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joyAs I drink my “wake-up” cup of coffee each morning I try to set myself wholeheartedly to the task of writing my blog before allowing the issues and concerns of the day to distract from what I have just read of the Scriptures from the US Catholic Bishops’ website (www.usccb.org). For some reason this morning I clicked on a brief video on the bishops’ homepage and heard four of the bishops summarizing the directions they have chosen to follow which resulted from their recently concluded annual meeting. It was all about attentiveness to “the heart of Pope Francis” and his first encyclical letter to the world, Evangelii gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). As is often the case, such a seemingly random act or thought gives me the theme for the blog. Today both the first reading and the psalm are conclusive – Psalm 150 being the last of the Book of Psalms and the Book of Revelation the final book of the entire Bible. And the themes of both proclaim the joy of all creation because of the God whose generosity and holiness bring joy to all.

Chapter 4 of the Book of Revelation begins with John’s vision of God on the throne toward whom the “four living creatures” representing the gospel writers exclaim; Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and who is and who is to come! The psalm picks up the chant from beginning to end in unbridled joy. Hallelujah! sings the psalmist. Give voice and praise to the source of life. Praise God, O earth and heavens above. Give praise to God for mighty deeds. Speak honor to the Holy One. Give praise to God with blasts of horns. Let organs swell with sweetest sounds. Give praise to God with cymbals loud. Let music and dance fill up the world, and drums beat wildly their rhythms of praise. Let every creature on earth that breathes add music and song with voices raised. Hallelujah!

As we move toward the Thanksgiving holiday, wouldn’t it be marvelous to see the wild abandon of people dancing in the streets to the music of a great brass orchestra, celebrating what is good about the United States of America, greeting each other with a consciousness of the unity of all life, suspending suspicion and misunderstanding just for a moment? Perhaps it would feel so good to know that state of being that it would become a constant undercurrent of all our days…This is the dream of the end times that I cherish. Today I choose to focus on my part in making that dream come true.