Archive for the ‘5th Sunday’ Category

A ‘Lap’ of Refuge 5-15-2022

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

A highly-skilled physician who treats patients with AIDS keeps a picture of her grandmother in her home. Every morning, before leaving for the hospital, she sits quietly before the picture. Her grandmother was an Italian-born woman who held her family close. Her wisdom was of the earth.
Once when Louisa was small, her kitten was killed in an accident. It was her first experience of death and she was devastated. Her Mom and Dad assured her not to be sad, that her kitten was now in heaven with God. But little Louisa found little comfort in that. She prayed, asking God to give her kitten back. But God did not answer.
In her anguish, she turned to her grandmother. “Why?” she asked. Her grandmother lifted her up and held her close. She did not tell her that her kitten was with God. Instead, she reminded her of the time when Grandpa died. She didn’t know why either. She prayed, but God did not bring Grandpa back. Louisa turned into the soft warmth of her grandmother’s shoulder and sobbed. At one point, she turned to see her grandmother crying, too.
Although her grandmother could not answer her question, a great loneliness was lifted and Louisa felt able to move on.
“My grandmother was a lap….a place of refuge” Louisa remembers. “I know a great deal about AIDS but what I really want to be for my patients is a lap, a place from which they can face what they have to face and not be alone.”
Our identity as disciples of Christ is centered in the compassion we extend to others – in our willingness to be a “lap”, a place of refuge, a source of peace for others. Our faithfulness in imitating the love of the Risen Jesus is not in having the right answers or in our dogmatic judgments but in our openness of heart and spirit to love selflessly, completely, unconditionally, as God has loved us in Christ.

Throwing Stones 4-3-2022

Friday, March 4th, 2022

A woman has been caught in adultery. I can see her being dragged through the public streets, hair a mess, some garments hastily gathered around her. When the Pharisees see this woman, it is very clear what they see. They see sin. They see someone who must be condemned. They see imperfection and ugliness. They see a disgusted woman who really must be dragged out of town and them pelted with rocks and stones until her bones are broken or she dies. It is astonishing what they see.
Jesus looks at the same woman. What does He see? He knows very well she is a sinner, and he doesn’t make light of that, but he sees a troubled woman, a sick woman. He sees a human being with shaky self-esteem, with an empty and miserable life, and He is moved to administer the compassion of a God.
Which leads me to the question: When we look at life in general, or at the church, or at people in general…What do we see? Do we see only the negative, or something to criticize, or condemn? If we do, that says as much about me as it does about the world!

“All they could see inside of me was my sin,” thought the woman.
“Those Pharisees with their lecherous grins. Righteous fools in holy disguise. They dragged me down the public street and threw me at some Rabbi’s feet. I was afraid to look up at his face. So ashamed and undone at my public disgrace.”
‘Jesus, Jesus, what shall we do?’ the hypocrite crowd moaned.
“O God, I thought, I’m going to be stoned!”
‘Stone her, of course!’ he replied. ‘That will be fine but let the sinless one here be first in line.’
They had no idea what to say or how to act. So, they slinked away with their haughtiness cracked!
“I lay there, very near to despair. It was obvious He was the sinless one there and in God’s name would through the stone to draw my blood and crush my bone.”
‘Are you still here?’ He said, in a good-humored voice.
‘Go home, but from now on, make a wiser choice.’

Please remember this:
There is more to anyone than meets the eye. God sees deeper than you or them… so try. Try seeing yourself as God sees you and your sins will never freeze you. Try seeing others as God sees them and you may never pick up a stone again.

God Loves Me? 2-6-2022

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

What I find helps me understand the Scriptures better is to get on
the inside of some of the characters. These characters are human beings-
just like us. I try to feel what they are feeling – I try to walk in their
In our first reading and Gospel we have two characters – human
beings, Isaiah and Simon-Peter. They are both suffering from what we
call today an “Inferiority Complex,” when it comes to God. Like these
two characters, I believe many of us who come here Sunday after
Sunday, also are suffering from an inferiority complex when it comes to
God – How do I know? What do I hear?
1. We are not good enough.
2. We are not wise enough in God’s ways to consider ourselves
Like Isaiah and Simon-Peter – we shy away because we cannot
imagine God loving sinful people like us.
A perfect example – This week I had four appointments in a row – There was a basic theme that ran through all these people’s stories. “I
feel unworthy” to be in a relationship with God. How could I be part of
the church with all my sins, failures, and frustrations? How can I share
in the ministry of Jesus Christ like he wants me – us to do?
These people’s reactions sound pretty similar to Isaiah and Simon-
Peter’s reaction. We hear God say, “Listen – I have a special job for you
to do.” We hear them say, “Leave me alone Lord – I am a sinful person
– I am unable and unworthy to be used by you”.
Isaiah and Simon-Peter, all of us here we need to be reminded over
and over again – of three very important points:
1. The Mystery of God – is that God loves us despite ourselves –
Thomas Merton wrote that the root of Christian love is not the will
to love, but the faith that one is loved by God irrespective of one’s
worth. I heard someone define a disciple of Jesus as a “loved
2. We don’t have to be Perfect First to be used by God. God
wants our yes – God will take care of the rest. There is a prayer card that reads: “Nothing would be done at all if a person waited until they could do it so well – that no one could find fault with it.”
3. The “Break Thru” point – in being in a healthy relationship with
God in truly being a disciple of Jesus Christ is this: Trusting
enough to give our faults – failures – sins to God and allowing the
healing power of God to work through us and with us – When
Isaiah and Simon-Peter finally trusted enough to do this, it
changed their lives- they were both able to say and believe it,
Here I am Lord – Send Me – Send Me.
4. Let me close with a very few words from the wonderful
spiritual writer and speaker Maya Angelou. I hope and pray these
words – touch the hearts of those of us with the inferiority complex
when it comes to God. Listen carefully:
“In my twenties in San Francisco, I began acting agnostic. It
wasn’t that I stopped believing in God; it’s just that God didn’t seem to
be around the neighborhoods I frequented. One day my voice teacher
asked me to read a passage from a book. A section which ended with
these words: God loves me. I read it again and closed the book, and my teacher said, ‘Read it again.’ I pointedly opened the book, and I sarcastically read, God loves me. He said, ‘Read it again.’
“After about the seventh repetition, I began to sense that there
might be truth in the statement, that there was a possibility that God
really did love me – me, Maya Angelou. I suddenly began to cry at the
grandness of it all. I knew that if God loved me, then I could do
wonderful things, I could try great things, learn anything, achieve
anything. For what could stand against me and God?” Maya Angelou
went on to say,
“…That knowledge humbles me, melts my bones, closes my ears
and makes my teeth rock loosely in their gums. And it also liberates
me.” “God loves me.” “Believe it”.