Archive for the ‘22nd Sunday’ Category

Easy Does It? 9-3-2017

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

A young man, eager to make it to the top, went to a “success in business” seminar taught by a wealthy tycoon. “What’s the reason for your phenomenal success?” he asked.
Back came the answer, in a gravelly voice: “Hard work!”
“Uh, well, what’s the second reason?”
It’s natural to find the easy way to do things. Book stores sell thousands of “easy” books. Spanish Made Easy, Five Easy Steps to a Better Vocabulary, Easy Does It, Eat What You Want and Lose Weight. Looking for the easy way may be natural, but today Our Lord warns us that about really important things, the easy way isn’t the best way. The easy way isn’t always the right way.
Perhaps the harshest words that ever came out of the mouth of Jesus were aimed at his friend for counseling him to take the easy way. The scripture says Jesus turned on Peter, turning on someone…what a phrase, and said, in new Testamentese: “Simon, get the blank out of here. Your advice of taking the easy way, avoiding the cross, eliminating pain at any cost, is a dangerous temptation that might make me fall. I don’t need people around me that only judge by the world’s standards. The easy way is not always the right way.”
Many of you here with some years experience know that what Jesus says is true! Success in life requires a willingness to resist the lure of the easy way. A sound body requires that you exercise, eat the right foods, and conquer bad habits. A sound mind requires that you read, that you observe, that you continually learn, instead of resting on a handful of pet convictions handed down from grandma and grandpa and never expanded or enlarged. A sound marriage requires that each partner goes into it with the understanding that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition, but a 70/30 one, in which both partners give 70. A sound family means that we will take the time to be sensitive to the needs of our children, that we provide not only for their physical needs, but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. Such goals require sacrifice, they require perseverance…Every one of us knows that the path to personal success is the path of self denial. And why should we do this unnatural thing, take the hard way, pick the cross, say no to our inclination to ease. Because our Lord has loved us the hard way, the godly way, the right way; no one who looks on that cross would ever complain when God asks us to sometimes take the hard way. After all, Jesus did not come to make life easy. Jesus came to make human beings great People of Faith!

God You Are the Source 8-28-2016

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

I think Jesus was a first class people watcher. One day he was invited to be a guest in the home of a Pharisee. When it came time for dinner, he began watching closely the other guests’ behavior. He watched all the jockeying for position to be number 1. When all were seated, Jesus gave them a piece of his mind. What he had to say was much more than a lesson about table manners. In essence Jesus said, “It’s a foolish thing to waste your time and energy trying to look important.”
In thinking about this statement, I believe there are a couple of important considerations to keep in mind:
A. Jesus never discouraged the desire for greatness . . . He encouraged it. It was never human littleness that Jesus stressed, but human grandeur. “You are the light of the world; you are the salt of the earth.”
B. His philosophy was: try hard to achieve. Do something significant with your gifts; be the best person that you can possibly become.
Where then do we get out of focus in this area? Let me suggest this:
1. Most of us don’t make a big fuss about the seating arrangements at banquets, but we are still masters in the gentle art of self promotion. We have these neat tricks that we use to elbow our way up to the head table of life.
(a.) One of them is criticism of others; fault finding in others is almost always an attempt to cover up some weaknesses in ourselves. If we can’t climb to the top, we can accomplish something of the same result by pulling others down. We need to remember that we can never promote ourselves by putting down other people. Invariably the opposite happens. Life just moves us down to a lower seat and we gain the reputation of a small minded, critical, jealous person.
2. Another common means of self-promotion is boastfulness. What a waste of time. No person is as boring and unconvincing as the one who continually talks about his or her achievements. There is something about arrogance that just doesn’t make sense, and we all know it. Whatever we are and whatever we’ve accomplished, it has required the love and help of God and a lot of people. Our best posture should be gratitude. (Sports personality, thank you God)
Let me close with this statement: If you really want to be important, stop worrying about where you are seated at the Banquet of Life and just get up and start waiting on tables. God, you are the source of all we have . . . thank you!
Now, that’s where true humility starts!