One of the unfortunate things about the current age is that many people question the need to belong to the Church and participate in the life of the parish community. They wonder, "Why can't I just worship at home? Isn't religion about my personal relationship with God and what my faith is all about?" The pandemic certainly has not helped in this regard.
The truth is that from the earliest times, following the Lord Jesus was never a private, personal matter. Christians came together to live in a community, to profess their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to witness to the joy of his resurrection, and live by his teachings. The profound reason for this is given to us by Christ himself, when he said, "I am the vine, you are the branches."
The vine and the branches are one. There is a mutual interdependence of branch and vine, and branch with branch. To say, "I will follow Jesus but not the Church," is to separate Jesus from the Church, to cut off the branches from the vine.
The Sacred Scriptures record for us how the first disciples of Jesus had seen him, eaten with him, and spoken with him after his resurrection. The result of this is that they had a deep sense of connectedness with him, a connectedness from which they drew great strength. Jesus had chosen them, had made them his friends, and sent them out to bear fruit so that the Kingdom would spread.
One of the things we have lost in recent years is a sense of the sacredness of Sunday. A result of this is people not seeing the Church as an important part of their faith life. In response to this the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has published a booklet, "Living the Gift of Sunday." It is a series of ten short reflections for us to think about so as to regain the sacredness and importance of Sunday, with the celebration of the Eucharist at the heart of it all, in the life of Catholic Christians.
We are making this booklet available to parishioners for individual use, discussion within families, or to use in small groups. If we work together we can rediscover that Sunday, the Lord's Day, is the heart of our week. To come back to this basic truth will work wonders in our lives and in our families.
– Fr. Dennis, May 2, 2021