Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

Breaking Down Barriers 3-24-2019

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

INTRODUCTION
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?

Remember You Always Walk With God 12-16-2018

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

A few weeks before Christmas, a woman who lived in a New York apartment building found a greeting card taped to her door. “Merry Christmas from the custodial staff”, it said.
“How nice”, she said to herself and promptly forgot about it. A week later she came home to find another card taped to her door. It was the same message, “Merry Christmas from the custodial staff”. But this time stamped right in the middle in big red letters, were the words, “Second Notice”!
Many of us are terribly forgetful. We immerse ourselves in our daily tasks of life as we must-we can forget almost anything: birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, our bank balance, our glasses. You name it, we forget it. We make lists so we won’t forget and then we forget the list.
But our forgetfulness isn’t limited just to the little things. We forget the big things as well; who our real friends are, what really matters in life, who loves us, who needs us, what we were made for. We just forget.
I believe that is why we need to gather here – week after week; to help each other remember who we are, remember what really matters, and remember that we aren’t walking this long road alone. We’re walking it with the Lord who is right at our side.
And what is this Lord like who walks at our side? Does God walk with us as a critic? A police officer? A judge? Or maybe just an impartial observer? In fact the Lord is none of the above.
The Lord walks with us as a partner and mentor who wants to see us succeed and who understands that it’s going to take us a while. Now what more could we ask? How can we not celebrate and rejoice as today’s liturgy urges us. How can we not be confident and hopeful and put all fears behind us. After all, God is with us and for us!
And there’s still more. Having God walking with us as partner and mentor gives us the opportunity to be in close conversation hourly. With simple words like, “Well, Lord, what do you think about this?” Or, “Lord can you help me see this clearly?” Or simply, “Help, Lord, I can’t do this one alone.” Those are the kinds of words that partners and friends speak very often.
All of that is what we have to come together here to remember. First, remember to rejoice and forget all your fears because God is with us. And second, remember to listen to and talk to God about the real stuff of our lives because God cares more than anyone else…and God knows the way home.
I would like to close by sharing with you my idea of what God’s special Christmas card would say to each one of us;
“Remember what you’ve seen me do”, says Jesus. “…the blind see, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, and dead men raised to life”. If you’ll let me, I’ll do the same for you”, he says. “I’ll heal what is sick in your spirit, if you’ll let me”.
“I’ll open your eyes and your ears so that you’ll know what really matters so you’ll know that happiness and peace are available to you everyday, even on the worst days. I’ll show you that and let you experience that, if you’ll let me.
“I will not insulate you from adversity, challenge, or pain. But I will always see you through them, and never let you come to ultimate harm. I’ll take you by the hand, and raise you up; I’ll help you to walk and I’ll walk with you until your journey is complete, if you’ll let me.
“All that is my promise to you, my solemn pledge. And I will not take it back”, says the Lord. We have a lot to rejoice about today! Don’t we!!