Archive for the ‘28th Sunday’ Category

Lord, What Must We Do? 10-14-2018

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

I. Let me tell you a little more about the young man in the Gospel story.
This young man who came to Jesus was no teenager. He was a successful young businessman—a sales rep for his company living in a large all-brick home in one of the fashionable subdivisions on the growing edge of town, one with underground utilities, a neighborhood pool and tennis courts. In his garage are a two-year-old Jeep Cherokee and a new Lexus. He’s proud of his attractive wife and two active children. But still he’s searching.
He is well-schooled in manners and morality. When Jesus tells him to keep the commandments, “Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steel…” he answers that he has kept the commandments from his youth. He has everything going for him. He is smart, he is responsible, and he is on his way up in the world. Why, then, does he feel so empty? Maybe he should start his own business, try skydiving, and learn karate. He isn’t sure what he needs. But he needs something. His heart is a shell. He feels restless, unfulfilled, as if it is all a meaningless game. Maybe this itinerant teacher could give him the answer, What must I do?” asks the young man with great earnestness, “to inherit eternal life?”
This young man is being challenged by Jesus to do some serious soul searching. To ask some very hard questions about his life and what fills his life. What gives him meaning?
This Gospel is about Priorities.
II. A. What or Who is at the Center of our lives?
What or Who is first and foremost in our lives?
What or Who ranks number one in our value system?
What or Who do we turn to in our quest for fulfillment, our search for happiness, or desire for peace of mind and heart and soul?
What or Who?
B. For the man in the Gospel, money was the answer to most of these questions. And that is why he went away so sad.
C. What would I answer? What would you answer? I guess because I am a priest you would expect my answer to be God. Sometimes it is, sometime it isn’t. When it isn’t, there is that empty feeling inside me—just like this young man I introduced you to, had in his heart.
III. I don’t think that Jesus meant that money—possessions were evil in themselves. Rightly used, money and things can be a blessing. But when they give us a false sense of security, they become dangerous. When our possessions possess us—we are headed for trouble.
Some few years ago, the world mourned the death of Mother Teresa. She had devoted most of her life to helping the poorest of the poor. The people of Calcutta called her “the Saint of the Gutters.” Money meant nothing to Mother Teresa except a chance to help. A pope once gave her a nearly new Lincoln Continental. She never got in it. Instead, she sold it and used the money to start a leper colony in West Bengal. In 1970, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That included a large amount of money. She gave every penny of it to feed the poor.
Fr. Andrew Greely wrote an article about Mother Teresa for Newsweek magazine. He told of riding in a cab with her one hot day in June. The ride lasted an hour. And the two of them just chatted about various things. Looking back on that hour, his most vivid memory is the radiance and glow of Mother Teresa. He said: “She was the happiest human being I had ever met.” Who says you can’t buy happiness? It all depends on how you spend the money.
A question for this week: Who or What is the Center of our lives? Who or What?
LORD, WHAT MUST WE DO???

The Pig & The Chicken 10-15-2017

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Huey Long was a very colorful Louisiana politician who had hopes
of running for the presidency in 1936. He began as an unschooled farm
boy and ended up in the governor’s mansion, one of the most popular
politicians in the history of the state. Long was born in the central part
of Louisiana, and when he first campaigned for governor he was given
some advice about the voters in the New Orleans area. “South Louisiana
is different from the northern part of the state,” he was told. “We have a
lot of Catholic voters down here.”
Long nodded knowingly and went out to make his speech. It
began, “When I was a boy, I’d get up at six every morning, hitch our old
horse up to the buggy, and take my Catholic grandparents to Mass. I’d
bring them home and then I’d take my Baptist grandparents to church.”
The speech was a rousing success. Afterwards, a New Orleans
political boss said, “Huey, you’ve been holding out on us. We didn’t
know you had Catholic grandparents.”
Huey looked at him slyly and said, “We didn’t even have a horse.”
Don’t let anyone mislead you. Around the banquet table of God
there won’t be Baptists, or Catholics, or Methodists. There won’t even
be a head table reserved for the very saintly. There will only be sinners
for whom Christ died. Everyone is invited, that’s the good news. Here’s
the bad. You see, the RSVP requires commitment and a serious effort to
change.
This invitation of Jesus – to each one of us – is freely given – no
pressure – no strings. Some of us will accept and some won’t – too busy
– too risky. There are a lot of excuses. The man in the gospel accepted
Christ’s invitation, but that was all. No enthusiasm after that, no serious
effort to change – to draw closer to Jesus Christ.
Like myself, some of us here were baptized, made First
Communion, were ordained or married, but also some of us have made
no serious effort to deepen our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Being in relationship with Jesus Christ means a lot more than a bumper
sticker on our car, “I Love Jesus” or a St. Christopher’s medal around
our neck or a Catholic badge, saying I am proud to be a Catholic.
Being in a relationship with Jesus Christ may require us to change
our lifestyle. Forgive someone who hurt us, stop cheating on our family
or in school. We may be challenged to readjust our priorities, let go of
some bad habit or certain friends that gets us in trouble.
Lord, help us remember often that we are all invited to be part of
your life, your church. May we have the courage to accept the
invitation, the strength to change and grow, the faith and trust that you
are by our side through it all, and the wisdom to make a commitment to
You – Source of Life (no matter how many times we have no said, “no
thanks,” before, we can say, “yes,” now.
I leave you with this:
The story is told of a pig and a chicken who are walking past
Saint Angela’s Church one Sunday morning…
Says the chicken to the pig, “You know, over the years, those
people in there have been very nice to us. I think we ought to do
something nice for them.” The pig replies, “Good idea, what do you
have in mind?” “I think we ought to have a big banquet,” says the chicken.
“I’m all for that,” says the pig. “But what shall we serve them to
eat?”
“Bacon and eggs,” says the chicken. Not on your life says the pig.
“For you, that’s just a contribution. For me, it’s a total commitment.
RSVP – to Jesus Christ – It’s never too late.

A Grateful People 10-9-2016

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

There was once a stonecutter 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 stonecutter began to feel he was missing out on something in his life. “I wish I were a merchant with such fine things,” the stonecutter thought to himself.
Amazingly, the stonecutter’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 stonecutter 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 stonecutter-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 stonecutter came along and began to chisel away at him.
And the mountain wished to be a stonecutter 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 stonecutter 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.