Archive for November, 2023

Lucky Thing 11-26-2023

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

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
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!

Skill Set 11-19-2023

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

Today’s Gospel poses two questions that are surprisingly hard for
many of us to answer.
First: What are we good at?
None of us is a total disaster; we aren’t completely devoid of any
skills or (to use the Gospel word) “talents”. We may not be able to
perform brain surgery, but we can comfort a child just stung by a bee.
We may not be able to paint beautiful watercolors, but we can roast a
chicken and bake a pie that brings the family together on Sunday nights.
We may not be a CEO, but when customers leave our checkout line,
they’re a bit happier and lighter in spirit because of the warm way we
treated them.
So never mind the false modesty – answer the question: What are
we good at? What do we do well? What’s the most meaningful
contribution we can make to our family or church or community: the
compassion to encourage and support others? The discipline to manage
people? The patience to listen?
The second question: What are we doing with that talent?
If we can make a living off our talent and skill, terrific – but how
are we contributing the good we possess to make the Kingdom of God a
reality here and now? To keep our “talents” to ourselves is a betrayal of
God’s trust; to act as if we have nothing to contribute is an act of
ingratitude to the God who gave those skills and abilities to us.
So, what has God entrusted to you – and that’s the word: entrusted.
What has God invested in you for the good of the world? We seldom
see the question that way. We’re taught how to monetize whatever
talents and skills we possess, translating our knowledge and abilities into
successful careers. Or we’re overwhelmed with a false sense of
humility: We don’t think our gifts are worth all that much to begin with,
so we keep them to ourselves for our own amusement or diversion. But
today’s parable challenges us to see whatever “talents” we possess – be
they the ability to manage a big organization or the quiet patience to heal
a hurting child – as a sacred trust. And our lives will be judged by how
we used our “talents”, whether earth moving or quietly healing, to
realize God’s Kingdom of mercy and justice in our time and place.

Ya Buts 11-12-2023

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

This gospel reminds me of two special stories.
The first story:
There is a town that has four separate neighborhoods. The first
neighborhood is called, “Yabuts.” The people who live there think they
know what needs to be done. As a matter of fact, they talk about it quite
convincingly – up to a point. When told they have an opportunity for
something, the conversation goes something like this: “Ya, but…” The
“Yabuts” have the answer. It just happens to be the wrong answer.
The next neighborhood is known as the “Gunnados.” Now they
are some of the best-intentioned folks you could ever meet. They really
understand what needs to be done, and they would have done it, if they
had only followed through. They study everything that is required very
carefully, and just as an opportunity drifts past them, they realize what
they were “gunnado.” If only they had done what they were “gunnado.”
Another neighborhood is known as the “Wishawoodas.” These
people have an excellent perspective on life – hindsight. They say, “I
‘wishawooda’ this, or ‘wishawooda’ that…” They know everything that
should be done, only it’s after the fact.
The last neighborhood is known as the “Gladidids.” They are a
truly special group of people. The “Wishawoodas” drive by the
“Gladidids” homes and admire them. The “Gunnados” want to join
them, but just cannot quite get around to it. The “Yabuts” could have
been “Gladidids,” but destiny just did not smile on them. The
“Gladidids” are pleased that they are disciplined enough to do what they
know they should do instead of always doing what they wanted to do.
These are the four neighborhoods. In which neighborhood do you
live? In which one would you rather live? 1) Yabuts 2) Gunnados 3)
Wishawoodas 4) Gladidids.
The second story:
There is an ancient story about three demons who were arguing
over the best way to destroy the Christian mission in the world. The first
demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no heaven. Take away
the reward incentive and the mission will collapse.” The second demon
says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no hell. Take away the fear of
punishment and the mission will collapse.” The third demon says,
“There is one better way. Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no
hurry” and all three immediately say, “That’s it! All we have to do is
tell them there’s no hurry and the whole Christian enterprise will
Some things can’t be put off to the last minute- the foolish
bridesmaids needed to be reminded of this. We are reminded – happy is
the person who takes to heart this message and does something about it