Wanted: Church Volunteers

volunteers“No, no, no.” The “no” is always said in threes and sounding much like Hamlet’s mother saying, “She protests too much, me thinks.“

“You must be thinking of someone else but not me,” says the person to the priest who considered him/her for a volunteer position in the parish or a commitment to Jesus Christ.

“I’m much too busy, I have three kids, what more do you want from me?” Yeah, right. Best Buys announces free 72-inch flat screens to the first 100 people, and suddenly your calendar frees up and you’re the first at line…at 5:00 a.m. You’re given two free Packer tickets, and you say, “Do I have three kids?”

Jesus chose twelve guys who had no qualifications except something that Jesus saw in them. None were trained for the work he needed to be done, and many died a sad death because of him.

Listen to this from 1941,

(musical insert) “Your lips tell me ‘No, no’ but there’s ‘Yes, yes in your eyes, I’ve been missing your kissing just because I wasn’t wise….”

Your boyfriend finally gets up the courage to go to Kessler’s Jewelers and makes a down payment and presents you a ring at Pizza Hut. (It had to be Pizza Hut because of the cost of the ring.) He sees “no, no” in your eyes but asks anyway for your hand and for your life to be with him. You smile at him because you expected the question to be asked two weeks ago. (Why does it take guys so long to pop?) You say, “Yes,” to all his apprehensive and multiple “No’s” that he’d said to himself in his thin-skulled head for the past two weeks.

(musical insert) “Your lips tell me ‘No, no’ but there’s ‘Yes, yes in your eyes.”

But now a bit about me to make my point. The Salvatorians, my religious order, had me pegged as a TV star. I’m attractive and smart…I’ve been on television many times and over twenty-five years in radio. I was to be a hit. I kept saying, “Yes” to that but there was no reply to my grand future stardom. I’m am attractive and smart (I think I said that already) but life led me to say “Yes” to over twenty-years with older adults that I will forever cherish. My “Yes” led me to be here with you to haunt and challenge you; as much as I challenge and haunt myself. And, believe me, I haunt and challenge myself a lot.

Jesus tells us to say one “Yes” after our numerous “No’s.” “Oh, but Father if you only knew my situation, my circumstances…” Father says, “It’s one meeting a month.” “Oh, says the ’no-no-no’ person” but then says:

“I get tired easily after work”
“I don’t know that many people in the parish”
“Is there a stipend involved for being a volunteer”
“There’s a rerun of ”Gunsmoke” that night”
“I have to check with my wife.” (Always a good cop-out – blame the wife)
“My psychiatrist, Dr. Nutt, said that I should cut back on activities…”
and my favorite one of all is
“6-8 p.m. is my cocktail time”

This “No-No-No-I Don’t Want To” leads you to an invitation (or acknowledgment) of something inside yourself that someone else has identified in you that you didn’t know about yourself. Do you want to hear that scaringly true sentence again? (It happens often, folks.)

Please don’t dismiss the invitation. Ponder it. Prayer it. Hell, you’ll get to work with two attractive and smart priests. Talk to your friends about it to get them involved.

Tell Father or your friend, “No-no-no three times the same as Peter said in the garden but then, in faith, in reflection, and with good luck, say what the Blessed Mother and Peter only needed to say once, “Yes, Lord.”

(musical insert) “Your lips tell me ‘No, no’ but there’s ‘Yes, yes in your eyes.”

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com

“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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