I expect some visitors to a Sunday Mass at my parish would be concerned that there are so many, well, old people.
Oh, there are young people (even teens) and families, but there really are lots of people bordering on elderly. (Actually, some are far past the border.)
A visitor might be concerned. After all, we often hear that the young are the future of the Church. They are the lifeblood. Without youth, the faith will die.
True enough. But I see the beauty in the old folks, perhaps because I’m starting to relate to the category. At 64 years of age, I expect some might consider me to be fairly old, or at least on the precipice…if think of myself as middle aged.
But I see the beauty in the gray hair and wrinkled faces because they reflect the beauty of perseverance. Through the ups and downs of life, through the victories and failings of the Church, these are the people who have remained. They understand that the human failings of members of the Church cannot deny the divine nature of the institution – perhaps even prove it.
The young may be swift and strong, but most of their race lies ahead. The elderly are on track to finish the race.
I’m grateful for the shaking, gnarled hand that reaches for my hand during the sign of peace. May God continue to sustain their faith as he helps my unbelief.