Archive for the ‘6th Sunday’ Category

Love one Another. 5-5-2024

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

I have a truly sad story for you today. Couple of years ago, I was
called to the cemetery to officiate at the burial of a woman who had
no parish priest. She was very old – 97 – and had been active to the
end. But when the hour for the service came, there was only one
mourner, her 75 year old son.
“Tell me about your mother, “I asked. “She must have been a
positive, energetic woman to have lived so long entirely on her
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “She was difficult. She had
no idea how to love. She was never abusive to me; she was just
nothing to me. And now she is gone.”
And so he cried for what might have been, could have been,
should have been. He cried and spoke softly to himself the
saddest words in our language, “Too late.”
Too late! May none of us ever have to speak those words. But
how can we avoid it? There’s only one sure path and Jesus laid it
out for us his gospel: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
A simple formula for a life without regret. And yet we
misunderstand it all the time. We keep confusing the cheap
imitations with the real thing. Infatuation, sentimental tears, the
teenage crush, a passionate song, that warm and cozy feeling – all
very nice, but they’re not love.
To love is to give a piece of one’s heart and not take it back.
Love sticks around in the good days and the bad ones. It does
what needs to be done in tiny pieces and can be done even by the
smallest of us.
Love has its bad days when its heart is cold and there are few
cheery thoughts to warm it. But even then, love does not falter,
and does not take back that piece of the heart that it gave away.
Love’s work is never done, but its yield is never ending.
True love will never have to speak the words, “Too late!”
Long ago Jesus our brother gave his whole heart to us once and
for all. May he help us to give our hearts to one another and never
take them back. May he help us never have to say: – “Too Late /
Too Late!”
Let me close with this:
The bumper sticker said:
So I SMILED all day long…
And people thought I was acting a little weird.
The bumper sticker said:
So I HONKED…And the policeman said I was disturbing the
The bumper sticker said:
So I WAVED with both hands, lost control of the car, and
crashed into a TELEPHONE pole.
If I cannot SMILE…or HONK…or even WAVE…
How will Jesus KNOW I love him?
Mere smiling or honking or waiving is too EASY!
IF you really want to love Jesus, you must love one

GOD’s Absolute Love 2-11-2024

Monday, January 29th, 2024

I remember some years ago Bishop Fulton had a prime time
TV show opposite Milton Berle every Wednesday night. One
night he told about his visit to an African leper colony. He had
brought along a supply of little silver crucifixes so he would have
something special to give to each of the 500 lepers in the camp.
The first leper he met had only the stumps of his left arm. And his
right arm and hand were covered with ugly, open sores. Sheen
took one of the little crucifixes, held it a few inches above the
leper’s hand, and then let it drop into his palm.
In a flash, he was struck by what he’d done. “All at once”,
he said, “I realized there were 501 lepers in the camp, and the most
leprous of them all was myself. I had given a crucifix—the
symbol of God’s absolute love for all of us—but then I had pulled
back and closed my eyes to what the symbol implied for me. So I
looked again very hard at that little crucifix, and I knew what I had
to do. I pressed by hand to the leper’s hand with the symbol of love between us,                and then I proceeded to do that for all of the remaining 499 lepers”! None of us, thank God, are lepers. But there’s not one of us,
if we are honest, whose heart hasn’t been wounded or even broken
many times, not one of us who doesn’t need healing. So it is to all
of us that Jesus is speaking by his actions in Sunday’s gospel. In
stretching out his hand, touching that leper and healing him, Jesus
is telling us—once again—that God does love us all no matter how
damaged or broken we are. He’s telling us that no matter how bad
we have been, our God will always be there for us, always be
waiting for us to open our hearts so God can heal us.
That’s the first half of Jesus’ message, but there’s more. In
addition to what God wants to do for us, there’s the matter of what
God wants us to do for one another. And it turns out to be exactly
the same thing; we are to become healers too, healers of one
another. That sounds wonderful, but how do ordinary, wounded
people like us become healers? Very simply by remembering how our own wounds feel and remembering what we need when we are broken. What we would like, of course, is a quick fix for our
wounds, but what we need is a friend who will reach out just as
Jesus did, take us by the hand, when our hand isn’t looking so
good, and walk through the darkness with us and not let go of us
halfway! If that is what we need as we try to walk through our hurts
and losses, it is also exactly what our brothers and sisters need.
And it is something each of us can give.
Here is a real life example of what I am talking about.
Some years ago, an old man collapsed on a busy street corner
in downtown Brooklyn. Within minutes an ambulance rushed him
to Kings County Hospital. There he kept calling his son.
A nurse found a dog-eared letter in the man’s wallet. From it
she learned that his son was a marine stationed in North Carolina.
That night an anxious marine showed up at the hospital.
Immediately, the nurse took him to the old man’s bedside.
The man was heavily sedated. And so the nurse had to tell him several times, “Your son is here! Your son is here!” Finally, the old man opened his eyes. He could barely make
out his son, but he recognized his marine uniform. At that point,
the son took his father’s hand and held it lovingly.
For the rest of that night, the marine sat at the man’s bedside.
Occasionally, he patted the man’s hand and spoke to him tenderly.
Several times the nurse urged the marine to take a break and
get something to eat or drink. But he refused. Toward dawn, the old man died.
When the nurse extended her sympathy to the young man, the
marine said, “Who was that man?”
“Wasn’t he your father?” the nurse asked.
“No, he wasn’t”, said the marine. “I never saw him before in
my life”.
“Why didn’t you say something?” said the nurse.
“I would have”, said the marine, “but I could see that he was
too sick to realize I wasn’t his son. I could also see that he was
slipping fast and needed a son. So, I decided to become that son”. Ordinary—wounded people can do things like this marine
did for the old man. Extend a hand of friendship and help someone
walk through the darkness to a new day.
Jesus did it—this marine did—we are asked to do the same.
Lord Help Us!

