Thursday, 17 June 2010 10:42
By Christopher M. Riggs
Bishop Michael O. Jackels kicked off the public parish phase of the TOGETHER vision at a Mass Sunday, June 6, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Wichita.
Over 250 representatives from parishes across the diocese attended the Vision Sunday Mass. Bishop Jackels will return their visit during the next 18 months. He has scheduled visits to each of the 90 parishes to share the TOGETHER message.
“Today we begin the parish public phase of the TOGETHER vision, asking God, who began this good work to bring it to a happy completion,” Bishop Jackels said.
Everyone in the diocese has a role in communicating this message about who we are, he said, “from Bushton to Baxter Springs, to Fort Scott to Zenda and all points in between,” and invited all “to respond to the exhortation of Jesus and the Gospel: give them some food yourselves.”
Bishop Jackels weaved the theme of food throughout his homily.
“Growing up in the Jackels family, we didn’t have much. We were a big family living on an Air Force sergeant’s pay. But I do remember – and I remember with relish – the meals we shared.”
Bishop Jackels said his mother was a good cook – with the exception of the occasional meal of liver and onions.
“I remember how we ate. That we ate at least the evening meal together. And we shared not only a meal but also our lives, each of us being prompted by my mom and dad to contribute something to the table conversion, for example, something we did that day. I remember, while my mom actually cooked the meal, the rest of us had a part to play in it.”
All that goes into eating a family meal together taught the Jackels kids valuable lessons, Bishop Jackels said. “We learned, for example, that life is more than ‘me and my needs.’ It taught us to be mindful of others. To share with others. And to share in the life of others. And we learned that each of us had a part to play in the work at hand.”
Reflecting on the Gospel of Luke about the five loaves and two fish, Bishop Jackels said the Eucharist is unlike any other food. “Instead of us changing it into us, too often resulting in more of us, the Eucharistic food is meant to change us into it, that is, into Jesus.”
Holy Communion is served to us as food that nourishes the divine life that we receive at our birth at baptism, he said, “Strengthening us, like the food my mother served – with the exception of liver and onions – strengthening us to imitate the mind and heart of Christ: loving, forgiving, serving.”
Bishop said another point of the Gospel story is how we eat the Eucharistic meal: together.
“The people who went out into the wilderness to listen to Jesus were not sent away to fend for themselves, rather their hunger and the available food and the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes were shared experiences. In like manner there is no ‘only me and Jesus’ relationship.”
Our Catholic faith is a life shared with others, Bishop Jackels said, adding that the expression of our faith in worship during Holy Mass is communal and familial. “It’s said that the real nature of the true church is best seen when we gather together to celebrate Holy Mass. The worship of God at Sunday Mass with our parish family is the best picture of who we are, the family of God.”
A reception was held after the Mass.
Vision Sunday Mass video available
Video of the Vision Sunday Mass is online at the diocesan YouTube page. Go to youtube.com/dioceseofwichita to view the video.