by Ken Rolheiser
Helping people appreciate the everyday world

Doctor: I have some bad news and some very bad news. Patient: Well, give me the bad news first. Doctor: The lab called with your test results. They said you have 24 hours to live. Patient: That's terrible! What could be worse? Doctor: I've been trying to reach you since yesterday.

I was listening to a radio station DJ talk about an artist who wanted to help people escape the impact of their everyday world. That struck me as just wrong. We need to help people appreciate their everyday world.

Sounds like a tall order, but there is Good News about. By a strange coincidence the next song broadcast was Ocean Park Standoff’s “Good News”:
I need some good news, baby
Feels like the world's gone crazy
Give me some good news, baby
Give it to me, give it to me
I need some good news, baby
'Cause all the world's gone crazy
I need some good news, baby
Give it to me, give it to me

Well, there’s a certain urgency in that song. A real quest. And there are real answers to that query for joy and hope.

Joy is a natural state of man. Notice children. They awake every morning with expectant joy in their faces.

In a Homily entitled ‘Witness Joyfully”, Father Brendan McGuire shares a search for peace and an encounter with Christ he experienced recently in an Ignatian retreat. It began with a meditation on God’s creation and moved on to God’s Goodness.

Then it moved to the evil in the world and the devil. We all have our personal evils, but we might be surprised at how we hurt God most.

McGuire was led to an event when he was twenty four and lost a friend in a plane crash. At the time McGuire was turning from God and denying God, as we sometimes do when we let our commitment slip.

“I was 24 and I was a pretty devout young man of faith. I mean I would go to church all the time. But after that death, I was so angry at God. I turned completely away from him. I wanted nothing to do with him. I did not want to hear his voice. I didn't want to see him. And I pretended he didn't exist,” McGuire said.

“Sometimes it is more indifference than rebellion. But we can hurt God and ourselves.” McGuire relates: “Christ said, ‘Not only was I loving you, but I was actually carrying you, Brendan.’ And Christ cried. ‘And I bawled like a baby,’ Brendan said. ‘That I could actually hurt God.’”

Then Jesus said: "Yeah, but I forgive you and I give you my peace." “That day I changed! That is a peace that I have never, ever got anywhere in the world,” McGuire said.

You and I might not have the opportunity of a closed retreat with a spiritual director guiding us. But we do have easy access to a God who loves us. We see God’s hand in creation. We smell the flowers, see the stars and the sunrise.

And we have the opportunity of meeting God in that special place on Sunday morning where God’s greeting is always: Peace be with you.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you,” Isaiah 43:1. God is always ready and forgiving and loving. We on the other hand? Sometimes get it right.

(570 words)