Archive for the ‘30th Sunday’ Category

Mike and the Beggar 10-24-2021

Sunday, October 24th, 2021

A few years ago a father and mother sent this open letter to the
parents and students of a high school in a southern city.
Dear Teens & Parents:
We buried our son Thursday. He got into bed Tuesday night and very
deliberately took his own life.
Mike was bright, handsome, witty, shy and with ease did well in
school. His phone rang constantly and his friends were in and out of the
house all the time. The Coroner’s report showed no drugs.
In reality Mike had lots of friends. Each individual, however, has
their own perception of reality. Sunday night, Mike got drunk and we
had a long talk, and for the first time we realized that our rosy perception
of the state of his life wasn’t his. He was very sad. He felt his friends
didn’t care about him – even though we know they DID.
We believe you all can help God make this world a happier place
to live. Somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35, people begin to feel secure enough to tell their friends “I love you” or “I’m glad you’re my
friend”. Please be brave, because at your age it is a scary, chancy thing
to say; but please tell your friends that they are your friends and you do
care. This is most important because a person can feel most alone when
surrounded by people.
There are also some in your school who truly have no friends.
Their phone never rings and friends never come over. Please make
friends with them. They are really lonely. If Mike felt such despair
when he had friends, just imagine the sadness and loneliness those
teenagers must feel and endure.
God put each of us on earth to do good and bring joy. Please help
make Mike’s death bring love and joy to the world in a concrete manner.
Growing up is very hard and there is so much each of you must
sort out for yourself. Your parents and family are there, but your peers
are so important too. Please, please open your hearts and tell your
friends how much they mean to you. – Love to you all.
The letter was signed by Mike’s mother and father. It took a lot of love and courage for Mike’s parents to write that letter. That’s what makes it so beautiful. That’s what makes it so
powerful. That’s what makes it a letter that every young person and
parent should read.
I think it’s especially appropriate for us to read it today, because
the blind beggar in today’s gospel might well have been about Mike’s
age.
Like Mike, he was trying to reach out to Jesus as best he knew
how. And like Mike, he sought help from those around him.
But like young Mike, instead of getting help from those around
him, the blind beggar got just the opposite. Instead of getting support
from the crowd, he got abuse and outright rejection.
Today’s gospel says that when the beggar called out to Jesus, “Son
of David! Have mercy on me!” many people yelled at him and told him
to keep quiet.
In other words, instead of taking the beggar by the hand and
leading him to Jesus, they took him by the neck and shoved him farther
away from Jesus. Only one person came to the beggar’s aid. And who was that person? It was none other than Jesus himself. When Jesus heard the
people shouting at the beggar, he stopped and asked that the beggar be
brought to him. Only then did the people change. Only then did they
help the unfortunate man.
Today’s gospel prompts us to ask ourselves, how many Mike’s and
how many blind beggars are there in today’s world?
How many of these Mike’s and how many of these blind beggars
are trying to reach out to Jesus?
How many of these Mike’s and how many of these blind beggars
are being treated the way the people treated the blind beggar in today’s
gospel?
How many of us, perhaps even without realizing it, are
discouraging these Mike’s and these blind beggars?
Even more to the point, today’s Gospel invites us to ask ourselves,
who are the Mike’s and the blind beggars in our own lives and what are
we doing to help?

Your Halo is on too Tight 10-27-2019

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

I would like to do a little replay of this Gospel to understand it
better. I would like the people on the right side of the church to be
sinners and the people on the left side to be Pharisees. I am going to
tell a story, the gospel story again, using different words. When I ask
you to stand, one side at a time, please stand.
One time Jesus told this story about those who considered
themselves better than anyone else and were always comparing
themselves. One time two people came to the church to pray. One
was a Pharisee and the other was a public sinner. The Pharisee came
to the front of the church, genuflected and then prayed to God this
way (will everyone on this side of the church please stand today in
this play you are the Pharisees). The Pharisees prayed in this way, “O
Lord I give you thanks that I am not like everyone else. I give you
thanks that I am a Catholic, that I come to Mass on Sunday, and that I
am better than others. I give you thanks that I am a registered member and I am better than others. Especially I give you thanks that
I am better than those sinners on the other side of the church. (Now
look at those sinners on the other side of the church.) Pharisees
please sit down.
Time for the sinners to pray (will everyone on this side of the
church please stand), without even raising their eyes to heaven they
said, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus said, “It is a shame,
but the Pharisees return to their homes without grace while the
sinners return to their homes full of God’s mercy.” Please be seated.
A question for us is, what was the sin of the Pharisees? There are
probably good people, they are involved in the church, they go to
meetings, they abstain from serious sin, but they do one thing that is
very wrong. The sin they committed is that they compared
themselves to others.
In a large family sorrows and heartbreak come when the children begin comparing themselves to one another. One says, “I am better
than the rest of my brothers and sisters.” Or one says, “I am not as
good as my brothers and sisters.” God loves and respects each one of us. God does not compare people one to another, and in the parable
today Jesus asks us not to compare ourselves. Problems come when
religion says, “my religion is better. I am better than you are because
I belong to this religion.”
On my hand there are five fingers. Each finger is a different shape.
Each finger has different strengths. Each finger has a different size.
My thumb is stronger than my little finger. One of my fingers is
longer than the others, yet every finger is important on my hand.
What foolishness, if my fingers have a fight amongst themselves,
comparing themselves to each other and trying to decide who is better
or who is worse. All of them are needed. We are all fingers on God’s
hand. God needs each one of us. Each person has gifts and
weaknesses. Some of the fingers on God’s hands are full of sins and
troubles. Some of the fingers on God’s hands might have diseases,
but each finger is important and God loves each finger equally.
We are all supposed to fit together. Let us respect each other, let
us accept each other and let us not give in to the temptation of comparing ourselves to one another.
I close with this story about a person who thought he was better than
anyone else.
A modern-day, self-righteous, self-appointed saint went to the
doctor for a check-up. “I’m not feeling very well these day,” he said.
“Please examine me thoroughly, and tell me what’s wrong.”
Whereupon, the doctor began with a few questions…
“Do you drink a lot?”“No, I never touch the stuff. I’m a teetotaler, and proud of it.”
“Do you smoke?”
“No. I’ve never gone near tobacco, and I’m proud of it.”
“What about your sleeping habits?”
“I go to bed early. While others are out carousing late at night, I’m
in bed by 10:30, and I’m proud of it.”
“Well, what is your complaint at this time?” “I have terrible pains in my head.”
“Aha! That’s your trouble. Your halo is on too tight!”