Sometimes, especially on Monday mornings, you lose your joy. You have to get up for work again, you have aches and pains, you didn’t sleep well, you got stuck in traffic…but we’re reminded by the lives of the apostles after Jesus died and rose that we need to be “Easter People” (and not just on Sundays!) – by being an example of Christ, serving God with a smile, reminding others of the Resurrection message and remaining joyful despite all of life’s little annoyances or “crosses” that we bear. So how do we get our joy back? Reminding ourselves of all we have to be grateful for – and then hanging on to that attitude of gratitude – will go a long way I’ve been told. So this morning, I will start over, get out my gratitude journal and heed my own advice (last night a friend called all lonely and depressed and I reminded her of all the blessings she has in her home, health, career, family and friends). Hmmm….so much easier to give advice than to take it! So I opened the Bible and found this Scripture passage with its simple, great advice: “…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) Today I will try to spread the Good News by being joyful no matter what. Happy Monday Easter People!
Monthly Archives: April 2015
World peace. Something that a beauty queen used to throw out as a pat answer during the Miss America pageant when asked ‘what will you work for if crowned?’ while the rest of us viewers at home would snicker. Something that we still pray for in church – but feel like we’re just saying the words. Something, today, that may be a more precarious issue that ever before with ISIS on the rampage. Perhaps with an upcoming trip to Italy planned with my husband to celebrate our fifth anniversary – and hearing about the latest threats against Rome by ISIS, not to mention the hundreds of refugees who drowned from a capsized boat yesterday off the coast of Italy, many trying to flee from ISIS – my thoughts turn from myself to the world. Perhaps it’s because I watched the TV show “A.D.” last night, about how Jesus told the disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15). Or maybe it’s because I am finishing my next book, The Runaway Prophet, a modern-day novel based on the Book of Jonah, in which Islamic State terrorists invade Las Vegas (the new Nineveh). I have always been fascinated by the Middle East, since it is where civilization and religion all started. But what can I, a middle-aged, working American woman, do to help? I know fear isn’t the answer. So prayer comes to mind. Real, heartfelt prayer for world peace. Because our lives – and the lives of our children and grandchildren – depend on it.
My husband and I were on our way to church for the Good Friday service. As we were stopped at a red light we saw a homeless person up ahead – a young girl, maybe in her twenties – holding a “Homeless, Hungry” cardboard sign. I didn’t notice much about her – she was dressed in a nondescript clothing, an oversize jacket and sweats – but somehow I ended up looking into her eyes, and then immediately diverted my gaze. I think my husband was considering digging into his wallet but I cut him off, spouting off that these homeless people just need to get a job, that she looked young and healthy enough, et cetera, as the light thankfully turned green and we drove off. Just the day before, on Holy Thursday, I had experienced getting my feet washed, feeling humbled, feeling like I hadn’t been of service enough to others. Just the week before I had gone to confession for Lent and as I knelt and prayed in church, heard Jesus say to me, as he did to Peter, “feed my sheep.” (John 21:17 – “…the third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”) I had thought it odd at the time, but felt like I had distinctly heard these words in my head as I knelt before Him, asking to hear Him. How quickly I had forgotten! I said to my husband, “quick, turn back, we need to go give her something.” I asked my husband how much cash he had – a ten and a one – and told him, ‘let’s give her the ten’ and I prayed she would still be on the same corner. She was – and he handed her the money as we waited again at the light. She took it, said thank you, ‘happy Easter,’ and picked up her sign and small backpack to go – and as she did so, she put a hand on her belly and we noticed she was pregnant. I looked in her eyes again – this time a second longer – and although I’m not sure what emotion I saw, I knew I was looking into the eyes of one of God’s flock – and the tears came – tears of shame but also tears of gratitude that God broke through my hard heart enough to make me see Him, hear Him and follow Him, if just for a moment in time.
I got my feet washed last night at our church’s Holy Thursday mass last night and let me tell you one thing…it was very humbling. It was the first time I ever experienced it. My husband was one of the “volunteers” when he went through the RCIA program four years ago and I remember him saying how humbling it was. I signed up because I have really been trying to “walk the walk” the best I can as a disciple this Lent and Easter week and wanted to experience as much as I could. As the deacon washed my feet all I could think was how simply, through this act, Jesus showed us how to serve others and how often I fall short in so many ways. I often struggle with my pride and all the various forms of it – and know that humility, through putting my ego aside, learning and doing God’s Will, serving others and building the Kingdom, is the only way to true peace. And isn’t peace – freedom from stress, worry, fear, anxiety – what we are all seeking? Jesus said, “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives…” Lord, help me turn off the “world” for the next few days…and even though it’s hard, keep humbling me.