for Sunday, September 6, 2020
You heard the kids stirring this morning. You opened your eyes. It can't be morning already. It's Sunday, I have to get them dressed. You wash up. You get the kids washed up. You throw the paper inside and try to keep the kids from killing each other over who gets the comics first. You get some breakfast on and get some coffee in yourself and cereal in the kids. You look at the clock. 8:45 already! "Get the kids in the car, we've got to go." You drive down your street. You seem to be one of the few families stirring. Everyone else is going to have a relaxing breakfast. It hits you. We are in a minority on our block. We are one of the few families that goes to Church Sunday morning.
Five of you made the trip to corporate headquarters in Phoenix. The second night four of the others found dates; three of them are married, but their view is what their spouses did not know wouldn't hurt them. So you go to a movie and it is so clear to you, "I wouldn't even think of cheating; yet, I'm in the minority."
You are among ninety-six of the most brilliant college graduates who have been accepted to a particular medical school. Your excitement includes finally getting to study to be a doctor; as well as the new way you have to frame your life with an off campus apartment in a quiet area so you can study in the few hours you are not in class. You ask for the location of the nearest Church and find that there are only three others of the 96 who even believe in God. You are in the minority.
Most of the people in the office you work in do go to Church. About half of them are Catholic. You are shocked when someone talks about abortion and says, "Well, I'm Catholic, but I don't go along with what the Church is saying on abortion." Everyone else seems to be agreeing with the person. You are in the minority.
The sociology teacher in the high school asks, "How many of your families are active members of some Church or synagogue?" Less than ten of the 35 in the class raise their hands. You suddenly realize that you are in the minority.
Perhaps some of these situations or others like them have occurred in your life. Perhaps they occur frequently. Perhaps you have wondered, "Why am I the one in the minority. Why am I getting up early on Sunday morning when the rest are sleeping in? Why am I the one who is alone at the movie when others are out having a good time? Why am I the only one in Med School who structures Church into my crowded week? Why am I the only one who accepts the Church's teaching on abortion? Why is my family the only family going to Church?"
When questions like this disturb us, we have to remember, Jesus never promised that we would be in the majority. He just promised that he would be with us always.
The Gospel of Matthew revolves around this very theme. Jesus is with us, even if we seem to be just a small, insignificant number. In the beginning of Matthew, Jesus is called Emmanuel, the name that means, "God is with his people." The last words of the gospel are "Know that I am with you even until the end of time." Moreover, in the middle of the Gospel we have the concluding words of today's reading. "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
We go to Church because we believe in Jesus Christ. We believe in his presence in Word and Sacrament. We need his presence in our families. We come to Church to get our spiritual batteries charged with the grace of his scriptural and sacramental presence. We come so we can have the courage to make it through another week, especially if we are called upon to stand for our faith. We come so we can pray, "Lord, my life is difficult at times, but you called us to marriage, you made me a father or mother, help me to answer your call well." We come to pray for others, "Lord, may the people on my block nourish the place you must have in their families. Lord, may the people at work learn to honor, value, and respect their marriages. Lord, may the others in med school learn that without you, medicine is a science without direction, Lord, may other Catholics stand behind your spirit in the Church, and Lord, may my family and the families of all in my high school class grow closer to you." And we come to receive the grace to live our lives in a way that proclaims the presence of the Lord on earth.
Our Church is big, but there are not many attending Mass in comparison to those who won't attend Church. We are, and will always be in the minority. But Jesus Christ never promised us that we would be in the majority. He just promised that he would be with us always.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Ezekiel 33.7-9
Second Reading: Romans 13.8-10
Gospel: Matthew 18.15-20
This material is used with permission of its author, Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. Visit his
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: