Archive for the ‘18th Sunday’ Category

The Richest Man in the Valley 8-4-2019

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

There was a wealthy lord who lived in the Scottish Highlands. He
was more then richly endowed with this world’s goods and amongst his
vast possessions was a mansion overlooking a beautiful valley. But
there was a basic emptiness in his life. He had no religious belief, he
lived alone, possessed by his possessions.
In the gate lodge at the entrance to his estate lived John, his
herdsman. John was a man of simple faith and deep religious
commitment. With his family he was a regular churchgoer. God’s
presence was a reality in his home and often at night when he opened the
gate to admit his employer, the Scottish lord noticed the family in
One morning the lord was looking out on the valley resplendent in
the rising sun. As he gazed on the beautiful scene, he said to himself, “It
is all mine.” Just then the door bell rang. Going down, he found John
on the door step. “What’s the matter, John?” he asked. “Are the horses
John looked embarrassed. “Yes, sir,” he replied. “Sir, could I
have a word with you?” He was invited onto the plush carpet, and his
presence there pointed up the striking contrast between their lifestyles.
“Sir,” said John hesitantly, “last night I had a dream, and in it God
told me that the richest man in the valley would die tonight at midnight.
I felt I should tell you. I hope, sir that you don’t mind.”
“I don’t believe in dreams. Go on back to your work and forget
John still looked uneasy. “The dream was very vivid, sir, and the
message was that the richest man in the valley would die at midnight
tonight. I just had to come to you, sir, as I felt that you should know.”
The lord dismissed him, but John’s words bothered him so much
that he finally took out his care and went to the local doctor for a check-
up. The doctor examined him, pronounced him fit and said he’d give
him another twenty years.
The lord was relieved but a lingering doubt caused him to invite
the doctor around for dinner and a few drinks that evening. They
enjoyed a meal together and shortly after eleven-thirty, the doctor got up
to leave. When the lord asked him to remain on for a few nightcaps, he
Eventually, when midnight passed and he was still in the land of
the living, the rich man saw the doctor to the door, and then went up
stairs muttering, “Silly old John…upset my whole day…him and his
No sooner was he in bed than he heard the door-bell ringing. It
was twelve-thirty. Going down he found a grief-stricken girl at the door
whom he recognized instantly as John’s teenage daughter.
“Sir,” she said, looking at him through her tears, “Mummy sent me
to tell you that Daddy died at midnight.”
The lord froze. It was suddenly made clear to him who was the
richest man in the valley.

A Sunday Eucharist 8-5-2018

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

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 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, the rejected, gay/lesbian and transgender people. 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.
An old monk prayed many years for a vision from God to strengthen his faith, but it never came. He had almost given up hope when, one day, a vision appeared. The old monk was overjoyed. But then, right in the middle of the vision, the monastery bell rang. The ringing of the bell meant it was time to feed the poor who gathered daily at the monastery gate, and it was the old monk’s turn to feed them. If he failed to show up with food, the poor people would leave quietly, thinking the monastery had nothing to give them that day.
The old monk was torn between his earthly duty and his heavenly vision. However, before the bell stopped tolling, the monk made his decision. With a heavy heart, he turned his back on the vision and went off to feed the poor. Nearly an hour later, the old monk returned to his room. When he opened the door, he could hardily believe his eyes. There in the room was the vision waiting for him. As the monk dropped to his knees in thanksgiving, the vision said to him, “My son, had you not gone off to feed the poor, I would not have stayed”.
The challenge: 1. To become what we receive.
2. The Mass never ends it must be lived.