Instruments of Peace, Who Me? 7-3-2022

June 30th, 2022

Lord, we hear today that You sent many others out before us as
instruments of Your peace, and I am told that You want all of us here to
be instruments of Your peace; I am feeling a little overwhelmed by all of
this and so I have to ask, where do we begin?
A woman was standing on a curb, waiting for the light to say
WALK so that she could cross the street. Directly across from her on the
opposite curb was a girl of about 17. She too was waiting for the light to
say WALK so that she could cross the street.
The woman couldn’t help but notice that the girl was crying. In
fact, her grief was so great that she made no effort to hide it. For a
moment their eyes met. It was only a fleeting glance, but it was enough
for the woman to see the terrible pain that filled the girl’s eyes. Then the
girl looked away.
At that moment the light changed. Each stepped off the curb into
the street and started across. As the girl approached, the woman could see that she was quite pretty, except for that terrible grief in her face.
Just as they were about to meet, the woman’s motherly instincts came
rushing to the surface. Every part of her wanted to reach out and
comfort that girl. The desire was all the more great because the girl was
about the same age as one of her own daughters.
But the woman passed her by. She didn’t even greet her. She just
passed her by. Hours later the pain-filled eyes of that girl continued to
haunt the woman. Over and over the woman said to herself, “Why
didn’t I turn, fall in step with her, and say, ‘Can I help?’ But I didn’t. I
walked on by. Sure, she might have rejected me and thought me a nosey
person. But, so what! “Only a few seconds would have been lost, but
those few seconds would have been enough to let her know that
someone cared. But, instead, I walked on by. I acted as if she didn’t
even exist.” I have been reminded many times that a person in need does not
always need a great expenditure of our energy, or our time, or our
money. What they need most is a simple and sincere sign that we care Our Scriptures this week, last week and next week, do not invite us
to go out, risk our lives, and become religious heroes or superstars; they
invite us to reach out, risk our pride, and become humans; they invite us
to ask sincerely, “Can I help?” Instruments of Your peace . . . “Can I
help?” – that is where we begin

Finding Joy in Sobriety 6-26-2012

June 19th, 2022

How could anyone who has struggles with alcoholism stay sober
for a dozen years and suddenly go on a bender? Yet it happens again
and again. A recovering alcoholic, who has all but destroyed his or her
life once already, sets off again down the same path of self-destruction.
For a long time, the medical community could not understand how this
could happen. But after many years of study, psychiatrists discovered
how. Those who move from abstaining to the joy of sobriety seldom
return to drinking. But until they make the transition from struggling to
abstain to embracing sobriety, they are vulnerable.
We tend to think of faith as a series of passive “thou shalt not’s,” a
list of things we promise to avoid to stay on God’s good side. But true
discipleship is a matter of “thou SHALL,” actively and intentionally
embracing the justice, peace, compassion and forgiveness of the Gospel.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls those who would be his disciples not to
look back with regret or fear to what we leave undone but to look
forward to the possibilities we have to create and build the reign of God
in our own time and place.


The DCC 6-19-2022

June 16th, 2022

In the November 1998 issue of Food & Wine magazine, writer
Gerri Hirshey tells the story of her grandmother’s “special ministry” to
her family:
“As a child, I often watched my tiny Italian grandmother,
Geraldine, board a city bus cradling a mason jar of hot minestrone. This
meant that someone – Uncle Carmine, Aunt Antoinette – was down. It
didn’t matter whether they were felled by the flu, a feisty gallbladder or
the evil eye. Having heard the alarm, Nonnie (our name for grandma)
tied on an apron and started banging soup pots.
“For nearly half a century, Nonnie was the Designated Soup
Carrier (DSC) for a sprawling Neapolitan network of family and friends
in Stamford, CT. Somewhere between a field medic and a shrink, a
DSC is found in many cultures and is usually female. In the midst of
crisis, her prescriptives are basic and sustaining: Stop a minute. Taste
this. Life is good.”
Nonnie’s daughter Rose – Gerri’s mother – eventually became the
DSC for her brothers and sisters and their families; now, granddaughter
Gerri has assumed the duties of DSC for her generation. The Designated
Soup Carrier’s in Gerri Hirshey’s family model Jesus’ vision for the
Sacrament of the Eucharist. Nourished and sustained by the food we
have received, we become nourishment and sustenance for others. Out
of love, Christ gives us himself in bread and asks us to become, in our
love, bread for others – Designated Christ Carriers (DCC).
Here are several examples:
A. He was old, tired, and sweaty, pushing his homemade cart;
stopping now and then to poke around somebody’s garbage. I
wanted to tell him about Eucharist, but the look in his eyes, the
despair in his face, told me to forget it, so, I smiled and I said
“Hi” and I gave him Eucharist.
B. She lived alone, her husband dead, her family gone, as she
talked at you – not to you, words, endless words. So I listened
and gave her Eucharist.
C. He sat across my desk – very nervous. He finally said it, “I
have AIDS” – by God’s grace, I did not say, how did you get
AIDS?” – I said “How can I help?” I gave him Eucharist.
I close:
As you, as we – say our Amen today at communion time – let us
remember and take to heart these words – “We receive Eucharist – to
become Eucharist for others. Let us remember and take to heart this
challenge – the work of proclaiming God’s reconciling love belongs to
every one of us, whether we collect taxes, teach math, manage a Fortune
500 company or shine shoes for a living – may we possess the greatness
of spirit and generosity of heart to be ministers of the Gospel –
Designated Christ Carriers, in whatever place we are in, whatever time
God has given us. Amen. “We receive Eucharist – to become Eucharist
for others.”