Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

God is Waiting to be Found 4-19-2015

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

The disciples ran to Jerusalem with exciting news.
“We just saw Jesus,” they exclaimed.
The others crowded around to get the details. They all wanted to know how he looked. And you would have thought that these two people who had just seen Jesus would have remembered how he looked, but they could not do it. What was wrong with them?
All they could say were things like:
“He looked like a father stretching out his hands to his prodigal son and his older brother.”
“He looked like he did when he laid his hands on all the sick, restoring them all to health.”
“He looked like he did when he took Jairus’s daughter by the hand and brought her back to life.”
“He looked like the apostles when they distributed those five loaves and two fishes to those five thousand hungry people.”
“He looked like the hemorrhaging woman who reached out her hand and touched his cloak and was healed.”
“He looked like the woman who washed his feet with her perfume and was blessed with his forgiveness and peace.”
“He looked like the widow with hands folded in prayer, seeking justice from that corrupt judge.”
“He looked like he did on the night before he died when he took bread and broke it saying, ‘This is my body to be given up for you. Do this as a remembrance of me.’”
So this is how they described Jesus’ appearance. And every time after that, whenever they saw hands reaching out to touch the lives of others, they saw Jesus alive.
I close with this story: A little boy was playing hide-and-seek with his friends. For some unknown reason they stopped playing while he was hiding. He began to cry. His old grandfather came out of the house to see what was troubling him and to comfort him. After learning what had happened, the grandfather said, “Do not weep, my child, because the boys did not come to find you. Perhaps you can learn a lesson from this disappointment. All of life is like a game between God and us. Only it is God who is weeping, for we are not playing the game fairly. God is waiting to be found, but many have gone in search of other things.”
In so many ways, the risen Christ is in our midst, present in the love, charity and goodness of others, in the Sacrament of Eucharist, in God’s Word – Broken and Shared, in the Community of Faith Filled People and in moments of Grace and Prayer. Unfortunately, we often do not realize it.
May our celebration open our hearts and spirits to recognize Christ among us in every season of our life. “Lord, help us not to miss you. Amen.”

The Teens Who Knew Where To Stand (6pm Youth Mass) 4-19-2015

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

In a local church community, some of the teens complained that the only time it seemed that they were needed or noticed was when there was cleanup after social events. Their wise youth ministry coordinator challenged them to come up with a solution. Their solution changed their community.
For five weeks in a row, at the same time and same door, the same pair of teens would gather at the three entrances of the church. As some of the “regulars” and others would arrive, the teens would extend their hands with a smile and announce, “Welcome to our church”. After dismissal, the faithful would leave by the same route, being greeted again by the same teens, who thanked them for their attendance.
By the third week, smiles appeared on the faces of the adults and families who were greeted by these teens with their familiar chant. This continued for two more weeks, with pats on the back, more smiles, and much feedback to the pastor.
The sixth week, the teens did not show up at their assigned spots. They were still at church, but in the pews with their own families. What do you think the question was in the pews that morning? Where are those teens?
Parishioners soon found out as they walked to their cars in the parking lot after Mass. They discovered printed invitations on their car windshields that simply read, “Did you miss us? Come to the hall?” Curious now, many parishioners went back into the building, where they passed between two rows of teens giving them a standing ovation.
That church community hasn’t been the same since. Many creative ministries are happening there now, all kick-started by the teens who knew where to stand.

Easter People 4-5-2015

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

I came across an article about a parish in Lafayette section of Jersey City. They were involved in an unusual Good Friday procession. The parish wanted to connect the sufferings of Christ to the sufferings of their neighborhood. Several of the 14 stations in the outdoor procession were at the homes in the neighborhood where muggings, fires, murders, had taken place over the last year.

A. The station where Simon helps Jesus carry his cross took place at the home of a teenage boy who risked his life to help a man who had been mugged and left for dead.

B. The 12th station marking the death of Jesus, was held in the front of the house of Francis McMahon, an 84 year old woman who was murdered in her own home 3 weeks before Good Friday.
I thought to myself what a creative and powerful way to link together the suffering, pain and death of Jesus with the suffering, pain and death of the world you and I live in today.
I also thought to myself about a follow up article, about real living Flesh and Blood experiences of Easter Resurrection today! What would I write about? What would you write about?

A. I would write about the very old women I visit occasionally who is not able to do much except sit and rock: who was given up for dead at least 3 times by the doctors and family: yet every time I go there to bring her Communion, this woman’s faith in a living God, her spirit and joy in the face of pain and loneliness inspired me. I leave having received more than I gave her.

B. I would write about the 18 year old young man who died of Aids recently. He developed Aids because of a blood transfusion. He was dealt a very unfair and unjust hand in life. He could have chosen to be bitter and angry and feel sorry for himself, but instead he taught me and others some powerful lessons about compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.

C. I would write about many of you, yes you! You who have had to face tragedies, sickness, deaths, divorces, loss of jobs, family problems, crisis of your children, becoming parents of your parents; various addictions, the list goes on and on.

In the face of all these dark realities, I see and I hear you complain, you struggle, you get frustrated, you get angry, normal things human beings do. Yet I see you also continue to try to live your lives like there is some good news of hope and joy. You remind me and others that Jesus Christ is not a memory from the past generations. Jesus Christ is a living presence and surely as he walked with those first disciples on the trails of Palestine, He goes with us on the modern streets and freeways of our life.
Easter People. That’s what I would entitle my article. To be Easter People, the challenge, not just today, but every day. People whose lives, not just their mouths (in church) radiate (not perfectly but as best we can) the living presence, the hope, the joy, the peace of Jesus, risen and alive right here right now. Let us recommit ourselves to being Easter People. Renew Baptism Vow