At the beginning of the week, we gathered all Mass offering envelopes that were in the boxes and we began recording the Mass offerings.
While we were going through the Mass offering envelopes, there was one particular envelope that we thought was rather peculiar.
The Mass was for thanksgiving, and it was offered for a taxi driver.
The person who offered the Mass did not write down his or her name. There were no other details in the Mass offering envelope.
That sparked off a discussion about why the Mass is offered. We wondered if the taxi driver had asked the person to offer a Mass.
Or could it be that the taxi driver had went out of his way to serve the person and so the person offered a thanksgiving Mass for him.
Whatever it is, it inspired us to pray for that taxi driver and all taxi drivers and their passengers safe on the road.
That might also bring to mind a joke about a taxi driver and a priest who died and went to heaven. The angel greeted them. He takes the taxi driver to a large mansion, then takes the priest to a smaller house. "Wait," said the priest, "Why does the taxi driver get a nicer house than me?" The angel looked at his book and said, "It says here that when you preached, people slept, but when he drove, people prayed!" : )
Well, let us also pray for taxi drivers who bring us safely to our destinations.
Taxi drivers have this responsibility and mission to give us a comfortable ride and bring us safely to our destination.
And when we think about it, then we as Christians also have a responsibility and a mission.
Today the Church celebrates Mission Sunday and we are reminded of this responsibility and mission. And it is none other than Jesus who reminds us of this.
We heard Him say in the gospel: Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.
And He continues with this: These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.
As much as it may sound exciting, we may just end up wishing, wishing that we could see these signs, wishing that we can also perform these signs. And it is rather embarrassing to say that we may not have even accomplished any one of those signs.
For example, we pray for the sick and lay our hands on them. We can only hope they recover. And if they don’t then we just shrug our shoulders and we leave it at that.
But can there be more than that? Because Jesus tells us to go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News.
And the essence of the Good News is that we must believe the good that God has planted in us and it is with this goodness in us that we can give a Christian response to evil and danger and sickness.
There is this story on the television program “60 minutes”. It was about a family with a religiously devout mother, a rather shy father, and their 10 year-old daughter who was wheelchair bound due to some spinal deformity.
Every year, the family make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, where healing is reported to occur. They were being interviewed by a reporter who was a typical sophisticated, secular man, and he was giving the family a hard time for being so gullible to miracles.
At one point, the reporter turned to the little girl and asked: When you pray, what do you pray for?
She replied: I pray for my daddy that he won’t be so shy because it makes him quite lonely.
That stopped the reporter for a few seconds, but he pressed on ahead, questioning the family’s purpose, and saying to the mother that they spend so much money every year going to Lourdes and there is still no miracle.
Then looking at her husband and her daughter, the mother answered: Oh you don’t get it. We have our miracle.
So do we get it? Do we know what miracle the mother is talking about? Or are we like the reporter who doesn’t seem to get it?
When we think about it, the good that God has planted in us is the miracle, and it is with the goodness that is within that we proclaim the Good News.
Today, we have 17 young children who will be receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
For these 17 young children, they will receive Jesus into their hearts and be filled with the goodness of God.
Indeed, a miracle is happening to them, and a miracle is also happening to us as we too receive Holy Communion.
We too are being filled with the goodness of God so that we can see the good in everything and give thanks for everything.
Yes, we give thanks to the parents and catechists who prepared these children for their First Holy Communion.
We give thanks that even in our struggles and difficulties and sickness, we can still see the miracles that God is working in us and through us.
We give thanks for simple things like taxi drivers who give us a comfortable ride and bring us safely to our destination.
It is in giving thanks that the Good News is proclaimed.
So let us proclaim the Good News at all times, use words if necessary, but give thanks always, because that is what is Good News is all about.