Archive for the ‘7th Sunday’ Category

Feast of the Ascension 5-21-2023

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

Jesus spent a good part of the night wrapping the packages. Each
had a carefully tied bow and a name tag attached. When his last earthly
task was completed, he packaged his bags and went to sleep for what
little time was left of the night.
The next morning he gathered his disciples around him in one of
his favorite garden spots. He surprised them by telling them he as
leaving them for good. They were shocked! There was no time to say
all they wanted to express. Even more, there was no time to figure out
what they would do without him. He resolved the latter by handing out
the gift packages, each with the instruction, “Do not open until after my
When the last gift was handed over, Jesus bade farewell and
disappeared into the clouds. When he arrived in heaven, God gave him
a welcoming hug and led Jesus to his room.
“Looks like you left them kind of bewildered down there”, God
said, glancing down at the outstretched necks.
“They’re a bit scared, but I had to leave sometime. The longer I
stayed, the longer I delayed them getting into action.”
“Do they know the meaning of your leaving? What they’re
supposed to be doing?”
“Sure, I gave them each a gift that would give them the clue.”
“Tell me what you gave them”, God urged.
“A mirror on a chain to be hung around their necks”.
“That’s supposed to be a clued to getting over you?”
“Absolutely”, Jesus insisted.
“How do you figure that?” God asked.
“Each time they ask one another, who’s going to feed the hungry,
visit the sick or help the lonely, they won’t see me, but the reflection of
themselves! Then they can get right to work!”

Get Ready! Here Comes Lent! 2-19-2023

Friday, February 17th, 2023

Let’s Be Nosey and Eavesdrop on a Conversation….
Emily looked at the calendar and sighed “Oh, no!” she moaned.
It’s that time of year again. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February
“Lent,” I declared optimistically, “is a marvelous opportunity, a
wonderful gift, a gracious invitation and God’s blessing of good news.”
“Bah!” Emily responded like an unrepentant Scrooge! And in rapid
order, she ticked off her objections to Lent.
“Too restricting! A down-time! Old hat! Sad, dark, depressing…”
“Ooohh,” I said to myself. “Here’s a clear case of gloom and doom
rather than an outlook of positive possibilities. I had better call the
Spiritual Medics at 911…
Rather than a forbidding fence [holding one back] the 911 spiritual
medics said, “Lent is an open door for personal growth.
 It is not a depressing down-time, but God’s gracious invitation to use
one’s time for things that really count.
 This Lent is not a “been there, done that” but a clean slate for a new

Not a sad, dark, or bothersome season, but one to move oneself
forward for a fuller friendship with God, with self, and with others.
Lent is a gift to realize who we are and where we are in God’s sight.
It is a chance to change; it is a time to recharge our spiritual energies.
It is an opportunity for new life.
 Lent is a call to make use of the time before us—it’s not so much
something we’ve “got to do” as what we “get to do.”
For Lent to come alive—this year—we need to be specific in our
intentions and actions. We cannot vaguely say, “this lent will be
different” or “I’m going to be a better Christian. Such intentions sound
good, but often they tend to evaporate like a puddle of water beneath a
hot sun.
To help us with this, I have a challenge for you—the challenge is to
remember this number: 144. In a 24-hour period there are 144 ten-
minute slots of time.
For Lent this year, take TWO 10-minute slots of time per day and
devote these two ten-minute slots to the things of God.
Let me toss out a few practical suggestions:
 Begin each day with a prayerful and thoughtful sign of the cross.
 Take time each day to be quiet in God’s presence.
 Read a paragraph from scripture. Sit with it—break it open in our
daily life.
 Get rid of put downs, especially in our family.
 Shed false images of yourself. Be honest!

Fast from prejudices, resentment, destructive gossip, unhealthy
 Give up possessiveness of things or of people.
 Stop being imprisoned by memories of past injuries.
 Stop comparing yourself to others. Be yourself!
 Communicate with a friend.
 Remember a grace received—give thanks.
 Laugh for 10 minutes a day: especially at yourself!
 Begin fresh each day.
 Appreciate your God-given gifts.
 Use your gifts to help someone each day of Lent.
 Be a caring and forgiving presence in your family.
 Practice loving concern for poor people.
 Share God’s love by random acts of kindness.
 Care for the earth—recycle!
 Turn off the TV! Talk more. (By the age of 50, most Americans
have watched over 9 years of TV!)
There are so many more concrete and practical ways to be about
the things of God this Lent. It is time to recharge our spiritual
To have an opportunity for new life—a fuller friendship with God.
A commitment to TWO 10-minute slots a day can change our lives!

A Difficult Challenge! 2-20-2022

Friday, February 18th, 2022

I find this Gospel very difficult. I say to myself – what a
difficult challenge! What helped me were these two stories. Listen.
When Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the presidency, one
of his arch-enemies was a man named Edwin Stanton. For some reason
Stanton hated Lincoln. He used every ounce of his energy to degrade
Lincoln in the eyes of the public. So deep rooted was Stanton’s hate for
Lincoln that he uttered unkind words about his physical appearance and
sought to embarrass him at every point. But, in spite of this, Lincoln
was elected the sixteenth president of the United States.
Then came the period when Lincoln had to select his cabinet,
which would consist of persons who would be his most intimate
associates in implementing his programs. He started choosing men here
and there for the various positions.
The day finally came for Lincoln to select the all-important post of
Secretary of War. Can you imagine who Lincoln chose to fill this post?
None other than the man named Stanton. There was an immediate
uproar in the president’s inner circle when the news began to spread.
Advisor after advisor was heard saying, “Mr. President, you are making
a mistake. Do you know this man Stanton? Are you familiar with all
the ugly things he said about you? He is your enemy. He will seek to
sabotage your programs. Have you thought this through, Mr.
Mr. Lincoln’s answer was terse and to the point: “Yes, I know Mr.
Stanton. I am aware of all the terrible things he said about me. But after
looking over the nation, I find he is the best man for the job.” So,
Stanton became Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War and rendered an
invaluable service to his nation and his president.
Not many years later Lincoln was assassinated. Many laudable
things were said about him. But of all the great statements made about
Abraham Lincoln, the words of Stanton remain among the greatest.
Standing near the dead body of the man he once hated, Stanton referred
to him as one of the greatest men who ever lived and said, “He now
belongs to the ages.”
If Lincoln had hated Stanton both men would have gone to their
graves as bitter enemies. But through the power of forgiveness Lincoln
transformed an enemy into a friend. One simple act of forgiveness can
change people’s lives. Are there any Stanton’s in your life right now?
Some years ago, a pastor in Boston was being harassed by a
woman in his congregation. She started false rumors about him. She
wrote vicious letters about him to his bishop and others. She initiated
petitions to have him removed. After several months of this, the woman
moved to another city and not long afterward was converted to Christ.
Part of the process of her conversion was to realize the terrible wrong
she had done and all the pain and suffering she had inflicted on her
pastor in Boston. Consequently, she wrote him a long letter explaining
what had happened to her and how deeply she regretted what she had
done to him. The pastor immediately sent her a telegram with three
words on it: “Forgiven, forgotten, forever!”
Is there someone we/you/me need to say those words to and mean
them? Forgiven, Forgotten, Forever or do we want to live life like that
trapped rattlesnake filled with resentment and bitterness and bite
ourselves to death! I hope not. Lord help us!