“Advent is a journey towards Bethlehem. May we let ourselves be drawn by the light of God made man.”
Parking at our parish is complicated and almost requires air traffic controllers. Our little town was having a festival and some locals decided they would leverage or fake their Catholic faith for free parking in our lot for the day’s festivities. This was all well and good until the 5pm Vigil. During weekend Masses, one does not park in a spot, rather, cars line up in rows to accommodate the most amount of vehicles. As cars poured in, during a heavy rainstorm, they were met with countless confused and agitated fellow parishioners who were trying to figure out how to get around one single pickup truck that was parked the wrong way. As my crew pulled in with no time to spare, angry men and women were gesturing in very unchristian ways as I tried to navigate the minivan through the lot. As we finally took our normal seats off to the side, I was aware of the scowls that filled the pews. One pickup truck had put a damper on the mood of an entire church full of people almost instantly. As I likewise settled into my grumpiness, I noticed a tiny little girl make her way up to the ambo to deliver the Responsorial Psalm. Little Julia’s head barely peered over the top of the lectern as she confidently pulled the mic down. Suddenly scowls changed to intrigue. A bold and exquisite voice emerged from this tiny human as she sang Psalm 147 exactly how God intended it. From my vantage point, I saw a wave of wide smiles come upon every face in that church as we listened to this 10-year-old proclaim God’s word. One voice, singing out in the wilderness, making way for the Lord.
As I waited patiently to get out of the lot, I thought about how one pickup truck and one 10-year-old angel, had an almost instant effect on hundreds of people. Do I recognize the power of the place and the voice God gave me? If I’m aware, do I care about how I use it? Though my part in Salvation History is smaller than Julia, it’s still the part the Lord invites me to play. Prayers that you use your voice to bring smiles, not gestures, this week.