Archive for the ‘5th Sunday’ Category

The Raising of LazarusThe Raising of Lazarus 3-29-2020

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Let’s allow our imaginations to create a Hollywood version of the raising
of Lazarus.
 Picture it: Lazarus comes out of his tomb-bound up, mummy-
like, wrapped tightly in burial garments.
 See those tight wrappings around his body? Even as he comes
forth to Jesus, they restrict his sight, speech and freedom of
movement.
 Listen carefully to the words of Jesus. “Untie him and let him
go free.”
I believe Lazarus coming out of the tomb represents every person!
 What is it in our lives that binds us up? At times ties us up,
immobilizes us, limits our perception, and gets in the way of us
reaching out to others and to God ? Is it an attitude or possibly our own fears that restrict us? Maybe it
is a prejudice toward a particular group of people? Perhaps it is
something that worries us? Something we did in the past that we
are ashamed of? Could it be financial problems or a medical
concern? Is it a broken relationship in our family, a habit of lying,
trying to cover our tracks? Are we being squeezed to death by
bitterness, resentment, anger, grief, guilt or a poor self image?
 Remember these words. “Untie him and her and let them go
free.”
As we reflect on what has us all wrapped up. What is preventing us from
moving freely and experiencing real life?
 I think it is important to also ask ourselves: Are there situations or
relationships going on right now, where we are binding or tying up
other people? How would we do this? Does our sour, negative attitudes and biting criticism destroy the
spirit of those around us? Are we quick to see the bad, and blind to
the good and positive in the people close to us?
 How about back stabbing rumors, parking lot gossip and unfair
stereotypes?
“Untie him and her and let them go free.”
During this Lent as we take some time to look inward, as we think about
what binds us and how to remove the tight wrappings. I think our Gospel
reminds us of 3 significant realities that need to be clearly stated.
 As Martha mentioned, regarding her brother, it is going to be a
smelly procedure. Taking off these bindings will be a slow and
painful process. It will be very messy. No real conversion happens
without pain. We may be tempted to short circuit the process. We
may want to fantasize that everything will be fine in the morning.
But it will not go away by itself! Jesus tells others to help unbind Lazarus. We will need help also.
A good friend to listen and to challenge. A teacher, a minister, a
trained counselor and a support group. We are fooling ourselves if
we think we can do it alone!
 The final point may be the most important. Right in the middle of
this smelly, messy process of unbinding that we are challenged to
enter into, we too, just like Lazarus, have the presence and
reassurance of Jesus. “I am with you!” “You are not alone, even
when it is the darkest.” “Don’t give up!” “Keep trying!”
“Untie him and her and let them go free.”

Let Your Light Shine 2-9-2020

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

Once upon a time there was a great biblical scholar who was also
noted for his great piety. He spent hours every day secluded in his room
studying the Scriptures, and praying and mediating. One day a holy man
visited the town in which the scholar lived. On hearing about it, the
scholar set out to look for him.
He looked first in the church, but did not find him there. Then he
looked in a local shrine, but he wasn’t there either. He looked in other
likely places, but failed to find him. Eventually he found him in the
marketplace with all the people.
The advice he got was simple and direct. Looking at him intently,
the holy man said, “It’s easy to be a sage, wise man and saint in your
room. You should go out into the marketplace, where people work,
play, laugh, cry, and try to be a saint there.”
We are not told whether or not the scholar had the courage to act
on that advice. This is exactly the advice Jesus is giving us in today’s
Gospel when he says, “You are the light in the World. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on a lamp-stand where it shines for
everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the
sight of people, so that seeing your good works, they may give praise to
your Father in heaven.”
It is easy to let the light shine in the comfort and safety of one’s
room. But that can be a selfish thing, because it means we are keeping
the light to ourselves. It is not so easy to let the light shine in the rough
and tumble of the marketplace. But that is where it is most needed.
Let me close with this reflection and prayer…
The most important thing about each of us
is our capacity for goodness.
We can be a source of light.
We have hands that can care,
eyes that can see,
ears that can hear,
tongues that can speak,
feet that can walk, and above all hearts that can love.
Unfortunately, through laziness, selfishness, lack of self worthy,
and cowardice, our light can be dimmed,
so that we become shadows of the people we could be.
Lord, help us to believe in our own goodness,
and to let the light of that goodness shine.
On seeing this light others may find their way,
and you will be glorified.
AMEN.

Make The Love Of God Come Alive 5-19-2019

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

In 1976 a car accident tore open the head of a 21-year old Chicago boy named
Peter. His brain was damaged and he was thrown into a deep coma.
Doctors told Peter’s family and friends that he probably wouldn’t survive.
Even if he did, he’d always be in a comatose state. One of the people who heard
that frightening news was Linda, the girl Peter planned to marry.
In the sad days ahead, Linda spent all her spare time in the hospital. Night
after night, she’d sit at Peter’s beside, pat his cheek, rub his brow, and talk to him.
“It was like we were on a normal date”, she said.
All the while Peter remained in a coma, unresponsive to Linda’s loving
presence.
Night after night, for three and a half months, Linda sat at Peter’s bedside,
speaking words of encouragement to him, even though he gave no sign that he
heard her.
Then one night Linda saw Peter’s toe move. A few nights later she saw his
eyelash flutter. This was all she needed. Against the advice of the doctors, she
quit her job and became his constant companion. She spent hours massaging his arms and legs. Eventually she arranged to take
him home. She spent all her savings on a swimming pool, hoping that the sun
and the water would restore life to Peter’s motionless limbs.
Then came the day when Peter spoke his first word since the accident. It was
only a grunt, but Linda understood it.
Gradually, with Linda’s help, those grunts turned into words—clear words.
Finally the day came when Peter was able to ask Linda’s father if he could
marry her. Linda’s father said, “When you can walk down the aisle, Peter, she’ll
be yours”.
Two years later, Peter walked down the aisle of Our Lady of Pompeii Church
in Chicago. He had to use a walker, but he was walking.
Every television station in Chicago covered that wedding. Newspapers across
the country carried pictures of Linda and Peter.
Celebrities phoned to congratulate them. People from as far away as Australia
sent them letters and presents. Families with loved ones in comas called to ask
their advice.
Today, Peter is living a normal life. He talks slowly, but clearly. He walks
slowly, but without a walker. He and Linda even have a lovely child. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one
another”.
I would like each one of you to supply another example. Who has made the
love of God come alive by the sacrifices they have made for you? We need to
thank them and follow their example.