Two weeks before Christmas, a woman living in an apartment building found a greeting card taped to her door. It read: "Merry Christmas from the custodial staff." How nice, she thought to herself, and promptly forgot about it. A week later she came home to find a second card taped to her door with the very same message: "Merry Christmas from the custodial staff." But this time, stamped right in the middle in big red letters were the words: "Second notice."
We are all forgetful. As we immerse ourselves in our daily tasks : as we certainly must : we can forget almost anything: birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, car keys. You name it, we can forget it, especially the guys here. Some of us even make a list so we don't forget, but then we forget the list!
Our forgetfulness isn't limited to little things. We forget the important things as well: who our true friends are, what really matters in our lives, who loves us, what we are on earth for. We forget and forget and then forget some more.
That is one reason why we need to gather here as a community Sunday after Sunday: to help each other remember who we are, remember what really matters, remember who loves us, and remember that we're not walking this road alone. We're walking this road in each other's company, and together we walk it with Jesus who is at our side. If you examine Scripture carefully, you quickly discover that Jesus never invited us to worship him; but he is constantly inviting us to walk with him, to follow him, to do as he does.
How does Jesus walk with us? Does he walk with us as a critic, as an officer of the law, as a judge or a simple observer of human behavior? No. He walks with us as a partner and mentor who constantly encourages us to become what we already are: daughters and sons made in Abba God's own image : even though this may take a lifetime. What more could we ask of Jesus? How can we not celebrate and rejoice on this Gaudete Sunday? With Jesus at our side, we can be confident and hopeful and put our fears behind us.
But there's more! Walking with Jesus as our human partner and mentor gives us the opportunity to talk with him. With simple words like, "Well, Jesus, how am I doing today?" "How should I handle this?" "How would you handle this?" "Help me understand this situation and see it as clearly as you." These are words that friends say to each other.
All this brings us to today's Liturgy, this gathering of God's people, this work of remembering Jesus' life, death and resurrection at Mass, of remembering what really matters, of remembering who love us, of remembering why we are on earth and just who is at our side every step of our journey. Jesus knows the way. Jesus IS the way. Thank God for sending us second notices! Today is Gaudete Sunday, so let's remember and rejoice!