Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

Make Time To Laugh 12-13-2015

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Many of you have seen the show TV Bloopers, they are hilarious. I have read about newspaper bloopers, how one word can change so much. I would like to share with you some parish bulletin bloopers. I think they are great!
Don’t let worry kill you – Let the Church help.
Thursday Night – Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
The service will close with “Little Drops of Water.” The cantor will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.
The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

I started my homily this week with these because I have experienced so many people stressed, anxious, grumpy, mostly over getting ready for Christmas. This Sunday (formerly called Guadete Sunday – Rejoice) with its pink candle reminds us that no matter how dark it might be in our lives, that no matter how anxious or grumpy we might feel, for whatever reason, no matter how depressing the world situation might be – the light, the joy of God will never leave us. We need to hold on to this Good News and we need to rejoice today. We need to smile – we need to laugh – right in the face of hard times. Maybe this will help:
The late great humorist, Erma Bombeck, told the story of what happened to her in Church one Sunday…
“I was intent on a small child who was turning around and smiling at everyone. He wasn’t gurgling, spitting, humming, kicking, tearing the hymnals, or rummaging through his mother’s handbag. He was just smiling.
“Finally his mother jerked him about and in a stage whisper that could be heard in a littler theater off Broadway said, ‘Stop that Grinning! You’re in Church!’ With that, she gave him a belt and, as the tears rolled down his cheek, she added, ‘That’s better,’ and returned to her prayers. We sing, ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!’ while our faces reflect the sadness of one who has just buried a rich Aunt who left everything to her pregnant hamster.
“Suddenly I was angry. It occurred to me the entire world is in tears, and if your not, than you’d better get with it. I wanted to grab this child with the tear stained face close to me and tell him about My God. The happy God. The smiling God. The God who had to have a sense of humor to have created the likes of us. I wanted to tell him he is an understanding God. One who understands little children who turn around and smile in church, and even curious little children who rummage through their mothers’ handbags. I wanted to tell that little child that I too have taken a few lumps for daring to smile in an otherwise solemn religious setting.
“By tradition, I suppose, one wears Faith with the solemnity of a mourner, the mask of tragedy. What a fool, I thought, this woman sitting next to the only sign of hope – the only miracle – left in our civilization. If that child couldn’t smile in church, where was there left to go?”
Let me close with this: There is an organization of business people who donate their time visiting hospitals – especially children’s hospitals. They go to these hospitals as working “Clowns” – here is a portion of their special prayer:
“Lord, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair. Never let me grow so big that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that I am a clown, that my work is to cheer people up, make them happy, and make them laugh. And in my final moment, may I hear you whisper, ‘When you made my people smile, you made me smile!’”
Finally, when you are going over your gift list, don’t forget these gifts:
1. The gift of laughter
2. The gift of a smile
3. The gift of joy brought on by a phone call, card, or a short visit
4. A sense of healthy humor
5. Giving a gift to ourselves – not to take ourselves too seriously.
With that in mind, what do you get when you cross a praying mantis with a termite? – A bug that says grace before it eats your house.
Thank you. (REJOICE)

Road Builders 12-6-2015

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

The little boy is scheduled for surgery the following morning. He is understandably scared. Late that night before the procedure, a nurse comes in to check on him. He is awake. Seeing the tears in his eyes, she sits on the corner of his bed and lets him talk about his fears. She explains not only what will happen but why. She answers his questions with honesty and assurance. After a while, the little boy understands. He’s still anxious, but the road is now a little smoother…
He’d be perfect for the sales opening. He has been invited in for an interview with the sales manager. Before the meeting he calls a friend who works in human resources. The friend tells him what he knows about this company and their culture and what they typically look for in sales associates. They study the company’s website together and the HR pro points out what to note about the company and what to talk up in the interview. He also helps his friend update and tune-up his resume. By the end of their time together, he’s ready for his meeting and a possible new beginning on the road of his life…
She was working on her psychology paper when she got the call from her mom. Her beloved Nana had died. Though not a complete surprise, she was still devastated. Her roommate made coffee and took her up to the dorm roof, where they sat and talked. Actually, she talked and the roommate listened. The roommate knew what she was going through because the roommate had lost her grandmother the year before. Her roommate’s empathy helped her negotiate, for the first time in her young life, the hard journey down the road of grief…
I would like to leave you with this thought: John the Baptist, that we hear so much about this week and next, came to fulfill Isaiah’s vision of the prophet: to “make straight” a highway to God, to create a level road for all of us to travel to the kingdom of God. We may have forgotten this, but because of our baptism, we take on that same role of prophet 2015 to create passageways and entries of hope, healing and support for all of us to complete our journey on the road to God’s dwelling place. Road builders: the nurse, the human resources friend, the roommate, every one of us sitting in this church today. Road builders to God!

You can count on me, God!” Deacon Patrick Conway 12-21-2014

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

1. It’s four days away from Christmas Eve, and millions of children all over the world have made their gift wishes known to Santa Claus. Some have seen him in person and sat on his lap, others have written him letters. Some have even sent him emails! I saw at least a dozen websites where you can send Santa an email and he’ll send you one back.
2. It’s fun to play the wish fulfillment game, but we have to be careful to remember that it’s just a game. Real life isn’t that way, and real spirituality isn’t that way either. To treat other people as if they exist only to give us what we want is to treat them as less than human. And to treat God as if he exists only to fulfill our wishes is to treat him as less than God.
3. Let me give you an example that illustrates what I’m talking about. What if I decided that I wanted to work for Microsoft? I’d send Bill Gates an email and say, hey Bill, I want to work for you, so give me a job. I’d like to work out some ideas that I have for some new Windows apps. I want to get paid $100 an hour plus benefits. And, Bill, I really don’t want to move to Seattle and all that rain, so I’d just like to work out of my home, and I’d like to work as much or as little as I want each week.
4. Let’s just say that Bill Gates actually reads my email and responds. Is he going to say, “Sure, Patrick, whatever you want!”? Probably not! At best he might invite me to apply for a job that’s available and see if my skills match what they’re looking for. If they did, they’d make me a job offer that included how much and where they want me to work and what they are willing to pay me.
5. That’s because Microsoft has a vision and a plan for fulfilling that vision, and they’re really only looking for people who are willing to serve that plan. Why would they be interested in anyone else? It’s naïve to think that it’s all about me and what I want. If I go to work for them, I’ll be serving that master.
6. Sometimes we treat God like Santa Claus, as if he exists only to give us what we want. But (and I hate to say this) God is actually a little more like Microsoft. Like Bill Gates, God has a kingdom, a vision and a plan for fulfilling that vision, and he’s looking for people who are willing to serve his kingdom, vision and plan. But all too often our vision is way too small and self-centered. We tell God what we want, then when he doesn’t give it to us, we think that he doesn’t care for us or that he doesn’t really exist. So we go off on our own, making plans and choices to fulfill our vision for our life. And we wonder why things don’t work out the way we wanted them to, and why getting what we want doesn’t always make us truly happy and fulfilled.
7. Today’s Gospel shows us the way life is supposed to work, the way things really are. God sends the angel Gabriel to Mary and tells her, “God has a plan to save the human race from its stupidity and sins, and, Mary, you have an essential part in that plan. Here’s what your part is.” Mary asks a respectful question, “How is this going to happen?”, but she doesn’t question God’s plan, as outlandish and impossible as it sounds, not does she try to negotiate an alternative plan, and she doesn’t even mention what she wants out of life. She simply says, “You know I serve God’s kingdom, vision and plan, so God can count on me.”

8. Mary is often called the first disciple, and she is certainly the role model for all disciples. What she does is so simple that it is often overlooked and undervalued. But what she does is the essence of all discipleship. She understands that God is God and she is not. She is the creature created by God to do what God made her to do. That is her understanding of reality. Everything in her life serves that basic truth. And she knows that God is good and that he loves her, and that his plan is good, so she trusts him with her happiness and fulfillment. She knows that giving herself to God’s plan for her life is going to be the smartest thing to do. With God, and only with God, will she find the happiness and fulfillment that she most deeply desires.
9. And how did that work out for her? Well, she had to endure a lot of pain, suffering and loss. But in the end, the meaning and value of her life far exceeded her wildest dreams. Her happiness is greater than any of us can imagine, and the Catholic Church declares her to be the greatest human being of all time and the greatest human dispenser of God’s gifts and graces. She’s huge!
10. And, while it worked out great for her in the end, she didn’t do it for that reason. She simply did what God had for her to do, in her time and place, to the best of her ability, and God used her mightily to fulfill his plan of blessing for the entire human race and for all of creation.
11. And this is how it can be for each one of us. Unlike Bill Gates, God actually has a job for each one of us. Each of us has an important part in God’s plan to save human beings from stupidity, sin and unnecessary suffering, and, like Mary, we’ll discover our true greatness and happiness in living out our part in our time and place to the best of our God-given ability. If we don’t know what our part is, then we need to ask God to show us. “God, I know that you love me and have a wonderful plan for my life. Please show me what it is and give me the grace to accept it with all my heart. You can count on me, God.”
12. This is what it’s all about. Because Mary accepted and lived out God’s plan for her life, we got Christmas, including Santa Claus. Most importantly, we got Jesus, who died for our sins so that we could live with God and Mary and all the saints and Gabriel and all the angels in heavenly happiness forever.
13. What will happen, then, if each one of us does what Mary did? We’ll never know, and the world will never know, unless we try. “God, I know that you love me and have a wonderful plan for my life. Please show me what it is and give me the grace to accept it with all my heart. You can count on me, God.”