Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

Being a Disciple 5-3-2020

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

A word that comes up a lot in these post Easter Scriptures is the
word Disciple – Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ. The best definition I
have ever heard of what a Disciple of Jesus Christ is, “is a person who
tries to follow Jesus, makes a lot of mistakes, but comes back and tries
again and again.”
A person who makes this definition come alive for me was Peter,
the first Pope. Picture with me Peter, Mr. Enthusiasm…the Charlie
Hustle of the New Testament, jumps in with both feet, “There ain’t no
mountain high enough – no valley too low – that I won’t follow you
Lord. I won’t fail you – I am committed.”
A little while later Peter, Mr. Whishy Washy, “I don’t know this
Jesus – you have mistaken me for another person – I’ve go to go, I am a
busy person – this suffering and dying stuff is too much for me. I want
to be part of a winner.”
If we explore the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles
a little bit more, we meet Peter, the Cheer Leader. A sales person for God – Mr. Committed again, calling people forth to be Baptized. To
make a personal commitment, “It’s worth it,” he says. He proclaims the
crucified and risen Christ as the source of his strength and power.
A Disciple… a person who tries to follow Jesus, makes a lot of
mistakes, but comes back and tries again and again. YOU…ME… A
Disciple…2020. Yes! Maybe. No!
(Go out to people and look up to Altar Area.)
“What is this Guy talking about Lord? Me be a Disciple? No
way! If he only knew about the real me. If he knew what I did last
night, or what I think about that person two rows in front of me. If he
knew about the conflict in my family, or the trouble in my marriage. If
he knew some of my secret thoughts, or old grudges that run so deep. If
he knew that I am only here because my mother is making me, or that I
have a secret plan to sneak out during communion. If he only knew my
doubts…if he only knew.
I close with this thought; I truly believe that our God knows us
better than we know ourselves. He knows how inadequate we are, how awful and hurtful we are to each other at times. God has heard every
possible excuse we can make when it comes to following Him.
Today, Peter and other Disciples like him remind us that our God
is very willing to work with and thru our weaknesses and inadequacies.
God has given Peter and the others a second, third chance. God is
willing to give us endless chances if we let it happen. God will not give
up on us – let’s not give up on ourselves.
A Disciple – a person who tries to follow Jesus, makes a lot of
mistakes, but comes back and tries again and again.

God Is There 4-26-2020

Sunday, April 26th, 2020

Six-year-old Andrew Bateson came down with bacterial
meningitis, an aggressive disease that almost cost the little boy his life.
In order to save Andrew, doctors had to amputate his legs where the
disease had destroyed his circulatory system. Andrew was devastated
when he discovered what had happened to him; Andrew couldn’t
understand why he couldn’t have his “old legs back”.
His mother, Rebecca, wasn’t doing much better. She tried to keep
up a positive disposition for her son—but she wondered how Andrew
would handle the next chapter.
And she felt betrayed—betrayed by God.
After months of agonizing rehabilitation with his new prosthetic
legs, Andrew finally went home.
Then one night at supper, out of nowhere, Andrew said, “I saw
God, Mommy. I was sleeping at the hospital. He put his arms out, and
I thought he was going to give me a hug. But instead he just touched
me on the shoulder”. His mother steeled herself. “Did God say anything?”
“No, he was just….there”.
A chill ran down his mother’s spine. Rebecca writes: “[God] was
just there. What did that mean? I looked at Andrew, wolfing down his
dinner. For months I had seen a handicapped child, a damaged child,
fighting as hard as he could, failing more often than succeeding in his
rehab. Falling down, unable to master his new legs. Yet, unlike me,
never turning bitter, never giving up. “I’m going to walk, I’m going to
ride my bike”, he’d insist, “You just watch”.
And Rebecca realized: “Andrew came through this better that I
have. He was moving on. I was stuck in my bitterness and sense of
betrayal…Had God been there all along for me too, and I was just too
angry to see? Was he there for me now? Lord, thank you for being
with Andrew. Be with me now, too”.
In closing, remember this: The Risen Christ is here, in our midst,
in the love of family and friends, in the care of doctors and nurses, in
the support of pastors and ministers, in the wisdom of teachers and counselors. The disciples on the road to Emmaus finally realize his presence in the breaking of bread; Rebecca finally grasps God’s
presence in the unshakable, determined faith of her little boy. Every
one of us has traveled the road the two disciples walked on Easter night;
many of us have made the journey that Andrew and his mom and dad
traveled. It is the road of deep disappointment, sadness, despair, anger.
But God assures us, in his Easter promise, that along those roads he will
make himself known to us. If our eyes are open, we will meet him in
his Christ: in the compassion and generosity of others, in the breaking
of bread and the healing touch of the sacraments, in the grace and
wisdom of his Spirit in our midst. May our hearts and consciences
always be open to behold the presence of Christ, our guest and
companion along the many roads we walk to our own Emmauses.
His mother asked, “Did God say anything?” Andrew answered,
“No….He was just there”!

Lightning Strikes 3-22-2020

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Years ago, a boy was collecting berries in the woods near his
Southern home. He was concentrating on filling his bucket – and mouth
–with the delicious fruit and not paying attention to how deep he was
going into the forest. The boy didn’t notice the dark clouds forming on
the horizon. Then he heard crashes of thunder. Suddenly he realized that
he was lost. Darkness enveloped the woods. The terrified youngster
started to run with no sense of where he was going.
Then he remembered what his parents had taught him: When you’re
lost, stop and be still, look around, and listen. So the boy stopped running
and stood still. And he observed the lightning strikes illuminating the
forest landscape. With each lightning flash he was able to see a bit farther
ahead and walk a little closer to his destination until he found his way
home, guided by the storm that had, at first, frightened him.
“Seeing” and “light” are key images of today’s Gospel for this
Sunday in mid-Lent. Jesus cures a man born blind – but the greater
miracle is opening the eyes of those around him to “see” the presence of
God in their midst. Terrified of the storm, the little boy remembers his parents’ wise advice: Stop and look. See the light and make your way
towards it. The Christ of Lent is that light that illuminates those times
and places in which we can realize the love of God in our midst. Like the
Jewish leaders and the temple officials, we sometimes become so
obsessed trying to find God where God is not that we fail to see God
where God actually is. We desperately want to know where God is when
tragedy befalls us; we live our lives taking comfort in the erroneous
notion that God is found only at certain times, in the rituals and pious
practices our religion specifies. The reality is that God is most
profoundly present in the simple, ordinary doings of life, in the kindness
and love of others, in life itself and the gifts of the earth to sustain that
life. May God grant us the vision that the blind man receives in today’s
Gospel: to see the love of God present in all things.