Browsing From the Pastor's Desk

Plenty of Good News

Jan 26, 2018

There’s a lot I could write about this week: the Marches in Washington, one Pro-Life and one Pro-Women; the government shutdown; the meteor in Michigan; the rapidly melting ice sheets and starving polar bears; 13 children held prisoner by their parents for years. These stories remind us that in America, abortion is commonplace, women are not quite treated equally, our executive and legislative branches of government are somewhat dysfunctional, our planet is a target for celestial bullets, Miami will be under water by the century’s end and everything is not always what it seems. Enough already. We need some good news.

The weather has warmed up. That is good news to me! And it is good news to the poor and homeless. There are about 1,340 homeless in the city of Saint Louis and about 450 in Saint Louis County. Our Saint Vincent de Paul Society has been doing a lot to help the poor with their energy bills this winter, so this thaw will bring some relief to their treasury.

I saw a posting on Facebook by a Priory alum who attends George Washington University in Washington D.C. He found a sizeable group of like-minded fellow students with whom to attend the March for Life. That is good news, that in an environment rather hostile to Pro-Life views, there are still those who proudly stand up for truth.

We are just a few days away from the Blue Supermoon on January 31 that will also be a Blood Moon. Maybe it won’t be as spectacular as a meteor streaking through the sky, but we’ll take what we can get and be happy with it. Hopefully it will be a cloudless night so that we can appreciate this natural wonder. Maybe this isn’t good news per se, but it’s something to be happy about.

There is a website dedicated to good news, and “good news” is a category on many other news websites, but they all define good news as “Inspiring, Positive Stories.”

A quick look around these brings you such stories as “3D Printed Turtle Eggs Are Being Used to Crack Down on Poaching” or “Rabbit Rescued From Fire In Famous Video Released Back To The Wild” or “Some Very Good Dogs Are Out Supporting The Women’s March” or “The Last Known Dancing Bears Of Nepal Have Been Rescued.” The good news around seems all to be about the creatures with which we share this earth (heavily weighted toward dogs.) They do qualify as positive stories, but fall a little short of inspiring, and they are not what I would call “news.” It would be nice to have some real good people news. But as is said in journalism school, dog bites man is not news; man bites dog is. (Believe it or not, as I am writing this, CBS News and other outlets have a story today, “A New Hampshire man has been charged with resisting arrest and biting a police dog.”) So we constantly hear about what or whom people are biting or barking at.

We forget (most of the time) that our churchy word “Gospel” means “good news.” I wonder how often we think that the Gospel that we hear read or proclaimed, or that we read, really is good news. We’ve gotten so used to it; we’ve heard it so many times. We quote it. It is the Word of God. We have so sacralized and enshrined what is supposed to be a dynamic, exciting reality in our daily lives, the morning headlines that grab us and our attention.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Does that headline grab you? It should. I know, it’s a lot of words for a headline. But it should excite you; it is what we celebrate as a Church. And we should really CELEBRATE… not act as if we are at a funeral. Because we have another headline we see every Easter. “Jesus has risen from the dead. Really and truly! He has risen! He’s back!” It’s not fake news. It’s not pretend; it is real. And Jesus has told us, “Don’t be afraid or worried. Your Father is HAPPY to GIVE you the Kingdom.” That’s REALLY good news. If you win the lottery, the money will eventually be gone, but what God gives us lasts forever. The Gospel, our faith is jam-packed with good news.

So is St. Anselm Parish. We overwhelmed the rural parishes with our Christmas generosity. You responded to my Advent appeal so that we are now able to complete the school project in Haiti, despite what anyone thinks about the country. The unfortunate people there need our help, and we responded.

There’s more good news every week in the Saint Louis Review, our Archdiocesan newspaper; and the good news there is not about dogs, rabbits or turtles. It’s about us, the Church and how we are building the Kingdom of God.

So, no matter what Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Breitbart or your newsfeed is saying, there is ALWAYS important good news in the Body of Christ, easily accessed, starting in the Bible. Make the Word of God come alive in your life.