There is so much anticipation of joy in today’s first reading and psalm. An anticipation that must have boosted immensely the hope of the Israelites in exile, to whom Jeremiah’s message was delivered. We are not in exile, at least not in the same way as the Israelites, but we are headed into the exile of winter. As I write these lines, it is a typically winter day outside, cold and drizzle, and I am anticipating not joy at this moment, but potentially six more months of this. When we are in any kind of exile, it is important to remember and to celebrate the good things about our lives. It is good to give ourselves a booster shot of joy as we venture into the rainy season. I think our upcoming Gala Dinner, this Friday, will be precisely this. Our gathering will remind us of the extraordinary, graced reality that we are as St. Mary’s Parish. It will enable us to remember and to celebrate what we are: a kind of ongoing experience of irruptions of joy, of God’s grace in our shared lives, of the ever unpredictable but constant outpourings of the Holy Spirit. We will walk away from that event happy, perhaps even oblivious to the rain that will probably be falling, just happy to be who are, as members of St. Mary’s Parish. Come and share that experience with us. Tickets to this event are on sale, probably for the last time, before and after all masses this Sunday. There will even be a live auction of a meal at a restaurant with me! Not to mention excellent food, a musical program, a minimum of speeches, and dancing! I hope you’ll join us.