Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

Fourteen 12-19-2021

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

Mom picks up her 14-year-old daughter at school after soccer
practice.
Fourteen – that turbulent threshold between childhood and young
adult. It’s a tough age – for everyone. The once always happy child
often disappears in a state of isolated sullenness – and snaps at any
attempt to bring her back.
“Mom and Dad, you just don’t understand!”
So, Mom, being a wise Mom, keeps it light: How was your day?
“OK.” How did the math test go? “I think I did all right”. When’s
your next game? “Friday.”
Things are quiet for a while on the ride home. At one point, she
turns up the volume on the car stereo, “I like this song” she says, and
starts to sing along.
Mom knows that the next four years will go by in an instant: Next
year, high school. The year after that, she’ll get her license. In three
years, she’ll be looking at colleges. And then there will be a boyfriend
or three along the way If she’s scared, she’ll never let on. If she needs help, she’ll never
come right out and ask. Mom understands that. It would shock her
daughter to realize that her Mom was once 14 herself – and still
remembers what it was like.
So, Mom patiently is there for her 14-year-old, waiting to catch her
when she falls, to nudge her forward when she hesitates, to help pick up
the pieces when things fall apart. Mom answers any question with
gentleness but honesty, patiently but firmly explains the boundaries and
why they are there, affirms her daughter’s good decisions and has her re-
consider her bad ones.
And Mom takes satisfaction in knowing that there will come a time
when her daughter will do the same when her own daughter is
fourteen…..
In Mary and Elizabeth’s meeting in today’s Gospel, in the car rides
Mom and her 14-year-old travel together, in our own interactions with
others, the Spirit of God is present in the healing, comfort and support
we can extend to one another in such moments. Some of our “visitations” can be wonderful, affirming moments of grace – and some
can be difficult and challenging struggles to find acceptance and understanding. In the light and hope of this holy season, may we “make
haste” to bring reconciling peace and healing justice in our meetings
with one another, in which the grace of God enables us to see one
another with the eyes of God.

Remember You Always Walk With God 12-12-2021

Sunday, December 12th, 2021

A few weeks before Christmas, a woman who lived in a New York
apartment building found a greeting card taped to her door. “Merry
Christmas from the custodial staff”, it said.
“How nice”, she said to herself and promptly forgot about it. A
week later she came home to find another card taped to her door. It was
the same message, “Merry Christmas from the custodial staff”. But this
time stamped right in the middle in big red letters, were the words,
“Second Notice”!
Many of us are terribly forgetful. We immerse ourselves in our
daily tasks of life as we must. We can forget almost anything: birthdays,
anniversaries, appointments, our bank balance, our glasses. You name
it, we forget it. We make lists so we won’t forget and then we forget the
list.
But our forgetfulness isn’t limited just to the little things. We
forget the big things as well; who our real friends are, what really
matters in life, who loves us, who needs us, what we were made for. We just forget.
I believe that is why we need to gather here – week after week; to
help each other remember who we are, remember what really matters,
and remember that we aren’t walking this long road alone. We’re
walking it with the Lord who is right at our side.
And what is this Lord like who walks at our side? Does God walk
with us as a critic? A police officer? A judge? Or maybe just an
impartial observer? In fact the Lord is none of the above.
The Lord walks with us as a partner and mentor who wants to see
us succeed and who understands that it’s going to take us a while. Now
what more could we ask? How can we not celebrate and rejoice as
today’s liturgy urges us. How can we not be confident and hopeful and
put all fears behind us. After all, God is with us and for us!
And there’s still more. Having God walking with us as partner and
mentor gives us the opportunity to be in close conversation hourly. With
simple words like, “Well, Lord, what do you think about this?” Or,
“Lord can you help me see this clearly?” Or simply, “Help, Lord, I can’t do this one alone.” Those are the kinds of words that partners and friends speak very often.
All of that is what we have to come together here to remember.
First, remember to rejoice and forget all your fears because God is with
us. And second, remember to listen to and talk to God about the real
stuff of our lives because God cares more than anyone else…and God
knows the way home.
I would like to close by sharing with you my idea of what God’s
special Christmas card would say to each one of us;
“Remember what you’ve seen me do”, says Jesus. “…the blind
see, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, and dead men raised
to life”. If you’ll let me, I’ll do the same for you”, he says. “I’ll heal
what is sick in your spirit, if you’ll let me”.
“I’ll open your eyes and your ears so that you’ll know what really
matters so you’ll know that happiness and peace are available to you
everyday, even on the worst days. I’ll show you that and let you
experience that, if you’ll let me.
“I will not insulate you from adversity, challenge, or pain. But I will always see you through them, and never let you come to ultimate harm. I’ll take you by the hand, and raise you up; I’ll help you to walk
and I’ll walk with you until your journey is complete, if you’ll let me.
“All that is my promise to you, my solemn pledge. And I will not
take it back”, says the Lord. We have a lot to rejoice about today!
Don’t we!!

Watch, Listen, & Believe 12-5-2021

Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Let me to take you on a little journey to a Big, Busy, Shopping
Mall. Let me introduce to you someone.
He caused quite a commotion among the shoppers at the mall.
Many dismissed him as annoying nut. He was dressed in a tattered
flannel shirt and jeans. No one knew where he spent the night, but he
was seen rummaging around the dumpsters for scraps of food from
Orange Julius and McDonald’s. Every day he could be found by the
beautifully lighted fountain near the mall’s food court. Despite his
ragged appearance and that slightly “off” look in his eyes, there was a
kindness and sincerity about him that drew people to him.
He would ask them why they would spend so much money for
Christmas, why they would allow themselves to become so obsessed and
stressed out over this tinseled holiday. “We like our Christmas with a
lot of sugar, don’t we?” he would tease. But Christmas is about hope
and love, he said – and that can be a struggle. Give gifts of kindness and
compassion to each other. Seek forgiveness from family and friends who may be lost to you. Let the spirit of the Christ Child embrace every
season of the year, not just December.
Those who listened would nod in agreement as he spoke – even as
they tightened their grips on their shopping bags. Some were moved to
quit shopping and go home to be with their families, others would go off
and buy an extra toy or piece of clothing for charity; a few would even
be moved to escape to a church or chapel for quiet prayer.
Sometimes he would rail against the insipid music and the gaudy
decorations. When the mall Santa would walk by, he would make fun of
him, asking the embarrassed Santa pointed questions about the real
Christmas story.
Soon, though, the storeowners had had enough of his distractions.
The mall managers had security escort him from the premises.
He wasn’t really hurting anyone, they realized.
But he had to go, they said.
He was ruining everyone’s Christmas.
“He Had to Go”. John the Baptists 2021. They come in all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, sexes and backgrounds. What do they do? They tease, they challenge, they poke us, and they point us to Jesus. To Jesus’
way of life.
Pray with me today, Advent 2021, that we will not be blind to the
John the Baptists that come into our daily lives. Believe me – they will
come. Watch, Listen, and Believe.