A visitor from another Christian community who was at St. Teresa’s for last Sunday’s Mass in celebration of Easter emailed to congratulate us:
‘What a remarkable transformation of the church building! Bright, welcoming, clean, and an overall impression of invitation to come in… I noticed that having the monitors show all the words of what was being said or sung drew people in to take notice of what actually was going on… People seemed to be much more engaged and included rather than just hanging on the perimeter. It was heartening to see… If all of this marks potential for the transformation of the community as well as the building you will have achieved something remarkable.’
What a wonderful hope that raises: that our parish community could be renewed and transformed just as our church building has been! In the first days after Jesus rose from the dead, once his disciples had finally got the message that he was sending them out to spread peace in the world, and once they had broken out of the fear that had trapped them in the upper room, their faith and their way of living became so contagious that people flocked to join them. After the initial rush of thousands, today’s first reading says that the number of those who came to believe ‘increased steadily’.
At the Easter Vigil we welcomed three new adult members into our community and five children were baptised on Easter Sunday: we have a steady flow of people becoming believers. There are hundreds of members of this parish community living out their baptism by the way they care for their families, look after the sick and the poor, work for justice in our society and enable us all to worship God in the church and in the world. And there is so much more that we could be and do.
Let’s pray that this Easter we will all be filled again with the Spirit of the Risen Christ and with courage and energy to witness to his presence wherever it is most needed, remembering that he came so that we might believe, and, by believing, have life in his name.