December 8, 2011 – Rejoice In Waiting

I’m putting out my blog a little earlier this week.  I have a family Christmas party to go to Friday night and who knows what Saturday brings.  I have to begin by putting out a public statement:  Ever since I declared myself a free agent, I have had many offers to move my website and my blog to other organizations – other parishes, other Catholic websites, social media and others have been clamoring for my services.  The offers have been tempting to say the least.  Long-term contracts, millions of dollars, cars, homes, small islands, etc.  But I am announcing today that I intend to stay writing and posting for St. Mary’s, unless of course I am offered a 10-year contract elsewhere.

As I’m sure you guessed I am making light of the announcement made today that Albert Pujols is leaving the Cardinals for a more lucrative offer from the Anaheim Angels.  In following the news throughout the day, some Cardinal fans are very upset about today’s happenings.  They are selling their Pujols collectibles on Ebay, and one fan was even burning their Pujols jersey.  I as a dedicated Cardinal fan certainly hoped that he would stay with the club.  He is obviously one of the best, if not the best player in the game, and for the past 11 years he has given us fans many moments of excitement.  But he was a free agent, and had the right to sign with whomever he wished, and I’m not going to begrudge him for that. 

Of course part of me thinks “what is the difference between $210 million and $250 million?  Either way he should make more money than his grandkids’ kids can spend.”  But $40 million is $40 million, and he is a charitable guy.  Another $40 million could certainly make a huge difference to the people in the Dominican Republic whom he supports, and to the Down’s Syndrome foundation that bears his name.  So I hope he and his family are happy, and the Cardinals will find a way to continue to destroy the Cubs. 

Whatever track we choose to take in life, whatever field we pursue, whether we have a family or are single, we ultimately in the end want to be happy.  We want to look back at what we have accomplished and speak of it with pride.  What makes us happy?  Well of course that’s up to each individual.  For some it is money and material things.  For some it is the enjoyment that comes with raising a family.  And for some it is the ability to serve God in various ways.  I think though it is safe to say that we want happiness and we don’t want to have to wait a long time for it – we want to take the shortest path to get there.

This philosophy, however, would seem to go against what we celebrate this weekend.  This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is referred to as Gaudete Sunday.  Gaudete refers to the first word of the entrance antiphon, “Rejoice.”  Rose colored vestments are worn by the priest and the rose colored candle is lit on the Advent wreath to remind us of the joy we feel as Christmas nears.  So essentially what we are being told is that we rejoice because we have to wait a little longer?  We have to find happiness not in the present but in the future which we are unsure of?

Well, not exactly.  We rejoice this weekend because we as Christians know what is coming, or in this case who is coming – the coming of a Savior, the coming of the long-awaited Messiah.  As John the Baptist tells us in this weekend’s gospel, “there is one among you whom you do not recognize,  the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” 

No matter what path our life takes us on, no matter what trials and tribulations we have to endure, the true Christian finds happiness in what is to come, that ultimately Christ will come again, and if we live by His message, we will have eternal life in heaven.  Those who do not make religion a part of their life and do not believe that there is a better place that awaits, how can they attain true happiness?  Even if they find what would appear to be happiness in money or material things, ultimately where is the satisfaction in thinking that what we accomplish here on earth will come to an abrupt end at our death?  Where else is there to turn to find hope in the future?  So there can be happiness found in the waiting and anticipation, particularly for those who have faith in what is to come.

This past week we lost a member of our parish who lived his life in the belief of what was to come and with the desire to spread that message to others, particularly to young people.  Carl Gardiner demonstrated every day his devotion to God and what it meant to be a true Christian, whether it was in attending daily Mass, or in reading the Bible, or in his work in scouting, or serving on the Parish Council, or as a member of the choir, or in extending a friendly greeting to those he knew at Hardee’s as he worked on his crossword puzzle.  He found happiness here on earth because he knew there was reason to rejoice in what was to come, and though his passing came as a shock, I know that he had been dealing with health issues, and he is now enjoying the true happiness that he knew was to come – eternal life with God.  Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace.

Well I’ll be waiting by the phone and checking my e-mail for those offers to come rolling in (not).  Besides, how can I disappoint my legions of fans, all 6 or 7 of them?  Seriously, I appreciate you continuing to read my blog and using the website.  We have been averaging about 25-30 hits a day the last few weeks.  Fantastic!  Have a great week.  Peace.



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