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I was golfing, well I was walking around the golf course randomly hitting the ball, and I ran into my friend Chuck McCarthy. Chuck has been a deacon for many years and he was telling me about his latest homily.

Chuck is a guy who has served his community with all of his heart over these past years and as you can see from his words below he brings a real sense of joy and good news to the religion “business”. Take a moment and read his homily and reflect that Jesus is the true source of our joy!

Deacon Chuck McCarthy Homily August  21, 2011

Some years ago Norman Lear produced a T.V. Sitcom entitledAll in the Family.  I’m sure many of you remember this popular show! The series describes the “Battle of Bigotry,” between “Archie Bunker” with his own family and neighbors.

The series was also produced with a great amount of “humour,” in such a way that we could see the “Archie Bunker in us,” without becoming too defensive. “All in the Family,” became an instant success, and I still love the re-runs!

“Norman Lear” was presented with a “Lifetime Award” during the “American Comedy Awards.”  Like the other recipients, Mr. Lear thanked the many people who collaborated with him in making the television series a success. Unlike the other recipients, Lear then said I want to especially thank “one other collaborator” the other collaborator her referred to was “the inner voice that speaks to us in the night!”

He also referred to this “inner voice” as “the gift of God.” Then almost defensively he said to the large crowd and TV audience…

“If you think these comments are too “Spiritual” for this occasion, then so be it, but this is the source of our joy and laughter!”

So often we look at religion as something sombre, as a “laundry list” of sins, we must not commit, “thou shall not do this, thou shall not do that.  Today with the help of scripture, let’s reflect on how God is the source of our joy and laughter.

Let us recall the happiness we experience, because of our relationship with God!

When God decided to become man, he wanted it to be an event of joy and happiness!

God chose Zachariah and Elizabeth to be the father and mother of “John the Baptist,” who was to announce the coming of Christ! This brought joy, to both of them, for they were childless. God promised, “He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice in his birth.”

When Mary and Elizabeth met, Elizabeth said “The child in my womb leaped for joy” and how did Mary feel about this? She uttered what has become known as “Her Magnificat,” my spirit exults in God my Saviour.”

When Mary gave birth, even though it was away from her home of Nazareth in a STABLE in Bethlehem, there was great JOY! Shepherds who lived in the fields were told “I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people!” “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born!”

This great joy was “good-news” for people 2000 years ago, but also for you and me TODAY.  It was a joy to be shared by the whole people, and this means ALL of us.

Sure we have problems with terrorists, the economy, our environment, famine.  You name the problem.  We got them! But so did Mary, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, those shepherds and Jesus.  They didn’t have it very easy in life either! But underneath all these “problems,” was a deep seated peace, serenity, joy and happiness that only a “person of faith,” can experience!

Today’s scripture reading invites us to participate in this joy and happiness.  Perhaps we ought to laugh a little more at what is wrong with the world and lighten up on our resentments!

“Archie Bunker” resents his son-in-law; remember he called him “Meathead!” He resents being told he was wrong.  He resents hippies, blacks, liberals and he really resents “WOMEN.” He said when God created “women” he took her from Adams rib and everyone knows that’s the cheaper cut! He always referred to his adult daughter as the “little girl.” “Norman Lear” helped us to laugh at “Archie and poor Edith” and in so doing we were laughing at the “Archie and Edith” is us!

Our “Second Reading” today observes “How unsearchable   are his judgements, and how inscrutable his ways.

A God who chose a young virgin from an obscure village to give birth to His Son in a “Stable” is certainly capable of choosing someone like “Norman Lear,” to remind us “that God is the source of our joy and laughter!” This same God is capable of choosing unlikely prospects like “you and me”, to also remind people that He is “the source of joy and laughter.”

Our   Gospel   reminds us that God not only gave us his Son, the Son not only gave his life for us, but he established a Church to guide us on our “Journey” to the Father! Our church is built on a “Rock” and is meant to be the link between Heaven and Earth!

What does all of this mean to us today in August of 2011?

It means that even though the weather is lousy or unpredictable, our job may not be the best, our financial position limited; we still have good reason to rejoice!

“God is in the Heaven so all is right with the World.”

God is also in our world in the form of the Holy Spirit.  God is with us!

“Emmanuel, God with us.”

There is a lot of “Archie Bunker” in us, in our neighbour, in the world.  But there is also a lot of good.  A lot of joy in the world and a lot of reasons to rejoice!

God created all of us, and like the Bumper Sticker says “doesn’t make junk!”

You know, even the “junkie” was made by God!

Maybe if we showed a little more of our joy, and a little less of our self-righteousness, Holier-than-thou condemnations, we wouldn’t have so many “druggies or junkies!”

The “High” we are looking for, is the deep down inner peace, joy and laughter, that only God can provide!!

So let’s laugh at the “Archie Bunker” in us and in the world, and experience some of the “joy” which is our “Gift from God!”

Let’s share it with others this week!

J –  O -Y = JESUS / OTHERS  / YOU

JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF OUR JOY!

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