Results filtered by “Joy”

He is Not Hear

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“He is not here, he has been raised” (Luke 24:6a). Of all the passages in the bible this is one of my two favorites, the other being the exchange between Jesus and the “good thief.” “He is not here” is short, simple, direct . . . and life changing. It is both mysterious and awe inspiring at the same time. These words of Jesus’ absence from the tomb are meant to comfort.

The first proclamation of the Risen Lord is especially consoling to me and I would venture to others who have lost a loved one. For me, she is not here is a recurrent reality that I still grieve over, even though it has been several years. This time of year, coinciding with the brief illness my wife suffered before her death, always brings me to a special place of attention. Some years, clouds and darkness reign and some years, warmth and sunlight permeate my thoughts. This year, as I pondered the paschal mystery, I stopped on, “He is not here.” It is because He is not here that I can live in joy and hope this Easter season.

Jesus conquered death and, in doing this, opened a way for all who grieve, who have etched into their daily lives that he or she is not here, to experience a place of hope and joy. Because “He is not here,” we can live in this world with a sense of destiny. We do not have to worry as to what will happen to us, what is to become of us. Easter is a time when everything both in heaven and on earth cries out with  new life—a new life we have all been granted as children of God.

I don’t know how the season of Lent has been for you but, from wherever you are coming, it is time to put aside anything that keeps you from rejoicing that He is not here. Step out into the bright morning sunlight and feel its warmth. It is a gift from God, that Jesus our savior and our Lord is not here…He has risen.

Awaiting with Joy

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Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. You see more amazon trucks than Walgreens stores. One of the many features that people love about Amazon is that you know when your items will arrive and receive a picture to prove that your item was delivered. We live in a world of knowing, planning and calculating.  

Today we mark the beginning of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus. Advent means “arrival” or a coming into place.” We mark this holy season with the color of purple, create an advent wreath with candles for the 4 weeks of anticipating and waiting for the birth of Jesus. Everywhere there are decorations, songs, and lights reminding us that Christmas is coming soon. 

As the world emphasizes material goods and festive celebrations, as Christians, we are invited to a time of prayerful anticipation. Christ’s birth is the center of Christmas, not Santa (sorry Santa). The Advent season invites us to step away from what can be a frenzied time to consider how we commemorate the birth of Jesus, one of the holiest times in Christian faith. It is also a time to reflect on the return of Jesus at His second coming.

Unlike Amazon, we don’t know when Jesus is coming, when he will arrive and how close he is to being here.  How are we to see the signs that he is here? “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come…” Mark 13: 33. This passage from today’s scripture puts me on edge. Is my heart ready for his coming? Do I have my life in order that he could come at this moment? Have I fulfilled what he has asked of me? These questions draw me to deeper silence and prayer during Advent Even within this busy ministry time of the year, living the beatitudes and trying to fulfill the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, God is calling me to spend time with him. 

This week I witnessed Jesus in a profound way. One of our parishioners had to bury his wife of 72 years. At one point, he walked down the aisle with his eyes closed ready to bid farewell to the love of his life. I knew in my heart the beautiful Jesus mosaic with arms wide open will embrace his suffering, welcome his beloved home to his heart, and strengthen him during this difficult time. Yes, Advent has begun, but it should never end. We are always waiting, anticipating and longing for the Lord to arrive in our world, and to bring healing in our communities  and families, and in our hearts. The JOY of waiting is part of his coming. Join me in making this advent journey one of JOY in not knowing but embracing that Jesus is amongst us in each other. See you at Mass.  Blessed Advent!

Posted by Mary Lestina
Tags: advent

Contagious Charitable Service

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The morning of ordination to the diaconate I woke to my heart full of peaceful anticipation. As I buttoned the top button on my cleric shirt, my son Zak walked quietly into my room.  Zak asked with enthusiasm if he could put my collar on for me. Of course I agreed and he slipped in the collar, carefully centering it left and right.  Immediately after he was finished, he wrapped his arms around me tightly and gave me one of his best hugs and told me he loved me. After a moment, he stepped back a few steps to take a better look. Zak then burst out laughing in joyful excitement and when he was finished returned to hugging me.

I can remember back four years ago attending the ordination of the class of 2018 as an aspirant and feeling terrified of the thought of being one of the men ordained a deacon; proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, and baptizing. Yikes! As I attended the ordination of the class of 2020, but as a candidate this time, things were transforming inside me. Throughout formation, I had discovered how service done in charity resulted in God pouring affirmations of joy and peace into my heart.

Anyone who prays the Liturgy of the Hours is very familiar with Psalm 100 for Lauds on the Fridays of the first and third weeks of Psalter (Psalm 100:2); Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before him with joyful song. The morning of ordination I discovered that charitable service is also contagious and that God used ordination to pour his joy and peace into my family too. May God make service contagious in our families, our parishes, our communities, and in our world so that people of all nations may sing to the Lord a joyful hymn. May God bless your Sunday!