Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

Impossible 12-22-2019

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

In a lot of homes I’m sure there are certain words we do not allow
to be used; vulgar words, bad words.
I was in a home where the mom had an allergy to the word “Hate.”
It could be as simple as, “I hate spinach,” or more serious as, “I hate my
teacher.” This word would bring a lengthy dissertation about how
unhealthy that word was.
There is a word I believe God doesn’t care for. It’s not a swear or
a vulgar word; it is an everyday word that people misuse terribly. The
word is “IMPOSSIBLE.”
Yesterday we said,
1. It’s impossible for people to fly.
2. It’s impossible to make boats that travel underwater.
3. It’s impossible for someone to walk on the moon.
4. It’s impossible for the Berlin wall to come down.
5. It’s impossible for Russia and the US to ever be friends.
6. It’s impossible for the Red Sox to win the World Series.
Today we say:
1. It’s impossible for the Jews and the Arabs to make peace.
2. It’s impossible to get rid of gang violence.
3. It’s impossible for California to absorb all these new immigrants.
4. It’s impossible to find a cure for AIDS.
5. It’s impossible to create a society where no one goes without basic
food and shelter.
6. It’s impossible for Father Ron to lose weight.
God scorns that word and the attitude behind that word, God who
alone is wise.
A person might say:
1. It’s impossible for me to get over my grief and move on, especially
during the holidays.
2. It’s impossible for me to deal with my addictions.
3. It’s impossible for me to temper my self destructive vice.
4. It’s impossible for me to make peace and develop as a healthy human

being.
But today these voices who shout the word “Impossible” are
contradicted by an angel flying down from heaven, and the old post
menopausal lady swelling with life, and the teenage Virgin Mary with
the word of God resting in her womb. These three join together to say:
“If it is the will of God, then it’s possible–nothing is impossible with
God. Let us remember! Let us Believe!

The Good Shepherd 5-12-2019

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

For most of us I think it is safe to say this image of the Shepherd is not
something we see very much everyday. It was a very common scene in
the early Church: – it is a common scene in the Middle East. People in
the early Church could really understand what was involved in being a
shepherd. It was very real and earthy to them. The Biblical figure of the
Shepherd – has been romanticized a lot in paintings, pictures, Holy
Cards, “rosy cheeked young men – among pure white fluffy sheep on
beautiful green hillsides – very serene and peaceful.”
I did a little research into what Shepherds were like in the Time of
Jesus. It was a very lonely, dirty, dangerous job – that could not be
managed from a distance. Shepherds lived among the sheep in the filth
and stench – the lives of the sheep were their primary concern. A sheep
sometimes wandered far off from the others – when it got lost and could
not find it’s way back, it would simply lie down where it was and refuse to budge – the shepherd would search out for the lost sheep – carefully
pick it up and carry it home. There was a personal relationship between
the Shepherd and each individual sheep. They were not just numbers.
I believe this image of the Shepherd points us to God. God is
not squeamish; God will not run away when things get messy in our
lives; – God’s hands are dirty (not lily white); God’s clothes are stained
with waste, mud and blood – the waste, mud and blood of our roller
coaster lives. This God gets in the middle of the mess with us.
Does the mess magically disappear? Not most of the time; but
there is a sense we are not alone and that helps us get through it. A key
question for us; Are we afraid to share our messes with God?
How does this shepherding image of God come alive? Become real to
people – Today –
I believe most of the time thru people – we are called to be shepherds
for each other. We are responsible to pick each other up when we are
down.
“I thought just priests and ministers were shepherds – no we all are if
we call ourselves Christian and mean it.”
“Don’t we need special skill and talents – training to do this? No! We
need a caring heart, a little common sense and a few less excuses.
“What about when you don’t have the answers or solutions to people’s
problems? You don’t know what to say or do. Just listen and just be
there for them.
I close with a story I am sure we all have heard;
A man dreamed he died and went to heaven and there was met
by Jesus. The man had lived a long Christian life, but it had not been
without some time of great trial and tribulation as well as those times
of joy and victory. As he met with Christ, the man was given a
panoramic review of his life – all the highlights and low periods. In
the review of his life one of the things that continued throughout were
his footsteps along the sands of time.
The man noticed that at those times in his life when it had really
been rough there was only one set of footprints – not two as in the
good times. The man turned to the Lord and said, “Lord, I don’t
understand. You promised to be with me always. But when I look
back now, I see that in those really rough times there was only one set
of footprints. Lord, why did you leave me then?”
The Lord looked at him, smiled and said, ‘Leave you? I didn’t
leave you at all. Dear friend, if you look at the one set of footprints
carefully, you’ll notice they are a little deeper than the others. Those
were the time I was carrying you.”

THE “HOT COAL” OF ANGER 3-31-2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

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.