Pastoral Message – April 24, 2022
Easter Monday I was feeling a bit lethargic so I decided to go and get a foot massage. I don’t do this very often but my budget allowed for a $40 splurge, plus tip, so I “yelped” it, found a spot and went. At the well-reviewed massage place, a young dude named Joe began beating the stuffings out of me. I have found with this kind of body work, there is no gain without ample pain – and Joe made sure that I got my $40 worth of pain. Still I tried to relax. The lights were soft, the massage chairs well padded, and there was Chinese music playing softly. To take my mind off Joe’s knuckles strafing my fallen arches, I focused on the music. After about 20 minutes of music played on the yang qin, guzheng and pipa (Chinese stringed instruments), I made out a tune I recognized. You would know it too. “Adeste Fidelis…” or “O Come, All Ye Faithful…” we sing it every Christmas. I uncovered my eyes, looked at Joe and whispered, “Do you know this song?” He shook his head “no”, while never stopping to beat on the soles of my feet.
After the massage, again, I mentioned to Joe that I recognized that song. He asked me what it was about. I told him it was a religious song about the birth of Jesus, who is the living Son of God. I went on saying, it is the same Jesus whose resurrection all Christians celebrated the previous day at Easter. Joe told me that he had never heard about Jesus before, but if he was the son of a god who rose from the dead, he must be a very strong god
Driving back to the rectory I thought to myself, how amazing it is, that Joe – born in officially atheist China, now massaging feet in Costa Mesa – having never heard about Jesus, still could recognize the power of God in Jesus’ resurrection. I also thought to myself, how easily we, who say we follow Jesus and his way of life, can so easily take the power of His resurrection so lightly. We should be garnering strength from our celebration of Easter.
Think about it! We should be full of awe and wonder over the truth of the empty tomb. Faith, hope and love should grow by our sense of redemption wrought thru Jesus’ resurrection. We should be able to endure, not just the pain of a foot massage, but the trials, tribulations and humiliations of life because of the example of Jesus’ sufferings, leading up to and made paramount on the cross. We should be full of the positive power of thanksgiving, praise, and worship, recognizing our risen Lord in our Eucharistic meal, in the glorified Body and Blood of Christ.
Then, inspired by the power of both Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we should be sharing God’s strength with the people around us. I made another appointment next week for a foot massage with Joe. Not that I need the body work – my muscles are still sore. And not so much that I can hit him over the head with a Bible, or even hit him with a salvific agenda. But if the occasion arrives, and the Holy Spirit allows, I’ll be happy to share with him the joy of salvation to be embraced through Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Think about the opportunities the Holy Spirit sets before you. Maybe some acquaintances you have might offer an opportunity to share grace. Maybe some relationships can be fruitful for hopeful encouragement in Jesus Christ. Pray that you might be able to use your power and the power of Christ in you, to bless the people and the world around you!
God bless y’all