Jesus Loves Sex!

Our priest was giving the sermon this weekend and in the midst of talking about the sacred covenant of marriage exclaims “Nobody loves sex more than Jesus!”. You could hear a communal gasp pass through the church and the giggles of kids and teens. I thought my mom was going to pass out right there in the pew. My husband was chuckling and my kids turned red.
This is the kind of homily you get when you attend a youth mass at our parish. Presided over by a young priest (former parishioner) who couldn’t be more than 29 and was ordained just a few short months ago, it’s not for the faint of heart or the old-school Catholic. Instead of the worn out Mass of Creation responsorial psalms and Latin chanting, we sing songs you would hear on your local Christian radio station. We have a band complete with drums, guitars and some really good vocalists. The closing song is usually so upbeat you will feel the need to clap and dance. This is certainly not your Grandmother’s Catholic mass.
Before any of you hard-core Catholics start to frown upon our priest’s teaching or choice of words – let me explain. Our youth mass consists of 85% teenagers plus in attendance every single week. When was the last time you saw teens in church being willfully engaged in prayer and actively participating during mass? I can tell you, the last time I witnessed that was when I was in Catholic high school and even then I don’t believe we were all that excited to be there. Our priests tailor their teachings so that these feeble young minds can understand and pay attention. Father was talking about the Gospel reading which explained that marriage is a sacred covenant. He was teaching that the Catholic Church is not a big book of “NO”s….that the Catholic Church upholds Jesus’s teachings of what to say “YES” to. That led to the topic of premarital sex…stating that Jesus nor the church is saying that sex is bad or something to say NO to….rather, they are both saying that it is a gift given by God to be treasured and cherished only within the sacred covenant of marriage: the covenant in which both man and woman join and become one flesh. The ultimate promise and sacrifice to one another for life.
Although I’m sure that some of the kids couldn’t hear over their own giggles to hear Father’s explanation following the statement he boomed over his mic, the words and the expressions that are carefully chosen by our priests during the youth masses at my church drive it home every week. Last week we had yet another young priest join us – another former parishioner and graduate of the local high school. He used the “Lord of the Rings” plot (Gollum’s relentless obsession with the ring, driving him into darkness) to explain that week’s Gospel reading. I looked over at my son and he was engaged, interested…listening. It was like a light had come on and I couldn’t have been prouder at that moment.
I haven’t been the best about raising my kids with a solid faith foundation. We would take them to church when they were small and made them go to classes so that they could receive their sacraments but hectic schedules and busy lives led us to put worship on the back burner. Call it that old school Catholic guilt but it really made me feel like shit. I truly believe that having God in your life – active, front and center leads to good things and blessings abound.
I knew how I felt as a teen going to church and going to my religious education classes. Since I went to a Catholic high school, it was redundant and I thought, unnecessary. At the church in which I grew up our priest was nearing his 80’s and was not the most exciting to listen to. The only aspect of mass that I enjoyed was the music and songs. I didn’t want my kids to feel the same way. I wanted them to look forward to going to church and for them to really get something out of that hour they spend at mass.
The first time we attended the youth mass at our parish I knew that this would be the difference in my kids’ lives. I witnessed 100 or so teenagers embraced arm in arm with each other surrounding the altar during the prayers prior to communion. You could feel the Holy Spirit’s loving presence. It was something I hadn’t witnessed since being a teen myself and it was refreshing to see God so active and alive in them.
We take my kids now every week and there are no fights, no whining, no resistance. They seem to be ok with it and they even seem to be enjoying themselves. They attend their youth groups afterwards and my son is actually going on a weekend retreat this Friday. I gave him the choice to go – I wasn’t going to force him. I was beaming on the inside when he made his own decision to go. It is something very out-of-character for my son, as he’s a bit uncomfortable when put into situations with new people and new experiences. My daughter is excited over any opportunity to be social with kids her age so she is looking forward to her chance at retreat in the spring.
I feel that I’ve finally made what could be the best decision I’ve made in a really long time: to set an example for my kids and keep God in the forefront of our lives. Not only on Sundays, but every day. Our family has been bestowed many blessings. I tell my kids that out of the 7 days of the week, we can devote one hour of our time to attending mass and thanking Him. It’s much less of a sacrifice than He gave for us.

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7 thoughts on “Jesus Loves Sex!

    • dockfam says:

      Thanks so much. We’re in a really good place right now..we love the parish. thought the homily was humorous this weekend and wanted to share. My mom still can’t get over it haha

  1. Speaking to a young audience is a constant struggle that I think most churches face. I grew up in a church that was full of families that were active in the church. Our sermons could have been more interesting, but they always seemed to be tailored with the older generation’s conservatism in mind. The older generation of the congregation conquered that battle, and as time passed, the families all moved out and moved on to someplace that spoke to them- someplace that gave God’s words relevance in their own lives. I have the fondest memories of the congregation of people with which I was raised, but because of the resistance to change, the unwillingness to grab the attention of a yourger audience, that church’s membership has dwindled and it has all but gone under. I think it’s really great that your kids are inspired and WANT to be involved. That speaks volumes.
    I wanted to take a second to let you know that I moved the hosting for Sugar Dish Me so it will no longer appear in your wp.com reader. I’d be thrilled if you’d re-subscribe either through email or rss feed. The address is still the same http://www.sugardishme.com/ Thanks so much for taking time to read Sugar Dish Me! I appreciate you!

    • dockfam says:

      You got it…love the new look! We’ve been blessed to find this wonderful community at the exact time that my kids need it…as they enter those horrid high school years. Can’t be obvious enough that it was meant to be 🙂

      • Heather @ SugarDish(Me) says:

        Thanks! I have a moody middle-schooler in tow and a brother that’s 16. I don’t know who navigating all this is trickier for- them or me!!?

  2. It is great that your church is so vibrant with the youth…because they are the leaders of tomorrow and we need to have ones with morals and beliefs and to somehow bring God back into our lands….Diane

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