The Best I Could With What I Have 11-27-22

November 24th, 2022

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
2022? 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.

Lucky Thing 11-20-2022

November 19th, 2022

Ever had the experience – I know I met this person somewhere
before but I don’t remember where or when. Then it all clicks, I
remember.
Somewhere in heaven. When they first crossed paths, they didn’t
notice one another. It was only after sitting side by side at the same
dinner table several evenings in a row that they started turning their
heads a second time so as to almost say, “Don’t I know you from
somewhere?” Neither said anything. Then one evening they found
themselves facing one another across the table. Their eyes could not
help but meet and their faces had similar scars.
Finally, one said, “I’ve been noticing you for some time now. You
look so familiar, but I can’t place where we may have met. I thought
maybe it was in prison somewhere, but it wasn’t, because I never forget
a face I knew there.”
“Funny you say that, I had a similar feeling about you, but I can’t
place you. Anyway, my name is Joseph” – and he reached out across
the table to shake hands. When they clasped, they both remembered
immediately. The scars on the hands from the imprint of the nails – they
remembered their crosses!
“Now I remember you,” Joseph said. “We were crucified with that
fellow, Jesus.”
“That’s right,” Samuel piped in. “I’m surprised to see you in
heaven. You said some pretty rotten things to Jesus.”
“I know. I was scared senseless, but didn’t want to let go of my
macho image, so I took it out on Jesus.”
“Well, how did you get in here saying those things?”
“When I heard you admit your crime and ask for Jesus’ help, I
knew that’s really how I felt in my heart, but couldn’t find the words.
Lucky thing for me Jesus paid more attention to my heart than to my lips
that day.”
On this Feast of Christ the King, We are All very lucky people.
That Jesus, our Lord and God, pays more attention to our hearts than to
our lips. Lucky thing!

Count On It 11-13-2022

November 10th, 2022

One night in 1983, over 100 million television viewers saw the
movie The Day After. Filmed in Lawrence, Kansas, it portrayed what
that city would be like after a nuclear attack.
Just before the film began, a warning flashed on the screen, saying,
“Because of graphic portrayal of nuclear war, this film may be
unsuitable for children. Parental discretion is advised.”
The warning was well given. For during the next 128 minutes, the
movie showed shocking scenes of death and destruction. The script, too,
was shocking and disturbing. It made us realize that the possibility of a
nuclear attack was greater than we had ever imagined.
The words and images of today’s gospel are reminiscent of the
words and images of that film.
Jesus portrays for us, graphically, the destruction of Jerusalem and
the Temple. For Jews, the destruction of these two things was
equivalent to the end of the world.
Precisely for this reason, the Church uses this gospel passage as
one of its readings for the end of the liturgical year. It wants us to reflect
on the end of the world.
It wants us to reflect on that moment when the world, as we know
it, will pass away.
It wants us to ask ourselves, “How prepared will we be for that
moment when it comes?”
A few stories to help us reflect…
John was a building contractor for a construction company. His
specialty was large luxury homes.
To increase his income, John routinely cheated on the materials
that went into the homes. He was so clever at concealing these shortcuts
that he joked to a close friend that even he couldn’t detect his own
shortcuts.
Sometimes his cheating reached such a proportion that the
homeowners were in fairly serious danger because of the under
constructed electrical systems and the like.
The building contractor’s shortcuts were especially dangerous in
the final home he built. Even he worried about some of the things he did
in that home.
You can imagine his utter consternation, therefore, when the
company gave the contractor this home as a retirement gift. It would be
the home in which he and his wife would spend the rest of their years.
How is this story a parable of life? What corners are we cutting in
our life, figuring nobody will be the wiser for it? Speak to God about
the shortcuts in our life.
In April 1987, Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was returning by
plane to his home in Dallas. Suddenly he began to sweat and have
difficulty breathing. The thought flashed into his mind: “I’m having a
heart attack!” He summoned a flight attendant and was given oxygen.
When the plane landed, he was rushed to a hospital.
Later, Mantle told an Associated Press correspondent about a
dream he had while he was in the hospital.
“I dreamed I died and went to heaven. Saint Peter greeted me. I
said, ‘I’m Mickey Mantle.’ He said, ‘Really? Come in, God wants to
see you.’
“I went to see God, and he said, ‘We can’t keep you here because
of the way you acted. But do me a favor and sign six dozen baseballs.’”
When the humor of Mantle’s dream subsides, truth emerges: No
one will escape God’s judgment, and no one will get VIP treatment in
that judgment.
What frightens us most about standing before God in judgment?
Speak to God about this fear, and ask God how we can overcome it.
I would like to close with these few words, think of them when you
start worrying too much about anything. Especially about when the end
of the world might happen.
If God were to drop us a postcard today, I think he might write,
“My dear sons and daughters I love you in Jesus more than you can ever
know. Through the human nature of my son I share all of your life with
you – even the sickness and failure and pain, even the final cross and the
knowledge of death. Not all, or even many, of the crosses you will put
up with in life are of my making. Believe me, I grieve over them just as
much as you do. But in the midst of it all, I will be there. I will be there
with you. I will be there for you. And a relationship will be forged
between us that earth and time and heaven and hell will never be able to
break. I love you. True, bad things are bound to happen – but never the
worst. I will always have you, and you will always have me. Count on
it!”