What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “church?” Having posed this question to several RCIA and confirmation classes over the years, I’ve discovered that the answers to this question are as many and varied as the people in a room. While answers often include specific people, buildings, objects, actions, ecclesial structures and authorities, the word “church” encompasses many realities.
Twice a month, Saint Clement publishes stories of parishioners sharing personal stories of how they have connected with Saint Clement and who actively live a stewardship life through prayer, service, and giving. This week we hear from John and Sheila Pach:
Our path to Saint Clement began with a very fortunate Google search upon moving to Chicago in 2007 (John) and the recommendation of a family friend in 2013 (Sheila).
When singer Bruce Springsteen was honored at the Kennedy Center a few years ago, the former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, paid him tribute. He said,
On Facebook recently, a graphic was shared featuring a young man’s encounter with Jesus. The image shows the young man and Jesus both sitting on a park bench, facing each other. The backdrop is a serene view of green grass and leafy trees whose color becomes muted in the brightness surrounding Jesus. Then, in stark white speech bubbles and bold, black print, the graphic reads as follows:
Twice a month, Saint Clement publishes stories of parishioners sharing their personal stories of how they have connected with Saint Clement and who actively live a stewardship live of prayer, service, and giving. This week we hear from Renae Godish:
“His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat.”
There's a lot of fire in the first reading today. An Ancient One sits on a throne of fire, with wheels of fire, streaming a surge of fire. Someone like a human being approaches on a cloud and is given power over everyone and everything. Later, in the second reading the disciples claim that they’re not following cleverly designed myths, yet the fiery language of this passage from Daniel certainly sounds mythic.
In today's Gospel, we have three familiar images told in parable form. The first is a treasure hidden in a field, the second a pearl of great wealth, and finally a fisherman’s net loaded with various types of fish. In the first instance—the treasure buried in a field—the finder wasn’t entitled to the treasure but rather the owner of the field. Because he could gain great wealth, the finder worked hard to get the prize by purchasing the field from the owner.
Last summer, in the run-up to the presidential election, I made a conscious decision to back out of Facebook. I wasn’t closing my account, and I wasn’t un-friending everyone. But I was unplugging from the platform as a mode of interaction with friends and family. My feed had become a torrent of vitriol mostly from people with a worldview similar to my own and usually in the form of a re-post from a news source or popular television show. Not much of it was written by the people I knew.