Sunday, December 22, 2013

HOMILY – 4th Sunday of Advent – Year A

By Deacon Jerry Franzen – Cathedral   12/22/13

Isaiah 7: 10 – 14            Romans 1: 1 – 7                Matthew 1: 18 - 24

*Maude had a window seat on a 747 jetliner.
She was about to take off for Rome,
a trip she had planned for years.
It was her first flight and she was a bit apprehensive.
Even the presence of four bishops seated behind her didn’t help.  During the takeoff, her eyes were tightly glued shut,
and she had the white-knuckle grip on the arms of the seat.
After they leveled off,
she opened her eyes and looked out of the window
just in time to see one of the engines tear loose
from the plane and disappear into the clouds below.
“We’re going to die!”, she said.  “We’re going to die!”

The flight attendant consulted with the pilot,
who announced to the passengers
that everything was under control.
They could easily fly back to the airport and land
with the three engines that were still operating.
But Maude continued to cry out, “We’re going to die!”
The flight attendant went to her and said,
"Don’t be afraid, my dear, God is with us.
We may have only three engines, but look behind you,
we have four bishops.”
To which Maude replied,
“I’d rather have four engines and only three bishops.”

The flight attendant told Maude: “Don’t be afraid.”
It’s a message we often encounter in scripture.**
Abraham heard it from God as the covenant was established.
Zechariah, who was about to become a father,
heard it from an angel.
Gabriel said it to Mary at the Annunciation.
The disciples heard it from Jesus
as he walked toward them on the water.
Don’t be afraid.
Peter, James and John heard it from heaven at the Transfiguration.  And the angel at the tomb said it to Mary Magdalene
and the other Mary who was with her.

And here today we heard it twice:
In the first reading, Isaiah,
who spoke for God, told king Ahaz to trust in God,
not to be afraid, that God would send a sign of His love
for the Israelite people
who were being threatened by the Assyrians.

Ahaz was of the house of David and an ancestor of Joseph.
Our second hearing is in the Gospel where the angel assures Joseph,
“Don’t be afraid to take Mary for your wife,
for the child conceived within her
is from the Holy Spirit.”

“Don’t be afraid. – Trust in God”
a facet of God’s message to us as we near Christmas.


We know that for Ahaz the message meant God
would protect the Israelites from the Assyrians
and for Joseph it meant
that God would protect him, Mary and the child.
What does all this mean for us as followers of Jesus Christ?
First, we’ll consider what that message does not mean.
It does not mean that,
if you are a believer in and follower of the Word of God,                           you are not allowed to feel afraid.

It also does not say that you are less of a Christian
if you experience fear.
Certainly Mary must have.
She was asked to bear a child,
whose conception would be hard to explain.
Joseph’ fear was exposing his pregnant fiancĂ©e
to what would be the dreadful trial of the Old Law.
(I was reminded that they were considered as though they were married, but Joseph has not taken her into his house yet.)

And what about our fears?
Does “Don’t be afraid.” mean:
“Don’t be afraid, when you lose your job
and your children could be hungry?”
Is it: “Don’t be afraid, when drugs and weapons rule our streets?
Or when you have no access to health insurance?”
Could it be: “Don’t be afraid, when your cancer returns?”
Or “Don’t be afraid, if you are a recovering addict?
Or if you are middle-aged and unhappy with your life?”
Is it “If you are dying, don’t be afraid?”  No! That’s not it.
Fear is a legitimate human emotion,
and if you need a precedent for it,
recall how Jesus in the garden in his agony
begged his Father not to have him die.


So how do we understand the message: “Don’t be afraid.”?
It’s not a matter of “Don’t be afraid, because God said so.”
No, it’s much as that flight attendant told Maude –
“Don’t be afraid; because God is with us.”
He is not with us just to make his presence known;
we know that He can do that in winds, in clouds,
 in a pillar of fire.
No, it’s “Don’t be afraid, because God is with us as one of us:
The God born after nine months in Mary’s womb;
The God who walked on earth, who was hungry, who was tired;
The God who healed the sick, lifted the sinner
and brought hope to many;
The God scourged, mocked, crowned with thorns and crucified;
The God who rose and is with us today, flesh and blood, to save us.”
For the angel said
“ are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
"Do not be afraid.”
Do not be afraid that through your sin
you have cut yourself off from God,
and that he no longer loves you.

That’s the message for,  “Do not be afraid.”
God has come to us,
so that the trust that He will always love us
may overcome any fear that we cannot become one with him. 


Do be afraid of just walking out into traffic;
be afraid of dark alleys, of wasting money.
Don’t let children play with knives, don’t risk getting AIDS.
Be concerned about who can buy guns and explosives,
who can acquire anthrax and small pox.
Without fear,
this country could once again be an easy target for terrorism.

But Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, as Isaiah named him,
tells me that fear, for all its value,
is not the critical characteristic of a Christian.
At the heart of Christianity is LOVE;
to love as God loves;
to love as Jesus showed us how to love.
This is a dominant message of Pope Francis.
Our Christmas gift from God,
is the trust that He will always love us,
and it demands a return gift of love from us.
Do not be afraid to take the risk, to return the gift of love
to love as Jesus loved.

Don’t be afraid to love God,
because you think of the distant God
the God of vengeance and punishment.
Take another look.
It’s the God in the manger and the God on the Cross.
Can there be any greater reason for us to love God,
than the fact that he humbled himself to be born in a stable
and that he gave his life for us?

Don’t be afraid to love yourself, the unworthy sinner.
Take another look.
This is the God in the manger and the God on the Cross.
If God loved us, even the most terrible sinners,
so much that he became one of us and trusted himself to us,
why can’t we, who are made in his image, love ourselves? 

Don’t be afraid to love others,
even in the face of those who may not love us in return.
Remember, this is the God in the manger and the God on the Cross.
What God has done for us
is the example of what we must do for others;
we must take on their problems
as he took on our problems
and give our lives for them..

So don’t be afraid to take the risk,
to take the plunge into the deep water of love.
Love God, love yourselves and love others with all your mind,
all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.
Have no fear, Emmanuel,
“God-with-us”, is here at this and every Mass.
He is here in flesh and blood; this is His Mass.
We are here to meet Him, to be joined to Him.
He offers himself for us to the Father at each Mass.
How can we be afraid when our God is with us
and offers himself for us?

* Introductory story taken from “A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by William J. Bausch, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic CT, 1998 p 365 #274

 ** Parts of the remainder of the homily patterned after: ”Speak the Word with Boldness” by Walter J. Burghardt, S. J.  Paulist Press, New York 1994  pp 8-13

Sunday, November 17, 2013

HOMILY – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

By Deacon Jerry Franzen – Cathedral  11/18/13
Malachi 3:19–20             2 Thess. 3:7– 12      Luke 21:5-19

A young pastor was sitting in a restaurant eating lunch.
He opened a letter from his mother he just got that morning.
As he opened it a twenty dollar bill fell out.
He thought: "Thanks, mom, I could use that right about now."
As he finished his meal he noticed a beggar outside on the sidewalk
leaning against the light post.
He thought: "That fella could probably use the $20 more than I."
So he crossed out the information on the envelope,

put the $20 back in the envelope
and wrote across it in large letters,"PERSEVERE!"

So as not to make a scene,
he put the envelope under his arm
and dropped it as he walked past the man.
The man picked it up, read the message and smiled.
The next day, while the pastor was eating his lunch,
the same man tapped him on the shoulder
and handed him a big wad of bills.
Surprised, the young pastor asked him what it was for?
The man replied, “This is your half of the winnings.
‘PERSEVERE’ came in first
 in the fourth race at the track yesterday,
and he paid 30 to 1.”


If today’s Gospel reading makes you scratch your head,
take heart.
Scripture scholar, Fr. Joseph Fitzmeyer has said that
“there are almost as many interpretations of that discourse
as there are heads to think about it.”

Jesus was predicting the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
The temple had already been destroyed once in 588 B.C.
It was rebuilt.
During Jesus’ lifetime, the temple was in the process
of an enlargement and renovation.
This was the temple that the people were admiring
at the beginning of today’s Gospel.
We might recall that before his crucifixion
Jesus was accused of predicting that “this temple”
would be destroyed
and that He would rebuild it in three days.
The temple was the place where God resided here on earth.
This was one reason Jesus was brought before Pilate.
When Jesus said “this temple” in that instance
he was speaking of himself as the temple.
Its destruction was his death and the rebuilding his resurrection,
for Jesus was God here on earth.

The temple in Jerusalem was again destroyed
in 70 AD by the Romans, 37 years after Jesus death and resurrection.
The author of St. Luke’s Gospel also knew about that destruction
because Luke’s Gospel was written after 70 AD.
We can throw that into the mix for interpreting this reading.
And then it seems that Jesus is referring
to what his followers must endure before the end times.
We also know that the destruction of the Temple has been equated
with the “end times,” the end of the world,
the second coming of Jesus, the true temple of God.

There have been false messiahs
almost immediately after Jesus left this earth
and some more recent:
Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Jim Jones.
There have been awesome sights, mighty wonders,
insurrections, plagues, famines and persecutions
from the time of Jesus’ death to 70 A.D and beyond.
Awesome sights and mighty wonders occur every day.
The sun rises every morning; sunsets are beautiful;
the moon goes through its phases.
We experience thunder, lightning, meteor showers and comets.
There have been many wars, the World Wars,
those before and those since.
There have been droughts, plagues, tornados, hurricanes.
Every major religion has suffered persecutions,
And we still await the end of the world.

