How we share the ‘Good News’ daily
30th July 2012 · 0 Comments
By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
At the vigil Mass last weekend, I was startled when I read Mark 6, 13, “They (the apostles) cast out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” I blinked because I realized for the first time that Judas Iscariot cast out demons, anointed the sick and cured them. That was a blistering meditation to itself.
As I eased into the homily, I should have suspected that something was afoot, for there were 44 people at that vigil Mass which usually has barely half that many. Our dialogue scored the charge of the apostles to step out on faith without provisions to bring the Good News to the towns of the area, and our own personal charge to evangelize.
“We, too, are charged to evangelize,” I began the homily, “but most of us in ways somewhat different from the manner of the apostles. Without formal preaching, each of us can share and spread the Good News as Paul invites us to do in 1 Corinthians 10:31, ‘Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.’”
But, just as in the day’s Gospel reading, we share the Word and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healings simultaneously, albeit in less explicit ways than the apostles did. In response to my question why we come to church on Sunday, several people gave reluctant answers after an awkward, uncomfortable silence.
“We come to spend a little time with Jesus,” one volunteered.
“You mean that Jesus is not present in your home?” I countered.
“Well, sometimes,” came the reluctant return.
“We come to give praise,” was followed by, “We come to learn how to be disciples,” which led to, “We come to give thanks for all our blessings,” and one later remark after Mass, “I come here because I feel I am in a safe place.”
“All the above!” I said, then holding up a Mass card with the new translation, “plus, ‘We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory!’ Those are our main reasons for coming to church.”
However, each of us comes for very personal reasons, some of which will never see the light of day. Sometimes we drop all our baggage and trash before we enter the front or side door, but at times we dump everything on the altar into the arms of Jesus, the Divine Dumpster, who invites us to do just that in Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you shall find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Thus, after praise of and thanks to God for our salvation, the prime purpose of the Good News is to bring us safe haven from all enemies and relaxation from negative stress, public enemy number one in our lives. In turn, Jesus, the True Vine of John 15, puts healing power in our hands, our voices, our smiles and our very presence.
It is no accident that persons afflicted by headaches or by terrible pains of illnesses such as fibromyalgia begin to feel a lessening first of negative stress, then of their aches as they are in the act of speaking with a dear one on the phone or in person.
When we reached this point of our dialogue homily, Joseph Dumas, a cousin of mine who belonged to Our Mother Of Mercy Church until the early 2000s and now lives in Port Arthur, began to remind us of his wheelchair-bound daughter Erytta.
Several remembered Erytta as one of the fastest sprinters in all Texas, especially when she ran for Azle High. Shot in the head in 2002, Erytta hovered near death for days.
“One doctor gave up on her,” Joseph said, “but the church here prayed for her. Two more doctors said she would die, but the church prayed for her. She walks, though only with support. Her head was clear but pain-ridden. When we were here last January, the church prayed for her again, and her severe head pains left her and are still gone.
“But pray for me. My son Robert was killed by a pickup truck last night as he stepped down from the curb. Please, don’t wear dark clothes when you walk at night.”
Suddenly, all 44 souls realized why they had come to the vigil Mass. We all lined up and blessed Joseph Dumas for himself, Robert, Erytta and the rest of his family. We share the healing Good News through Jesus the True Vine in our very being as branches.
This article was originally published in the July 30, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper