Archive for the ‘Cycle B’ Category

Watch, Listen, & Believe 12-10-2017

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Let me to take you on a little journey to a Big, Busy, Shopping
Mall. Let me introduce to you someone.
He caused quite a commotion among the shoppers at the mall.
Many dismissed him as annoying nut. He was dressed in a tattered
flannel shirt and jeans. No one knew where he spent the night, but he
was seen rummaging around the dumpsters for scraps of food from
Orange Julius and McDonald’s. Every day he could be found by the
beautifully lighted fountain near the mall’s food court. Despite his
ragged appearance and that slightly “off” look in his eyes, there was a
kindness and sincerity about him that drew people to him.
He would ask them why they would spend so much money for
Christmas, why they would allow themselves to become so obsessed and
stressed out over this tinseled holiday. “We like our Christmas with a lot
of sugar, don’t we?” he would tease. But Christmas is about hope and
love, he said – and that can be a struggle. Give gifts of kindness and
compassion to each other. Seek forgiveness from family and friends
who may be lost to you. Let the spirit of the Christ Child embrace every
season of the year, not just December.
Those who listened would nod in agreement as he spoke – even as
they tightened their grips on their shopping bags. Some were moved to
quit shopping and go home to be with their families, others would go off
and buy an extra toy or piece of clothing for charity; a few would even
be moved to escape to a church or chapel for quiet prayer.
Sometimes he would rail against the insipid music and the gaudy
decorations. When the mall Santa would walk by, he would make fun of
him, asking the embarrassed Santa pointed questions about the real
Christmas story.
Soon, though, the storeowners had had enough of his distractions.
The mall managers had security escort him from the premises.
He wasn’t really hurting anyone, they realized.
But he had to go, they said.
He was ruining everyone’s Christmas.
“He Had to Go”. John the Baptists 2016. They come in all ages,
sizes, shapes, colors, sexes and backgrounds. What do they do? They
tease, they challenge, they poke us, and they point us to Jesus. To Jesus’
way of life.
Pray with me today, Advent 2016, that we will not be blind to the
John the Baptists that come into our daily lives. Believe me – they will
come. Watch, Listen, and Believe.

The Best I Could With What I Have 12-3-2017

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

I saw a movie once where there was a man being pulled in 2
different directions. One arm being pulled by an angel in a white outfit
with wings. The other arm pulled by a devil all equipped with a red
outfit and horns. “Do this,” one would say. “No do not, do that,” the
other would shout. The guys head was spinning and spinning.
I feel like this guy when I start thinking about Advent and
Christmas. Bring up 3 people to help demonstrate being pulled apart.
A. On one side the Church is pulling, reminding me it is Advent
again. Blue vestments, Advent wreaths, four candles, and special
environment. A time of patient waiting. Special preparations for the Re-
birth of Jesus in our life. All good stuff.
B. On the other side, Christmas carols 2 days after Thanksgiving,
advertisements everywhere, “buy this, buy now, pay later”, Christmas
decorations and parties and Santa Clauses everywhere. It is like we
skipped from Thanksgiving to Christmas in one day. Being pulled apart.I know for me I want to use the next 3 or 4 weeks, we call Advent,
to deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to be more aware of
where Christ is present in my everyday life.
I also know I will get caught up in the Christmas frenzy. That will
be ok and a lot of fun. With that being said, I want Christmas to be
different this year.
I remember one Christmas a few years back that was very different
for me. My perspective was changed by an automobile accident. 5
innocent and unsuspecting people were killed in a head-on collision.
(Snap fingers) It shook me and many others. I thought to myself, “that
could have been me”. “That is the same road I travel to go see my mom.”
It could have been me. This experience caused me to ask myself some
significant questions. Maybe I need to ask them again during Advent
2012? Perhaps you could ask them to yourself?
1. Has my life on the earth made a difference for the better?
2. Am I doing the best I can to develop and share the gifts and
talents God has given me?
3. What are my priorities? Are God and my family in the top 3?
4. Are there relationships or some area of my life that needs
healing? Needs to change for the better?
5. The final question. Do I need to forgive someone? Do I need to
forgive myself? Do I believe God could never forgive me?
Pick one or two of these questions and spend a few minutes
thinking about your answers. Be honest. Ask God to help you make the
changes you need to make now! Those few minutes might be the best
way to make Christmas different this year. Pray for me as I try to do this
and I will pray for you.