Sunday, January 27, 2013

Deacon Michael, Cantor Meredith, and the Body of Christ

Our parish organist reported in sick before the 8:15 am Mass this morning, and until the last possible moment it wasn’t a sure thing that even Father Chateau would be there on time. A Mass without a priest is impossible, of course, and our dear parochial victor did enter the sacristy beaming his unflappable smile at 8:12.

But a parish community and, by extension, the Body of Christ is made up of many parts, as today’s reading from 1 Corinthians says, and without our deacon or cantor—filling in parts a cappella without the organ’s backing—the early Mass today would have been diminished in its power, at least for me.

Meredith, with whom I had the pleasure of singing in choir for a couple of years, sings very sweetly, and her rendering of the communion hymn was a high point. I had never heard “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether,” though there it is, by golly, #731 in the Worship hymnal.

If you have not heard it either, here it is.

I was especially happy and, though it may sound patronizing, proud of our permanent deacon, Michael Joens, as I listened to his homily this morning. I told him afterwards, and anyone who would listen, that I thought it was especially good.

He began with an essay written by a grade-school boy about the visit to his school of a cardinal. The boy wrote, explaining his interest, that he thought it would be “awesome to meet someone who met someone who met someone who met [repeat for an entire page]… someone who met Jesus Christ.”

Michael thoughtfully tied this in with today’s readings and with a report from the March for Life in Washington, attended by seven young people and two youth leaders from our parish.

All of these things he added up to mean that the Body of Christ is not an idea or a bunch of words but us, people, Christians engaged (my words). And all of us have met someone who met someone who…

The altar servers, a boy and a girl (brother and sister?); the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (four senior members of our parish, two men and two women); and even the lectors, Ron and I, took our small parts.

Some of us, following Paul, were eyes, some ears, some arms and hearts, some voices.

The Church is a beautiful thing.

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