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Jubilant!

Christine McMichael

As Easter approaches and I reflect on this Lenten season, I am humbled by an unexpected journey with a relative.  The conversations were rich and meaningful for each of us in different ways.  He is asking me questions about my faith.  I am responding to his questions to the best of my knowledge; but his questions lead me to questions I was not necessarily aware that I had.  In turn, I was led to a deeper Lenten prayer. 

I was shocked when, via text, he asked me to be his sponsor during his RCIA journey to becoming a Catholic.  Sure, many in my family ask me to be a Godparent to their babies and then those children grow up to ask me to be their Confirmation sponsors.  Truth be told, often, I am the choice of last resort because I meet the criteria of ‘practicing Catholic’ where others may identify as Catholic but they have a hard time getting the required sponsor sheet signed by their pastor.

But, sponsoring a 60 plus year old man on a journey to Catholicism?  That was a challenge I was not sure I was up for.  He and I barely know each other.  He is the stepfather of a cousin by marriage.  Sure, we see each other at family functions, but we’d never had a heart to heart conversation. 

So, I prayed and I prayed.  “Please help me do this?  How do I do this?  Please give me the grace to do this.  Lord, I do not know how to do this.”

We settled in over time.  He gave me dates of classes and masses.  He texted me questions.  He started to come to Mass.  He asked for help with the Missal.  I brought him books.  We talked.  He texted me questions.  He went to classes.  He came to breakfast after Mass on Sunday with the family. 

He talked about his past, he shared his experiences with organized religion.  Little by little, he shared the experiences that led him to explore Catholicism and ask me questions about conversion.

He shared that he had been witnessing evangelization all around him; especially during the sudden and short illness of his wife that ultimately took her life last year.  As he searched for answers to his grief, he found answers in the scriptures and a home in the faith. 

He still has questions.  Who doesn’t? 

Coming into Holy Week, I asked him how he was feeling.  And he thought for a long time before he answered.  I waited.  Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about what he might say after such a long pause. 

‘Jubilant’.  That is what he said.  I was blown away. 

He said it with such peace.  In one moment, with just one word, he summed it all up.  Easter Sunday is celebration of Christ’s rising from the dead and good over evil.  Jubilant.

Our world is struggling.  It is not easy to see good through evil in the world today. 

Jubilant.  We are challenged to be good over evil. 

With the simple hospitality of Marguerite, invite people to the water.  Invite people to the jubilance of the Resurrection. 

As I read the readings for the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, the 5th reading for the Easter Vigil, the reading from Isaiah (55:1-11), (Come to the Water, spontaneous break into Quonnie song…,) I am reminded of some of our conversations along his RCIA journey, when he talked about the little things that made him feel invited.  Isn’t Isaiah, the grand invitation, evangelization in scripture brought to life by people who touch each other’s lives by example.

We both agree it was a beautiful journey.  Easter is the culmination of the invitation.  Jubilant.

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