Last week a good friend of mine (and my mentor for the last 25 years), Fr. Steve Baumbusch, came into town from his mission assignment in the Philippines and called me up to go to supper. As we sat talking I told him all about All Saints, its genesis and rebirth over the past year, how much the community is really coming together, how dynamic the parish is in all of its activities, and just how good God has been with us. I also told him that I had never really wanted to work in Detroit – much less in an inner city parish like All Saints – but that after my nearly three years here I couldn’t see myself being this happy and satisfied anywhere else! “I’ve come to realize,” I told him, “that I am more peaceful and serene here at All Saints than I have ever been in my life. I can truly see God at work in my ministry here.”
You see, something that age has taught me is that real peace and happiness comes from within. Outside elements can add to that, but if you know God is with you in what you’re doing, then you can really be happy anywhere God puts you! If you’re not, then even the best of surroundings will never be enough.
It is interesting that in [a recent Sunday’s] Gospel reading the Apostles – Peter in particular – just don’t know what to do anymore. They no longer feel that “spark” to proclaim all the great things their Teacher had taught them. They’re just static… just “there”. They can’t find that driving force which gave them so much happiness. They can’t figure out why they feel that way. So, Peter basically gives up and just says, “I’m going fishing”… as if to say, “why bother anymore? I’m going to go back to what I used to do.” But Jesus, as we know, never abandons us and will lead us where we will need to be if we’re just open to letting him guide us… if we’re open to doing things differently, if we’re willing to “throw the net over the other side of the boat”… even venturing into waters we think we already know. Can you imagine Peter’s great happiness at the breakfast meal he shared with Jesus? A lot of emotion there!
After I shared my “revelation” with Fr. Steve, he pointed something out to me. “Isn’t that what your priest friend and mentor has been telling you for at least the past 20 years? True happiness has to be within you.” Yes.
Thanks, Fr. Steve. And thanks for being patient with me during the years it took me to learn that! Is there something that Jesus is inviting YOU to do in order to find true happiness? What’s holding you back? Have a great week, may God bless you all, and happy fishing!