Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

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!!

The Teens Who Knew Where To Stand 4-15-2018

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

In a local church community, some of the teens complained that the only time it seemed that they were needed or noticed was when there was cleanup after social events. Their wise youth ministry coordinator challenged them to come up with a solution. Their solution changed their community.
For five weeks in a row, at the same time and same door, the same pair of teens would gather at the three entrances of the church. As some of the “regulars” and others would arrive, the teens would extend their hands with a smile and announce, “Welcome to our church”. After dismissal, the faithful would leave by the same route, being greeted again by the same teens, who thanked them for their attendance.
By the third week, smiles appeared on the faces of the adults and families who were greeted by these teens with their familiar chant. This continued for two more weeks, with pats on the back, more smiles, and much feedback to the pastor.
The sixth week, the teens did not show up at their assigned spots. They were still at church, but in the pews with their own families. What do you think the question was in the pews that morning? Where are those teens?
Parishioners soon found out as they walked to their cars in the parking lot after Mass. They discovered printed invitations on their car windshields that simply read, “Did you miss us? Come to the hall?” Curious now, many parishioners went back into the building, where they passed between two rows of teens giving them a standing ovation.
That church community hasn’t been the same since. Many creative ministries are happening there now, all kick-started by the teens who knew where to stand.

Breaking Down Barriers 3-4-2018

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
A good question for us to ask as Church – Do we still treat women as second-class citizens?
Do we use our religious beliefs as a club to beat up other religions?
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.