by Ken Rolheiser
Jesus went to church

On Palm Sunday the family returns from church service carrying palm branches. The 5-year-old son who had to stay home asked what they were for. His mother explains, "Well honey, people held them over Jesus’ head as he walked by."
The boy got upset, "Wouldn’t you know it," he said, "the one Sunday I don’t go, He showed up!"

It is getting hard to sell the idea of regular church attendance. Statistics show that those who love Jesus but don’t go to church are less likely to read scripture and spiritual books.

Of those who believe in church 56% read scripture, compared to 26% for those who don’t believe in church. Of course church attendance will put you in touch with scripture on a regular basis.

It comes down to faith and belief. Father Brendan McGuire poses this situation: “Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a room. There is one door and no windows. The lamp on the table is turned on and you see a table, a chair and a lamp.

“Focus on the chair, the table and the lamp. Sit down at the table with the lamp and turn the lamp off. It is now pitch black and you can see absolutely nothing but you know there is a table, chair and lamp.

“Somebody just walks into that room behind you. The person closes the door behind him. In the complete dark you proceed to tell him that you are sitting down in a chair at a table with a lamp. He does not believe you. He is convinced there is nothing in the room.

“You say: ‘No, no! There is. There is a table, there is a lamp and there is a seat and I'm sitting on it. There really is. Come toward my voice. I will show you.’

“But he refuses to move, adamant there is no furniture. He protests, ‘I know there is no light. I cannot see anything so it must not be there.’
In exasperation, you turn on the light on the lamp. But he has his eyes closed and still refuses to believe you.”

McGuire continues, “You can tell people all you want about Jesus Christ.
You can be seated right on the lap of Jesus Christ…” and some will refuse to believe. “The eyes of their hearts are closed.”

That’s where Sunday morning worship comes in. Jesus went to church and studied the scripture. He prayed and witnessed along with his family. It was possible to see the light of Christ there.

We are the light to the world. Sunday morning is when we give thanks, listen to God’s Word,  pray for things, get filled up with grace so we can face the trials that we will encounter during the week, and go forth bringing that joy to the world.

McGuire concludes: “Do not be fooled to think that Christ is not with you at all times. Christ is with you. Open our eyes. Turn on the lamp of Christ and act always for the good of others.

“You will keep the light on not only for yourself but you will keep the light on for everyone to see. Everyone who will see, scripture tells us, will believe.”

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.”  Francis of Assisi

You may be the only Jesus that some will ever see.

(570 words)