Archive for the ‘29th Sunday’ Category

The Secret of Greatness 10-17-2021

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

We see on T.V. many special award shows, the Emmy’s, the
Grammy’s, the Oscar’s, the Espy’s, you can name more of them. Our
Gospel challenges us to reflect on a different kind of awards
presentation. Our show is entitled – The Secret of Greatness.
When Doug Meland and his wife moved into a village of Brazil’s
Fulnio Indians, he was referred to as “the white man,” an
uncomplimentary term. Other white men had exploited the villagers,
burned their homes, and robbed their lands. But after the missionaries
learned the language and began to help people with medicine and in
other ways, they began to call Doug, “the good white man.” And when
the Melands began adopting the customs of the people, the Fulnio spoke
of Doug as the “white Indian.”
Then one day, as Doug was washing the dirty, blood-caked foot of
an injured boy, he heard a bystander say, “Who ever heard of a white
man washing an Indian’s foot? Certainly this man is from God.” From
that day, whenever Doug entered an Indian home, it would be announced, “Here comes the man God sent us.”
The Secret of Greatness.
Eighty-year-old Clara Hale has served as foster mother to over 500
babies born to drug-addicted mothers. She cares for them until their
own mothers can do so. These babies enter life with a drug dependency
themselves. That makes “Mama” Hale’s job harder. “When a baby is
crying for a drug,” she says, “all I can do is hold it close and say to it, ‘I
love you, and God loves you, and your mama loves you. Your mama
just needs a little more time.’”
The Secret of Greatness.
John Penne is a retired businessman. He and his wife developed
cancer at the same time. His wife died, but John lived; and his cancer
went into remission.
While driving back and forth from the hospital for regular
treatment, John noticed the number of sick people waiting at the
hospital’s bus stop. Sometimes the weather was bitter cold and these people, many of them elderly, were obviously in pain. John went to the local chapter of
the American Cancer Society and said, “Give me a car and a little gas
money, and I’ll volunteer my days driving these unfortunate people
home.”
For ten years now, John has donated his time doing just that.
The Secret of Greatness.
After graduating from Georgetown University, Anne Donahue
volunteered a year of her life to work at Covenant House in New York
City.
Every night at ten o’clock Anne and another volunteer put gallons
of hot chocolate and bags of sandwiches into the Covenant House van.
For the next couple of hours, the familiar van with a dove painted
on its door tours the city’s juvenile prostitution areas.
Anne explains the reason behind the tour. “We’re out there
because we know that a lot of kids haven’t tried Covenant House yet.
About two-thirds have never heard of us.” Anne goes on to say that they accomplish something else, too. They show kids that somebody truly cares, that somebody’s out there
who’s not interested in buying or selling them. After her first year as a
volunteer, Anne said: “I was very depressed. What kind of God would
let kids suffer so much? … Finally it got to me…God’s not going to
come down and show us his love. We have to let God’s love work
through us.”
The Secret of Greatness.
In reading a review of this unique awards presentation — a certain
reviewer – by the name of Jesus had this to say:
“To the winners — Well Done — Good and Faithful Servant”
I wonder, what will Jesus say to us?

Love God/Love Others! 10-25-2020

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

A true story:
An eight-year-old boy had a young sister who was dying of
leukemia. His parents explained to him that she needed a blood
transfusion and that his blood was probably compatible. They asked if
they could test his blood. Sure, he said. The results showed that his
blood would be a good match. Then they asked if he would give his
sister a pint of his blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He
said he would have to think about it overnight.
The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to
donate his blood to his sister. So they took him to the hospital where he
was put on a gurney beside his sister. Both of them were hooked up to
IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put
into the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood
was dripped into his sister. The doctor came over to see how he was
doing. The boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to
die?” Every word of the gospel comes down to love. Love that is simple
enough to articulate but so demanding that we shy away from it. The
mystery of God’s love is that the Supreme Being should love creation so
completely and so selflessly – and all God seeks in return is that such
love be shared by people throughout creation. The brother, in our true
story, thinking that giving his blood would mean that he would die,
nonetheless he is willing to give his life to his sister so that she might
live; in his generosity he models the great love and compassion of the
God who spares nothing to bring us to God’s heart. My prayer on this
Sunday is that everyone of us here will seek to follow as best we can one
day at a time the great commandment of the gospel: to love with the
same selfless compassion, care and completeness of God.
It may not be our call to minister to the most unwanted, like lepers
and AIDS victims, war refugees, and immigrants, or alcoholics and drug
addicts, but it is our call to balance in some suitable way, the vertical
dimension of our relationship with other people in mutual service. The praise we give to God with our lips must be followed up by
using those same lips to talk to someone who is lonely, to encourage someone who is disheartened, or to cheer up someone who is sad.
The prayer we say with our hands must be followed up by using
those same hands to hug our children, or spouse, or parents, to prepare a
meal for our family, or to do some housework for a shut-in neighbor.
I close with this image that will be right before you every time you
walk into this church. May the cross formed by the intersection of a
vertical beam with a horizontal one remind us to love God with our
whole being and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Give To God What is God’s! 10-18-2020

Sunday, October 18th, 2020

A man walked into a rooftop bar and ordered a drink. The man
next to him began a conversation about the unique wind currents in the
area. The first man said he didn’t understand what was so special about
the wind there, so the other said, “Let me show you.” With that he went
to the window, jumped out, did a spin in mid-air, and then came back in.
“See how great the currents are! You can do the same thing.”
After a few more drinks and much prodding, the first man decided
to test the wind currents. He went to the window, jumped out, and
dropped like a rock. The bartender looked at the other man and said,
“Superman, you’re really mean when you’re drunk.
Most of us are neither mean nor a drunk – I hope – but is that
enough? Is just staying out of trouble and avoiding nastiness enough to
make a life? It’s a start, but it’s not nearly enough. So what is enough?
Jesus gave us a clue in today’s gospel. His enemies were trying to
entrap him into an offense. But he just brushed them off, “Give to
Caesar what is Caesar’s.” And then he returned to his core message, but give to God what is God’s.”
So, what do we have that is God’s? Very simply, our life. But
how do we give that back to God? By becoming nuns or priests or
martyrs or missionaries in darkest Africa, or perhaps throwing ourselves
on a live grenade to save our friends? For most of us that is not what
God wants. What God does want from all of us is for us to learn to use
our life the way God uses life: by helping those who need help and
giving life to those who need life. So how do we begin? The key is by
being alert and paying attention to one another, and developing the
deeply ingrained habit of asking ourselves: How’s he doing? What does
she need? Is he OK? How can I help her?
Most of the time most of what people really need is within our
power to give. For example, some of us are getting a little forgetful, and
what we need is just a little reassurance – and a little patience. And for
all of us there are those days when nothing is right. Most times a friend
is all that’s needed to lift the fog. And think about the times someone has been very bad, and needs
to say so, but doesn’t know how. A dose of encouragement from an understanding friend will light the way and draw him out of the dark. At
any given moment most of what is needed by the people right around us
is within our power to give. And better yet, all we have to handle – all
we have to give – is one moment at a time: If we take care of the
minutes, God will take care of the days – and the years.
God has given us the gifts of life, and the power to give life to one
another – in many shapes and sizes – every day. We can be real
supermen and real wonder women if we learn how to give our gift, if we
learn to pay attention to one another, see what is needed, and give what
is needed – one moment at a time. From such humble stuff the kingdom
of God is made.