The atmosphere here in Cleveland is electric! We are now the city of champions (thanks Cavs), and Cleveland has shown how well it can celebrate a very meaningful and well deserved victory. The 'Cleveland Curse' is over! What great joy began for Cleveland when the buzzer brought that 52-year drought to an end. Moses led the Israelites through an arid desert for 40 years...Cleveland, we can relate.
I hope the celebratory atmosphere continues in our city this entire summer. Pray for the Cavs and for next year's season. Have parties with Cavs-themed colors, food, and activities. Buy a basketball and teach and coach your kids on how to play basketball with good mechanics and sportsmanship. Celebrate the Cavs because it is a really good thing for our city, but remember that there is another great ongoing celebration happening to participate in, a celebration that is really good for humanity. This is the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus whose risen life proclaims his definitive victory over sin and death.
Sometimes Catholics will 'take summers off' of going to Sunday Mass. That's not a good thing. We are a Church that celebrates even in the 'off' season! And it is Jesus Christ himself whom we celebrate at Mass, Jesus who is the champion of our city, of our family, of our whole life. We need him more than need anything or anyone else. We also need to give him our burdens, struggles, joys, and dreams. We need to lift up our family in prayer. We need to intercede for our community and world. We need to glorify God and put our trust in him. We need to hear the Word of God preached to us, which makes us participants in the story of God's beloved people longing for salvation. We need to receive the strength of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, that unites and nourishes our body and soul, our family, and our Church. We need to do all of this. Every week.
Sunday Mass is the celebration to accomplish all of this. It is the most important hour of our week, the best use of our time. Mass transforms our life and makes us holy, enabling us to glorify God in all we do for the rest of the week. Mass prepares us for heaven, not just at the end of our life, but here and now - today. Mass is a privilege, a joy, a celebration. The 'obligation' of Sunday Mass intensifies how vitally necessary it is for us to celebrate Christ giving himself to us and we to him. The Church provides us many ample opportunities every day to celebrate his victory through the Sacraments, but most importantly at Sunday Mass.
Let the celebrations continue for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They deserve it, and so do we. But remember to celebrate the greatest championship: the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death. Make this summer the one where you stay committed to celebrating the Cavs and the one where you recommit yourself to celebrating Sunday Mass each week.
Originally published at http://srweuclid.cc/news/summertime-celebrations on Wednesday, June 22, 16:40 pm
Adapted for news print.
Director of Development & Discipleship, Ss. Robert & William Parish; President of the Euclid Hunger Center