Dear Believers in the Real Presence,
We are invited to the feast in today’s gospel, Matthew 22:1-14. Since we have been worshipping in the gym at Sacred Heart, I have been reflecting on the gym floor a lot in my own prayer. I have never used the dirty floor as a source of prayer before. The temporary set up for Mass on Saturdays and Sundays intrigues me. We are praying on the weekends from the altar that was in the church. The old sanctuary furniture is set up for the weekends and then put into a temporary closet during the weekdays. What happens on the old gym floor connects our prayer and service like we have never experienced before. This is the real mission of the Church.
The floor is a profound source of prayer. The floor of our Parish Center now carries the lives, bodies, the wheelchairs, the children and the elderly of our parish community in prayer. There are no obstacles of steps or tattered carpeting to be a stumbling hazard. The floor is a host of great diversity welcoming people to the Eucharist. The tiles enable a steadiness with people leaning on their canes. The flat floor creates surefootedness for our older parishioners who are approaching the ambo to read the scriptures as well as a solid surface for baby strollers and parents carrying young children. What happens on Sundays is the core of our Christian faith, the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast to which we are invited to not only attend but also the feast that we are invited to become.
This becoming happens immediately after the Mass. When the Eucharist has ended, the room is immediately transformed into a dining room. On Sunday evenings, we host the Lord’s Dinner where over 100 of our neighbors dine with one another and with volunteers from one of the nine different churches hosted by Westside Cares. The floor becomes common ground for people carrying their possessions on their backs and others who have not eaten all weekend. Parents carry their infants and toddlers into the gym with diaper bags and a few articles of clothing. The floor becomes the host for mutual hospitality, the place of communion with conversation and food.
The Eucharist invites us to be fed on Sunday mornings. We carry the invitation forward by learning how to feed other people on Sunday evenings. I hear these echoes of invitation across the gym floor. I never thought of using the gym floor as a source of prayer, but when I stop for a moment and walk in the place where our faithful walk and pray, I can hear the echoes of people who ache for food, love, conversation and communion. I hear the longing for God, for healing and hope for tomorrow. On the gym floor, I do not know from which group these echoes come.
Welcome to the feast,