Posted on Jun 25, 2020

28 JUNE 2020

At Newman our preparation program for First Eucharist included “The Gold Book.”

It was a recognition that while some preparation was done in class more of it was done in the home.

Each year I would read over the gold books which our children completed with their mothers and fathers.

The gold books have places for the children to draw pictures of what they see when someone is baptized.

Often there were squalling babies held up by their heels over a font

and a bald man pouring water over their heads.

There was a place for the children to draw what they see in church on Sunday.

Often there was a bald man standing behind an altar with a bread and wine on it.

There are other places to draw pictures. Some times that same bald man appears.

After a while I would go into the classroom at the beginning of the year and begged the second graders to put hair on that bald man they’re going to draw.

A few humored me by putting little tufts around my ears.

One child wrote next to the picture where I again had no hair: “Sorry, I couldn’t lie and I know you wouldn’t really want me to.”

There is also a place in these books for the children to write down their favorite sayings of Jesus.

Now I knew these children did not as yet have a large storehouse of sayings,

but I also know their parents help them.

It was always interesting to read these sayings:

“I am the good shepherd.” “You are my friends.” “Our Father.” “I love you.”

These are the kinds of sayings we remember from Jesus–not just when we’re kids,

but when we’re adults too.

What are yours? I doubt they’re the ones we get in today’s gospel.

“If you love mother or father, son or daughter more than me—

you are not worthy of me.

If you will not take up your cross and follow me–

you are not worthy of me.

If you seek only yourself–

you will bring yourself to ruin.”

Nope, most of us don’t remember these sayings.

And yet they are here, they have been said, and they have been said to us.

At some point all of us who would be disciples of the Lord,

have to be able to put aside our preferences, interests, desires,

and even the great loves of our lives for some greater good,

for the “love of the Lord.”

And the honest truth is we may not be at that point today,

but we have to be able to say that we are working on it,

we’re working towards it and not,that we don’t ever remember him saying such a thing.