Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

God Is There 4-30-2017

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Six-year-old Andrew Bateson came down with bacterial meningitis, an aggressive disease that almost cost the little boy his life. In order to save Andrew, doctors had to amputate his legs where the disease had destroyed his circulatory system. Andrew was devastated when he discovered what had happened to him; Andrew couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have his “old legs back”.
His mother, Rebecca, wasn’t doing much better. She tried to keep up a positive disposition for her son—but she wondered how Andrew would handle the next chapter.
And she felt betrayed—betrayed by God.
After months of agonizing rehabilitation with his new prosthetic legs, Andrew finally went home.
Then one night at supper, out of nowhere, Andrew said, “I saw God, Mommy. I was sleeping at the hospital. He put his arms out, and I thought he was going to give me a hug. But instead he just touched me on the shoulder”.
His mother steeled herself. “Did God say anything?”
“No, he was just….there”.
A chill ran down his mother’s spine. Rebecca writes: “[God] was just there. What did that mean? I looked at Andrew, wolfing down his dinner. For months I had seen a handicapped child, a damaged child, fighting as hard as he could, failing more often than succeeding in his rehab. Falling down, unable to master his new legs. Yet, unlike me, never turning bitter, never giving up. “I’m going to walk, I’m going to ride my bike”, he’d insist, “You just watch”.
And Rebecca realized: “Andrew came through this better that I have. He was moving on. I was stuck in my bitterness and sense of betrayal…Had God been there all along for me too, and I was just too angry to see? Was he there for me now? Lord, thank you for being with Andrew. Be with me now, too”.
In closing, remember this: The Risen Christ is here, in our midst, in the love of family and friends, in the care of doctors and nurses, in the support of pastors and ministers, in the wisdom of teachers and counselors. The disciples on the road to Emmaus finally realize his presence in the breaking of bread; Rebecca finally grasps God’s presence in the unshakable, determined faith of her little boy. Every one of us has traveled the road the two disciples walked on Easter night; many of us have made the journey that Andrew and his mom and dad traveled. It is the road of deep disappointment, sadness, despair, anger. But God assures us, in his Easter promise, that along those roads he will make himself known to us. If our eyes are open, we will meet him in his Christ: in the compassion and generosity of others, in the breaking of bread and the healing touch of the sacraments, in the grace and wisdom of his Spirit in our midst. May our hearts and consciences always be open to behold the presence of Christ, our guest and companion along the many roads we walk to our own Emmauses.
His mother asked, “Did God say anything?” Andrew answered, “No….He was just there”!

Breaking Down Barriers 3-19-2017

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

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.

The First Disciples of Jesus 1-22-2017

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The time was now. Jesus decided he was ready to choose his twelve apostles. Just advertising in the newspapers didn’t seem thorough enough. So Jesus decided to hold an Olympics from which the twelve would be chosen. The people came from all over. The competition was fierce. Jesus had to judge all the events.
First came the prayer event. People had practiced and it showed in the speed with which they could recite the words. Some articulated the words with utmost precision. Some used big impressive words. Still others expressed lofty ideas. But when it came time for a winner to be selected, Jesus chose none. There didn’t see to be any heart in their prayers. They were just words.
Second came the worship event. These contestants, too, had done their homework. Some wore beautiful garments. Some used lots of incense. Some emphasized music. Others incorporated gestures. But again, when it was selection time, there was no winner. There didn’t seem to be any heart in worship. It was too showy.
Third came the teaching event. This was a prepared group. Some came with elaborate posters. Some came with long, well ordered talks. Some came with DVD players. Others came with their small groups to demonstrate process. Again, no winners. There was no heart in teaching. The methods seemed more important.
So, the Olympics ended. No winners, no apostles. Exhausted after his long exasperating ordeal, Jesus went down to the lake to cool off and relax. Then the miracle happened. He saw people fishing. Now there were some people who put their hearts into what they were about. So he chose them!
Remember… the first disciples of Jesus were ordinary people. They weren’t great public speakers, scholars, kings or saints. They weren’t presidents, theologians or ordained ministers. They were fishermen. A tax collector. Common field workers. Who, by God’s power, and their openness, made great things happen! What about us – Could great things happen through us? Yes — By God’s Power and Our Openness!