My high school didn't do traditional homecoming festivities. Instead we had Field Day. I loved Field Day! Once a year, the entire class would join together. We'd all dress alike, we'd learn a masterfully choreographed march to a catchy beat and on that fall day we'd line up along the road next to the high school. Each class had their designated area. In my class, there were nearly 600 of us. Impressive! Powerful!
The beat would commence, and we'd begin to march, all in sync, along the road and into the gym. It was great fun. What made it even more special was that everyone mattered. No longer were we the rich, the poor, the jocks, the greasers, the nerds, the burnouts, or whatever in between. On that day, we blended into one class with one common goal, to defeat the other classes. Field Day was the great equalizer of my high school days. If anyone was missing we were less effective, we'd show less of a united force and we were less likely to WIN!
As I was growing up, I also loved my parish. I found sanctuary there and a true sense of belonging. I was aware that I was part of something big and I mattered. Today, I understand why. In the Body of Christ everyone matters, all the time. No one is insignificant. It is in this communion that we are formed as leaders and discover our giftedness, our effectiveness and the mission to which we are sent.
Leadership development in the parish is important. It is different than in the secular world where leaders are often associated with authority, power and a spirit of competition. In the parish, leadership is developed with a sense of the sacred. We learn how we can lead others to the Word of Life in a spirit of complementarity and we constantly seek to develop more leaders. One way in which we lead is through our charisms. God has empowered his faithful with charisms so He can reach “the many” for whom Christ died. When we gather for the Liturgy, hear the message to be taken out, are fed with the energy from the Resurrected Body, we become a powerful force to be reckoned with. At the Liturgy, we get in sync, we pay attention and we get our marching orders. But are we even aware of this?
Pope Francis referred to the Church as a Field Hospital. He said “ the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.” He said we are to be “ministers of mercy” and announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin on the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2015.
It occurs to me that every day in the Church must be like a Field Day. Everyday the leaders (AKA disciples or apostles) must show up for the mission to be accomplished. Every day we must be ready to make our contribution, to say “yes” and to lead through our charisms which are destined
to accomplish great things.
Field Day needs everyone. No charism is insignificant as each works in harmony with the others. Let us get in the line up, let us be lost in the crowd. Let's let mercy lead! We can do this, together!