Archive for the ‘29th Sunday’ Category

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.

What Church is Really About! 10-20-2019

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Many times for me the first reading in our Mass is hard to
understand. The images, the language, the symbols are often very
foreign to me; today is different. We can’t allow this powerful image in
the Old Testament to be missed.
It is an image that should be put on a stained glass window in
every church. To me it is one of the most powerful images of what
CHURCH is really about.
Let’s create a stained glass window of our own today – I need
some of you to help (Call one person to be Moses). Visualize with me –
“Moses” with his arms held out in prayer: praying for his friends, things
go well as long as he is praying. But he becomes weary, tired,
discouraged, fatigued. His arms start to drop and his friends jump in
(Bring up 2 more people). Aaron and Hur support his arms. They hold
them up for him, so he can keep going.
Being CHURCH to me is not just buildings, not just dogma’s and
doctrines. Being CHURCH is both giving and receiving support and
encouragement. When we go through tragedies, crises, family problems, sickness,
death. When we get very discouraged because of the struggles and
storms of life: we need to hold each other up (Call 3 or 4 other people
up to help – different ages – a kid or two). We need to stand with each
other. We are all at times in our lives, like Moses, too weak to do it all
by ourselves, but we can get by with a little help from our friends.
Maybe it was a time you faced the death of a loved one and found
support in family or friends who came to comfort you and who took care
of a thousand little tasks for you. Maybe it was time when your child
was seriously ill and your spouse or a friend seemed like a pillar of
strength you could lean on. Maybe it was a time your marriage was in
trouble and a good friend gave you a shoulder to cry on, along with a
few gentle words of helpful advice. Maybe it was a time you had a
broken heart from breaking up with someone special, and your mother
or father couldn’t take away the hurt but reminded you that you were
still loved deeply. Maybe it was a time when you were out of work or
didn’t get a promotion or had flubbed a big project, and somebody took
the time to let you know they had confidence in you and were there for you. Maybe it was a time when you were depressed and lonely and a
friend made the effort to call and brighten your day.
Let me close with this:
If we believe we are truly the Body of Christ, The Church, then we
belong to one another. We need each other and have responsibility for
one another. Please remember the image of Moses this week.
Remember this image of CHURCH before you, and then go look for
someone who could use a supportive, encouraging arm to hold on to.
Maybe the place to start is to look in our own families FIRST, or right
outside those doors! The mass never ends – it must be lived