Gold in the Mud

Reading Chapter 6 of "Why the Church," I experienced the following about the "gold in the mud" at the New York Encounter...

Reading Chapter 6 of Why the Church, I experienced the following about the "gold in the mud" at the New York Encounter.

I was to offer the early Sunday Mass for the NYE volunteers. "The happiest people at the New York Encounter are the volunteers," Riro says. I'll stand before hundreds of these important people—my chance to shine. What a downer, getting up early to find only 25-30, all bleary-eyed!

I preached that wonder/fascination (not bravado or calculation) gave John the Baptist and the disciples the ability to testify to Christ—even to die as martyrs. (I had just seen the movie "Silence". Am I brave enough to endure torture and die for Christ? No.) Then I told them how a dying hospital patient, his wife, and I all testified to Christ in a way none of us wanted, nor could have dreamt up. But it happened because we followed the fascination of what He was doing for us. Reality did not betray us.

No one seemed terribly impressed by this wonderful homily, by my "performance". They all had jobs to do. "Did Mass take too long?" I asked Barry on his way to the kitchen. Surprised, Barry replied, "It's worth whatever time it takes." Finding gold in the mud of my self-importance.

“…This incredible, exorbitant privilege,
To keep alive the words of life,
To nourish with our blood, with our flesh, with our heart
The words which, without us, would collapse fleshless…”