Sermons

January 16: “Glad All Over,” Rome, 2015

“All gave praise to God saying: ‘We have never seen anything like this!'” Mark 2, 1-12.

Before our departure this week, I was at the Walnut Creek Nordstrom’s buying a pair of shoes. I gave my name to the young salesman assisting me and that I needed a good pair of sneakers with solid arches for walking. At some point in the conversation, I mentioned that I was taking a group of Saint Mary’s students to Rome for Jan Term. I explained that I was a teacher and a priest.

He told me that his name was John Paul. As he was unpacking my brand-new New Balance shoes, he looked up at me and added: “Father, I was not named after the pope, rather my mother gave me the name of two of the “Beatles.” I replied: Well, the good news is that she did not name you, “Ringo George,” after the two remaining “Beatles.”

Our conversation got me to thinking that in the 1960s at the time of the great “British Invasion” with such rock groups as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones; there was yet another “Boys Band,” long, long before One Direction — and they were called the “Dave Clark Five.” Who, by the way, performed, on the Ed Sullivan Show many more times than the Beatles.  The Dave Clarke Five were very popular with audiences both in the UK and the United States; with the essential elements of fast music, and those screaming girls accompanying the reaction to this boy-band.

One of the Dave Clark Five’s biggest hits was the song “Glad All Over.” The lyric goes something like: “You say you love me all the time. You say you need me, and you’ll always be mine – well, baby, I’m feeling glad all over, yes glad all over!”

So what’s the connection with Mark’s gospel? For the past days in the very early chapters of Mark, at our daily Masses, we have read about Jesus’s “stretching out his hands” to heal lepers; and today’s story of the person with paralysis – was cured much to his astonishment. As you might imagine, he was “glad all over” to be healed and leading a chorus of reaction with the “word of mouth” about Jesus.

At the same time, the apostles were experiencing their very first “public relations” crisis. The preaching and healing ministry of Jesus had created such a stir, one that would mark their lives.

This “glad all over” effect of Jesus stretching out his hand – has its impact on each one of us – in baptism, confirmation, in marriage. I see the “glad all over” that deep sense of – the very “Joy of the Gospel” here at the North American College, and those men preparing for the priesthood. Kevin Kilgore, our deacon, comes from my home Archdiocese of Newark; and Matt Murray, who is assisting us this afternoon, is ready to serve in the people in the Diocese of Oakland, CA. Thank you so much for inviting us today, and we are eager to hear from you later.

Today I see the “glad all over” in all of your faces — as you grow spiritually from this pilgrimage to Rome, and ready yourselves for adult life strengthened from four years of a liberal arts education, and a genuine reverence for the mission of Christ. You, too – are “glad all over,” and hopefully, the “glad all over” grace will mark your faith journey after graduation.

Let me conclude — with this quote from my seminary mentor, Father Jim Turro of Seton Hall – who once wrote these comforting words about vocation.

“The objectives of religious life (and your lives)
can be framed in the simplest terms:
to achieve a heightened sense of awareness of the divine
mysteries that lie beyond human experience.
To acknowledge the truth and grandeur of these mysteries in prayer (study, and the wonders in your life).
And to chart a personal life that sharply accords with these mysteries,
Or as Micah (the prophet) put it:
‘To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Thy God”.

May this visit — with the seminarians here at the North American College reflect the great wonders of God’s grace — so much that you are “Glad all over” on the “journey of faith” — that is your life.

Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy. See https://www.pnac.org/

“Walking in the Footsteps of the Early Christians,” Saint Mary’s College, Pilgrimage to Rome Jan. 12 – Feb. 2, 2015.

Here’s the Dave Clark Five, and “Glad All Over,” enjoy.

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