By Father Apolinar Sambroni
Usually at the end of the month of May, the classes are over, and the religious formation in the parish ends with celebrations of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Consequently, many Catholics think that attending Sunday mass is over too. Many consider that the summer vacation is a time to sleep late on Sundays, or stay in pajamas all day, and do nothing. However, our commitment to encounter God does not take a vacation.
Our commitment to God is not seasonal, nor is it a law enforced by someone. You freely respond to the call that God makes to you every moment of your life. If you respond freely to that call, you do not feel lazy, you do not find it boring to participate in the parish, nor do you feel too tired to get up early on Sundays. You don’t make excuses such as “I do not want to meet Jesus today at church,” “I do not like it,” “It is boring,” or ” I’m extremely tired”. On the contrary, you go because you feel blessed, and feel called to a mission knowing you are loved by God.
Do not wait until the storm of your life is over to respond to God’s call. On the contrary, decide that you will go through the storm no matter what. You are sure that the God’s mercy and providence will go with you. When you respond to that mission that God offers you, you do not make excuses. You are ready to practice what you preach. That is, you are able to preach the gospel with your example of life.
Maybe you have noticed that in your family, particularly, your children, grandchildren, nephews, do not listen to the good things that you try to teach them. Sometimes you feel frustrated. Even if it seems that kids and teenagers do not listen to you, know that they watch carefully what you do every day. That is the importance of your being the good example for them. They will “do as you do, not as you say,” as the saying goes.
This is where adults get in trouble. They preach to their children about doing the right thing, being devoted and faithful, the importance of attending church, but don’t set foot in church themselves. They drop off the children and pick them up after mass, sending a very conflicting message. In some cases, the parents or grandparents do attend mass, but do not participate nor do they get involved in church activities or programs. Children do not see their role models practice or live by the message of the gospel to love God and each other. Most children and teens yearn for inspiration from their family to lead them toward a personal encounter with God.
I invite you to rekindle your commitment to get involved in the church, to attend Sunday Mass during the summer. Try to experience the God’s love as the psalmist stays: “Take and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:9) And Jesus himself stays: “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26:41)