Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

Being a Disciple 5-7-2017

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

A word that comes up a lot in these post Easter Scriptures is the word Disciple – Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ. The best definition I have ever heard of what a Disciple of Jesus Christ is, “is a person who tries to follow Jesus, makes a lot of mistakes, but comes back and tries again and again.”
A person who makes this definition come alive for me was Peter, the first Pope. Picture with me Peter, Mr. Enthusiasm…the Charlie Hustle of the New Testament, jumps in with both feet, “There ain’t no mountain high enough – no valley too low – that I won’t follow you Lord. I won’t fail you – I am committed.”
A little while later Peter, Mr. Whishy Washy, “I don’t know this Jesus – you have mistaken me for another person – I’ve got to go, I am a busy person – this suffering and dying stuff is too much for me. I want to be part of a winner.”
If we explore the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles a little bit more, we meet Peter, the Cheer Leader. A sales person for God – Mr. Committed again, calling people forth to be Baptized. To make a personal commitment, “It’s worth it,” he says. He proclaims the crucified and risen Christ as the source of his strength and power.
A Disciple… a person who tries to follow Jesus, makes a lot of mistakes, but comes back and tries again and again. YOU…ME… A Disciple…2017. Yes! Maybe. No!
(Go out to people and look up to Altar Area.)
“What is this Guy talking about Lord? Me be a Disciple? No way! If he only knew about the real me. If he knew what I did last night, or what I think about that person two rows in front of me. If he knew about the conflict in my family, or the trouble in my marriage. If he knew some of my secret thoughts, or old grudges that run so deep. If he knew that I am only here because my mother is making me, or that I have a secret plan to sneak out during communion. If he only knew my doubts…if he only knew.
I close with this thought; I truly believe that our God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows how inadequate we are, how awful and hurtful we are to each other at times. God has heard every possible excuse we can make when it comes to following Him.
Today, Peter and other Disciples like him remind us that our God is very willing to work with and thru our weaknesses and inadequacies. God has given Peter and the others a second, third chance. God is willing to give us endless chances if we let it happen. God will not give up on us – let’s not give up on ourselves.
A Disciple – a person who tries to follow Jesus, makes a lot of mistakes, but comes back and tries again and again.

Lightning Strikes 3-26-2017

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

Years ago, a boy was collecting berries in the woods near his Southern home. He was concentrating on filling his bucket – and mouth –with the delicious fruit and not paying attention to how deep he was going into the forest. The boy didn’t notice the dark clouds forming on the horizon. Then he heard crashes of thunder. Suddenly he realized that he was lost. Darkness enveloped the woods. The terrified youngster started to run with no sense of where he was going.
Then he remembered what his parents had taught him: When you’re lost, stop and be still, look around, and listen. So the boy stopped running and stood still. And he observed the lightning strikes illuminating the forest landscape. With each lightning flash he was able to see a bit farther ahead and walk a little closer to his destination until he found his way home, guided by the storm that had, at first, frightened him.
“Seeing” and “light” are key images of today’s Gospel for this Sunday in mid-Lent. Jesus cures a man born blind – but the greater miracle is opening the eyes of those around him to “see” the presence of God in their midst. Terrified of the storm, the little boy remembers his parents’ wise advice: Stop and look. See the light and make your way towards it. The Christ of Lent is that light that illuminates those times and places in which we can realize the love of God in our midst. Like the Jewish leaders and the temple officials, we sometimes become so obsessed trying to find God where God is not that we fail to see God where God actually is. We desperately want to know where God is when tragedy befalls us; we live our lives taking comfort in the erroneous notion that God is found only at certain times, in the rituals and pious practices our religion specifies. The reality is that God is most profoundly present in the simple, ordinary doings of life, in the kindness and love of others, in life itself and the gifts of the earth to sustain that life. May God grant us the vision that the blind man receives in today’s Gospel: to see the love of God present in all things.

Blessed Are You 1-29-2017

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Picture This. Jesus pulls up a metal folding chair in the parish hall or takes a seat on the couch in the living room and begins to teach:
“If you’re struggling to pay the bills, but insist on making time to be with your children whenever they need you, blessed are you – you may never own the big vacation home and the Lexus, but heaven will be yours.
“If you are overwhelmed by the care of a dying spouse, a sick child or an elderly parent but you are determined to make a loving home for them, blessed are you – one day your sorrow will be transformed into joy.
“If you willingly give your time to cook at a soup kitchen, vacuum the church, help in a classroom; if you befriend the uncool, the unpopular, the perpetually lost, blessed are you – count God among your friends and biggest boosters.
“If you refuse to take shortcuts when it comes to doing what is right, if you refuse to compromise your integrity and ethics, if you refuse to take refuge in the rationalization that ‘everybody does it,’ blessed are you – you will triumph.
“If you try to understand things from the perspective of the other person and always manage to find a way to make things work for the good; if you’re feeling discouraged and frustrated because you are always worrying, always waiting, always bending over backwards, always paying the price for loving the unlovable and forgiving the undeserving, blessed are you – God will welcome, forgive and love you.
“If you struggle to discover what God asks of you in all things; if you seek God’s presence in every facet of your life and every decision you make; if your constant prayer is not ‘give me’ but ‘help me,’ blessed are you – God will always be there for you.
“If you readily spend time listening and consoling anyone who looks to you for support, for guidance, for compassion; if you manage to heal wounds and build bridges; if others see in you graciousness, joy and serenity; if you can see the good in everyone and seek the good for everyone, blessed are you – you are nothing less than God’s own.
“If you are rejected or demeaned because of the color of your skin or the sound of your name; if your faith automatically puts you at odds with some people; if you refuse to compromise to ‘get along’ or ‘not make waves,’ blessed are you – one day you will live with God.
“Rejoice and be glad,” Jesus tells those who have gathered, “you are the blessed of God. In the end, heaven is yours.” Remember this.