Manuel Garcia was leaving the hospital after many chemotherapy treatments, with a resultant loss of his thick head of hair. Only 35 years old, he feared being different from the rest of his family and friends.
He dozed off for an hour and then suddenly waking up, he saw a sight at the foot of his bed he couldn’t believe. His wife and four friends stood there with all their hair shaved off. The result was much laughter and joking on the way home.
At the house, 50 people awaited him, adults and children. They too had their hair shaved off their heads. “Welcome home, Manuel.” What a joyous party followed with the sound of laughter and singing filling the house for hours.
The best medicine for a sick person, a gloomy family member, or a troubled relationship is lightheartedness, a spirit of joy, a willingness to make fun of ourselves to make others laugh.
Laughter pours healing chemicals into the bloodstream of a human being, whether physically sick or not. It heals wounds in family life. Only lighthearted conversation at the dinner table, with the sharing of jokes and funny stories: make this a strict rule!
Fr. George Mc Kenna
Some 34 years ago, my brother and I attended a Sunday morning Mass in St. Mary of the Angels Church in the Notting Hill district of London England. On this morning, my friend, Father Michael Hollings, the Pastor, celebrated the Mass and gave a never-to-be-forgotten homily.
Through the years, this homily has stuck in my mind and touched my life deeply. In his talk, Father Hollings mentioned the different individuals one might meet in this tough district which made up his parish. As he mentioned various examples, he exclaimed with much feeling, “Christ loves him!” or “Christ loves her!”, as the case would be.
“That drunk lying in the gutter, Christ loves him!” “The street walker making money to feed her children, Christ loves her!” “The beggar, in rags, looking for a few pence from passersby, Christ loves him!” Father Hollings went on to mention six or seven other types of people, low in the social scale, and generally the object of much derision from others. Knowing his devotion to the down and outer, I could believe him when he cried out each time, “Christ loves him!”
I remember one time, about 10 years later, while in a McDonald’s in a small town in Michigan, I was thinking of Father Hollings homily. A man, about 45 years old, came in with a knapsack on his back, talking out loud to everybody and nobody. No one paid attention to him as, with a big smile on his face, he told of his adventures with his bicycle. The thought came to me of that long ago homily. “Christ loves him!” Because of that memory, I honestly wanted to show him courtesy and friendship by listening to his story.
Later that same night, in the motel, I told my brother of my experience at McDonalds’s. His face lit up with the recalling of the words we both heard together a decade earlier, “Christ loves him!”
As people of all dispositions and states in life cross our paths, we could do nothing better than to think, “Christ loves him!”, “Christ loves her!” How uplifting a thought to think that Jesus of Nazareth cares for each one of us as His dear possession, regardless of our good fortune or poor fortune in life.
Fr. George Mc Kenna