Last weekend, it was fun to see so many kids home from college on their spring break. Many of them I remember from their First Communions or Confirmations or from being an Altar Server and now, here they are, well on their way into their adult lives. Some came to Mass, some to the soup supper, some stopped at the rectory to say hello (and to drop off the most delicious brownies I’ve ever had…).
There is a well of water in the Gospel this Sunday. Jewish, Samaritan, Christian, and Muslim traditions all associate the well with Jacob, who settled on the land in that area according to the Book of Genesis. It’s probably safe to presume that, for centuries, the well was place where people would naturally gather, first, out of the necessity to draw water for their homes, but also to share news and to socialize, the Facebook of the ancient Palestinian world.
I thought of how family homes and parishes serve much the same purpose to our kids who are in college. Whether for a week or just a long weekend, coming back to Fairfield gives them a chance to grab a big, long, drink of “home.” Mom’s cooking, a night to catch up with old high school friends, or just driving around neighborhoods that are old and familiar but now somehow “smaller,” can all have a restorative effect. Just as the Lord used the water of Jacob’s Well as a metaphor for the eternal life he offers to quench our thirst, so, too, these little “drinks of home” are building something more enduring in our young adults. They are learning everyday to more confident and self-sufficient (doing laundry! getting to class on time!), yet still need some time for TLC and chocolate chip cookies.
These visits to home are probably not without their skirmishes and inevitable conflicts as these adult-in-training are figuring out the new way they fit into their old family structures, but I guess that’s all part of growing up. In the meantime, perhaps we can all benefit from these visits to the “well,” energized by their bright and open futures, captivated by the latest campus dramas, and watching the wonder of life develop before our eyes. May the homes of our college kids be nurturing and their parish be a place of spiritual connection, not only for them, but especially for their parents who are praying them through…..