This week I will reach 81 years. In fact, it will happen at 9:45 A.M. EDT on Tuesday. I don’t expect it will feel much different from 8:45 on Monday. I do know it will be different from last year.
When 80 came last year, it took me a little time to realize that I had feelings about my age that I cannot recall ever having before. What the number seemed to say was, “OK, now you know what it was like to climb up the mountain; now what?”
I guess it’s what you hear referred to as “sense of mortality.” You catch yourself sort of wondering about how much time you have left.
I recently heard the chairman of the Viking Cruise Lines say on a commercial that he thought they had risen to the top of their field. He then asked where do you go from here? His answer was not the obvious “Down,” but rather “FORWARD.” That sounds pretty good to me.
I’ve told some of you that the State of Florida has decided I have time. They just issued my driver’s license that goes to 3039. WHOOPS... talk about a typo. That’s 2029! A few more years will do fine, not a millennium. After a while you might run out of sermon material, although as I think about it, scripture never runs out of prompting if you let it poke you.
Moving on, I have been thinking about asking you for some creative ideas about a certain project. As you may have noticed in the Main Sanctuary building, the stained glass windows portray the Mysteries of the Rosary. The Joyful and the Sorrowful are in the north and south walls. The glorious are spread around the building and you can to a search. I’ll tell you that the descent if the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles is over Peter Manfredi’s head as he tickles the ivories of the organ. (Talk about inspiration.)
So... St. John Paul II gave us the Luminous Mysteries, a beautiful gift that fills in the blanks between the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries. How might we portray them? It wouldn’t necessarily have to be glass. We’ve sort of reached the limit with window space in the Church building. The chapel is already dedicated to the Divine Healer with its windows. How can we display the new Luminous Mysteries, the mysteries of Light?
First, Jesus chooses to be identified with fallen sinful humanity when He is Baptized by John. “Do it for the sake of Righteousness.” Then his mother prevails upon Him when at Cana she tells Him the wine ran out. He says in effect, “Yes?” Mary turns and simply says to the waiters, “Do what he tells you.” I don’t think Jesus had a choice. It begins.
The third mystery points to the powerful ministry of Jesus to Preach Good News. He does it with incredible healing words and actions.
Then, the Fourth Mystery, the Transfiguration. Remember His Baptism? We heard and/or saw an approval of Jesus by his Father with some word or sign. NOW, up here on the mountain, Jesus is with Peter, James and John, His three good buddies. Again, the Father’s voice comes. Only this time, the Father says, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him!” And the three find themselves flat on their faces. Then Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.” They look up and Moses and Elijah and the shimmering robe of the Lord are gone, and it’s just the friends again. Only now, Jesus can tell them what they don’t want to hear, namely that death is His fate.
The Fifth Mystery commemorates the gift of the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. And here we are, gathering to break that saving food. What a gift. Not a bad energy help for getting to 81.
PS. Don’t worry about cards. I need your prayers!