Archive for the ‘27th Sunday’ Category

Divorce 10-7-2018

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

I. Our Gospel speaks very bluntly about Divorce (Easy to skip over it) – I am going to try to share with you a few points of reflection that have helped me understand the scripture better.
A. It is very important to hear these words of Jesus in their historical context and not as applied directly to anyone’s present day situation. These words do not apply to all people who have ever had a marriage fail –it was the Pharisees that raised the issue of divorce in order to trick Jesus – to get him in trouble.
1. You see many of the people were already married when they became followers of Jesus. In some cases a husband or a wife became a follower of Jesus while their spouse did not. Somewhat misguided some of the followers of Jesus felt compelled to get away from their non-Christian partner – so they divorced them. This became a scandal in the Church, people divorcing otherwise devoted partners over religion and feeling righteous about it. Now, apply the words of Jesus to the situation and you get something different from what we thought we were hearing. I hear it now as a challenge to misguided piety – a self-righteous attitude – Jesus says is has to STOP!
II. There will always be a gap between the ideals of following Christ and our everyday human reality. There is Tension!
A. What do we do about it?
1. Do we throw out the ideal that the marriage commitment is forever especially when it gets too hard – too difficult? I think Jesus’s answer would be NO.
2. On the other hand, do we treat people who get divorced like dirt, like second class citizens? I think the answer of Jesus would again be NO.
We try our best each day, as Pope Francis says, to offer compassion, support, and create an environment where all people feel like they belong, even when we do not get to the ideal.

I want to thank you. Those of you that have struggled and battled to stay married, to keep the different commitments you have made. I look at all you go through. I hear your stories. You inspire me to keep striving towards the ideal in the midst of my human weakness.
I want to apologize to any of you that have gone through a divorce as a couple or as a family, if our Church or any Church person has treated you rude or has slammed the door in your face.
For those of you who have experienced a divorce, and have kept your commitment to Christ and the Church, I sincerely thank you. You have not given up on God and the Church, even if you felt that the Church & God may have given up on you.
I close:
Hear this, the door is open, you are welcome here. I extend to you a personal invitation and ask you to pass this invitation on to others. Let’s sit down and talk. It’s time to heal. We sing about it – Our God is a God of Second Chances. We must together try to make that message come alive in this place in this time.

The Way To Peace 10-8-2017

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

St. Paul urges the Philippians not to be anxious. He tells them,
“There is no need to worry”. This may seem an unreal piece of advice.
There is no way to avoid all worry. Good and sincere people are naturally
worried about many things. It is part of the burden they carry precisely
because they are people who care, who care abut loved ones, and many
other things.
But Paul is not talking about normal concerns. He is talking about
anxiety. Nothing is more debilitating or fruitless than anxiety. Of itself it
does nothing to solve our problems. Rather, the opposite is the case. By
dissipating our energy, anxiety weakens us and makes it more difficult for
us to find a solution to our problems.
The root of anxiety is lack of trust – lack of trust in oneself, in others,
and especially in God. Hence, the first piece of advice Paul gives the
Philippians is to pray. They must learn to commit their cares to the Lord:
‘If there is anything you need, pray for it.’
He is not suggesting that prayer should take the place of action. Nor
is he implying that their prayers will always be answered. What, then,
does prayer do? Prayer implies a willingness to do what we can, and then
to leave things in the hands of God. To accept what happens then as his
will, even though we may not understand it.
Then Paul tells his readers to think positively. People who are over
anxious tend to think very negatively. They imagine the worst scenario.
This is disastrous. We must concentrate on the good, not on the bad.
Many people devour the newspapers every day. It’s hard to read the
newspapers these days without coming away depressed, so full are they of
bad news. Instead of filling our minds with all kinds of trash, Paul says,
‘Fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble,
everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honor,
everything that can be thought virtuous and worthy of praise’. The power
of positive thinking is well known.
However, it is not just a question of thinking nice thoughts. We must
try to do these things. Thoughts alone will not suffice. We must pursue
goodness in our actions. Paul says, ‘Keep doing the things you have
learned from me’.
In Jesus’ parable of the vineyard a lot of ugly things happened. But
evil does not have the last say. In the end good triumphs. This shows us
that there is only one way to overcome evil, and that is with good. Jesus
didn’t answer evil with more evil. He triumphed over evil by good.
If we do what we can, and put our trust in God, then Paul assures us
that ‘the peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’.
Peace comes, not from having an easy and tranquil life. We can have
peace even in the midst of struggle and turmoil provided we are on the side
of right. Then the God of peace will be with us.

Mustard Seed Faith 10-2-2016

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

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 snores and 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!