Archive for the ‘Ordinary Time’ Category

Make Sure To Keep Yourself In The Love Of God Today; The Rest Will Take Care Of Itself 11-14-2021

Friday, November 12th, 2021

I have a wonderful memory growing up in a small valley town. I spent a
lot of time around the church; a lot of priests would visit our home for
dinner (moms a great cook). I remember a lesson I learned when the
topic of the end of time came up. A wise priest gave me good advice;
“Make sure to keep yourself in the love of God today – the rest will take
care of itself.
I believe there are three things we can do something about today;
1. How loving are our thoughts—right now in our life?
2. How loving are our words—right now in our life?
3. How loving are our actions—right now in our life?
First: our thoughts. How judgmental are we in our thoughts about
other people? Do we tend to pass judgment on them—judgment that is
often unkind and unfair?
There’s a Peanuts cartoon that shows Charlie Brown and
Linus standing side by side. Charlie is looking at a drawing of a
man that Linus has just made. Charlie says to Linus, “I see you’ve drawn the man with his
hands behind his back. That shows you are insecure.
Linus replies, “I didn’t put his hands behind his back because
I am insecure. I did it because I can’t draw hands.”
That story makes us ask ourselves, “Do we tend to read into
situations? Do we tend to judge others recklessly, as Charlie did Linus
in that cartoon?
That brings us to our second point: our words or speech. Do we
use our speech to talk about the faults of others? Do we use it to gossip
about other people?
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about three church leaders – a
Catholic, a Protestant, and a Jew, all from the same town. They
decided to make a retreat together. In the course of their retreat,
they shared with each other one of their most embarrassing
shortcomings.
The Catholic priest said, “I must tell you both that I’ve been
gambling lately.” The Jewish rabbi said, “And I must tell you both that I’ve
been gambling a lot lately.” Finally, the Protestant minister said, “I must tell you both
that I can’t keep a thing to myself. I am an incurable gossip.”
That story makes us ask ourselves, “Do we use our speech to
gossip about others?”
That brings us to our third point: our actions.
Some years ago, nine physically handicapped people
successfully climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington State. One of the
climbers had an artificial leg. Another climber was an epileptic.
Two others were deaf, and five were blind.
In spite of the handicaps, the nine people negotiated the
14,000-foot mountain together, up and down, without accident.
When asked about the amazing feat, one of the blind
members of the party said simple, “We got a lot of help from one
another.”
That story makes us ask ourselves, “How much are we helping one
another in our mutual efforts to climb the mountain that leads to God and heaven?
How prepared are we to meet Jesus at the end of the world? How prepared are we to meet Him, right now, in just three areas of
our life?
First: our thoughts. Do we judge other people recklessly?
Second: our words. Do we talk about other people unkindly?
And finally: our actions. Do we turn our back on other
people’s needs?
If we aren’t doing too well in these areas now, what makes us think
we will do better in the future?
Let’s close with a prayer:
Lord, give us a mind that will think thoughts that are kind and fair.
Give us lips that will speak words that are true and charitable.
Give us hands that will do deeds that are modeled after the ones
you did for people in your own lifetime.
“Make sure to keep yourself in the love of God today—and the rest will
take care of itself”.

