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Listen to the Angels

I used to go to work with Dad. That is when Dad talked to me about life. I was going to work with Dad in the truck when he told me about the secret places to fish along the canal. I was going to work with Dad in the truck when I discovered what life was like growing up during the depression. He told me never to fear the difficult times­–they only make you stronger and build character. I was going to work with Dad when he gave me the best line to say when my friends wanted me to join them when they smoked: “If I don’t start, then I won’t have to quit.” Going to work with Dad gave me access to valuable information for living life well.

For this reason, I always wondered if Joseph talked to Jesus when they went to work together. I can imagine Joseph turning to Jesus and saying. “You know I was going to divorce your mother. Then one night, an angel appeared to me in a dream and said, ‘Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.’ I am very glad that I listened to the angel. We almost lost you. King Herod had the little ones killed in the neighborhood. Just before that happened, an angel appeared to me in another dream, saying, “Quickly, take the wife and child and flee to Egypt.’ Make sure you listen to the angels; you will be glad you did.”

Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane many years later, ready to throw in the towel. He lost faith in the mission and asked the Father to remove the cup. It was at that moment that God sent him angels. I wonder if Jesus remembered how His father, Joseph, would always listen to the angels.

            When I was in second grade, we were returning from church. Dad was driving the car; Mom had shotgun; I was in the car’s back seat. I leaned forward to make a very important announcement. I said, “Mom, Dad, when I grow up, I am going to be a priest.”  I got no response from Dad. He let Mom do the talking. Mom acknowledged the announcement and responded. “That’s nice, Dear.”  She said it in one of those sing-song tones that lacked credibility. My announcement had little impact that day but little did my parents know that I was dreaming while taking me to church each Sunday. I was staring ahead at the priest in the sanctuary. I was dreaming that I would be the one who would stand behind the pulpit proclaiming the Gospel. I dreamed that I would give the homily and encourage the faithful to live the greatest life they could by imitating the Lord. I dreamed that I would be the one who would be standing behind the altar, holding up the Host and saying, “This is My Body.” I can say that every day of my life, I am living my childhood dream. I am glad I listened to the message.

John’s Gospel has a short phrase to recall Jesus’ entrance into the world: “The Word became flesh.” What does that mean? It means that God did not send us “sealed lips.” He sent us the Word. God sent a word, meaning he sent us Someone Who would communicate with us. Just make sure you listen to the message; you will be glad that you did.

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