Bulletin Week October 24, 2021

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From the Desk of Fr. Jeff Johnston

Dear Friends,

Perhaps it has been a while for you – as it has for me and so many – since we’ve been able to plan and then enjoy a trip to something other than the next doctor appointment.  Maybe you’re not quite ready to do so even now.  So, instead, let’s take a perfectly safe trip down Memory Lane.  I hope St. Mark isn’t offended, but as I read his account of blind Bartimaeus being given something of a “blank check” by Jesus with the words, “What do you want me to do for you?” my mind went back to July 18, 1966… when The Beach Boys released a new song which they entitled, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”  Brian Wilson said of it, “…it wasn’t a real long song, but it’s a very ‘up’ song.  It expresses the frustration of youth, what you can’t have, what you really want and you have to wait for it.”

Regardless of our chronological age, it seems we spend an awful lot of time waiting… for things to be better, for things to be over, for things to be easier.  Such an outlook might represent our own blindness, our inability or unwillingness to live in the present moment… to look for God “in good times or in bad,” to be confident that there is, in fact, nothing that we can’t do or endure, so long as we turn to the Lord and seek him first and foremost, above and beyond anything and everything else.  “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” if God, and not The Beach Boys, gave us the same blank check once given to lucky Bartimaeus?

Wait a minute!  Forget the trip down Memory Lane!  Let’s stay right here in our very real world!  Every time we gather to celebrate and receive the great gift of the Eucharist, Jesus gives us that blank check.

For each and every one of us, the check has been cut, and the Lord asks,

What do you want me to do for you?”  What do you want to see?  A way out of something… or a way through something?  A quick fix, which might seem great in the moment… only to realize that “the fix” lasts but a moment.  We need “the fix” that will last… one that might require that we actually change something in our life – that we give it up or take it on – but that we become different because of the presence and action of God in our lives… because of what God helps us to see of ourselves, of our world, of one another.

The 8th track on The Beach Boys 11th studio album, “Pet Sounds,” was/is one of their most widely recognized songs.  It broke new ground in many ways.  Brian Wilson used many unorthodox instruments, including the harpsichord and French horn.  It was one of the first commercial songs to use the word “God” in its title.   Paul McCartney said it was the greatest song ever written. “God Only Knows” is very much a love song.  Since “God is love,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” if we let God be God… and “simply” ask for what only God knows will be the best thing for us and what we truly need.


Fr. Jeff