“Gather Your People Together”
by Scott Williams
I have my opinion about a lot of things, but I’ve never had such a gut feeling about something like this: the Catholic Church is making a shift. You can feel it in the spirit of our youth and young adults. You can feel it when you go to the March for Life and see 650,000 people standing for the unborn. You can see it when you go to world youth day and three million pilgrims from around the world unite to rejoice with our Holy Father. You can see it when people are constantly yearning for more. We are taking a stand for what is right. We are sick of it! We are fed up with what society tells us is normal. Our foundation was built on solid rock and that Rock is Peter. Christ founded our Church and it will not be shaken.
I was recently in a small group bible study during which I studied the passage in Acts that reads, “Gather your people together,” speaking about the time before they went out to spread the Gospel. There is plenty of talk about the New Evangelization and working on converting the hearts of our protestant brothers and sisters and those who do not know Christ at all; but I think we must first start with the constant conversion of ourselves. With our society telling us to turn our back on God in everything we do, we tend to compartmentalize our faith. We will live out one aspect, but hide behind another.
One thing that many people hide behind is our fear of going to Confession. The Church only mandates that we go once a year. However, I find it concerning that the communion lines are much greater than the confessional lines. I have spoken to plenty of priests that spend their fair share of time sitting in an empty confessional waiting for people to come. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a plea for priests to spend more time in the confessional, it is a plea for us laity to take advantage of it! The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most beautiful gifts that we have as Catholics. We have the opportunity to come to Christ HIMSELF through His priesthood to beg of his mercy and he will embrace us with his forgiveness through His priest. When we are being forgiven of our sins, the priest is standing in Persona Christi– In the Person of Christ. This is not the priest speaking to us, it is truly Christ.
This is where we need to begin. “Gather your people together.” Our great shift in our faith will not take place until we gather our own people together and we rediscover the beauty of Reconciliation. If it has been a while since you have been to the confessional, get back in there! I encourage all of you to confess your sins at least once a month. You will be a better husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, son, and friend. Frequenting the Sacraments allows us to be in an intimate relationship with Christ. This is what He begs of us. Will you respond? We are the Catholic Church.
Scott Williams works as the Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Jude Catholic Church on the south side of Indianapolis. He is active in the Young Adult Community in Indy and is a leader on our Theology on Tap team.