Archive for the ‘Easter’ 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
ascension.”
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!”

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
interests.
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.

Living Tabernacles 5-7-2023

Sunday, May 7th, 2023

As I read the second reading today, some words stay with me.
“You too” (that means all of us). You too – are living stones built as an
edifice of spirit.
These words reminded me that we are the church – not this
fantastic building that many of you and others worked so hard to create.
This building is a very special place for the church to gather. We are
very different people, with different backgrounds, talents, personalities,
life experiences, and cultures. We are the church. Words we have heard
before. Fairly simple words, but they need to be said over and over
again. They need to be believed and lived.
I have been in some beautiful churches and cathedrals and have
found many of them cold and lifeless. I have been in a parish church
that was an old barn (their church building had burned down). In that
barn there was life, spirit, energy, variety and warmth. There was real
church because of the people – the living stones.

When we come to this building that houses us the church – most of
us get very reverent. We bow to the Blessed Sacrament in our
Tabernacle Chapel as a sign of our respect. I believe this is a good thing
to do. It is part of who we are. But my question to all of us as church
tonight/today is this.
How reverent are we, how respectful are we to the living
tabernacles right next to us? This tabernacle is made of some type of
metal. It holds for us Catholics the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus. I
believe and respect that, but I also believe that every human being is a
living flesh and blood container of God – a human tabernacle.
That person in our family that we find very difficult right now (you
know that person) has God in them. That person that drives everyone
crazy at school or work has God in them.
That person, who is homeless, who is from another country and
taking some of our jobs, who is dying of AIDS, whose values are totally
opposite of mine, has God living in them.
How respectful? How reverent are we to these living tabernacles –
these containers of God – that we rub elbows with everyday. A little
respect, a little reverence, can do some pretty powerful things.
A businessman in a hurry plunked down a dollar into the cup of a
man selling flowers and rapidly went his way. Half a block down the
street, he turned around and made his way back to the poor flower seller.
“I’m sorry,” he said picking out his favorite flower. “In my haste I
failed to make my purchase. After all, you are a businessman just like
myself. Your flowers are fairly priced and of good quality. I trust you
won’t be upset with my forgetting to pick out my purchase.” With that
he smiled and quickly went on his way again.
A few weeks later, while at lunch, a neatly dressed, handsome man
approached the businessman’s table and introduced himself. “I’m sure
you don’t remember me, and I don’t even know your name, but your
face I will never forget. You are the man who inspired me to make
something of myself. I was a vagrant selling flowers on a street corner
until you gave me back my self-respect and a sense of dignity. Now I
believe I am a businessman, too.”