The Most Holy Trinity 6-7-2020

June 7th, 2020

There were four blind men who went to the circus. The question
arose, “What does an elephant look like?” One blind man felt the
elephant’s leg and said he looked like a tree trunk. Another felt his tail
and said he looked like a rope. The third felt his tusk and said he looked
like a sword. The last man felt his side and said he looked like a wall.
Which of the blind men was right?
Perhaps the best answer is to say that each one was right—from his
own viewpoint. But each blind man was not completely right. Only by
sharing information could they get a more accurate view of what an
elephant is like. In a sense, this is the way it is with God.
On this Trinity Sunday—we are reminded that God—is a God of
many faces and dimensions. A God who loves us and who wants to be
in a relationship with us—who has chosen to share life with us—A God
who cannot be defined, or packaged or boxed up completely—Ever. As the story of the elephant reminds us—only by sharing our
experiences of God and listening to each other, will we come to a better
awareness of the awesomeness of God.
Did you hear about the man who died and went to heaven only to
find that heaven was full? St. Peter explained that they had a special
expansion program in progress and there would be room in 2-3 weeks.
Would the gentleman mind returning to earth to wait. He said,
“delighted” and returned, only to bump into an old buddy who gasped,
“I thought you were dead.” “I was—but they’re remodeling heaven and I
have to wait a couple of weeks longer.” “You mean you actually got to
heaven and saw all the angels and saints?” “Yes”. “Tell me about
God.” “Well first of all, she’s black…..”
Of course it’s just a story, but it certainly helps destroy some of the
comic-book, fairy-tale, holy-card, stereotyped myths about God—who
was always pictured to me as an old, white, Anglo-Saxon male with a
long white beard, enthroned on a cloud directly overhead but far, far away. When we think our perception of God—our Catholic, our
Protestant, our CCD—our Catholic School perception is the only one—
we are making a BIG MISTAKE!
I close with this: Call God what you wish—Creator, Ground of
Our Being, Life Force, Spirit Within, Lover, Love, Higher Power,
Father, Mother, ABBA, Yahweh, Jesus….God can handle it—just keep
calling.

The Power of the Spirit 5-31-2020

May 31st, 2020

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my
class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked
like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would
anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a
nerd.”
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my
friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They
ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he
landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the
grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible
sadness in his eyes.
My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled
around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed
him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile
on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it
turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him
before. He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We
talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out
to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football
with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I
got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same
of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of
books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build
some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just
laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we
were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a
doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about
being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys
that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually
looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls
loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous.
Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about
his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy,
you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really
grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began.
“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a
coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell
you a story.”
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first
day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He
talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have
to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and
gave me a little smile.
“Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the
unspeakable.”
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy
told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and Dad looking
at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I
realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. Never underestimate
the Power of God’s spirit working through us. With one small gesture
you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse.

Feast of the Ascension 5-24-2020

May 24th, 2020

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 clue 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!