What Church is Really About! 10-20-2019

October 20th, 2019

Many times for me the first reading in our Mass is hard to
understand. The images, the language, the symbols are often very
foreign to me; today is different. We can’t allow this powerful image in
the Old Testament to be missed.
It is an image that should be put on a stained glass window in
every church. To me it is one of the most powerful images of what
CHURCH is really about.
Let’s create a stained glass window of our own today – I need
some of you to help (Call one person to be Moses). Visualize with me –
“Moses” with his arms held out in prayer: praying for his friends, things
go well as long as he is praying. But he becomes weary, tired,
discouraged, fatigued. His arms start to drop and his friends jump in
(Bring up 2 more people). Aaron and Hur support his arms. They hold
them up for him, so he can keep going.
Being CHURCH to me is not just buildings, not just dogma’s and
doctrines. Being CHURCH is both giving and receiving support and
encouragement. When we go through tragedies, crises, family problems, sickness,
death. When we get very discouraged because of the struggles and
storms of life: we need to hold each other up (Call 3 or 4 other people
up to help – different ages – a kid or two). We need to stand with each
other. We are all at times in our lives, like Moses, too weak to do it all
by ourselves, but we can get by with a little help from our friends.
Maybe it was a time you faced the death of a loved one and found
support in family or friends who came to comfort you and who took care
of a thousand little tasks for you. Maybe it was time when your child
was seriously ill and your spouse or a friend seemed like a pillar of
strength you could lean on. Maybe it was a time your marriage was in
trouble and a good friend gave you a shoulder to cry on, along with a
few gentle words of helpful advice. Maybe it was a time you had a
broken heart from breaking up with someone special, and your mother
or father couldn’t take away the hurt but reminded you that you were
still loved deeply. Maybe it was a time when you were out of work or
didn’t get a promotion or had flubbed a big project, and somebody took
the time to let you know they had confidence in you and were there for you. Maybe it was a time when you were depressed and lonely and a
friend made the effort to call and brighten your day.
Let me close with this:
If we believe we are truly the Body of Christ, The Church, then we
belong to one another. We need each other and have responsibility for
one another. Please remember the image of Moses this week.
Remember this image of CHURCH before you, and then go look for
someone who could use a supportive, encouraging arm to hold on to.
Maybe the place to start is to look in our own families FIRST, or right
outside those doors! The mass never ends – it must be lived

A Grateful People 10-13-2019

October 13th, 2019

There was once a stone cutter who was very happy with his life and
work. He had a wonderful family whom he loved; he made a good
living cutting and preparing stone for beautiful buildings.
Then one day he delivered a piece of stone to a merchant. The
merchant owned many lavish possessions. The stone cutter began to
feel he was missing out on something in his life. “I wish I were a
merchant with such fine things,” the stone cutter thought to himself.
Amazingly, the stone cutter’s wish came to be. Suddenly he was a
merchant who wore fancy clothes and lived in a beautiful home. His
shop was filled with ornate trinkets and fine goods. The onetime
stone cutter thought that life couldn’t get any better – until he saw the
prince passing through town.
Then he began thinking that to be of noble birth would be much
better than being a simple merchant. And so it came to be: He found
himself dressed in royal garb, sitting atop a fine stallion, parading
through the village. But under the hot sun and heavy clothing, he
grew weary and cranky.The stone cutter-merchant-prince thought that if he were the sun, he could have a profound effect on the entire universe. So he became the sun. And it was wonderful – until a cloud blocked his rays from
getting to the land.
So he wished he could be a cloud to bring rain to water the earth.
And so he became a cloud. He found himself looming over a desolate
mountain valley. He showered the area day and night, creating lakes
and rivers. In time, springs of life began to sprout up on the
landscape. But the mountain itself remained immovable and
unchanged. It was solid and more powerful than his cloud.
So the cloud wanted, instead to be the mountain. And so he
became the mountain. For a while the mountain was happy to be
such a powerful presence – until a young stone cutter came along and
began to chisel away at him.
And the mountain wished to be a stone cutter again.
Some of us never know that moment of realization experienced by
the grateful leper: we never realize how much we have received from
God. Instead, we whine about what we do not have; we are mired in
disappointment because they have more than me. We become
cynical, distrustful, isolated and self-absorbed. As the Samaritan
leper discovers, as the stone cutter eventually comes to understand,
each one of us has been given much by God, and realizing those gifts,
that spirit of gratitude, is the beginning of faith.
Rabbi Herald S. Kushner writing in his latest book, The Lord is
My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the 23rd Psalm, reminds us that
gratitude is a conscious and intentional perspective of looking at our
lives and our world.
“Each night as I prepare for bed, I put drops in my eyes to fend off
the threat of glaucoma that would rob me of my sight and take from
me the pleasure of reading. Each morning at breakfast, I take a pill to
control by blood pressure, and each evening at dinner I take another
to lower my cholesterol level. But instead of lamenting the ailments
that come with growing older, instead of wishing that I were as young
and fit as I once was, I take my medicine with a prayer of thanks that
modern science has found ways to help me cope with these ailments.
I think of all my ancestors who didn’t live long enough to develop the
complications of old age, and did not have pills to take when they
did.” Gratitude is a conscious and intentional perspective of looking at
our lives and our world. Gratitude is the beginning of faith. Let us be
a grateful people

