Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

Do You Love Me? 5-5-2019

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

Our Gospel this Sunday reminds us again of some powerful good
news. It’s what I call the episode of the second chance. Now it is
important that you remember who was there in those boats. Jesus’
disciples. You know, the ones who fled when he was arrested. The
ones who, when he needed a bit of comfort, fell asleep on him. The ones
who, when the going got tough, abandoned him. And there, too, was
Peter, the leader, who figures so prominently in this story. He was there.
Remember, he denied even knowing Jesus.
It is to these that Jesus appears. And he has a question. And it is
urgently important that we realize what the question is not. His question
is not “What have you done?” His question is not “Who were you in the
past?” His question is not “Have you reformed?” His question is not
“Do you remember your sins?” His question has nothing to do with the
past and everything to do with the present. His question is simply “Here
and now, do you love me?”
“Do you love me?” That’s all Jesus is interested in. Let bygones
be bygones. Let sins be forgotten. Let mistakes be put aside. Let 2
stupidities be buried. Let hurts be unrecorded. Let betrayals be
unmentioned. All that matters is, “Right here, right now, do you love
Can you sense the drama of this very personal gospel, the absolute
forgiveness implied in the question, the total love of the Questioner?
Can’t you sense that this gospel lives? That on this Sunday morning, at
this liturgy, here and now, Someone is asking the only question that
matters in your life and mine. He is asking, “Do you love me?” It’s the
gift of the second chance. Never mind the past. “Today , do you love
me?” This is why this gospel was saved by the faith community. It was
saved for people like ourselves who also needed to know the Stranger is
on the shore of our lives as we toil with empty nets and that, above all,
the Stranger comes with a question and a challenge.
“Do you love me?” If you do, go forth from this church and love
others. Start with your family first. Give someone a second chance. Is
there someone you know who needs to be reminded that our God does
not say – Why did you? How could you? Our God says here – start
over. Try again. Try again.

Breaking Down Barriers 3-24-2019

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

I. The Gospel story points us to one of the main works of Jesus – something we are called to do-
Breaking down barriers that divided the human family.
Some of these barriers are very real today.
II. First Barrier – was a Racial Barrier.
This woman was a Samaritan – Samaritans were regarded as an inferior race; scum of the earth. Jews had no respect for them; only distrust.
Jesus walked right through the Barrier like it did not exist. He saw a person made in the image of God. Centuries of History said they were adversaries. But Jesus paid no attention.
She was a Human being hurting and needing some help.
That’s all He saw!
III. The Second Barrier – was a Social Barrier.
He was talking to a woman – they could not believe it. This was an extremely male dominated society. Women were definitely 2nd class citizens and worse.
To Jesus – Each and every person was important. He shared some of his deepest spiritual insights with women; this woman was important to Him.
IV. The Third & Final Barrier – was the Barrier of Religion
People were fighting over where the proper place of worship was supposed to be. My mountain versus your mountain; my temple is better than yours.
A Religious Tug a War!
This battle was not bringing people closer together. Jesus emphasized that no one has exclusive claim to God – God cannot be contained in one place or controlled by a group of people. We cannot box up God in any one set of Doctrines.
With Jesus the important thing was not where or so much how you worship. But does worship connect to our hearts?
V. In Closing –
If we really want to follow Jesus – if we want to be the church, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions regarding these barriers that Jesus tried so hard to break down.
1. Do we label people – this or that because of their nationality or skin color. Because they speak a different language. Because they are not like us – labels that prevent us from getting to know them as human beings.
2. A good question for us to ask as Church – Do we still treat women as second-class citizens?
3. Do we use our religious beliefs as a club to beat up other religions?
4. What barriers do we need to break down right now in our families, in this parish that are dividing us?
May our prayer this week – be this:
Lord, give us the courage to look at what divides us and the strength to do something about these Barriers with your help. AMEN.

Are We Ready to Let God Empower Us? 1-27-2019

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

In a book called, If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries, the reader is invited to see the world through the eyes of a five or six year old little boy.
If I were in charge of the world, he says: “I’d cancel oatmeal! I’d cancel allergy shots! I’d cancel Monday mornings.”
If I were in charge of the world, he says: “There’d be brighter night lights, healthier hamsters and basketball baskets forty-eight inches lower.”
If I were in charge of the world, “you wouldn’t have lonely, you wouldn’t have bedtimes, or ‘Don’t punch your sister!’ You wouldn’t even have sisters.”
If I were in charge of the world, a chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable, and a person who sometimes forgot to brush, and sometimes forgot to flush would still be in charge of the world!
Question: What would you do if you were in charge of the world? Jesus gives His answer in today’s Gospel lesson. Luke tells us that Jesus, “With the power of the Spirit in Him,” went into the synagogue, as He usually did on the Sabbath Day, and read this passage from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for He has anointed me. He has sent me to bring
Good News to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor!”
What do we proclaim to this world – we who call ourselves Catholic Christians? What do we proclaim with our words – with how we live our everyday lives.
I have people all the time say, what a sorry state our world is in today.
My response:
We can’t put the blame on Christ and Christianity. We have to blame ourselves in part, especially if we are merely card-carrying Christians – that is, Christians who claim to believe in Christ, but are uncommitted to his causes.
G.K. Chesterton was right when he said: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
So it is not enough to be moved emotionally by Christ’s inaugural speech today; we have to do something about it. We have to seek out the oppressed and outcasts and support their quest for justice. We have to reach out to the unwanted and unloved and reaffirm their dignity. We have to listen to the cries of the wounded and poor and lift them up with compassion.
If we don’t believe in Christ’s causes, then we shouldn’t stand up and recite the Creed. But if we do believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and if we believe in committing ourselves to him, then we should stand up with conviction and courage and proclaim the Creed! Then go live it as best we can.
I close with this image –
A boy and girl returned to the girl’s home after their first date. Standing at the front door, the boy asked, nervously, “May I kiss you?” No reply. Again he asked, “Can I kiss you?” No reply. A third time, “Can I kiss you?” Still no reply. “Are you deaf?” said the boy. “Are you paralyzed? The girl replied.
Are we ready to let God empower us to do what we need to do to be one of God’s servants today or as the young girl asked, are we paralyzed?