Week of November 8, 2020
There is a long-standing tradition and a celebration this time of year that reaches far and wide. It’s an event where individuals prepare for months in advance. It’s an occasion where families get together to renew their bonds, make new acquaintances, listen to ancient stories and share a few of their own. It’s a time where people will be watching and waiting, connecting with God and maybe even praying in hopeful anticipation of success. This time of year even has its own “liturgical color” blaze orange! Yes, I am talking about the Minnesota Deer Hunting opener!
Although deer hunting is not for everyone, one has to admit that Deer Hunting Opener is quite an event here in Minnesota as roughly ½ million people will be going out into the field this weekend according to the DNR. As a priest, sometimes I think the Church should make the official liturgical color this weekend blaze orange as well instead of the usual green. Now that’s what I call “enculturation” and connecting with the people!
All kidding aside, when you think about it, deer hunting has many of the same appealing liturgical, traditional, and scriptural qualities that make our own Catholic Church so rich and beautiful and appealing as well. Our Catholic Faith too has a long standing tradition of connecting with God, listening to gospel stories, spiritual readings, and lives of the Saints. We have our own seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary time, each with their liturgical colors to highlight these times as well. We have our own traditional gatherings with family and friends as we celebrate the mysteries of our Faith like Christmas, Easter, Weddings, Funerals, 1st Communions and Confirmations. These are all special events! Finally, this is the time of year when we come near to the conclusion of Ordinary Time and look forward to celebrating the Feast of Christ the King. We will then be entering into Advent, where all our readings emphasize our need to be watchful and to wait in great anticipation for that singular, most important moment, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! “Be prepared! For you never know when the Son of Man will come!” as Jesus says. That sounds a lot like what we do on the deer stand to me!
Wouldn’t be great if ½ million people in our state were just as excited and waited with the same amount of hope and anticipation and joy as they come to church on Sundays and wait for Jesus to appear to them as they do for that buck or doe to pass by their stand. It’s something to think about! In the meantime, here’s to happy and safe deer hunting season! And remember what the deer hunting rednecks say, “If you leave your ‘doe’ in da church, to get da ‘buck’ in da woods!” May our own rich experience, excitement, and anticipation on deer opener remind us of the excitement we have for our Catholic Faith and for Jesus as well! Peace and good luck!
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl