Archive for July, 2021

A Sunday Eucharist 8-1-2021

Saturday, July 31st, 2021

She enters the church and sits in her usual place. She mouths the
words of the prayers and hymns, but her thoughts are of her daughter.
How can she make her realize that she is making a big mistake that she
is heading down a road that will lead to pain, anguish and regrets? At the
appointed time the woman makes her way from her place up the altar to
receive the Eucharist–the sacrament of Christ the loving Brother who
says to her, “Just be there for your daughter as I am here for you”.
Right now he doesn’t want to be in the church or any church. His
heart is filled with anger–anger at the disease slowly taking his wife
away form him, anger at God for letting it happen to her. He files up to
the communion station and takes in his hand the bread of the Eucharist–
the sacrament of Christ the Healer who says to him, “Don’t look for me
in the disease. I am not in death. I am with you in the loving kindness
and support of your family and friends who reach out to you and your
family. And I will be there to take your beloved’s hand when you must
let her go” They are sports celebrities They are sports celebrities and politicians, bankers and high-
powered lawyers. They come every Sunday to the altar and receive the
Eucharist–the sacrament of Christ the humble Redeemer who says to
them, “As I have become bread for you, you must become bread for
others; as I have been lifted up for your sake, you must lift others up”.
They are the poor, the forgotten, the troubled, the sick, and the
rejected. They come to the table and extend their hands to receive the
Eucharist–the sacrament of Christ who welcomed tax collectors and
prostitutes into his presence and now welcomes them too, “Come
blessed ones, to the feast of my Father, It is good that you are here; Your
are always welcome here”!
The Eucharist demands more than the opening of our hands to take
and our mouths to consume; it demands more that we open our hearts
and spirits as well so that we may become what we receive. The AMEN!
We say when we take this bread and wine is our assent to the Holy One
who gives us himself in this sacrament–a gift that is given to us to give
to others.

LEFTOVERS? 7-25-2021

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

This scene takes place right after the Gospel we just read.
“USE YOUR IMAGINATION!”
Peter stayed behind to help with the cleanup. Somehow, he always
seemed to be one of the last ones. Those who folded the chairs and
swept the floors after the gatherings were over.
But today he did not mind it. He wanted some of the leftovers and
this is one way of taking some without being noticed. So, he put a small
piece of the bread into his brown paper bag and headed home. And he
could not wait to get home!
As soon as he did, he ran to the bread box, took a small piece of
bread out of the bag and placed it next to the half loaf in the box. He
was tired from the long day, so he went to bed.
Early next morning, he awoke before the alarm. He was excited;
he went to the kitchen to check the bread box to see if it had worked. He
opened the lid. There it was, the same half loaf and his leftover piece,
just as he had left them the night before. Maybe it was too early to expect anything, so he thought he would wait another day and another
night.
The same wake-up time the next morning he again hurried to the
bread box. He felt an even deeper feeling of disappointment when once
more he saw only the half-loaf and the now-getting-dried-out-leftover-
piece. Maybe this bread wasn’t as magic as he thought. Maybe it didn’t
multiply other loaves of bread. Or, maybe only Jesus could make the
whole thing work!
So as not to suffer any further disappointment, he was going to get
rid of the leftover piece. He went outside to give it to the birds, but
before he could break it and scatter it, an old man in shabby clothes
came up to him and asked for a bite to eat. He gave him the dried-up
bread.
The next day Peter heard a knock on the door. It was the same old
gent. Was he looking for another handout, Peter wondered? No, the
man smiled and thanked Peter for his kindness. The man said that
Peter’s generous gift from the day before would keep his family fed for
the winter! Finally, Peter had discovered the bread’s magic in giving it away!
A small piece of dried up bread:
“The Magic – Giving It Away!”

The Eyes of Jesus 7-18-2021

Friday, July 16th, 2021

A few months ago I watched the movie Forrest Gump for about the
10th time. I was really touched by the character played by Tom Hanks. I
believe Forrest Gump could teach us a lot about relating to each other.
This unique person was able to see past all stereotypes and labels
we lay on people. He was able to bypass all the games people play. In
his own goofy way – he saw goodness, beauty, potential in each person
he met. He had a special gift.
I believe Jesus saw people in a special way – I wonder, I just
wonder – – if we looked at people today with eyes of Jesus, what would
we see?
I. For one thing, I am sure we would see some invisible burdens.
Most people do not carry their heartaches in plain view.
They bear them quietly, but they are there nonetheless. The
couple in the car just ahead, maybe a father and mother, who are
worried about their son. The woman in the super market may be
concerned about her health, anxiously awaiting the doctor’s report That elderly man may have recently lost his wife, a constant
companion for more than fifty years. I do not recall who said it,
but it is a wise word of instruction; “Be kind to each person you
meet, because everyone is having a hard time.” Listen to this
little poem:
“Pray don’t find fault with the man who limps and stumbles along
the road, unless you have worn the shoes he wears or struggled beneath
his load. There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt, though hidden away
from view, and the load he bears placed on your back might cause you to
stumble, too.”
II. He would also see some extenuating circumstances.
The critics of Jesus often thought he was too lenient in his attitude toward sinners. He came to the defense of a woman caught in adultery.
How could he do that, when the Law of Moses clearly states that she
should be stoned. He showed compassion toward a prostitute, who
bathed his feet with tears and dried them with her hair. They wondered
why he would allow a woman like that to touch him. He said to a dying
thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” How could he say such a thing?” What right did a crucified felon have to a place in paradise?
The difference between Jesus and his critics was a matter of insight.
They saw nothing but the failure. He saw the pain and the problems that
played a part in that failure.
When a marriage ends in divorce, it would be easy for you and me
to be harshly critical. But before doing that, we would be wise to pause
and consider. How much do we know about what has taken place in that
home across the years? Could there be a long established pattern of
abuse, totally unknown to the outside world? When we witness a
breakdown of character that leads to public shame, it is easy for you and
me to sit in judgment. But once again, we would be wise to pause and
consider. No event in life is complete within itself. There is a story
behind it. Knowing that story would not excuse the offense, but it well
might cause us to judge less severely.
III. One final thought – looking at people through the eyes of Christ, we would see unrealized possibilities. That is our characteristic attitude toward children. We look at little
ones and think of all the things they might become. Jesus had that
attitude toward people of all ages. He looked at a rugged fisherman,
and saw in him the making of a spiritual rock.
Someone has said; “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a
future.” Our Lord would heartily agree with that. “He saw a vast
crowd, and he pitied them.” If we would look at people through his
eyes, beyond all of their burdens and failures, we would see
unrealized possibilities.
Let me leave you with this prayer:
Almighty God,
We, who have never known what it means not to have things we
desire, need to feel the poverty and hunger and despair among
our fellow men and women.
We, who have felt nothing but the surge of youthful vitality in our
body, need to understand what it means to be ill and unable to care
for our self.We, who have never stood alone in the crowd as odd or
unacceptable need to sense what it means to be judged and rejected
by the color of our skin or sexual orientation.
We, who have never experienced the desperation of a dependence
on drug or drink, need to realize the hell of an addiction.
We, who have never really suffered or sacrificed or died, pray that
we may become painfully aware of our brother’s and sister’s great
need and that we may ache until we have reached out with honest
help and compassion.
AMEN