Archive for the ‘2nd Sunday’ Category

If You Love Enough 1-20-2019

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

I had the privilege to be part of some weekends called Engaged Encounters. On these weekends two married couples would share a great deal about their married life with about thirty engaged couples. I listened and learned a lot from these married couples. I was impressed with how hard they worked at staying married.
On this weekend when we read about the marriage feast at Cana, I would like to share with you two brief stories about two married couples that also really touched me.
She fought bravely and valiantly, he always at her side. But after eight years, cancer took her life. After the funeral, he was cleaning out the drawer near her bed and found a piece of paper she had written. It was a sort of love note. It looked a little like a schoolgirl’s daydream note about the boy in the next row. Except that this note was written by the mother of seven children, a woman who had been battling for her life until the end. It was also a wonderful prescription for holding a marriage together. This is how her note to her husband began. Loved. Cared. Worried. Helped me when I was sick. Forgave me a lot of things. Stood by me. Always complimentary. Provided everything I ever needed. Warmth. Humor. Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Always there when I needed you. And the last thing she wrote sums up all the other. Good friend. He folded the paper and placed it in his wallet. Sometime later he was talking to a friend about her. He showed him the paper. The friend, a much younger man, was deeply moved by the note. The friend asked, “How do you stick by someone through 38 years of marriage, let alone the sickness too?” “How do I know I’d have what it takes to stand by a wife if she got sick?” And he replied simply and quietly. “You will.” “If you love enough, you will.”
A strong self-reliant ranch owner, who did not very often express his emotions outwardly, had to rush his wife to the hospital. A ruptured appendix. The ensuing operation was successful, but the woman’s’ condition deteriorated. Despite the blood transfusions and intensive care, she continued to lose strength. The doctors were puzzled because by all medical standards she should have been recovering. They finally were convinced of the reason for her deterioration. She was not trying to get well. The surgeon, an old family friend, went to her and said. “I would think you would want to be strong for John.” She replied weakly. “John is so strong he doesn’t need anybody.” When the doctor told the husband what she had said, he immediately went into his wife’s room, took her hand in his and said. “You’ve got to get well!” Without opening her eyes, she asked, “Why?” He said, “because I need you.” The nurse who was monitoring the blood transfusion said she noticed an immediate change in the pulse beat and the blood pressure. Then the patient opened her eyes and said, “John, that’s the first time you ever said that to me.” Two weeks later she was home. The doctor commenting on the case said it wasn’t the blood transfusion, but what went with it that made the difference between life and death for that woman.
In closing, I would like to ask any married couple present here to stand. I would like to thank you for the hard work you put into your Sacrament of Marriage and I would like to offer you a special prayer of Blessing for you both. God, you have called woman and man to become “one flesh.” What a great sign of your love for us. Send your spirit, O God, upon those today who passionately proclaim their love for each other. May they always remember that the energy and power source of their relationship lies in fidelity and commitment to you. May they inspire all of us to pledge ourselves more deeply to our own promises, and our own vows to live in love. May these two lovers dance to the music of Christ. Amen.

Road Builders 12-9-2018

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

The little boy is scheduled for surgery the following morning. He is understandably scared. Late that night before the procedure, a nurse comes in to check on him. He is awake. Seeing the tears in his eyes, she sits on the corner of his bed and lets him talk about his fears. She explains not only what will happen but why. She answers his questions with honesty and assurance. After a while, the little boy understands. He’s still anxious, but the road is now a little smoother…
He’d be perfect for the sales opening. He has been invited in for an interview with the sales manager. Before the meeting he calls a friend who works in human resources. The friend tells him what he knows about this company and their culture and what they typically look for in sales associates. They study the company’s website together and the HR pro points out what to note about the company and what to talk up in the interview. He also helps his friend update and tune-up his resume. By the end of their time together, he’s ready for his meeting and a possible new beginning on the road of his life…
She was working on her psychology paper when she got the call from her mom. Her beloved Nana had died. Though not a complete surprise, she was still devastated. Her roommate made coffee and took her up to the dorm roof, where they sat and talked. Actually, she talked and the roommate listened. The roommate knew what she was going through because the roommate had lost her grandmother the year before. Her roommate’s empathy helped her negotiate, for the first time in her young life, the hard journey down the road of grief…
I would like to leave you with this thought: John the Baptist, that we hear so much about this week and next, came to fulfill Isaiah’s vision of the prophet: to “make straight” a highway to God, to create a level road for all of us to travel to the kingdom of God. We may have forgotten this, but because of our baptism, we take on that same role of prophet 2018 to create passageways and entries of hope, healing and support for all of us to complete our journey on the road to God’s dwelling place. Road builders: the nurse, the human resources friend, the roommate, every one of us sitting in this church today. Road builders to God!

The Desert & the Mountain 2-25-2018

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

This Sunday’s gospel and last Sunday’s gospel speak to us about two geographical spots: the desert and the mountain.
We need to stand in both spots during Lent, the desert and the mountain.
In the desert, we encounter the devil, we face our guilt and the evil that abounds in our world. The Christian life is impossible without the desert.
But it is also impossible without the mountain top where we can breathe fresh air and see everything in a new light. It is good for us to be on the mountain, where we can see and listen to God in a new way.
Let me share with you a true desert/mountain top story.
They had just moved into their new house in a residential section of Syracuse, New York. That morning, Mom left early to take her teenage son to work. She backed out of the garage and pressed the remote to bring down the door. “What’s THAT?” the teenager cried out as the door closed. She turned around and faced the door. There, in foot-high, hot pink letters, someone had spray painted: KKK. DIE NIGGER.
They sat there stunned. She called her husband, who was out of town on business. “Honey, you have to report this.”
The sheriff came over immediately. He was surprised at how calm she was. “You should be taking this more seriously,” the sheriff advised.
“I take it very seriously,” she told the sheriff. “But I’m not going to get hysterical, and I’m not going to be afraid.”
While her teenage son understood the hate behind the words, the two younger children did not. “Why did someone write this on our house? What does it mean? Whoever did this doesn’t even know us! How can they be so mean?”
Torn between anger and sadness, she wished she could shield her young sons from prejudice forever. But she knew she couldn’t. “We mustn’t return the hate. It’s not up to us to judge them. We’re called to love others despite them. Whoever did this wants us to be upset. Well, we’re not going to be. We’re going to pray for them so that maybe they’ll come to know God too.”
Not five minutes later, a newspaper reporter came with a photographer. Then a television crew arrived. They were mystified as she told them what she told her boys: “I don’t hold anything against whoever did this. God teaches us to forgive.”
The family’s new neighbors started to stop by to offer their support and express their anger and regret at what had happened. Someone brought flowers, another brought a cake. Not only were they meeting their new neighbors, but they were hugging them.
Later in the afternoon, a young man and woman arrived in work clothes and carrying paint, soap and buckets. “We heard about what happened here,” they said. “Is it okay if we help clean things up?”
Before long, everyone was involved in the project. Buckets were filled with soapy water, sandpaper was applied – and as the hate-filled words were washed away, a spirit of community and friendship blossomed in their place.
The power of the Good News- Our God is greater than any evil we can imagine. Before long everyone was involved in the project.