St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside
Our God is a God of great Joy!And we can see God’s sense of humor scattered throughout the pages of the Holy Scriptures. Where else do you find a Zacchaeus (that ‘wee little man’) abandoning his pride and lofty social status in order to climb a tall sycamore tree to get a look at Jesus? Or to be doubly blessed when Jesus sees him and invites himself to Z’s house for supper!
Or what about Lazarus’s remains in the tomb? The people are more concerned with the potential smell of decay than they are in Jesus bringing his friend back to life!
It’s human conditioning, I suppose, to look to the dark side, but I certainly don’t believe that it is God’s way or even human nature to do so. There are just too many occurrences of God’s humor throughout our day and week for it to be a random coincidence.
My friend Rob knows I am a permanent deacon assigned to St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside and, although he isn’t a particularly religious person himself, he would agree with my statement from personal experience. Rob hears God speaking to him.
No, he is not what some might call crazy or even a modern-day Jean d’Arc. He is just a normal guy who happens to build things. One day, while visiting, he cautiously shared some startling news with me. “God has a sense of humor!”
When I did not react negatively, he relaxed a bit and told me of his encounter with God. I listened politely, but noticed he remained agitated. When I asked if there was something else I could do, he asked me to go with him to the store where he needed to purchase a few items. Duct tape. Metal screws. Stuff like that.
Open to the possibility of an encounter with God, I drove Rob to the store where we paused briefly outside for some last minute instructions.
“Listen,” he said. “The key is in the music that is playing.”
We walked through the front door and headed down the aisle to the duct tape. About half way there, the Rolling Stones tune “You can’t always get what you want…” began to fill the air. Rob halted abruptly in front of the tape shelf, turned and pointed at the shelves.
“See,” he said.
The shelves for duct tape were empty. There were spools of blue painter’s tape. Clear sealing tape. And even foam tape. But the most popular brand of tape was M.I.A.
How could this be?
“I couldn’t share this with anyone else,” he said sheepishly, “but it happens to me all the time. I think God’s trying to tell me something by all of this. But what?”
I had to allow the possibility. I had heard the music. I had witnessed the miracle of the vanishing duct tape. Just as Rob foretold. God obviously had plans for Rob.
We returned home, completely forgetting about the other items and laughed at ourselves for doing so. Rob would go back another day. The partial roll in the garage would do until then.
During this season of Ordinary Time, where Jesus’ daily actions are the stuff of miracles, we need to remember that our God is a God of great wonder and awe: Sending angels to shepherds, to Joseph and Mary; multiplying loaves and fish; raising the dead and curing the deaf, the blind and the lame.
I had to ask myself, if God could and did all that, what would prevent the usage of modern technology in order to call forth a simple man of dubious faith, share with him the gift of God’s boundless joy and presumably set him on the road to discipleship?
Deacon John shares a joyful moment with a guest of honor during the parish’s annual Blessing of the Animals celebration in front of the church.