I am back in Southern Indiana for a wedding this weekend.  I celebrated Mass this morning at my home parish, St. Paul, in Tell City.  There is always something comforting in going home, and even more nourishing in the celebration of daily Mass.  I always enjoy the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the church where I received all my Sacraments, even where I was ordained a priest.

However, I wonder where God’s People are today?

Much of the current data from research tells us that more and more young people are drifting away from the Church and the sacraments.  If they and so many others only knew what they are missing…

This is one of our greatest tasks as Church today, to first of all, make our own faith a priority by daily prayer and regular reception of the sacraments and seizing every opportunity that comes our way to exercise charity.  Then, one of our next highest priorities is to make sure our youth are learning the faith and especially, have a deep appreciation for the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

Today the Church remembers St. Jerome, who had a profound love for the Word of God, the Sacred Scriptures.  So profound was this love that he spent his later years living in a cave in Bethlehem.  Why Bethlehem?  Because he wanted to live and pray and study as close as possible to the place where the ‘Word became flesh,’ the birthplace of Jesus Christ.  Jerome is the saint who said: “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

We need to continue to pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to know how to ‘preach the Word of God’ in a manner that touches people’s lives, and leads them to Christ.  Ultimately, it will be only by God’s grace that we are capable of converting hearts, minds and priorities of people’s lives.

There are so many distractions in the world today with things that do not matter in the end.  Many people today also struggle to simply make a living and provide for their families.  However, in each and everyone of these lives, the one priority of faith in Jesus Christ provides meaning to life as well as the grace to provision every family and home with the essentials of life.  I know this much, every person that opens their heart to Jesus and his Church, who receives him with faith in the sacraments of the Church, will have all they need and more.  I cannot imagine a day without the Eucharist, and the active presence of Jesus Christ and the work of salvation deep within me.

Faith is a gift.  Please join me in praying that we may receive a generous and growing portion of faith in our own lives, and through our faith, lead others once again to discover and enjoy the Font of Life, Jesus Christ.  Let us pray for those who have yet to discover Jesus, or to discover the fullness of the life he brings by recalling his own words to the Samaritan woman:

If you only knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. (John 4:10)