“Sorry for the wait” was the comment from the person at the restaurant as I waited for my sandwich. My thought was I didn’t mind the wait because it gave me a chance to see the full rainbow that stretched across the rolling valley, anchored by the green mountains of this beautiful country. Here it seems like the Catholic Church has been waiting to be awakened but some would rather not be disturbed. Faced with declining numbers of attendees in the pews, a priest scandal that has left people in disarray as well as apathy about the Institutional Church, the idea of waiting has come to an end.
When I asked the students at the last two events, which encompassed a total of 6 schools, how many felt mass was boring, 95% raised their hands. I get the same story in the U.S. There is no blame to be given, but an awakening to those who are in charge that the people are hungry and need fed so that in times of family discourse they don’t just get up and leave but have the compassion to wait as the fallout from the difficulties unfold and settle. I see that if people were truly tied to the beauty and truth of the core of the church and its mission, which is the mission of Jesus Christ of justice for the oppressed and the poor, then in times of struggle we wouldn’t up and leave because we are mad or hurt but recognize that the mission we are on is greater than the institution that governs it. Of course there will be battles of preference within the Institution. It’s comprised of humans who are imperfect. But the church is us. All of us, Ireland, United States, the whole world and just because I don’t always agree with my own government doesn’t mean I’m going to move to a different country. It means I’m going to find out all I can because I love my country and I love my church because I love God who has given me the opportunity to be aware that there is a time for everything, it’s just not in my time, it’s in God’s time and I must wait on the Lord for he has rescued me in so many ways. But I know me and most folks, we are impatient and if it makes me uncomfortable, I’m out. Hence the cross to which we are all called to. A cross to get over myself and not leave but continue with its mission of love, forgiveness, compassion, justice for all creation.
From the downbeat of “Building the Kingdom”, the opening song the last two days, I have felt the Spirit pouring out of me to awaken the people that we have been sent on this mission to revive our spiritual selves and to go deeper to discern who we are as Catholic Christians in today’s world. Yes it’s an old church, but it’s time to get out of our old comfort zones and get to work. It’s a battlefield out here. There is a real need for faith for without it what do we hope in. As we wait for the Institutional church to take care of its internal affairs, we cannot wait to complete the mission. In fulfilling the mission of Jesus in our everyday lives we heal those who have been hurt by the carelessness of the Institution. Just like in any school or business situation, we need each other to complete the task of building the Kingdom now. We are only as strong as the leaders before us therefore our preachers and teachers need to recognize as we wait for the Lord, we must say, “sorry for the wait but the wait is over.”