Last night my home parish hosted the annual diocesan young adult Mass with our bishop. Every year I’m touched that the bishop would care enough about the young adults (mostly single young adults, though there are quite a few young married couples) to make the time to say Mass for them, to pray with and for them, to preach to them, and to mingle with and meet them afterwards. A warm thank you to Bishop Paul Loverde for that.
But this year something else struck me in a way it never had before: what a gift it is to come together to pray in communion with young adults from all over our diocese.
I guess I’ve always known this in my head, but for the first time last night it touched my heart. I’ve been in this community for about four years now, and had plenty of time for drama, upset, hurt feelings, aggravations, and all the nastiness that comes with people living, working, or socializing together. I’ve sat around with my single girlfriends and complained about the Catholic men and their lack of initiative in asking girls out. I’ve attended awkward parties and attempted to pump life into more stilted conversations than I can possibly remember. I’ve gossiped and (probably) been the subject of gossip. I’ve hurt feelings, and my own have been hurt. I’ve suffered through unrequited crushes, and perhaps been the subject of one or two myself. I’ve been better friends with X than with Y, and forgotten to invite Q to this or that party, while L never even gives me a nod, and K can’t be bothered to acknowledge my existence.
And yet at the end of the day, these people are my community. Many of them are my friends. And regardless of our various hurts and frustrations, we can come together and be one in the Eucharist–not just at the annual young adult Mass, but every time we attend Mass.
As a dear friend of mine said when we parted ways last week (she’s leaving the area to move home to the Midwest): “We’ll see one another in the Eucharist.” Whether we’re sitting next to one another or on opposite sides of the globe, whether we’re the dearest of friends or veritable strangers, this remains true: We are one body.
And that is worth celebrating and thanking God for every day.