Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

Leave Us Alone 1-28-2018

Friday, January 26th, 2018

As Jesus was preaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, a poor crazy man created a scene. He cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” In effect what the man was saying was, “Leave me alone! I’m no good. I’m evil. I’m not worthy of love or care.”
It’s a cry we hear more than once in the Gospel from people who believed they were possessed by devils. “Don’t meddle with us. Leave us alone. Don’t try to change us”. They recognized that change is painful. Whether they were actually possessed by devils we do not know. But what we do know is that they were sick, broken, isolated, unloved people, who had no dignity and whose self-worth was nil.
There are many such people in our world today – in our prisons, in our psychiatric hospitals, and on the street. Any of us can be caught in some desperate situation. At least the man in the synagogue didn’t try to hide how he was. He came to Jesus. Jesus wasn’t put off by his desperate cry. In the cry, “Leave me alone!” Jesus heard a cry for help. And he cured him. People find it hard to admit that they can’t manage their problems. Pride tells them: I should be able to handle my own problems. Recognition that there is a problem is the first step towards rehabilitation. The acknowledgement of our weakness and need would open the way to recovery. It’s the courageous ones that ask for help.
Psychologists tell us that sometimes people don’t really want to be cured. Why is this? Because a cure can be painful – it involves a process which requires a lot of change, and all change is painful. The idea of recovery can even be terrifying.
Often we are afraid to talk about something that is hurting us. We keep it locked up inside us where it festers. We may not say, “Leave me alone”, but that is what it amounts to: “You wouldn’t know, you couldn’t possibly understand.” Unvoiced suffering is more harrowing than suffering that cries aloud.
Shortly after the birth of her son a young mother discovered that he was blind. She called her family together and said, “I don’t want my child to know that he is blind.” She insisted that from that point on everyone should avoid using words such as ‘light’, ‘color’, and ‘sight’. The child grew up believing that he was like everyone else until one day a strange girl jumped over the garden wall and used all the forbidden words.
The story symbolizes much of our behavior. Many of us seek to hide what is strange and painful, and to act as if things are normal. We act as if we had no problems, no abnormalities, no pains, no wounds, no failures. The urge to hide is very powerful, and can be more harmful than what it tries to conceal.
I close, when we have the courage to face our problems, new creative energies became available to us. Fear, shame, and guilt often make us stay in isolation. It is by showing our wounds, by allowing ourselves to touch and be touched that we are healed. It is in our brokenness, our woundedness, that God the Holy can heal us – if we give God a chance. Will we give God a chance?

Impossible 12-24-2017

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

In a lot of homes I’m sure there are certain words we do not allow
to be used; vulgar words, bad words.
I was in a home where the mom had an allergy to the word “Hate.”
It could be as simple as, “I hate spinach,” or more serious as, “I hate my
teacher.” This word would bring a lengthy dissertation about how
unhealthy that word was.
There is a word I believe God doesn’t care for. It’s not a swear or a
vulgar word; it is an everyday word that people misuse terribly. The
word is “IMPOSSIBLE.”
Yesterday we said,
1. It’s impossible for people to fly.
2. It’s impossible to make boats that travel underwater.
3. It’s impossible for someone to walk on the moon.
4. It’s impossible for the Berlin wall to come down.
5. It’s impossible for Russia and the US to ever be friends.
6. It’s impossible for the Red Sox to win the World Series.
Today we say:
1. It’s impossible for the Jews and the Arabs to make peace.
2. It’s impossible to get rid of gang violence.
3. It’s impossible for California to absorb all these new immigrants.
4. It’s impossible to find a cure for AIDS.
5. It’s impossible to create a society where no one goes without basic
food and shelter.
6. It’s impossible for Father Ron to lose weight.
God scorns that word and the attitude behind that word, God who
alone is wise.
A person might say:
1. It’s impossible for me to get over my grief and move on, especially
during the holidays.
2. It’s impossible for me to deal with my addictions.
3. It’s impossible for me to temper my self destructive vice.
4. It’s impossible for me to make peace and develop as a healthy human

But today these voices who shout the word “Impossible” are
contradicted by an angel flying down from heaven, and the old post
menopausal lady swelling with life, and the teenage Virgin Mary with
the word of God resting in her womb. These three join together to say:
“If it is the will of God, then it’s possible–nothing is impossible with
God. Let us remember! Let us Believe!

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.