May 3, 2013

Reflection / Mike Krokos

Confessions of a part-time ‘Roamin’ Catholic’

Krokos, MikeOK, I’ll come right out and admit it: I have come to appreciate being a “Roamin’ Catholic.” Oh, please don’t read too much into what I just shared.

I love the parish on the northeast side of town where my wife and I and our two children are members. We attend Mass there each weekend.

But I also have learned how valuable I find it to have my life of faith nurtured outside my home parish.

One of the benefits of working for The Criterion is it affords several of us —myself included—the opportunity to visit parishes not only in the Indianapolis metropolitan area but throughout central and southern Indiana.

And when I leave the state for work-related conferences, vacations or to visit family and friends, I get an even better perspective of how members of our Church family have their faith lives enriched by priests who are eager to celebrate Mass and break open God’s word.

Whether it be a reflection on the day’s Gospel, wisdom shared through another Scripture passage or the consistent message of Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness, I find myself thanking God for opening my eyes, and ears, to a new voice helping reinforce the tenets that all of us are to be about God’s love, about Jesus Christ, and about the mission of the Church in our lives.

Remembering some of the recent homilies that touched me both here and abroad, I think of a pastor who reflected on the closeness of his family growing up, and the lesson of forgiveness he learned at a young age through the relationship of his uncle and grandfather.

I still also hear echoes of the priest who opened my eyes—and faith—while breaking open the Emmaus Gospel story (Lk 24:13-35) with the realization of how Jesus is actually celebrating Mass—reflecting on Scripture (the Liturgy of the Word), then breaking bread (the Liturgy of the Eucharist)—with the disciples he meets, walks, talks and eats with.

A pastor in Alabama reiterated what a gift it is to receive the sacraments of our faith, but reminded all of us, in a gentle and loving way that Sunday, that our charge as Catholics is to then live them each day.

I also think of the old, retired priest who assists at that same parish on weekdays, but still brings a profound yet simple message on the day I attend Mass:

God can take our little talents, he said, and make so much of them. It is such a key component of our faith, he reminded us.

A few days later, a priest at my home parish reflected on the awe-inspiring things St. Peter and the other Apostles did after being commissioned by Jesus.

Yes, Peter the Apostle who betrayed Jesus three times before the cock crowed, who is a perfect example of how a loving and forgiving God can do wonderful things through his disciples. In today’s world, those disciples include you and me.

It should not be “Peter, you’re the man,” after he brings Tabitha back to life in the Acts of the Apostles, the priest rightly noted while reflecting on the first reading that morning.

It should be “Wow, look at what God has done through Peter,” he said.

Indeed, it was another reminder of how our Creator can use us to do great things.

And another example, for me, of how blessed we are to have priests who can so clearly and simply share our faith.

(Mike Krokos is editor of The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.)

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