Why?

A couple of months ago, Dan Vos, the construction company leading our project,  invited me to a Catholic Business Leaders breakfast at the diocese.  Here’s the catch, it began at 7am.  That’s not the time I had to wake up, but that’s the time I had to be there… 

When we arrived, I was walking by a table filled with parishioners from Our Lady.  Here’s how they greeted me:  “Father, this is early for you… We are surprised to see you here!”  

Dan Blundy, the man who invited me turns to me and says, “they seem to know you well Fr. Steve.” That they do. 

It’s no secret that I do not like mornings.  But the reason I’m telling you this, is when I returned to the parish that morning Fr. Tony asked me how it went.  I said, “Dude man, the worst possible thing happened, it was so good.. which means if I get invited again I’ll probably go!?” 

All kidding aside, it was one of the best presentations I have been to.  The business owner spoke about his company’s vision, and that his company really became successful when they asked the question “why”.  He was inspired by a TED talk from Simon Sinek, which he showed us.

Here is the example that Simon Sinek used…  

So, what makes apple different than other computer companies? 

Have you ever noticed that people who buy from Apple seem to be big supporters.  Why is it that people who buy apple are big fans.  Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why, explains the reason apple is successful and different from other computer companies.  

If apple was a typical computer company that advertised like most companies, they would communicate like this:  

We make great computers. 

Beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.

` Want to buy one? 

How many of you are convinced that you want to buy an apple computer?  That type of advertising scheme elicits a “meh” response, doesn’t it? 

But Simon Sinek points out how Apple really sells computers:  

Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo

We do things differently. 

The way we do this is by making something beautifully designed, simple to 

    use, and user friendly.

We just happen to make good computers, want to buy one? 

Now, I’m not here to convince you to buy and iPhone.  But, in many of Apple’s ads on TV, Apple challenges you to do something and it has nothing to do with buying their product.  They challenge you to “think different.”  This is their why: they challenge the status quo and ask you to think differently. 

What I find interesting is what Mr. Sinek points about companies that do not have a good sense of why.  Without a good sense of why, companies are forced to manipulate.  This is when you here from Art-Van its our last sale of the year, and its December 31st. Then the very next day, its our first sale of the year so don’t miss your chance! The problem with a “sale” is that people will only buy when there is a sale.  

Ultimately, the conclusion that Simon Sinek makes applies to us more than we might realize.  His conclusion is that the “People, don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it!”  

So, Mr. Sinek has challenged me to really think about this question at the parish level.  Why?  Why are we here? 

So just as a I did a few moments ago with apple, I will do it again with our parish. 

Starting from the way we typically communicate and without a clear sense of why this is what we would say:

At Our Lady, we are a Catholic Church.  We have the sacraments. 

We have Masses daily, offer times for reconciliation and ways to learn about 

your faith at this parish. 

  Want to be members here? 

Feel inspired? 

The point is, we could have the best school, the best facilities, the best youth center, the most beautiful church and the best technology…  If we have all of these things without a clear understanding of our why, then we have nothing.  Because it won’t matter. People won’t buy it.  And what I mean by that is people will not believe that we are who we say we are.  We need to know our why.  

Here is how Simon Sinek suggests we communicate to our community: 

We at our Lady of Consolation, love because Jesus Christ loved us.  

We believe so much in the power of Christ’s love that we actively invite 

people to a deeper relationship with Christ Jesus through 

Eucharistic Celebration (our parish mission statement).

We do this by celebrating mass, the sacraments, and offering ways for people 

in our parish to grow in their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Would you like to join us? 

The latter is much more inspiring.  And here’s the thing, its the truth. And it’s what we celebrate this weekend. 

We are here for one reason and one reason only.  We are not here because we have the greatest school, or the best technology, or the best staff, or even because of the priests; Fr Tony, me or your next associate Fr. Andrew.  These are not the reasons why we are here.  We are here because of the power of Christ’s love.  Our why, comes straight from Saint John, we love because he first loved us. 

Friends, this weekend, we are celebrating the mystery of our why.  We are celebrating Corpus Christi Sunday.  The Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus Christ is the Sacrament where Jesus continues to pour out his love upon each of us. The Eucharist brings us back week after week to the one moment where Jesus love us to end— to that one moment on the cross.  The Eucharist, is the sign of God’s love.  And the Eucharist is the foundational element of the Christian community.  Without it we have nothing.  

So what is your why?  Is your life inspiring others because it is so obvious that you have found your why?  Your why, our why, is simply this: we love because he first loved us. 

In Christ’s love and friendship,

Fr. Stephen

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