The Theology of Doughnuts.
Each Sunday, after the morning Masses, we offer coffee and doughnuts (or other snacks) at both parishes. This is not just so father can have three breakfasts, but is offered in order to build community in our parishes. This can also be an effective tool for ministry and conversion of hearts. Let me explain.
When I was a kid, doughnuts were not offered each Sunday. We would have to look at the bulletin to determine whether or not we would have a treat after Mass. If there was a notice in the bulletin, we would run downstairs after Mass and be first in line for first pick of doughnuts out of the box. The volunteers were always friendly and the atmosphere was happy. The pastor would always walk through and say hi while the other parishioners would mingle around and get caught up on the week's happenings. This experience was a very important part of my spiritual development, because in my young mind it reaffirmed the idea that Church was a good and pleasant place to be. The sorts of things I heard about in Church were practiced and made real in the fellowship hall after the closing hymn. Because I had so many good experiences of Church, it was not a great leap for me to go from the kid who ate the doughnuts to the guy who advertises the doughnuts.
Take a minute to think about your own experience of parish life and how you present it to others. Do you make it a mere obligation, something you have to do because Father Paul says you have to? Or do you see it as an opportunity to grow in faith and share fellowship with your brothers and sisters in the Lord? Do you take advantage of the good things the parish offers, or do you lament about what you see missing? Remember that our own attitudes about the nature of religious obligation can be contagious, for good or for ill.
And remember: keep your eyes on the doughnut, not the hole.