A Message from Monsignor Jay…
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
On July 20, 1969, at 4:17 pm (EDT) the Eagle landed in the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had a few hours to rest and prepare themselves for their July 21,1969 moonwalk, for Armstrong at 10:56 pm and for Aldrin 11:15 pm. During this time Aldrin, an Elder of the Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, Texas, asked Mission Control for a moment of silence. He spoke this message to the universe: “I would like to invite each person listening in wherever or whomever he may be to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.” He then took out a communion kit that had been given to him by his pastor and, according to the rite of his church, conducted a brief communion service and received communion before taking his stroll on what he described as: “a beautiful view and magnificent desolation.” In memorial of this, every year on the Sunday closest to July 21, the Webster Presbyterian Church observes Lunar Communion Sunday.
As we keep the fiftieth anniversary of the fulfillment of President John Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, the Eucharist that we share reminds us that we do not have to go to the moon to receive communion. All we have to do is come to mass together, contemplate the events of our lives in the past week, and give thanks that God is with us all our days. The Eucharist we receive challenges and prepares us to build a community in the love of Christ among all of God’s people on earth.
The Eucharist strengthens us so that we can choose to stand as one in Christ in the face of all that seeks to devastate and divide us. It took over 400,000 people to meet the challenge to put a man on the moon. It takes every man, woman, and child of faith to pray and work together to make the kingdom of God recognizable on earth and to help all people seek God’s Kingdom in their midst. We need to receive the Eucharist at least once a week to prepare ourselves for this mission so that we can stand together in Christ.
In today’s gospel reading, we see a good example of what can divide us as Martha tries to drag Jesus into her frustration with her sister Mary. She thinks that Mary is not doing her part in providing hospitality to Jesus. She does not experience partnership with her in the tasks at hand. We might think this is a minor issue but it was causing great harm and division between the two sisters. Martha probably did not find Jesus’ response all that helpful as he invited her to consider that Mary was contributing to their hospitality with her attentiveness to him. She was missing the coworker dimension of hospitality—everyone has a role to play. Jesus invited her to stand together with Mary in his presence. This is key for us in the face of all that causes division, contention, and hurt in our families, nation, culture, and world. Jesus speaks to us in the Eucharist and invites us to seek unity in him as together we face the challenges that can divide us each day.
May God’s Peace be Yours,