March 4, 2016

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Let’s be ‘Good News’ people and let Christ’s light shine through

Patti LambRecently, my 8-year-old daughter Margaret neglected to follow some house rules and lost the privilege of watching television. When she turned her behavior around several days later, I retrieved the remote control from my secret hiding place and her television privilege was restored.

She seized the remote control—her long lost friend—and happily danced a little jig as she hit the “on” button. But her happiness was short-lived.

When she tuned in, the local evening news was being broadcast. The remote control wasn’t functioning properly, so she couldn’t turn it to her normal, kid-friendly channel.

After several minutes of watching the news, Margaret turned the television off and came to the laundry room, where I was matching socks.

“I couldn’t get the channel to change, and the news was on,” she said in a somber voice.

“It was really scary,” she added.

Then, my second grader went on to ask questions about weapons and viruses, topics discussed during the news broadcast. I tried to calm Margaret’s mind and reassure her, but she still slept in our bedroom that night.

I could relate to her distress. I avoid watching the news because our world is so troubled. I listen to the news and hear about tragedies and heartbreaks that leave me sickened and saddened. My mind is polluted with stories of shootings, accidents, addictions, illnesses, poverty, and mean-spirited political remarks. I’m also disheartened when I hear outlandish stories about the antics of celebrities whom our society has placed upon pedestals. I am easily overcome by all the bad news, and find myself dwelling in a state of pessimism.

Especially during this season of Lent, however, I must embrace my faith and turn to the Gospel, the “Good News” of how Jesus died and rose from the dead to restore our relationship with God. I need to call upon the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, who remains with us during these troubled times. How often I forget to dwell on the Good News of God’s kingdom and our ultimate goal, eternal life with our Creator. God’s grace—his undeserved favor—is ours if only we accept his love.

In his homily during Mass in Madison Square Garden in New York City last September, Pope Francis spoke these beautiful words to encourage us to proclaim the Gospel:

“The Gospels tell us how many people came up to Jesus to ask: ‘Master, what must we do?’ The first thing that Jesus does in response is to propose, to encourage, to motivate. He keeps telling his disciples to go, to go out,” the pope said. “He urges them to go out and meet others where they really are, not where we think they should be. Go out, again and again, go out without fear, without hesitation. Go out and proclaim this joy which is for all the people.”

In the midst of this world’s bad news, we are called to spread the good news—through our words and our actions—about God’s unconditional love. God wants us to let our Christ lights shine in this drab age and bring others to him.

There’s a eucharistic prayer we hear at Mass which eloquently sums up the Good News: “One day he will come in glory, and in his kingdom there will be no more suffering, no more tears, no more sadness.”

The other night when I tucked Margaret into bed, I said, “Think happy thoughts, sleep peacefully and focus on the Good News.”

“We are ‘Good News’ people,” Margaret said.

Yes, Margaret. That’s right. I hope you always remember that.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

Local site Links: