On Sunday, September 16th St. Dominic’s was blessed to host Christian musician Daniel Oberreuter for a mission concert. The concert was a wonderful evening of music, faith and fellowship! The music was appropriate for all ages and I can say that I personally found Daniel and his music to be very engaging and enriching. I enjoyed seeing so many of our parishioners themselves enjoying the concert and I must admit that in addition to enjoying the music, I also enjoyed being able to sit in the back pew and not have to be on for anything!
In between his songs, Daniel shared about his own faith journey and the beauty of our Catholic faith and all it has to offer. He spoke very well and a number of times he reminded us that Christ is uniquely present in the tabernacle. “God is right here, waiting for us,” he said. He even went on to state (and not in a bragging way) that St. Dominic Church is the center of Kingsport because Christ resides here in the tabernacle.
Daniel gave a wonderful witness and reminder to our entire parish community. As Catholics we believe that the bread and wine brought up during the offertory truly becomes the body and blood of our Lord. Because the bread is transformed into the Body of Christ at consecration we must reserve in a special place the consecrated hosts. This is the tabernacle and here Christ is uniquely present unlike any other place in the world. Now that the tabernacle has been moved to stand directly behind the altar it also sits under the highest point of our church campus – our cross and steeple. I find this to be very fitting especially when I return to the parish and start driving up the hill and the first part of our church that I see is our cross and steeple and I know that our Lord is enthroned in the tabernacle right underneath that spot. Christ is right there and he waits for us.
Here I want to echo an invitation made by Daniel and I want to add a second invitation.
The invitation I want to echo is the invitation to come and sit with our Lord present in the tabernacle. Our church is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. During the week we keep the front glass doors locked but the wooden doors on the left side of the church building beside the chapel are left unlocked. Come and sit with Christ. There does not have to be elaborate prayers, there does not need to be music, there does not have to be a set timeframe, you do not have to talk to anyone else – just come and be in the presence of our Lord. Just be quiet and let our Lord give you the grace that your heart needs. Christ is present in our Church and he waits for you and for me. Please be open to his invitation.
The second invitation is an invitation to begin a habit. As I child I remember my father always making the sign of the cross whenever we drove past a Catholic Church. It is a simple action but it is an action which acknowledges the presence of Christ in the church and shows respect for that presence. I grew up in Johnson City and at that time the church was downtown right beside the highway exit so we would drive by on a pretty regular basis as we went downtown for various things. Every time we drove in front of the church my father would make the sign of the cross. No words were spoken. He didn’t call attention to it. He just made the sign of the cross. I noticed and it remains with me to this day. This invitation is to begin this simple and holy habit of making the sign of the cross when you drive by a Catholic Church. Here, in Kingsport, I would extend this to our parish school because in our school chapel we keep the Blessed Sacrament in reserve. When you are on John B. Dennis driving to Pal’s and you pass our church, make the sign of the cross. When you are on Center street and you drive by our school with its chapel, make the sign of the cross. Whenever you are anywhere and you go by a Catholic church, make the sign of the cross. Within that church resides Christ our Lord and he waits for us and he wants to grace us with his life and his love!
Two invitations worth considering.