look busy”. Now imagine this real news flash: “Jesus Christ is in our town in the church.” 

Imagine the line-up of tourists and pilgrims on Sunday morning. We have grown so complacent about it all. He is in fact in our churches. He is in the Eucharist and in the Word we open and share. He is in your neighbour, in your spouse, in our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. 

Knowing this makes us more anxious about our loved ones who have abandoned the church. A Pew research study found that one of the fastest-growing religious groups in the United States is made up of former Catholics.

Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. It is easy to imagine the same is true of people who grew up in other faith groups. 

Add to this statistic the fear many parents have for their children and grandchildren growing up in this world that is so different from the one they grew up in. Mark Weber 
says, “Don’t feel sorry for them.

“God created them and called them for the exact moment in time that they’re in. Their life wasn’t a coincidence or an accident. Raise them up to know the power they walk in as children of God. Train them up in the authority of His Word.

“Teach them to walk in faith knowing that God is in control. Empower them to know they can change the world. Don’t teach them to be fearful and disheartened by the state of the world but hopeful that they can do something about it.

“Every person in all of history has been placed in the time that they were in because of God’s sovereign plan. He knew Daniel could handle the lions’ den. He knew David could handle Goliath. He knew Esther could handle Haman. He knew Peter could handle persecution.

“He knows that your child can handle whatever challenge they face in their lives. He created them specifically for it! Don’t be scared for your children, but be honored that God chose YOU to parent the generation that is facing the biggest challenges of our lifetime.

“…it’s hard to imagine them as anything besides our sweet little babies, and we just want to protect them from anything that could ever be hard on them, but they were born for such a time as this” (Mark Weber).

We trust that the Spirit working in our children is already bearing fruit. We pray most frequently, “Thy Kingdom come.” How do we understand that Kingdom? How does it work? In God’s Kingdom, surely, all will be love and sharing. 

God, in his great love for us, sent Jesus to unravel the mystery. 1 John 3:2 tells us, “We are already God’s children … when he appears we shall be like Him.” Jesus has appeared and we are invited to be part of that Kingdom daily. 

We are already in the Kingdom. “And if children, then heirs— heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). And we proclaim as you go, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7).

(586 words)