Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

A Lesson in Bedside Manner 5-8-2022

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

It was near the end of the E.R. resident’s second straight week of 14-hour night shifts. She was nauseated and cold from fatigue.
At 5 A.M. she was called to the examining room to see an 86-year-old man. Looking at the triage report, she had him categorized immediately: He’s going to be demented. He won’t be able to give me any history. Taking a deep breath, she began.
“I’m sorry to wake you, sir”, she said, trying not to overreact, reminding herself that this happens countless times. “Here’s some water”, offering him a glass.
As he sipped, she started firing questions at him about his symptoms and medical history. His speech was painfully slow, his answers inconclusive. She tossed the chart aside. On to the physical examination.
“My hands are cold”, she warned.
“Do what you have to do, Doctor”.
The doctor placed her frigid palm on his chest as she listened through her stethoscope. He didn’t flinch.
When she finished, he grasped her hand. Then the old man, who moved so slowly and painfully, began to rub her hand rapidly between his. The doctor stared at him with a combination of disbelief and annoyance.
“To warm you up, Doctor. My wife also gets cold when she’s tired. This helps her. You should be taking care of yourself; not old men like me”.
When he finished rubbing one hand, he took her other one. It felt incredibly good; the doctor continued to watch, but now in amazement.
He was the sick one, not her. And yet this man, the object of her impatience, was concerned about her well-being.
The doctor’s haste dissipated. At that moment, it was the patient, not the doctor, who had the healing touch.
The “voice” of Christ speaks to all of us – but to hear his voice demands that we come out of the soundproof isolation of our own interests and needs and hear Christ speaking in the plight of the poor, the needs of the helpless, the cry of the persecuted. Easter faith calls us to put aside our own crosses when we hear the voice of Jesus pleading in the struggle of those being crushed under the weight of their crosses; to rise above our own pain when we hear the voice of Jesus crying out in the pain of others; to give from our treasure when we hear the voice of Jesus begging in the poverty of others.

THE “HOT COAL” OF ANGER 3-27-2022

Friday, March 4th, 2022

It had been ten years since her divorce, and she was still angry, still envisioning some kind of vengeance, desperate for some way of evening the score.
Finally, her ever-patient rabbi told her: “Look at what you’ve been doing all these years. You’ve been standing here in Massachusetts holding a hot coal in your hand, waiting for your ex-husband to walk by so you can throw it at him. Meanwhile, he has been living happily in New Jersey with his new family and you’ve burned your hand while waiting.”
The word “forgiveness” comes from the Greek word meaning “to let go”. That is the heart of forgiveness: letting go—letting go of our desperate grasp of the past so that we can turn toward the future with hope.
The older brother’s resentment and anger makes it impossible for him to move on. Forgiveness is about building the future, about healing the past in order to live joyfully and meaningfully in the present. The prospect of getting even is seldom worth what it does to us as human beings. It’s not a matter of being saintly, but sensible.

Jesus calls us to embrace the example of the prodigal’s father: to let go of our anger and embrace—for our own peace—the possibilities for reconciliation with our “prodigal” sons and daughters.

Love Never Passes 1-30-2022

Sunday, January 30th, 2022

The story goes that one time a very prominent person in California
died. He stood before the beautiful gates of heaven, hoping to get in, but
a large angel stood at the gate and would not let him pass. “To get in,”
said the angel, “you must show that you accomplished something
significant, something really important in your life on earth.”
The man breathed a sigh of relief, because he had accomplished
many things. “Well,” he said, “I feel I accomplished a lot. For one
thing, I went to school and got excellent grades. After high school I
went to the university on a scholarship, and all the teachers admired my
work. I ended up graduating with highest honors, and writing a book.”
“That’s nice,” said the angel, “but I’m talking about a significant
accomplishment. One that doesn’t pass away with time.”
The man was a little shaken, but not really frightened. He had
done many other things. “Well, while I was in college, I played soccer.
I was probably the best player that school ever had. I got to play in the
Olympics and our team all won gold medals.” “That’s nice,” said the angel, “but I need to know if you
accomplished anything significant in you life – something that doesn’t
pass away with time.”
The man began to perspire a little bit. “Well, holy angel,” he said,
“I was blessed with good looks. I was very handsome, and had my pick
of all the women in the world. Finally I ended up marrying a movie star.
All the magazines and newspapers reported how beautiful our wedding
ceremony was.
The angel tried to hide a little yawn. “How nice,” the angel said,
“but did you do anything in life that was really important – something
that wouldn’t pass?”
The man was now getting frightened. “Well,” he said, “after I was
done with school, I started my own engineering and construction
company. We built great bridges. We built mighty freeways. We built
tall sky-scrapers. I made millions of dollars and lived in a palace. They
even named a town after me.” The angel shrugged. “I’m very sorry,” the angel replied. “All
those things you’ve mentioned are nice, and perhaps even interesting…
but they’re not important. They’re not what you need to get into heaven.
They all pass away.”
And then the man remembered the reading form St. Paul, that we
had today. Faith, hope and especially love, never pass away. And he
looked back at his life, and it all seemed so different now. All those
accomplishments he had thought were so important now seemed not so
important. He felt confused and ashamed. “Well,” he said, “once, a
long time ago, I gave an apple to a young girl who had nothing to eat.”
“At last!” The angel smiled, “something really significant. You
wasted most of your life, but thank God you didn’t waste all of it! You
did accomplished one important thing. Enter the kingdom of God!
Brothers and sisters, let’s not waste our time and energy on earth,
but let’s devote ourselves to doing things that last.
Remember, love never passes away