Theme: With Open Arms
Altar Servers, Easter Vigil
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Saturday February 26 2022
Gospel – Mark 10:13-22
One of the great joys and blessings of my ministry as a Deacon is working with my altar servers. The excitement on their faces and the outpouring of enthusiasm when they show up for their first day of training is something to behold. They are like little balls of energy just waiting to burst forth. Watching them put on their robes and cinctures and they serve their first Mass and then seeing their parents in the pew taking pictures – what more can I say? For the first few months or so, they also wear a small server pin until they have had a few Masses under their belt and they reach a certain comfort level. And then that joy on their face when I take the pin away and place the cross around their neck, it’s amazing! And even years later, when I see them at recess, they will still run up to me and ask when is the next Mass they will be serving! That energy, that enthusiasm is contagious!
That is what comes to mind when I read today’s Gospel. The disciples are reprimanded for trying to keep the children away from Jesus. “Let the children come to Me! Do not prevent them.” Jesus welcomes them with open arms! I use this reading at Baptisms all the time and I usually reflect on how parents respond to the needs of their children with love and compassion, no matter the time or place. With open arms!
Those of us who are parents know that joyful feeling – our baby’s first word, their first step, their smile and laughter, even their tears! With open arms we run to them, take them in our arms, love them, cherish them, raise them with care and compassion.
Let’s pray today for the people of Ukraine as they face pain and violence and even death from invading forces. Let’s pray especially for the children that they find safety and shelter from this storm of destruction. May all those in neighboring countries open their arms and their homes to the children and families and provide a safe haven and protection.
Deacon Bill Frere