Archive for the ‘5th Sunday’ Category

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.

God Loves Me? 2-10-2019

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

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 shoes.
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 religious.
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 sinner.”
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”.