Archive for May, 2021

Trinity Sunday 5-30-2021

Sunday, May 30th, 2021

The people who ask the most questions about God are children and
theologians – and their questions are surprisingly similar. Does God
exist? Where does He live? What does He look like? Where did He
come from and how does He spend His “time”? The search never stops.
When one inquiry is answered, it usually triggers others.
Actually, the deep mysteries of religion are not answered but only
commented on. Even Jesus didn’t give direct responses most of the
time. He replied with a story, a parable, or a comment. “What is the
Kingdom?” they asked, and He responded, “It’s a net full of fish.”
“How about the Church, what is it?” “A mustard seed.” “How can you
tell if a person is wise or foolish?” “One builds a house on rock, the
other on sand.” These are not complete answers but enlightening
comments designed to make people think Trinity Sunday presents us with some real puzzlers. Can you
explain the Holy Trinity? No! But we can make a comment: it’s like a
triangle, a shamrock or something that is three and yet one.
Religion is well supplied with a multitude of unfolding mysteries
of which the Trinity is only one – a major one. It’s no real
accomplishment to ask a question which perplexes the experts, for we
have millions more good questions than good answers. People often
think that the priest, bishop or pope, is the “answer man.” Not so.
These persons are expected to have some penetrating insights, but
basically they cannot answer religious mysteries. Their best response is
to make an intelligent comment in the form of a symbol, story or
perhaps a simple act of faith.
The mysteries of religion are not the kind which are waiting to be
solved. Rather, they are to continue as mysteries and be acknowledged
and appreciated. The Trinity is saying something to us about God’s
inmost nature. Although it is beyond human explanation, we will have
our own “answers” but they will all be incomplete. God is too big and complicated for our little minds to grasp completely. But even though
He cannot be fully explained, we can always admire and believe God.
On a more down to earth level.
A high school teacher was talking to her students about the Trinity.
After her presentation she gave her class a writing assignment on this
question: “Which person of the Trinity do you relate to best at this time
in your life?”
I’d like to share with you three student answers to that question.
One boy wrote:
“My father and I have a zero relationship. I need a father right
now, and since I can’t turn to my own dad, I turn to my Father in
heaven. I sometimes talk to him about my problems, the way I would
like to talk to my dad about them.”
One girl wrote:
“My brother lives with my father, and I live with my mother. Ever
since my parents’ divorce two years ago, we hardly ever see each other
anymore. I never thought I’d miss my brother, but I do. So now I’ve kind of adopted Jesus as a brother.” Finally another boy wrote:
“Just recently I began praying to the Holy Spirit. I’m going to
college in a year, and I have no idea what I want to take up. I hope the
Holy Spirit will enlighten me. Anyway, I’m praying to him for
I find those comments refreshingly honest. I also find that they
make me ask myself, “Which person of the Trinity do I relate to best?”
I close.
God, you are profound in your mystery, and you never cease to
amaze me; I sometimes come to think that I have you figured out, and
then you zap me, and remind me that you are beyond the limitations of
my insight.
As I search for the words, titles, songs and images that attempt to
corner you, help me to know that you are beyond my words, deeper than
any effort to be “inclusive,” because what really matters, is that you
exist and that I see you present in your creation.Amen.

Outsiding 5-23-2021

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

The sister who taught religion to the juniors at a Catholic high
school was ill. Another sister, Sister Joan, was going to substitute for
her. She was a superb teacher and a compassionate listener. But as
Sister Joan entered the classroom, one of the students–wanting to look
smart and cool in front of his classmates–uttered under his breath, just
loud enough to be heard, “oh brother”.
Sister Joan warmly greeted the students and explained the day’s
lesson. She then went around the room handing out the assignment.
When she came to the student who made the remark, she simply said,
“Thanks a lot. That hurt.”
She knew who had “outsided” her.
“Outsiding” someone — to marginalize a person, to intentionally place
that individual outside the group, to make sure that an individual
understands his or her “place”. We “outside” many individuals who
don’t measure up to our standards of success and standing, who don’t meet our wants and expectations, whose mere presence, we fear, will
diminish our vision of ourselves and our group. But at Pentecost, no one
was left on the “outside”, no one was left beyond the margins. Peter and
the apostles realize that the Jesus they encountered detests such
“outsiding” — and the Spirit of Pentecost now enables them to preach to
all, opening the hearts and minds — and ears — of those present to hear
God’s invitation to embrace the love of the Risen One.
I close, God calls everyone to his church. The Spirit gathers all
into the community of faith. The problem is, we humans, the Church,
don’t always agree with the people God calls. I pray this for us all. May
the fire of Pentecost make us ministers of God’s reconciliation in our
time and place, refusing to “outside” anyone but make it possible for
everyone to take their place in the household of God. On this Pentecost
Sunday, when we say often All are Welcome, may we really believe it
and act like we believe it — All of Us, The Church

The Simple Truths of Service 5-16-2021

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

(This is a true story as told by Barbara Glanz, CSP.)
A few years ago, I was hired by a large supermarket chain to lead a
customer service program to build customer loyalty.
During my speech I said, “Every one of you can make a difference
and create memories for our customers that will motivate them to come
back. HOW?
Put your personal signature on the job. Think about something you
can do for your customer to make them feel special; memories that will
make them come back.
About a month after I had spoken, I received a call from a 19 year
old bagger named Johnny. He proudly informed me he was a Down
Syndrome individual and told me his story.
“I liked what you talked about”, he said, “but at first I didn’t think
I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I’m just a
bagger”. “Then I had an idea. Every night after work, I’d come home and
find a Thought For The Day.” If I can’t find a saying I like”, he added,
“I just think one up!”
When Johnny had a good Thought For The Day, his dad helped
him set it up on the computer and print multiple copies. Johnny cut out
each quote and signed his name on the back. Then he’d bring them to
work the next day.
“When I finish bagging someone’s groceries, I put my Thought
For The Day in their bag and say: “Thanks for shopping with us.”
It touched me to think that this young man, with a job most people
would say is not important, had made it important by creating precious
memories for all his customers.
A month later, the store manager called me. “You won’t believe
what happened. When I was making my rounds today, I found Johnny’s
checkout line was three times longer than anyone else’s! It went all the
way down the frozen food aisle. So I quickly announced, ‘We need more cashiers; get more lanes open!’, as I tried to get people to change
lanes. But no one would move. They said, “No, its okay, we want to be in Johnny’s lane. We want
his Thought For The Day”.
The store manager continued, “It was a joy to watch Johnny
delight the customers”. I got a lump in my throat when one woman said,
“I used to shop at your store once a week, but now I come in every time
I go by, because I want to get Johnny’s Thought For The Day.”
A few months later, the manager called me again. “Johnny has
transformed our store. Now when the floral department has a broken
flower or unused corsage, they find an elderly woman or a little girl and
pin it on them. Everyone’s having fun creating memories. Our
customers are talking about us; they’re coming back, and bringing their
A wonderful spirit of service spread throughout the entire store…
and all because Johnny chose to make a difference!
Johnny’s idea wasn’t nearly as innovative as it was loving. It came
from his heart, it was real. That’s what touched his customers, his peers…and those who read his story.
Great service comes from the heart…Will you be a Johnny today?