Thanks Givers 11-7-2021

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Two years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a
remarkable woman was born in New York City. Her name was
Elizabeth Bayley.
At the age of 20 she married a businessman named William Seton.
Neither she nor William was Catholic. In time the couple had five
children.
Then tragedy struck: William contracted tuberculosis.
William moved his family to Italy, hoping that the climate would
help him. But his illness was terminal. He died a few years later.
With the help of a generous Italian family, the Setons moved back
to the United States. The goodness of that Italian family led the young
widow to investigate the Catholic Church. Two years later she became a
Catholic.
Elizabeth’s relatives and friends were shocked. They virtually
disowned her, and she was forced to get a teaching job to support her
five children. To make a long story short, when the children came of age, Elizabeth became religious and founded the American branch of the
Sisters of Charity. It was this order that pioneered the great Catholic
school system in America.
Elizabeth once told a friend, “I’d like to retire from the turmoil of
the world and lead a simple life of prayer, but God wants me to do
something else, and I must always choose God’s will over my own.”
Elizabeth died at the age of 46. In her lifetime she wasn’t a mystic.
She wasn’t a martyr. She was simply a widow who gave what she had
to God. She was simply a single parent who turned a tremendous
tragedy in her life – the loss of her husband and the rejection of her
family – into a spectacular gift to God and to the Church.
How fitting it was, then, that in 1975 Elizabeth Seton was
canonized the first American-born saint.
The story of this generous widow fits in beautifully with today’s
Scripture readings. For two of those readings are also about generous
widows.
The first reading concerns a widow who shared with the prophet Elijah all the food she had to live on. The gospel reading concerns a widow who gave to the Temple of Jerusalem all the money she had to
live on.
Like Elizabeth Seton, each of these two widows gave with the
same generous heart. Each had a perfectly legitimate reason to excuse
herself from giving, but each refused to exercise that excuse.
Like Elizabeth Seton, each knew that the important thing was not
what she had to give but the love with which she gave it.
Each knew that what counted in God’s eyes is not the size of the
gift but the size of the giver’s heart.
Someone once said that there are three kinds of givers: grudge
givers, duty givers, and thanks givers.
Grudge givers say, “I hate to give.” Duty givers say, “I ought to
give.” Thanks givers say, “I want to give.”
In other words grudge givers give reluctantly and with a certain
feeling of resentment.
Duty givers give reluctantly too, but with a certain feeling of
obligation. Thanks givers, on the other hand, give from the heart, without any feeling of resentment or obligation. The three widows are beautiful
examples of thanks givers.
They gave under no pressure.
They gave under no obligation.
They gave from the heart.
The stories of the three widows invite us to ask ourselves how we give.
Do we give grudgingly because we have to – because we will be
embarrassed or thought less of it if we don’t give?
Do we give dutifully because we feel obligated or required to do
so?
Or do we give thankfully because our love and our faith tell us to
give – just as the love and the faith of the widows told them to give?
Listen with me –
Let’s close with a brief meditation on God’s own generosity in
giving to us:
We ask for a flower, and God gives us a bouquet.
We ask for leaf, and God gives us a tree.
We ask for a drop of water, and god gives us an ocean. We ask for a grain of sand, and god gives us a beach.
We ask for a blade of wheat, and God gives us a wheat field.
We ask for something to eat, and we are given God’s own Life.
With God what counts the most – is not the size of the gift, but the size
of the giver’s heart.

A Conversation 10-31-2021

Monday, November 1st, 2021

One day God and Jesus were having a conversation with each
other…:
Jesus: “You know our book has been out a long time and we have never
made any revisions. Don’t you think we ought to consider some?”
God: “I’ve been rather pleased with it; why change a good thing?”
Jesus: “Well, we are in the age of computers and satellites. Lots of
things have happened since Moses and the commandments and my
sermon on the mountain. I’m not sure we’re communicating with
people the way we ought in this modern era.”
God: “What would you suggest? Starting over?”
Jesus: “No, just modernizing. People don’t read a lot anymore.
They’re TV watchers. The Bible scares them because it’s quite wordy,”
God: “Are you trying to tell me we ought to condense it?”
Jesus: “Reader’s Digest tried that already, but that didn’t help our
readership.”
God asked: “Well, what’s the solution then?” Jesus: “Brevity.”
God: “You mean like commercials?”
Jesus: ‘Yes, but not as boring as commercials. People stopped watching
commercials with the invention of remote control. They just switch
channels.”
God: “How brief can we get?”
Jesus: “‘Love God’ and ‘Love your neighbor.’”
God: “Then what?”
Jesus: “Rent advertising space and time.”
God: “That’s too expensive.”
Jesus: “Then re-do nature. Print the message on every cloud and on
every leaf.”
God: “That’s too time consuming. We’d have to re-do it with every
change of season.”
Jesus: “Print it on the hands of every newborn, ‘Love God’ on the right
and ‘Love neighbor’ on the left. They go Hand in Hand; you can’t have
one without the other.” God: “I already did something like that, but I wrote it on their hearts.” Jesus: “How were people supposed to read it hidden there?”
God: “I guess I was a little naïve, I didn’t expect it to remain hidden. I
thought it would be quite obvious in the way people loved me and one
another.”