This past August, as summer vacation was nearing its end, the fall sports program in St. Monica was just beginning. Athletic teams were forming for cross country running and the girls kickball teams. As the season began our junior high “Cadet” team comprised of seventh and eighth-graders did not yet have enough players to form a complete team. Without enough players to field a complete team roster, they risked having to forfeit the entire season. Gratefully, through invitation, encouragement, and sharing the need for additional players, the team roster was filled. I want to share with you that the team completed their kickball season, finishing with a record of six wins and one loss.
The season was successful in many ways, not just according to their win/loss record. The season was successful because the original team members persevered in faith. Additional team members heard the call for help and responded. Together they formed a team that grew together and competed well. The team — made up of experienced players and those new to the sport — worked together as a team to play their best. Each young lady gave her best, even though there were different levels of skill and abilities, to help the entire team. I watched as the experienced veteran players supported, taught, and encouraged the new players. I watched them be a team, many parts working together as one.
Oftentimes, in a competitive world, we can feel that if we are not as good as others in some area, that there is no place for me. I want to assure everyone that you are needed. You help to make our team, our parish community of St. Monica, better. Without everyone offering prayer or serving in a ministry or sacrificially tithing to support our parish, we will not be what we can be as a parish community. We all have something to offer our Lord. We all have something to offer our community. We are not called to do it alone, but rather to be a part of a community. As a team, we will always be able to accomplish together what we cannot do alone.
We are now in the midst of Advent. Our temptation is to look past these four weeks to focus on Christmas. I encourage all of us not to do this. While we enjoy the many decorations for the Christmas Season, in our Church lives we watch as a new candle of the Advent Wreath is lit each week. It invites us to allow the Light of Christ, which we received in our Baptisms, to grow brighter and brighter in me and in you. Christ wants to shine both in and through you so that He can light up the world. This Advent let us Prepare the Way of the Lord in our hearts and in our lives.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. John P. McCaslin