by Mary Coffey AMMM Ireland 04.12.2022
I went to morning Mass one day recently and found that it was a special Mass for the Confirmation class from the local primary school. Many of them, most likely, are rarely in a church and perhaps have only a scant idea of what it is all about. I had been asked to do a reflection for the next meeting of the Meath Diocesan Mission Team on the Topic of “Reading the Signs of the Times.” within the context of what’s happening in our Church and in the direction of ministry. I got my inspiration from Fr David.
I wondered what Fr. David might have to say in order to engage with 80 12-year-olds, for many of whom being in church might just be a bit of welcome diversion from the classroom but not at all relevant to their lives. The psalm was Psalm 139. Fr David took them back to when they were being formed, knit together in their mothers’ wombs. He told them with great simplicity that God had planted in them a seed of goodness. It was the core of his message and he returned to it from various angles. When I was a child, we were told that we were born with the stain of original sin on our souls. Ok, we were also told that in baptism that stain was washed away but somehow the image of a stain can be stubbornly difficult to let go of.
Surely, in the church of these times we must proclaim the God who says to us “You are precious in my eyes, and I love you.” We have far more opportunities than we realize to nourish and affirm the seed of goodness in ourselves and in those around us. My regret that morning was that the parents of those teenagers were not there to hear that seed of an idea being planted and to be able to explore and celebrate it with their children. Might it just bring them back to the practice of their faith?