Mustard Seed Faith 10-6-2019

October 6th, 2019

Ben Durskin is nine years old. For almost four years, he has been
treated for acute lympho | blastic leukemia. During a punishing protocol of
chemotherapy, he passed the time with his Game Boy and Play Station. Last
summer, Ben came up with his own videogame, designed especially for kids
with cancer. In Ben’s Game, a boy (modeled after Ben) zooms around a
screen on a skateboard, blasting cancer cells in order to collect “shields” that
protect against the usual side effect of chemo: fever, chicken pox, colds,
vomiting, hair loss. A player can’t lose – “you just keep fighting,” explains
Ben. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and software engineer Eric Johnston of
LucasFilms worked with Ben to create the game. Ben’s Game has won raves
from the 200,000 children who have found the game, available free on line.
Not only is the game fun but children learn about the “monsters” attacking
their bodies and how they can best beat them.
For eight years, 15-year-old Sasha Bowers and her family were
homeless. Sasha, her little sister and her mother spent most nights in Columbus, Ohio, shelter, fighting hunger and bugs and kept awake by snoresand screaming. Two years ago, Sasha’s mom landed a job with a cleaning
company and the family was able to move into an apartment.
But Sasha hasn’t forgotten where she came from. She’s been the
driving force behind a summer day-camp program for 175 homeless kids in
Columbus. “When I was in shelters, there were no safe places to play,”
Sasha explains. “I wanted to create a place that was fun, where kids could
stay out of trouble while parents find jobs and housing.”
When Ryan Hreljac was in the first grade, he was shocked to learn
about African children having to walk five miles to get a bucket of clean
water. Ryan did odd jobs around the house and for neighbors for four
months to raise $70, the cost of digging a well.
That was six years ago. Since then the Canadian teen’s foundation,
Ryan’s Well, has raised $750,000 to build wells in seven African nations.
Relief and development agencies in Canada say of Ryan: “He’s such a
regular kid – that’s what makes him so powerful… He believes everyone
should have water, and he’s not going to stop until they do.”These remarkable young people, Ben, Sasha, and Ryan possess the
faith of the mustard seed: they have taken their own “Mustard seeds” – seeds
of creativity, empathy and dedication – and have done the hard work of
planting and nurturing those seeds until each one has realized an enduring
and rooted harvest of hope, of compassion, of life itself. Christ calls us to
embrace “mustard seed” faith – to believe that even the slightest act of
goodness, done in faith and trust in God’s presence, has meaning in the reign
of God. The mustard seed challenges us to grab hold of the opportunities we
have for planting and reaping a harvest of justice, compassion and
reconciliation in our own piece of the earth.
Ben, Sasha and Ryan – remarkable young people – they planted their
tiny mustard seed, worked hard, and God did the rest.
You, you, you, all of you, remarkable people. Plant your tiny mustard
seeds wherever you find yourself in life, work hard and let God do the rest.
Mustard seed faith – to believe that even the smallest act of goodness,
kindness, done in faith and trust in God’s power, can have an unbelievable
effect on many, many people. Please, don’t sell yourself short – don’t sell
the power of God short!