A Martyr of our time 5-14-2023

Friday, May 12th, 2023

Sadly, the age of martyrs is not over. In our own time, men and
women of faith give their lives for the cause of justice and mercy.
A few years ago the world witnessed just such martyrdom two
days before Valentine’s Day. Sister Dorothy Stang was a Sister of Notre
Dame de Namur from Dayton, Ohio. The 74-year-old nun had spend 35
years in Brazil, the last 22 living and working among 400 poor farmers
and their families in Anapu, Para, a section of Brazil’s Amazon rain
forest. A slight, unassuming woman of boundless energy and
irrepressible joy, Sister Dorothy had become an effective advocate not
only for the poor but for the rain forest itself, one of the world’s most
important environments that is being destroyed by powerful economic
But the nun’s work with the landless and her efforts to preserve the
rain forest proved too much for the wealthy logging and ranching
interests. On February 12, Sister Dorothy was ambushed by two men
contracted by a local rancher. Witnesses said Sister Dorothy, when
confronted by the gunmen, took her Bible from her bag and began
reading aloud. The two listened for a moment, then stepped back and
fired. She died instantly from six gunshot wounds.
Sister Dorothy knew that her work was dangerous but refused
police protection for herself.
“I don’t want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these
farmers who live without any protection of the forest. They have the
sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can work
with dignity while respecting the environment.”
Our scriptures today remind us that the Spirit of God speaks in all
that is just and right, in every word of compassion spoken, in the
simplest acts of reconciliation. The Spirit spoke clearly and eloquently
in the courageous voice of a slight 74-year-old woman who dared to call
powerful interests accountable for their immoral treatment of the poor
and their abuse of God’s creation.
The Risen Christ’s promise of the Paraclete/Advocate is a
bittersweet blessing: God’s Spirit is often difficult to accept,
challenging our lives and lifestyles, confronting us at times with our
irresponsibility and culpability. May we possess the integrity and
courage to hear the Spirit of God in the many voices in which God
speaks and to allow that Spirit to transform our skepticism, self –
centeredness and blindness to the things of God, things like justice,
forgiveness and the peace of the Easter promise.
I leave you with this: “I don’t want to flee, nor do I want to
abandon the battle, these people have the right to aspire to a better life.”
The words and the actions of a modern martyr living among us. Thanks
be to God.