Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit, the end of the Easter Season, and marking the anniversary of the beginning of the Church's mission converting the world to Christ: Happy Birthday Catholic Church!
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We in the United States and the rest of the developed West are lucky to live in a society with so many comforts and luxuries. But sometimes, as we go about our daily grind, we forget to keep that in perspective. We may grumble sometimes when an appliance breaks down, or when we're stuck in traffic, or if our favorite TV show gets canceled... Certainly these are annoyances, but in many parts of the world people contend with far worse problems. Imagine if your family were killed by insurgents in a civil war, or you don't know where your next meal will come from, or if you wander the streets with only the clothes on your back and no place to lay your head. These are Third World problems that most of us here in the First World will never have to face. Suddenly that broken garage door opener doesn't seem so bad.
I recently watched a YouTube video poking fun at our First World complaints. (You can watch the video here.)Since seeing this video, my wife and I constantly reminded each other how lucky we are, even in the midst of the problems we may be facing. The YouTube video is certainly funny, but it can also be a serious reminder to keep in prayer all those in need in the faraway places of the world.
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At our parish we have a choir loft in the back of church, which is a pretty long walk from the altar. When the choir and organist are present at Mass, an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist brings a small ciborium down the isle to administer the Sacrament to them during Communion time. There is no ceremony or procession...it is simply one among many extraordinary ministers walking to his or her station to serve the congregation. The Eucharistic minister walks down a side isle which happens to pass right next to our usual pew, and for some time now, we as a family have adopted the practice of making the sign of the cross as the Eucharist passes by. It may not be necessary, and no one else in the congregation does it (as far as I know), but it has certainly raised our own awareness of Christ's Eucharistic Presence and has been a great teaching moment for our kids.