Our chosen theme for Feast Week, which is only four weeks away, is “Mary…radiating the joy of the Gospel. As I men-tioned last week, our Liturgy Sub-committee derived the theme from Pope Francis’s recent Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel. Each week, to help us enter into Feast Week with the joy of the Gospel, I will reflect upon our theme with you in light of the beautiful concluding prayer to Mary at the end of the Exhortation.
The first paragraph of the prayer asks Mary to help us to say our own “yes”, modelled on her “yes”, which was in response to the urgent call to her from God through the angel.
Her “yes” was in response to a pressing call because it was for the coming of the Son of God through her into the world for the salvation of all mankind. We too, in preparing to celebrate her feast and the feast of our parish in the joy of the Gospel, must be ready to say a “yes” that is not just from our lips but from the depths of our hearts.
And to say “Yes” we must ask Jesus in prayer for what He calls us too in Feast Week and in the life of our Parish and her Mission. We then must be ready like Mary to listen to HiS Word to us and with the help of her prayers and be ready to re-spond and commit to this Word.
In doing this, everything we do in preparation for Feast Week, throughout all the Faith, Community and fundraising Events, will radiate the Joy of the Gospel. As the joy of the Good News led the shepherds and the Wise Men to the Saviour of the world, the joy that will radiate from us will lead others who encounter us to discover that same Saviour present and work-ing in our Parish Community and will flow into their lives.
Therefore, I really encourage everyone to prepare to say “YES” to taking an active role in participating in Feast Week, espe-cially in a faith event that you may not have participated in previously, such as a Bible Discussion Evening or the Candlelight Procession or Adoration. You can also volunteer two hours in one fundraising activities like the Saj bread baking or in setting and packing up for one or more of the festive events. Being a volunteer and a participant brings its own reward and joy and you only have to look on the faces of so many who do volunteer to know that this is so true.
A wonderful example of preparing to radiate the joy of the Gospel in Feast Week is the spiritual morning tea put on by la-dies and gentlemen of our parish Sodality of the Immaculate Conception and our parish Seniors’ Committee. They ar-ranged the spiritual morning tea to grow closer to each other and pray for each other and the parish calling on the inter-cession of our Blessed Mother. I felt very blessed to walk in on this beautiful gathering by chance and experience the joy of the Gospel radiating from all present and share in some morning tea with them. With them let us say “YES” to living and radiating the joy of the Gospel in the example of Mary as we pray together:
Mary, Virgin and Mother, you who, moved by the Holy Spirit, welcomed the word of life in the depths of your humble faith: as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One, help us to say our own “yes” to the urgent call, as pressing as ever, to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Amen. Alleluia!