This morning, before my oldest was even awake, my mom called.
"Do we have someone serving at Mass today?" she asked.
I confirmed that Luke was on the schedule for his third "training" as an altar server.
A few hours later, my folks sat behind Mike, Nina, Jack and me at the front of the church.
It was a beautiful Mass as each person involved with it offered individual gifts.
Our pastor's homily was both funny and spot-on. He connected the day's gospel reading to stories of his own experience and, ultimately, drove home a message that the Church is more than a priest, a bishop, a cardinal or a pope. In fact, the Church is all of the people within it. Each person called to offer whatever he or she can -- great or small -- to keep the Church strong and vibrant.
What happened on the altar and in the pew behind me later only worked to strengthen the homily's impact on me.
On the altar, the kind, patient young man who had "come out of altar server retirement" to train my boy did a commendable job directing Luke. Luke himself served with care.
Next to me, Nina was intent to pay attention, excited that her brother was serving on the altar and that she, herself, would soon have an opportunity to serve our church through joining the children's choir. Thinking about all this, her eyes moved from Luke, to the priest's hands, to the cantor.
Nina's eyes were not the only one's on the cantor, it seems. For after the closing song of the Mass, my parents clapped and made a point of going over to the gal who had so beautifully offered her gift of song to our Mass celebration. They had moved by the music.
In fact, the Mass experience as a whole had apparently moved my parents.
At one point, as Luke did his duties on the altar, my father's face went red, he took in a deep breath and let out tears. At another moment, my mother's eyes leaked as a smile played on her lips. At both of these moments, I recalled my own cathartic cry several weeks ago when Luke had first served as an altar boy and quietly thanked God for the way He moves us.
It is amazing to me how the simple choices we each make can affect one another.
My son chooses to be an altar boy. My parents choose to come celebrate a Mass at which he serves. A young man chooses to share his mentorship. A gal chooses to share her voice. A priest chooses to share his stories and thoughts. The people of a parish choose to share an hour together on a Sunday morning. Many choose to let the Spirit move in them and through them...
This morning's Mass served as a microcosm for me of how awesome things can be when each of us chooses to share forward the gifts we have been given.
Time. Talent. Thoughts. Service. Prayer. Community. No person is too young to offer something to the Church -- even if it is just presence and a well-timed baby-cry (as happened with a tiny child at our church today, who cried out at just the perfect moment to add an element of laughter and joy to the service.)
What gift of yours can you gift forward today?