Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Past Messages

New Mass Times
Looking Back and Forward at 100
We Remember Our Freedoms
The Gift of Faith, from Frederick, Maryland
Entrusting Ourselves & Our Parish to Mary
Home in the Shade
Divine Mercy Sunday
Easter Joy
Spring Cleaning
March Madness and Fanaticism
No Man Is An Island
Start Hard but Finish Strong
Lent and the Annual Catholic Appeal!
Courage for Healing
Biggest Lie: Holy Moments
Authenticity and Holiness
Biggest Lie: Humanity and Happiness
Catholic Schools Week
At the Heart of a Promise Renewed
Faith to Move Mountains Update
20 + C + M + B + 19
As a Family We Confront Travails
The God Who Goes the Distance
The Lord is Near… Not sooo Fast!
CINO and the Reason for the Season
Expectation, Waiting and Hope
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Hospitality Multiplied
Earthly and Heavenly Fulfillment
Holiness, Purification and our Destiny
Friends in High Places & Friends on Mission
Creation and Givenness
Lepanto & Victory, the Rosary & the Abundant Life
Celebrating 100 Years and Creating a Strong Future
Two Paradoxes: Life Lost & Last Place
The Church is You!
Rhythm and the Buzz
Concrete Steps for Renewal
Abuse and Disgust meet Penance and Reparation
Sunday Homily delivered 19 August 2018 and Meditation and Melted Wax
PAPIT and the Jesus Prayer
Love Overflows in Generous Service
Food and Fasting
Pastors, Sheep and a Fishbowl
Gathered, Refreshed, Scattered
Independence Day and Local Greatness…
Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Lessons from Rome
September 16, 2018

The Church is You!

Dear OLPH,

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of this lingo: goods and services, bang-for-the-buck, price-sensitive, and even value-engineering (which means do it on the cheap). Phrases like these bring up a question, which may not be immediately apparent, but lingers underneath the surface and influences our perspective: “What am I getting out of it?” or, “what’s it worth to me?”

In conversations, usually off-campus at restaurants or around town, my invitation to come to church sometimes receives this reply: “I don’t come (anymore) because I don’t get anything out of it.” Church does not speak to me. It’s a waste of time. We can have this idea of gym memberships or magazine subscriptions, but parish life?

Lately with all the hubbub on tariffs and trade talks, experts have labeled President Trump’s style as “transactional.” He is the author of a book on deal-making and he does insist on getting the best deal for America. I am not trying to praise or criticize the president, just pointing out the reality that this “deal-making” and consumerism is “in the water.” Consumerism is the prevailing cultural wind.

It is reasonable, therefore, to perceive the logic of consumerism bleeding into parish life. If we are used to seeing the world as a marketplace, an expanse of goods and services, it can become part of the way we see our time and dedication to church.

Deeper reflection recognizes, however, that the richest aspects of life are not transactional. Parents don’t raise children to “get something out of it.” Do they? How much is a smile or laughter worth? Good deeds performed for others to see, or with the hope of return, are not the kind that Jesus commends. We offer our help with “no strings attached.”

With our Faith, with church attendance and parish engagement, with living discipleship, we ought to try and avoid any semblance of consumerism. Living our Faith is not a value proposition. We are not doing the right thing in order to somehow earn heaven.

Heaven is a gift and following Jesus is first about having a friendship with him. Although we have different roles, we are all fellow disciples on the road with Jesus. We are all followers after Jesus. And our charge (you may be tired of me saying it) is to build up the Kingdom of God in our little corner of the world. All of us! We have the responsibility to transform Maple Shade into a paradise where the Gospel reigns.

Hence the title: the Church is you! The Church is you; in fact, the Church is all of us. We are all in this “thing” together. And the measure of our thriving is the measure of our engagement . How we flourish reflects how well we are all committed to the mission of the Gospel.

And remember that classic tune,

“The Best Things in Life are Free!”

With my blessing,

Fr. Wilson