Once again we are in the season of “sign ups”. We are asking people to fill out a registration form, telling us who they are and how to contact them and we invite them to commit to activities around here. Why? Because nothing can happen here if people don’t let us know who they are and where they are willing to invest some of their time, energy and talent. That is why joining is a good thing for Newman. But more importantly it is good for those who make Newman their faith home.
We live in a culture that values independence. It tells us to live as if “I don’t need you and I don’t want you to need me”. Ultimately this approach to life doesn’t work. Anyone who sings or plays a musical instrument knows the only way there will be beautiful music is if everyone shows up for rehearsals and performances. Life at Newman is like that. The Liturgies here at Newman are what they are because people agreed to show up, to learn to make music with our choir, to read the scriptures well, to help distribute communion, and clean up when Mass is over.
That’s why signing up is good for Newman. Why is it good for each of us? If we do not join in common effort with others, we fall into feelings of isolation and alienation. There is much discussion today about the effects of those feelings on our bodies. Our very nature as humans begs for social connection, starting with families but reaching beyond them to the people around us. We need people with whom we can share our lives. This is fundamental to being human.
One of our greatest challenges today is to overcome the feelings of alienation that cause us to distrust others. It is only in knowing others that we feel less alone and vulnerable. In human friendships we feel valued. That feeling is hard to find in our busy and populous world. We find it in community on a smaller scale where we can know people by name and form friendships with them.
So if Newman keeps pushing the idea of joining up and being part of the activities we offer, it is because our very nature demands it. Jesus called his followers to have a concern for one another. He said, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:35) We do that best if we know others and they know us. So when you see something offered at Newman that holds some interest for you, try joining. It could be the healthiest thing you can do - for yourself and for those you will come to know.
- Fr. Steve Bossi, CSP