1I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Our feet were standing in thy courts, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together. For thither did the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord: The testimony of Israel, to praise the name of the Lord. Because their seats have sat in judgment, seats upon the house of David.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What does it mean to go to church rejoicing?
In the course of my life as a church-goer, I’ve showed up for countless reasons. As a kid, I clung to promises of donuts. In college, I usually had a crush I wanted to see. As a Jesuit, I don’t want to get caught skipping. Often times, my priorities are questionable when I walk through the doors.
I’ve heard that one way to make church more meaningful is to lower my expectations around what I hope to ‘get.’ Music won’t always be great, and homilies won’t always speak to me. If those are my expectations, I’ll never be fully satisfied.
In the end, it isn’t about what I ‘get’ from church. It is about what I encounter – a communion of people united in love and a chance to see the living God face-to-face.
That’s definitely something in which I can rejoice.
—Eric Immel, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Jesuits. After six years in Chicago, he recently moved to Boston where he studies theology.
God of holiness and power, we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ, your son. For you have blessed our parish communities, and your presence makes our churches houses of prayer; you never refuse us welcome when we come before you as your pilgrim people. In our parishes you realize the mystery of your dwelling among us; for in shaping us as your holy temple you enrich your whole Church, which is the very body of Christ.
We pray that you continue to bless our parish communities. May all who gather in faith to listen to your word and celebrate your sacraments, experience the presence of Christ. May our parish communities joyfully go forth to love and serve you and to proclaim Christ’s name to all those we encounter, for He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
—The parish prayer of St. Paul Catholic Church in Eugene, ORPlease share the Good Word with your friends!