Archive for the ‘27th Sunday’ Category

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!