This week marks the Opening of the Parish Year. This is a local feast. The idea of this feast is to gather our communities and acknowledge the God given gifts and talents and the faith that we have.
There are so many of these gifts or charisms among us. Some have the gift of welcoming, some have the gift of serving, some have the gift of visiting others, some have the gift of listening to those in need, others the gift of seeing a need and acting, others still the gift of comforting. Some have the gift of teaching, others the gift of working with their hands – mending, fixing, building. Some have the gift of wisdom, others the gift of leading, some have the gift of imagination and innovation, others have the gifts of putting things into action. The reality is that gifts abound! This is the weekend when we gather and acknowledge those gifts and offer them back to God as we are commissioned for the year ahead. We will commission many of our groups and ministries, but perhaps more importantly we will commission each and every one of us and be reminded of the role that each person plays in our community.
St Paul has reminded us over the last weeks that together we are Christ’s body, but each of us is a different part of it. “If one part is hurt, all parts are hurt with it. If one part is given special honour, all parts enjoy it.” This is the week when we honour and celebrate the variety of gifts that make up the body of Christ in our community.
One of the unique things about Christianity is that every person ‘puts on Christ’ (as the baptism liturgy tells us) in a particular way. We each ‘wear’ our faith in our own way. While we share in the one faith and the one Lord, we do in fact, express our faith and live it out in ways that are particular to our lives and our circumstances. This is one of the things that makes Christianity so rich and diverse.
So you are invited to come along this weekend and celebrate the gifts, small and large, that have been given us. Our communities have not been able to gather as often over these last two years, so this year is more important than ever to help us to reconnect and build up the life of faith in our communities. It will also be an opportunity to give thanks for the blessings we have and to pray for those who continue to carry the burden of these pandemic years.
By Fr Brendan Reed