All the time. All the time... God is good.
Our new priest, Fr. Paul, started his homily with that challenge and response. Even before then I could tell he was going to be different than our last priest. Fr. Nguyen was good, but I was never stirred by him. By the end of today's mass, my heart was on fire. In addition to the challenge and response, he also uses chants throughout the mass, which I like.
In his homily, he told about a poor carpenter who desperately needed a job and was hired by a rich farmer. On the first day of work, his truck got a flat tire on the way in so he was late. While at work, his electric saw broke. At the end of the day his truck wouldn't start. The rich farmer had to drive him home. When they got to the house, the carpenter asked the farmer if he would come inside to meet the carpenter's wife and two young daughters. As they were walking up to the house, the carpenter reached out and rubbed the leaf of a small tree. When he got inside, he was happy and smiling and he gave his wife and daughters hugs and kisses. Inside the house was a very happy place. As the farmer was leaving, he asked the carpenter why he rubbed the leaf on the tree. The carpenter said, oh, that is my trouble tree. When I get home I leave all my troubles on the tree rather than make my wife and daughters sad with them. Fr. Paul said Jesus is our trouble tree.
Fr. Paul is from Nigeria. His full name is Paul Obi Amaliri. He said he gets called Fr. Paul, Fr. Obi, Obi Wan, Obi Wan Kenobi, or Fr. Amaliri ("which sounds Italian but isn't"). He said he'll answer to all of them. He arrived in the US less than 10 years ago to get his master's degree in St. Louis. He then moved to Tulsa, OK, where he was until he joined the AF. He joined just less than a year ago and is now stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. He told us not to ask what he thinks of Nellis because, as we all know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
He obviously has a very good sense of humor. At the beginning of mass, his microphone wasn't working. So he told a story about a priest who was at a new church and his microphone wasn't working. The priest started the mass with the sign of the cross, but instead of saying "The Lord be with you", he said "There is a problem with this microphone." The congregation dutifully responded, "And also with you."
I am very excited about him being here (obviously!). I think his arrival is just the lift my spiritual life needs.