On Saturday, December 22, 2007, St. Ceciliaâ€™s had already replaced our annual Toy Sale with an open house for the neighborhood. (Much to Father Danâ€™s satisfaction: no more plastic toys!) Friends from suburban parishes had arrived early to deliverÂ groceries to share with our neighbors. Families from all over Mount PleasantÂ gathered on that Saturday morning, along with parishioners, to sing carols, have a meal, pick up a bag of food, and socialize.
This is the beginning of the homily Father Dan preached the next day, the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
I love this time of year, when our church gets such a workout. Yesterday, the place was jammed with people. Iâ€™ve never seen so many people. On one level, itâ€™s a tragedy that so many are so much in need. Iâ€™m sure many of them would have preferred not to have to come for food. But, still, there was something so awesome in the way that people connected and related to one another.
We had a little pageant with the children, and this year, more than ever, many people came up to me and said, â€œWe are so grateful for a little quiet time and for a religious service.â€ We actually ran out of food by the end, but nobody was bent out of shape about that. They said they were going home with more than they came with.
There was a wonderful atmosphere, as people from Broadview Heights, Macedonia, our own parish, from all over, came to make Christmas happen in our midst. The Zivsak family cooked about 200 pounds of meat for tacos. We had a taco bar! People stayed and sang Christmas carols and had a great old time.
It was a lovely day. We have a lot to be proud of in the experience. I have to say, for me, the power was in those moments yesterday when you could see the light. Sometimes you canâ€™t see the light thatâ€™s right in your midst, because thereâ€™s so much other light. But other times, in the middle of darkness, when that light starts to shine, it really shines, and then you can recognize it.