How many times have you heard that particular line from Scripture? It is the promise that God is with us when we gather in His name. This Scripture is particularly relevant for anyone who is part of a group or small community. In some respects, in comparison to the world population, our parish is a small community. St. Francis Xavier consists of 1,850 families who gather often in the name of Jesus and we are blessed by His presence with us in the Eucharist as well as in one another. Then, within this parish there are numerous small groups who share time together in prayer, in friendship and in shared outreach.
Statistics show that more than 85% of people in the United States claim membership in a group or small community organization. This points to the reality that it is important for people to share time with others who have common interests, hopes and dreams. This could be a sports team, a corporate or work group or union, Scouts or Knights, Christian Women, a Bible Study, Prayer Circle or a civic organization. Belonging to and participating in a group or community helps us to form an identity as we share stories, set common goals and most importantly as we grow in relationship to one another. God did not intend that we live a solitary life; we are hard-wired to be in relationship with God and with one another.
Think about how many groups of people you meet with on a regular basis and do not discount that you are part of a family unit that shares common hopes and dreams and concerns. When you gather do you experience a sense of belonging? Does time spent with this group help you to develop your gifts or interests? Do you feel as though you have grown in any way because of your gathering with these people? What have you learned about others and yourself? And most importantly; do you recognize the presence of God with you as you gather? If you can answer yes to that final question then you are indeed experiencing GRACE; God’s life within and with you. Grace is a gift born from and realized in your personal relationship with God. And that personal relationship with God is enhanced and blessed by your being in relationship with others. Let us take time this week to identify the many small communities with which we gather. Let us take time to reflect on how participating in these gatherings has formed our lives. And most importantly let us thank God for His presence where two or more are gathered and for His guidance as we continue to grow in love with Him and one another.
Have a wonderful week!
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC