Appleton, WI

Jan 26: In Joy and Sorrow by Fr. Bill

Ever since our childhood days, we have experienced the power of a story. Whenever I preach to God’s precious little children, I like to bring a storybook with me. Truth be told, I don’t think we adults would mind having a story read to us from a beautifully illustrated book now and then. A lecture does not engage us with the same power as a does a story. I enjoy much more a good fiction or non-fiction book than a science book.

Of course, the Greatest Story Ever Told is the story of God’s unconditional and abiding love for us. Since the beginning of time, and even before the beginning of the story of our universe and each human life, the Lord God has always been loving. This love at the center of the communion of life, which is the Blessed Trinity of Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, has always been spilling out from itself. God never stops self-communicating love is the story of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus’ story is so much more than the story of a good human being or an excellent teacher/preacher, or a miracle worker.

Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is God’s love in the flesh. Jesus is God’s solution to the break in our relationship with God, introduced into our human experience by the disobedience of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Jesus is our great liberator, who frees us from our original selfishness. All sin begins in a selfish moment. Jesus is the Truth that sets us free. Simply opening our hearts to Jesus, handing our lives into his Hands, and trusting that Jesus is always with us – this is what makes our lives meaningful and joyful.

Jesus’ story is always being told and will never stop being told uniquely through you and me.

We all have a story or two or three or many to tell that makes Jesus’ story real today. This storytelling is all about the telling of the Good News. Here is a “churchy” word for you, I know, but you will hear this word and will be helped if you know what it is all about. This word is Greek. It is kerygma. It means the proclamation of the Good News.

The story of the proclamation of the Good News always includes the following chapters:

  1. God loves me unconditionally and has created me for a relationship with God. Throughout each of our lives, we have stories to tell about our experiences of God loving us.
  2. I have broken my relationship with the Lord by my sin. It is selfishness that jeopardizes and strains our relationships with God and others. We are all broken in some fashion. We each have an experience of brokenness to tell.
  3. Jesus restores my relationship with God through his life, death and resurrection. We are healed by Jesus. Jesus sets us free. His death was not the end of the story. We are an Easter people.
  4. Jesus invites me to trust him, to turn from sin, and give my life to him. Changing our hearts and surrendering our lives to Jesus to transform our lives. When in your life have you chosen to give yourself to Jesus?
  5. Jesus has poured the Holy Spirit into my heart to bring me to a new life in his Church and to send me on a mission so others can experience that new life. Jesus is counting on you and me to continue to give life to his love story for us. With whom can you share your Jesus story?

I would invite you to connect with the Lord in prayer. Get in touch with your Jesus story. Your story is like the faces of a diamond. Each experience, when you share it with someone, can draw you closer to Jesus and to others. This sharing keeps the Greatest Story Ever Told alive here and now!

Father Bill +