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Father Raymond Finch

"Don't worry. Be happy!"
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"...be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another [in] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything..."​

~ Ephesians 5:18, 19, 20
Dear Deacon Nguyen,

Do you believe that there is always something to be thankful for?
Some people don't or can't, for some reason. They live their lives stuck in Good Friday, never getting to Easter Sunday. You know the type; it's hard to be around them. They want to burden you with their heaviness. They can't say anything positive about the life that God has given them.

Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) references these "Debbie Downers" by saying, "One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, 'sourpusses.'" In the Pope's original Spanish version of the text, the words sourpuss translates to "vinegar face". Isn't that an apt description? These people look like they just swallowed a cupful of vinegar!

So, instead of drinking wine to get us into a euphoric state, St. Paul suggests we get "under the influence" of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will lift us up, and cause us to encourage others. The revelry that the apostle speaks of is not religiosity...it's the joy of the Lord. And as believers in the Resurrected One, we have much to celebrate!

"How can I do this when the weight of the world is on my shoulders", you might ask? Keep a "Thank you, Lord" list. It's amazing. Once you start writing about all that the Lord has done in your life, all His many gifts and blessings, I promise you'll get writer's cramp!

Prayer for 20th Sunday in Ordinary time​

I need You Lord, to be my light
as I deal with so many people
who dwell in darkness and
the shadow of death.

Keep Your grace burning brightly
within my heart and soul
as I encounter those for whom
life seems an unbearable burden.

Let me be ever mindful of Your
Last Supper on earth
when facing a most cruel and
horrible death on a cross
You took bread, broke it, and
gave thanks.

Help me be thankful, Lord,
even when things don't go well
or my way but rather
let me be Your victory
even in the darkest hour.

Amen.

~ Father Joseph R. Veneroso, M.M.
Dinh, we cannot proclaim the Gospel with vinegar faces. But we can by speaking of the goodness of God, of His mercy, and of how He works EVERYTHING for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes. Breaking into song in worship of Him helps an awful lot too. Try it. You might like it.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

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