Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

The Good Shepherd 5-12-2019

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

For most of us I think it is safe to say this image of the Shepherd is not
something we see very much everyday. It was a very common scene in
the early Church: – it is a common scene in the Middle East. People in
the early Church could really understand what was involved in being a
shepherd. It was very real and earthy to them. The Biblical figure of the
Shepherd – has been romanticized a lot in paintings, pictures, Holy
Cards, “rosy cheeked young men – among pure white fluffy sheep on
beautiful green hillsides – very serene and peaceful.”
I did a little research into what Shepherds were like in the Time of
Jesus. It was a very lonely, dirty, dangerous job – that could not be
managed from a distance. Shepherds lived among the sheep in the filth
and stench – the lives of the sheep were their primary concern. A sheep
sometimes wandered far off from the others – when it got lost and could
not find it’s way back, it would simply lie down where it was and refuse to budge – the shepherd would search out for the lost sheep – carefully
pick it up and carry it home. There was a personal relationship between
the Shepherd and each individual sheep. They were not just numbers.
I believe this image of the Shepherd points us to God. God is
not squeamish; God will not run away when things get messy in our
lives; – God’s hands are dirty (not lily white); God’s clothes are stained
with waste, mud and blood – the waste, mud and blood of our roller
coaster lives. This God gets in the middle of the mess with us.
Does the mess magically disappear? Not most of the time; but
there is a sense we are not alone and that helps us get through it. A key
question for us; Are we afraid to share our messes with God?
How does this shepherding image of God come alive? Become real to
people – Today –
I believe most of the time thru people – we are called to be shepherds
for each other. We are responsible to pick each other up when we are
down.
“I thought just priests and ministers were shepherds – no we all are if
we call ourselves Christian and mean it.”
“Don’t we need special skill and talents – training to do this? No! We
need a caring heart, a little common sense and a few less excuses.
“What about when you don’t have the answers or solutions to people’s
problems? You don’t know what to say or do. Just listen and just be
there for them.
I close with a story I am sure we all have heard;
A man dreamed he died and went to heaven and there was met
by Jesus. The man had lived a long Christian life, but it had not been
without some time of great trial and tribulation as well as those times
of joy and victory. As he met with Christ, the man was given a
panoramic review of his life – all the highlights and low periods. In
the review of his life one of the things that continued throughout were
his footsteps along the sands of time.
The man noticed that at those times in his life when it had really
been rough there was only one set of footprints – not two as in the
good times. The man turned to the Lord and said, “Lord, I don’t
understand. You promised to be with me always. But when I look
back now, I see that in those really rough times there was only one set
of footprints. Lord, why did you leave me then?”
The Lord looked at him, smiled and said, ‘Leave you? I didn’t
leave you at all. Dear friend, if you look at the one set of footprints
carefully, you’ll notice they are a little deeper than the others. Those
were the time I was carrying you.”

THE “HOT COAL” OF ANGER 3-31-2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

It had been ten years since her divorce, and she was still angry, still envisioning some kind of vengeance, desperate for some way of evening the score.
Finally, her ever-patient rabbi told her: “Look at what you’ve been doing all these years. You’ve been standing here in Massachusetts holding a hot coal in your hand, waiting for your ex-husband to walk by so you can throw it at him. Meanwhile, he has been living happily in New Jersey with his new family and you’ve burned your hand while waiting.”
The word “forgiveness” comes from the Greek word meaning “to let go”. That is the heart of forgiveness: letting go—letting go of our desperate grasp of the past so that we can turn toward the future with hope.
The older brother’s resentment and anger makes it impossible for him to move on. Forgiveness is about building the future, about healing the past in order to live joyfully and meaningfully in the present. The prospect of getting even is seldom worth what it does to us as human beings. It’s not a matter of being saintly, but sensible.

Jesus calls us to embrace the example of the prodigal’s father: to let go of our anger and embrace—for our own peace—the possibilities for reconciliation with our “prodigal” sons and daughters.

Love Never Passes Away 2-3-2019

Friday, February 1st, 2019

The story goes that one time a very prominent person in California died. He stood before the beautiful gates of heaven, hoping to get in, but a large angel stood at the gate and would not let him pass. “To get in,” said the angel, “you must show that you accomplished something significant, something really important in your life on earth.”
The man breathed a sigh of relief, because he had accomplished many things. “Well,” he said, “I feel I accomplished a lot. For one thing, I went to school and got excellent grades. After high school I went to the university on a scholarship, and all the teachers admired my work. I ended up graduating with highest honors, and writing a book.”
“That’s nice,” said the angel, “but I’m talking about a significant accomplishment. One that doesn’t pass away with time.”
The man was a little shaken, but not really frightened. He had done many other things. “Well, while I was in college, I played soccer. I was probably the best player that school ever had. I got to play in the Olympics and our team all won gold medals.”
“That’s nice,” said the angel, “but I need to know if you accomplished anything significant in you life – something that doesn’t pass away with time.”
The man began to perspire a little bit. “Well, holy angel,” he said, “I was blessed with good looks. I was very handsome, and had my pick of all the women in the world. Finally I ended up marrying a movie star. All the magazines and newspapers reported how beautiful our wedding ceremony was.
The angel tried to hide a little yawn. “How nice,” the angel said, “but did you do anything in life that was really important – something that wouldn’t pass?”
The man was now getting frightened. “Well,” he said, “after I was done with school, I started my own engineering and construction company. We built great bridges. We built mighty freeways. We built tall sky-scrapers. I made millions of dollars and lived in a palace. They even named a town after me.”
The angel shrugged. “I’m very sorry,” the angel replied. “All those things you’ve mentioned are nice, and perhaps even interesting…but they’re not important. They’re not what you need to get into heaven. They all pass away.”
And then the man remembered the reading form St. Paul, that we had today. Faith, hope and especially love, never pass away. And he looked back at his life, and it all seemed so different now. All those accomplishments he had thought were so important now seemed not so important. He felt confused and ashamed. “Well,” he said, “once, a long time ago, I gave an apple to a young girl who had nothing to eat.”
“At last!” The angel smiled, “something really significant. You wasted most of your life, but thank God you didn’t waste all of it! You did accomplished one important thing. Enter the kingdom of God!
Brothers and sisters, let’s not waste our time and energy on earth, but let’s devote ourselves to doing things that last.
Remember, love never passes away!