This past Sunday our community celebrated the birthday of one of our missionary sisters, the lovely Sandy. She is a beautiful woman who is so wrapped in joy that she positively radiates it. It was a feast worthy of such an amazing soul: lasagna stacked so high it needed an ordinance from the city, spaghetti parmesan heavily loaded with cheese, meatballs in sauce that would make Mario Batali cry like a baby, chicken breasts pounded so thinly they only had one side, coated with Italian bread crumbs and sprinkled with lemon, a salad with fresh peppers so sweet you could mistake them for candy, and a Cassata cake that simply put us all over the edge of happiness.
Parties are part and parcel of our ministry at St. Luke’s. We don’t need too much of a reason to celebrate, and when we do we go all out: food, music, worship, love and laughter, reveling in the gift we are to one another through our love for Christ. What more do you really need?
Some look with suspicion on our celebrations. Perhaps we appear too ostentatious. Perhaps our revelry is seen as foolhardy, or a waste of energy and resources. Perhaps, like those scandalized upon witnessing David dancing with joy before the Lord, we risk appearing impious. We see it differently…we see it as an expression of our gratitude for life. Catholicism is robust and full of joy; we see it in our liturgies marked with beautiful music, heavenly art, poetic prayer…intoxicating smells, sights and sounds that remind us of the richness of our lives and the heritage we have been given. Each soul we meet is uniquely and lovingly made in the image and likeness of God. What more do we need?
Yes, we gather in quiet prayer, work hard, and pray unceasingly. We participate in the daily grind, working hard to meet the needs of our vocations. We suffer illness and want, experience death and heartache. Much of our time is spent on the mundane. But life is full of joy, so when we can we eat, sing, laugh, pray, and love with the vigor of those who are precious in the eyes of God, a people who are uniquely aware that life is good.