Each evening, I send our three-year-old out to the mailbox to do her favorite “chore” of the day—getting the mail. She usually reports on what arrived and who it was from, despite the occasional toy catalogue distraction.
Last week, she sorted through the pile and told me we had a Highlights magazine, a couple pieces of unidentifiable (junk) mail, and a letter from Jesus.
I carried on with cooking dinner until her words registered.
A letter from Jesus?
Perplexed, I looked over to the pile strewn throughout the kitchen. I didn’t see anything from Jesus, not that I would know what a letter from Jesus would look like. I thought maybe her sense of humor was at work again.
But then the lightbulb went on and I spotted it—a letter from Fr. Bauer asking us for our stewardship pledge.
I know what you’re thinking: Fr. Bauer is not Jesus.
Actually, what she had spotted was The Basilica crest in the upper left corner. To her, that stands for Jesus. Forget any fancy branding or marketing plan—for my little girl, The Basilica is Jesus. Isn’t that great? All of those Sundays. All of those days rushing to the car. All of your greetings of peace. All of the singing and prayers. All of our patience (and testing of patience) and encouragement at Mass to be attentive or, at least, not disruptive. All of those visits to the Undercroft mid-liturgy to ensure we don’t have an accident in the pews because someone “needs go potty.” Her timing is impeccable.
In all seriousness though, my heart was warmed hearing her simple thought. You—the community of The Basilica—and all that she sees here is a representation of Jesus.
We see it, though. You are Christ to the world when you help to feed those who are hungry who knock at the Rectory Door. You are Christ when you give your time as volunteers. You are Christ when you welcome everyone who enters The Basilica, no matter what. You are Christ when you come together as a community to worship and pray. And you continue all of these ministries and extend Christ’s love when you give your time and your money to support the mission of The Basilica.
Inside that envelope, Fr. Bauer’s letter starts, “For more than 100 years, parishioners like you have been a part of the good work The Basilica does in our community: sharing God’s love, comforting the sick and marginalized, giving thanks, welcoming everyone, and demonstrating what the word “community” can and ought to mean.”
These words describe the good that has been and will continue to be at The Basilica.
This fall, I hope you will consider that envelope to be an invitation not only from The Basilica to give, but also an invitation to give back to God what you have been given. As Fr. Bauer asks us to make a Financial Stewardship pledge this fall, I hope you will consider all of the good that stems from ministries, service, and worship that spread God’s love throughout our community and continues to put Jesus on our return address.