Today I’m going to show my age because I want to tell you about one of my favorite TV shows; it was called Make Room for Daddy; a very long-ago show that starred Danny Thomas. What a gem he was. An actor who was a man of great faith, a devout Catholic who, when faced with challenge and struggle, prayed to God and promised to build a shrine to honor Him.
We know today that the shrine is St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis Tennessee; the premier pediatric cancer hospital and research facility in the world. No child is refused treatment at St. Jude and the family never receives a bill for the treatment and other expenses the family might incur. All for the glory of God through the intercession of St. Jude Thaddeus. Even a well-known and wealthy actor like Danny Thomas knew, without God he could do nothing; with God, he could do anything!
As people of faith do we make room for our Daddy? Do we know with God, as our Father and Jesus our Savior we can do anything?
The Gospel tells us so with Jesus’ beautiful image of the vine and the vine grower:
I am the vine, my father is the vine grower…remain in me as I remain in you. I am the vine, you are the branches…without me you can do nothing.
For we who are Catholic how do we remain in the Father and Jesus the Son? Foremost because we are fed by the vine grower; we are fed with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of the Father. In the very participation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we remain in Jesus through the worthy reception of the Eucharist. He feds us too in the proclamation of His Holy Word. We hear the words of the Gospel along with two additional readings, usually from both the Old and New Testament. Today, as part of Easter season, we hear from the Acts of the Apostles and the letter from St. John. We are fed too by the beautiful words of the Responsorial Psalm: I will praise you Lord in the assembly of the people. The beautiful prayers of the mass, parts of the Eucharistic prayer, all of this feeds us because God the Father is the vine grower, Jesus the vine and we are the branches. And we are called to remain in Him.
Dear brothers and sisters, the church, all of us, has been through a most challenging and confusing time. For many of our brothers and sisters it has been a long time away from the Mass, meaning in person. We have been dispensed from attending Mass as Bishops struggled with what to do, often receiving confusing and contradictory counsel. As detailed in today’s letter from our own Archbishop, after lengthy consultation and prayer, that dispensation will end beginning with the Masses of the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 6, 2021. It is time to come home, to return to the table of the Lord, to participate fully in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As the Archbishop states: as we more frequently venture out, to socialize, shop, attend various events and activities outside the home, it is time to consider what the Lord is inviting us to; to be his branches, remain attached to vine, give glory and honor and worship to the vine grower. For most of us, it is time. For some, it may not be time; it may actually be impossible. If this be the case, know that we will continue to live-stream, encourage the praying of an Act of Spiritual Communion, and to stay in touch with us at the parish office. But again, many of us know it is time to return, so the vine grower and the vine invite you home.
For those of you have returned for some time now we know firsthand what a difference it has been to be back worshipping in community here at our beautiful parish church. Know that you are so appreciated, as are those who will be returning soon and those who will be unable to return. Your support, during this most challenging year, has allowed your parish to continue to respond to the many spiritual and physical needs of your brothers and sisters and our beloved parish as a community of faith.
On this most glorious Sunday when our Archbishop has called us all to come home, I have but one question to all of us who are the branches and in the spirit of good Danny Thomas:
Do you have time, will you make a way, to just Make Room for Daddy?