Archive for the ‘16th Sunday’ Category

The Magic Seed? 7-23-2017

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

There was once a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to a holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?”
Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.”
The women set off at once in search of the magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.”
They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that had recently befallen them.
The women said to herself, “Who is better able to help these unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?” She stayed to comfort them, and then went on in her search for a home that had never known sorrow.
But wherever she turned, in hovels and in palaces, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. Ultimately, she became so involved in ministering to other people’s grief that she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that her small gestures of care, and concern and compassion, had in fact, driven the sorrow out of her life.

Lord, we spend so much energy frantically searching for that magical elixir, that magical cure to take away our grief, our loneliness, the hurting parts of our life that need fixing. Help us remember today, this week, that one small gesture on our part, a smile, a handshake, a hug, a phone call, a short visit, a few encouraging words….is the best medicine to bring about real healing for ourselves and for others. Amen

Three Minutes a Day 7-17-2016

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

One night a father came to a parent-teacher conference in a Chicago high school. During a talk with one of his son’s teachers, the father broke down and began to cry. After he regained his composure, the father apologized, saying, “My son no longer lives with me.” “But I still love him, and I want to know how he’s doing in school.” The father then told the teacher how his wife and four children left him that afternoon. He was a building contractor and sometimes worked 16 hours a day. Naturally, he saw a little of his family, and they slowly grew farther and farther apart. Then the father said something sad. He said: “I wanted to buy my wife and kids all those things I had dreamed of giving them.” “But in the process I got so involved in working that I forgot about what they needed most; a father who was around at nights to give them love and support.”
This story and our gospel today illustrates the same point. We can get so involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. We can get so involved in living that we forget the purpose of living. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money can’t buy. It’s this kind of mistake that Martha made in today’s gospel. She got so involved in cooking a meal for Jesus that she forgot why Jesus had come. He didn’t come for a free meal. He came to be with friends. You and I live in a very fast-paced world. It’s so easy to lose our balance. It’s so easy to lose our perspective; it’s so easy to get our priorities mixed up. It’s so easy to lose sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it.
During the World War II, a young soldier was stationed on the island of Saipan in the South Pacific. He said that during this time he and his friends used to go for swims in a secluded spot, just off the steep cliffs of the island. It was a lovely place surrounded by rocks. When they arrived, the water was so clear they could see fish ten feet below the surface. After they had swam for an hour, however the water became so clouded with sand, churned up from the bottom, that they couldn’t see a foot below the surface. But the next day when they returned for another swim the sand had settled. The water was crystal clear again. Our mind is like that water. It too can get so clouded up from the turmoil of everyday living that it’s hard for us to see clearly. We lose sight of everything; our perspective gets clouded; our priorities get confused; our balance gets destroyed. What we need to do when this happens is to pause and let the murky waters of the mind become clear again.
We need to do what Mary did in today’s gospel. We need to sit at the feet of Jesus in quiet prayer. We need to let him teach us what is important and what is not. How do we do this? Practically, let me share with you a simple method of prayer. Each night before falling asleep, we take three minutes to do three things. During the first minute, we pause and do a mental replay of our day. We pick out the day’s high point, something we are happy about, like getting a letter from an old friend. Then, we speak to Jesus about it very sincerely. Finally, we conclude by giving thanks to Jesus for the letter and the friend. During the second minute, we do a second mental replay or our day. Only this time we pick out the low point in it, something we’re sorry about, like yelling at a parent, a spouse, or a child. We speak to Jesus about this weakness and ask him to forgive us and to heal us. Finally, during the third minute, we look ahead to tomorrow, to a critical point. We think of some difficult thing we must do, like talking to a parent, a spouse, or a child about a problem that has arisen. We speak to Jesus about it and ask his light and his strength in handling it. No matter how busy we are, three (3) minutes a day can put us in touch with life and in touch with Jesus.
I close with a prayer for us busy people; Lord, Keep us from getting so involved in life that we forget why you gave us life. Keep us from getting so involved in living that we forget the purpose of living. Keep us from getting so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money can’t buy.