Be a Joiner, not a Loner

Thursday of the 3rd Week of Ordinary Time

Heb 10: 19-25; Mk 4: 21-25

Dc. Larry Brockman

This morning, Paul said to the Hebrews:  “We should not stay away from our assembly”.  That really caught my eye because someone sent me an interesting story, called “The Silent Sermon”.  That story addresses very well why we should not stay away from our assembly.  It seems a woman complained to her pastor that her husband had stopped going to Church.  The husband said that he talked to God all the time, and didn’t need to go to Church any more.  The pastor promised to visit her husband, which he did.  The husband let him in, and had him take a seat by the fire.  Before any conversation could begin, the pastor bent over to pick up the tongs next to the fire, and lifted a sizable red hot ember, which he placed out towards the edge of the fireplace.  Soon, the ember was coal black.  The Pastor got out of the chair, nodded to the husband, and headed for the door.  As the husband closed the door, he said to the pastor:  “I’ll be back at Church next week pastor.” 

I don’t know about you, but I need the common fellowship, reinforcement of values, and general air of civility, that this assembly at Holy Family provides, especially on Sundays.  Our secular, dog-eat-dog, turbulent society fills my week, and I need to come home to the assembly to both get warm, and keep warm in the faith.  That is why one of the six Church Laws says that we must make Mass each Sunday; yet, the motivation for attending ought to be the one the Silent Sermon implies- that all of us need each other to reinforce our Christian Commitment, to stay “super hot”, and keep the fire of Faith burning in our hearts.   

And I am convinced that it is even more important that we be fed by the Assembly more than once a week because we can sometimes get into a mode of listening to Mass, and then running out the door without any other contact.  Yet, just like the fire in the fireplace, the ember only stays hot if the assembled logs and embers work together continuously.   

I know it’s kind of a different interpretation of the meaning of the lamp hidden under the basket, but the Gospel story can be interpreted to reinforce this idea as well.  You see, each of us has something to add to our assembly like a talent, a special insight, or an energy that complements the needs of the assembly.  When the whole assembly works together, they can do great things on behalf of God.  But when our energy or talent or special insight is hidden- isolated from our neighbors- then it is lost to its higher purpose, lost to the work specially carved out for us as an assembly.  Not only that, but the concept of “use it or lose it” applies as well.  When our gifts are kept isolated, they may wane, even die out, fulfilling Jesus’ prediction that those who have, will get more; whereas those who have little will lose what they already have.   

What does all of this mean for you and I?  Simply that we were meant to do things as a group; not just to use our talents in isolation.  So, if you are not already involved with your assembly, then get involved.  Be a joiner; not a loner. 

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