I just returned from my 50th college reunion at THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS in Worcester, Mass. It was an event that got me thinking about what it means to be Church.
My class was the last to have a mandatory daily Mass requirement. You had to go to Mass or you were thrown out of school. That policy, and the generally poor quality of the mandatory philosophy and theology courses, had a great impact on many in my class. In those days, we had to take 18 credits in philosophy and 12 in theology, and the courses were aimed at defending the Faith in a way that was rigid and unreflective.
Add to all this Vatican II, which was happening during our college years, and the result was strong feelings about Church both for and against.
As part of the reunion weekend there is always a class Mass on Saturday, in addition to the Sunday Mass. Because we were the 50th reunion class, our Mass was in the main Church. What I noticed was that this Saturday, the non-obligatory Mass was a draw. Most came to it regardless of how they felt about the Church. The Mass helped to deepen community, even as it expressed what was already there.
Of course, what is present in every Mass is Jesus the High Priest who offers himself to His Father and our Father. This same Jesus then feeds us with his very self, his body and blood, that we might become more like Jesus in our daily life.
Part of what happens at a 50th reunion is that the past and present become intertwined. As we try to learn about who our classmates are in 2016, we also remember them as young graduates. Time has taken a toll, and 60 of our classmates have died, but the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Jesus has been living out in our lives these past 50 years77.and if you looked closely, you could see Grace abounding