While strolling around Manhattan today, I caught the Sky lift over to Roosevelt Island. This whole trip was inspired by the Holy Spirit…this I truly know. As I walked down the edge of the Hudson I passed several large buildings obviously where upper middle to wealthy people resided with a breathtaking view of Manhattan. I walked about ½ - ¾ of a mile further and then turned right and walked a block over, and it was obvious this is where the middle to lower income residences were, with a breathtaking (sarcastically stated) view of ship yards.
I walked along the path I came, but only on the opposite (1 block over) side and then came across this BEAUTIFUL, quaint Catholic Parish…right in the middle of both sides. I walked in for the 5pm Mass and there were only about 20 people there for Mass. At the end of Mass, the Priest, while he is human and gets upset, was somewhat disturbed at the lack of responses he had received over important scheduling things he needed. He admonished the Parishioners and stated that the Parish was not getting very many people at the Saturday Mass and he was rightly concerned about it.
I would venture to guess there were more people, (kids included) playing DIRECTLY outside the Church, than were actually inside for Mass. Matter of fact prior to my going in, I saw a family playing stick ball, using the side of the Church as a Catcher for the ball.
I left wondering, why we (Catholic's) keep Jesus in the box? This beautiful Parish is in PRIME location and PRIME position to minister to the least, lost and most abandoned, DIRECTLY OUTSIDE THE PARISH…and also minister to the NON-abandoned, and the Wealthy. What I saw was Jesus was placed DIRECTLY in the middle, surrounded on all four sides by buildings (within 50 yards of the Parish) and no one was taking Jesus to these people. It was painfully obvious to me that Jesus wanted to go out and reach the people. As I walked toward the Church, I literally saw the modern day "Man at the Pool", in a wheel chair hurting, I saw modern day Leapers, people walking with no hope, just yards from Jesus…who was locked in the box. Wow…what an opportunity to take Him OUT of the box and take Him to the people. I saw and see so much potential for Evangelization, but no one else see's it at the Parish. The Priest spoke about the desperate need for young men for the Vocation of the Priesthood and yet, when I went out after Church was over, there were 8 young teenage boys, playing right outside the Church, none of them had gone to Mass, and the Priest was just talking about it, but yet, why were these young people not in Church, why did no one reach out to them?
Let us take Jesus out of the box. Let us remember that when we are filled with Jesus, lets take our blinders off and SEE what is right outside of our own Parishes. They are RIPE for a harvest…if we only remember to take Jesus out of the box!