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Get the last laugh this Advent

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

The church shows great wisdom in designating the Third Sunday of Advent as “pink candle” or “Gaudete Sunday.” The Latin word “gaudete” means “rejoice.”

Spiritually, we exhibit joyful anticipation because Christmas is so near. But it’s also a reminder to not let the stresses of this season overwhelm that joyfulness. Particularly this year, when we’re robbed of an entire Fourth Week of Advent — we get just a few hours on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Eve — it’s even more important to retain that joy amid the last-minute shopping, baking, card writing, gift wrapping, visiting and decorating.

I want to do my part to help. So, grab a cup of hot chocolate right now, find a comfortable chair and let these stories inject some smiles into your day.

• Five-year-old Becky answered the door one day when a census taker came to her house.

She told the woman that her daddy was a doctor, and he wasn’t home because he was performing an emergency appendectomy at the hospital.

“My,” said the census taker. “Appendectomy! That sure is a big word for such a little girl. Do you know what it means?”

“Sure!” chirped the girl. “It’s fifteen thousand bucks, and that doesn’t even include the anesthesiologist!”

• A famous Yiddish folk tale concerns an elderly Orthodox Jew who was close to death.  His wife is at his bedside and says, “Moishe, you’ve been such a good and pious provider to us all your life. Is there anything we can get you?”

Moishe says, “Yes, I’d like a ham sandwich.”

His wife, shocked at the request, gets him a ham sandwich which he gobbles down.

Tearfully, she asks, “Moishe, you’ve always been so devout and strict on yourself. How could you now, at death’s door, eat a ham sandwich?”

“Well,” Moishe replies, “I’ll tell you. I know I’m going to die, and I know that when I get to heaven, the Lord will judge me. He’ll say, ‘Moishe, all in all you lived a very good life. But remember the time you stole those apples as a boy; remember the time you were mean to your wife and family; remember the time you were so nasty to your brother-in-law Sol; remember the time . . . Well, as soon as he gets to the ham sandwich, I’ll know it’s over!”

I’ve always loved the humor of Pope St. John XXIII. Here are a few of his gems:

• Someone asked Pope John about the Italian custom of closing offices in the afternoon: “Your Holiness, we understand that the Vatican is closed in the afternoon, and people don’t work then.”

“Ah, no!” said the pope. “The offices are closed in the afternoon, but people don’t work in the morning!”

• Once Pope John visited the Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Rome. Shortly after entering, he was introduced to the nun who ran the hospital.

“Holy Father,” said the nun, flustered by the surprise visit, “I am the superior of the Holy Spirit.”

“Well, I must say,” replied the pope, “I’m only the Vicar of Christ!” (These stories are found in James Martin’s “Between Heaven and Mirth.”)

There’s no shortage of humor at Mass either. I was reminded of it the other week as we sang the responsorial psalm. A rather pompous cantor when I was in the seminary sang it thus: “Lord, make us turn to you. Let us see your face, and we shall be shaved!” (Uh, “saved” was the correct word!)

In these short days before Christmas, let’s find something to make us laugh several times each day. It’s not only essential for the soul, but will prevent us from becoming, as Pope Francis so memorably said, “sourpusses.”

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

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  • Hello from the Michalski’s. You co- officiated at our wedding on Oct 15, 1983 at St Johns. 40 years later God has given us a complication. Mike has esophagus cancer. We have been blessed with three boys and three grandchildren and Two DIL. We plan to visit your church for mass as soon as Mike can make the travel. Along the way I have enjoyed the comments about growing up on Strawberry Hill and your mom the Chicken lady. She was the Chicken lady at our wedding reception. What really hit me was the burned biscuits and how your dad responded. How wonderful.