Monday, 29 November 2010
Entrenched in Good Works.
It the same in most churches I suppose. People volunteer to do certain jobs and they become entrenched in these positions.
Mr Petroni and Mr Richards always stand at the back of the church and welcome people in. They hand out the hymn books and take the collection aided by Mr Harrison and Mr Gregory. They’ve been doing this for years and will probably continue to do so for ever more.
Mrs Florenti has played the organ for years too and does not see herself ever stopping Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Weddings and funerals too.
Miss Jemeson leads the church choir, Mr Duke trains and organizes the altar servers, Mr Malek cuts the grass and does the gardening, Miss Henderson and Mrs Polanski clean the church and undertake the flower arrangements … and so on and so forth. I need not name them all.
Father Ignatius … well, he’s busy every Sunday of course, and he’s grateful for all the help he gets from his faithful parishioners.
One Sunday he faced the congregation and started his sermon thus:
"I’ve been your Parish priest for almost twelve years now. I’ve seen many people join this church, many couples married, many new babies baptized and taking first Communion and Confirmation, and sadly many people dying and departing to be with our Lord.
"I’m very grateful for all the people volunteering to do all the various tasks there are to do in a church like this one. I couldn’t cope alone without your help.
"And in my time with you here, I have seen something else too. Sunday after Sunday as I face you here to preach my humble sermons, and do my best to keep you awake. I want to show you what I see from here.
"Could you all please turn round and look at the stained glass window high up behind you."
"Do you see what I see?
"You must have observed it time and again as you leave the church after Mass.
"There’s a huge cobweb up there that’s been growing year after year. I first noticed it about eighteen months ago when it became more visible and dirty.
"At first I thought of asking one of the more athletic people amongst you to get a ladder and clean it out; because I doubt that I can raise my sixty-three years old bones all the way up there and do it myself.
"But then I thought 'No … I’ll leave it a while and see if anyone else notices it'.
"And I’ve seen it grow week after week after week.
"The reason I mention it today is two-fold:
"First, I’d be glad if someone could help with cleaning it out. But that’s not important.
"The important thing is that the cobweb up there reminds me of sin.
"We all get busy in our lives doing this and that; and in church we volunteer at doing the various tasks which are needed to keep a church like this one going strong. That’s our outer visible self, as we see ourselves, and as we wish others to see us.
"Yet, deep within our souls, in our private lives, we may well hide a sin or two. Small ones at first … hardly visible like the first spider’s threads as they are stretched from one point to another.
"Then to this are added other threads, and others too until we have a whole spider’s web. Mostly invisible at first, unless the bright sunlight shines through that stained glass window to reveal the whole outline.
"In time, dust settles on the web until we have the large cobweb you see up there.
"The small sins are hidden by bigger ones which go un-confessed and hidden from view. Until they are made visible by the bright light of Christ as He enters our lives.
"So let’s all use that cobweb as a reminder to look deeply into our souls and undertake some spring cleaning by seeking the Lord’s forgiveness for our sins."