The Joy of Listening to Jesus

The Joy of Listening to Jesus

March 1, 2015 | HNMWebmaster | Comfort, Faith, Father Salvador, Homilies, Hope, Joy, Lent, St. Mark, Trust

Second Sunday of Lent
March 1, 2015 – Year B

Readings: Gn 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18; Psalm 116; Rom 8:31B-34; Mk 9:2-10
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

While I was away, Holy Name of Mary was in the Catholic Virginian again with Colleen’s article, “It All Began with a Word.” After consistently reading the sacred scriptures for several days, she got the inspiration to start the Holy Spirit Prayer Ministry. One of those who recently attended the Prayer Ministry said, “I came feeling sick and depressed. I left feeling joyful!”

During the season of Lent, every Wednesday at 5 PM, our social ministry will lead us in discussing Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel.” All of us must have experienced this kind of joy sometime in the past. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here this morning. Peter, James and John, when they had the privilege to see the transfigured body of our Lord Jesus, surely felt this kind of joy. This moved St. Peter to say “Lord, how good it is for us to be here…let us build three tents – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But then from the cloud came the voice of the Heavenly Father saying, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”

This same story is also told by the two evangelists, St. Matthew and St. Luke, although somewhat different from each other. But one thing they have in common are the words, “This is my Son. Listen to Him”. This is the formula for attaining joy which is a basic human desire of every living being.

Do we want to live life in all its fullness? Do we desire to experience the kind of joy that will last, not only until the end of our life here on earth, but for all eternity? Our Heavenly Father is telling us as he told Peter, James and John that all we need to do is “listen to Jesus.”

God, in his infinite wisdom, surely knows what is best for his people. Wouldn’t every one of us desire to be happy? But if we ask ourselves, when was the last time we really felt joy, in the complete sense of the word?

I have the privilege to know a woman, who is really, really advanced in years, but who experiences this kind of joy almost all the time. When I visited her a month ago, it became part of my daily routine to listen to her laughter at 4 o’clock in the morning after she prayed her morning prayers. In my first couple of weeks there, her laughter became my alarm clock.

When people ask her why she seems to be enjoying life all the time, her usual answer is, “I don’t worry”. And when asked “why don’t you worry; don’t you have problems just like everyone else?” She answers, “I do.” Don’t you have a cross to carry? And she would say, “Of course I do, but God will never give you a cross you can’t carry. If you have a heavy cross you should pat yourself on the back. That means God knows you are stronger and smarter than those who have fewer challenges in life.” Well, I consider it a great privilege to know this woman personally. John and Sue McKeown and some of you here got to know this woman also because she happens to be my mother. And by the way, she will be celebrating her 100th birthday four days from now. She would like me to thank you for the warm reception you have given her four years ago when she was here at Holy Name of Mary on the occasion of my 25th Ordination anniversary.

God’s words in today’s Gospel are the biblical verses that she has repeated over and over again since she started teaching catechism about 80 years ago. She used to say, “Are you confused? Listen to Jesus because he is the truth. Are you having difficulty trying to discover what you really want in life? Listen to Jesus. He is the way. Don’t you feel happy, joyful and alive? Listen to Jesus. He is the life.”

Blessed indeed are we who are gathered here inside the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church because we are in the Mount of Transfiguration and are all listening to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And as our entrance hymn puts it, “He is the Lord of all hopefulness. He is the Lord of all joy!