By Father Marty Goetz
My mother shared the following story with me and I share it with you today:
There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer, and he started on his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase.
He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted. They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, yet they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave. Before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own home a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her neighbor was stunned by the look of peace on her face, and asked, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” The old woman replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But before her neighbor responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
God is revealed in the most beautiful and unexpected ways.
Saturday, May 22, will be a special day for the Diocese of Davenport! We will celebrate the ordination to priesthood of Deacon Joseph Nguyen. In the nearly three years I’ve been vocation director, it has been an honor and a privilege to share in Joseph’s journey to ordination. I have come to know him as a man of compassion and faith. Joseph has great joy in his heart and he is ready to serve the Lord and the people of the diocese. All of us, as members of the diocese, will be truly blessed.
About three weeks ago, I had the privilege to celebrate first Communion with 25 second-graders. As I looked into their eyes and gave them the Eucharist for the first time, I saw Jesus in each of them. As I was driving home to Davenport that evening, I realized, again, how blessed I am that Jesus called me to be a priest. I am blessed that I am able to bring the presence of God to others in good and bad times. I am blessed that the people of God share their gifts with me. It truly is a wonderful life!
May the Lord bless Joseph. As he begins his priestly ministry, may he truly see how blessed he is to be called to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. May the power of his words and actions bring the divine into our world. May he see the presence of God in the people he is called to serve and may they see the presence of God in him.
And may all of us, in our call and vocation, bring the divine into our human world in a special way. Let us pray for our newly ordained priest as he sets out on this wonderful adventure called priesthood. Let us pray that God will bless our diocese and church with joyful and loving priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers. Could this be the special time that the Lord is calling you — or someone you can encourage — to a vocation in the church?