Archive for the ‘32nd Sunday’ Category

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

Worshiping at our own altars 11-6-2022

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

A writer had a dream in which she visited hell.
To her surprise, this hell had no infinite fire or bottomless burning
chasms of tormented souls. It was not like the hell she had pictured at
all; in fact, it was rather “church-like.” She was led through some dark
passages lined with the doors to many cells. Each cell she passed was
identical. The central piece of furniture in each cell was an altar and
before each altar knelt a sickly, weak, greenish-gray, ghostly figure in
intense prayer and adoration.
“But whom are they worshipping?” the visitor asked her guide.
“Themselves,” was the reply. “This is pure self-worship. In their
worship of their own beings, in placing their hopes and dependence on
themselves and their own dreams alone, they are feeding on themselves
and exhausting their own spirits. That is why they look so sickly and
The writer was appalled and saddened by row upon row of cells,
small prisons for their pathetic, non-communicating inmates, who were
doomed to spend eternity in solitary confinement, themselves their first,
last and only object of worship.
God, as revealed by Christ, is not the vengeful Judge or cosmic
Tyrant who takes cruel delight in our failures; the God taught by Jesus in
our Gospel is the God of life, a God whose limitless love put us and all
of creation in motion. God will love us for all eternity – but there
always exists the possibility that we will refuse that love. That refusal to
accept God’s love, the refusal to respond to God’s love, is precisely the
meaning of hell. Hell is not a place where God puts us – it’s a place
where we put ourselves. But to become “children of the God of life” is
to dismantle the hells we create and set in their places the justice, peace
and forgiveness that are the building stones of the kingdom of God.
Worshiping at our own altars. Lord have mercy!

Thanks Givers 11-7-2021

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

Two years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a
remarkable woman was born in New York City. Her name was
Elizabeth Bayley.
At the age of 20 she married a businessman named William Seton.
Neither she nor William was Catholic. In time the couple had five
Then tragedy struck: William contracted tuberculosis.
William moved his family to Italy, hoping that the climate would
help him. But his illness was terminal. He died a few years later.
With the help of a generous Italian family, the Setons moved back
to the United States. The goodness of that Italian family led the young
widow to investigate the Catholic Church. Two years later she became a
Elizabeth’s relatives and friends were shocked. They virtually
disowned her, and she was forced to get a teaching job to support her
five children. To make a long story short, when the children came of age, Elizabeth became religious and founded the American branch of the
Sisters of Charity. It was this order that pioneered the great Catholic
school system in America.
Elizabeth once told a friend, “I’d like to retire from the turmoil of
the world and lead a simple life of prayer, but God wants me to do
something else, and I must always choose God’s will over my own.”
Elizabeth died at the age of 46. In her lifetime she wasn’t a mystic.
She wasn’t a martyr. She was simply a widow who gave what she had
to God. She was simply a single parent who turned a tremendous
tragedy in her life – the loss of her husband and the rejection of her
family – into a spectacular gift to God and to the Church.
How fitting it was, then, that in 1975 Elizabeth Seton was
canonized the first American-born saint.
The story of this generous widow fits in beautifully with today’s
Scripture readings. For two of those readings are also about generous
The first reading concerns a widow who shared with the prophet Elijah all the food she had to live on. The gospel reading concerns a widow who gave to the Temple of Jerusalem all the money she had to
live on.
Like Elizabeth Seton, each of these two widows gave with the
same generous heart. Each had a perfectly legitimate reason to excuse
herself from giving, but each refused to exercise that excuse.
Like Elizabeth Seton, each knew that the important thing was not
what she had to give but the love with which she gave it.
Each knew that what counted in God’s eyes is not the size of the
gift but the size of the giver’s heart.
Someone once said that there are three kinds of givers: grudge
givers, duty givers, and thanks givers.
Grudge givers say, “I hate to give.” Duty givers say, “I ought to
give.” Thanks givers say, “I want to give.”
In other words grudge givers give reluctantly and with a certain
feeling of resentment.
Duty givers give reluctantly too, but with a certain feeling of
obligation. Thanks givers, on the other hand, give from the heart, without any feeling of resentment or obligation. The three widows are beautiful
examples of thanks givers.
They gave under no pressure.
They gave under no obligation.
They gave from the heart.
The stories of the three widows invite us to ask ourselves how we give.
Do we give grudgingly because we have to – because we will be
embarrassed or thought less of it if we don’t give?
Do we give dutifully because we feel obligated or required to do
Or do we give thankfully because our love and our faith tell us to
give – just as the love and the faith of the widows told them to give?
Listen with me –
Let’s close with a brief meditation on God’s own generosity in
giving to us:
We ask for a flower, and God gives us a bouquet.
We ask for leaf, and God gives us a tree.
We ask for a drop of water, and god gives us an ocean. We ask for a grain of sand, and god gives us a beach.
We ask for a blade of wheat, and God gives us a wheat field.
We ask for something to eat, and we are given God’s own Life.
With God what counts the most – is not the size of the gift, but the size
of the giver’s heart.