Help to ‘prepare the way’

By | January 23, 2013

The second reading holds the “mission statement” of any Catholic parish. Clearly stated, Jesus Christ is the one around whom we are centered, but the work of the church is the responsibility of each of us.

Our primary job is to be active participants. We are to attend Mass, listen to the Scriptures thoughtfully, pray and sing mindfully, and live out the Gospel actively.

The Scriptures tell us today that we need individuals among us, who are willing to go before us, in a John the Baptist type of “preparing the way.” Have you considered the time, talent and gifts that come together for just one Sunday liturgy?

Of course we expect “Father” to be there, but who arose early to unlock the church doors, shovel the sidewalks, adjust the heat or turn on the lights? Who put out the bulletins, worship aids or hymnals? Who made sure the altar was dusted and floors mopped? Who purchased and placed the flowers or plants to beautify the church?

Who put out all the vessels, made sure the missal was set correctly, put out an adequate amount of bread and wine and made sure the candles were lit?

People have come to serve as music ministers. They have practiced, posted hymn numbers and are ready to play or lead the singing.

Others have read the Scriptures before coming to Mass. They have prayed over them and looked up word pronunciations. They are ready to proclaim the good news.

Ushers and greeters are beginning to welcome people, to enlist gift bearers and answer questions. Others have taken their place at the SCRIP or parish information table. Deacons are looking over the universal prayers and liturgy coordinators — bless their hearts — are coordinating, as they fill gaps of assigned ministers who could not make it to church.

And then, effortlessly it would seem, the liturgy begins, we celebrate as one body in Christ and then it is over. Someone will stay behind to wash vessels or to collect the used purificators and launder them. Someone will check the supply of candles, wine and hosts, the lights will get turned off and the church will be locked until the cycle begins again.

If your liturgical job up to this point has been to be a good member of the assembly, listen carefully to the Lord’s voice this weekend, with so many other jobs to be done is there one he has “designated” for you? What response will you make?

Zahorik is director of worship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Oshkosh.

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