Some have even tried to use scripture passages
like this one to predict the date of the end of the world.
Jesus cautioned heavily against such predictions.
He said that it is not for us to know the time or the day.

Using events to predict the date of the second coming of Christ
in order to properly prepare for this event
is not the message Jesus was conveying.
The message I hear is in the last verse of the Gospel
AND the last verse in the first reading.
Jesus said, “You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
Malachi spoke for God the following,
“But for you who fear my name,
there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”

Perseverance in the face of difficulty, that is the message.
We must stay on the path of a follower of Christ.
Avoid the false messiahs.
We could think of particular politicians,
Hollywood stars and athletes,
but I prefer to be concerned about the false messiahs
of wealth, power and pleasure.
Stick with true love of God and neighbor as your guide.

Yes, there has been and will be conflict,
but the end will not come in a political victory.
It will be a victory over sin and death.
God’s love is our assurance;
His constant message is “Fear not.”
Yes, there have been and will be natural disasters,
but stay the course.
Use these occasions to strengthen your faith in God,
that He will provide for us.
Yes, there have been persecutions,
and, though you may not think so,
persecution continues to this day.
It comes in veiled forms.

What about biased reporting:
Catholics are often portrayed and “whiners” and “complainers,”
especially with regard to the protection of life
from conception to natural death,
and recently with regard to religious freedom
and the Affordable Care Act.
What about selective recall of the past:
The past sins of Church Officials still make big headlines;
the good works of Church Officials seldom do.
Persecution need not be public:
A non-Catholic who joins the Church can be shunned
 by non-Catholic family members.

Perseverence in faith in the face of persecution is the message.  


Furthermore, Jesus says that the perseverance
will call for your testimony.
We will have to explain our perseverance,
to stand up and be counted for the truth in Christ.
That testimony can come in words and actions,
words and actions that Jesus says your adversaries
will be powerless to resist.
Four weeks ago we were told to persevere in prayer
without growing weary.
Today we are asked to persevere again in our testimony,
both in words and actions, in expressing our faith.
And just like four weeks ago,
we again ask, “How can we do it?” “How can we persevere?”
The answer is the same as four weeks ago:
by our faith in God.
Don’t worry about what you will say or do;
just follow the teachings of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit will provide you with words
 and prompt you for the actions.   
No matter to what extent you will be scorned,
hold fast to the truth in Jesus Christ.

By every instance of our testimony,
our faith will grow stronger.
By our perseverance in being followers of Christ,
we will be recognized as Christians.
and possibly hated by those who are not.
It won’t be easy; we must endure many trials and tribulations,
but our testimony will be so powerful
that “your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute” it.   
If we remain true to the name of Jesus,
though we may falter,
not the smallest part of our soul will be destroyed.

The message is clear.
It has been dropped at our feet
in the envelope of St. Luke’s Gospel.
We have to pick up that message and follow it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


9/22/13 – Cathedral - Deacon Jerry Franzen
Amos 8: 4-7                 1 Timothy 2: 1-8                   Luke 16: 1-13

*A mother was shopping with her eight-year-old son
who spotted a toy that he wanted
but did not have enough money to buy it.
He lacked a dollar.
Of course he asked his mother for the extra money.
Wanting to teach him some financial responsibility,
she explained that
she couldn’t just give him the needed dollar.
He would have to wait until he had saved it from his allowance.
In a brilliant display of resourcefulness,
the boy reached in his mouth,
and to the astonishment of the onlookers,
he pulled out a loose baby tooth
and gave it to his mother. 
Apparently the tooth fairy is generous these days.
He bought the toy.


Today’s Gospel poses some tough questions
to those who attempt to interpret it.
Chief among them is:
“Why does Jesus make the point that the master praised                          the squandering steward
after the steward has curried the favor
of the debtors by reducing their debt?”
Jesus said,
“And the master commended the dishonest steward
for acting prudently.”
It would seem that the steward was further shirking his duty
by not collecting the full measure of the debts,
and thus continuing to squander the master’s money.

An added a bit of information help to form a sensible answer
to that question.
Apparently stewards
functioned somewhat like the tax collectors in those days.
Tax collectors collected the debt of taxes
that the Romans extorted from the Jewish people.
They regularly added their fee to the tax bill;
this is how they made their salary.
Sometimes they added excessively large amounts of tax
to increase their salaries and
to further unfairly tax the Jews.

It is quite probable that the steward,
who was squandering the master’s money,
was likewise looking out for himself.
The amounts owed by the debtors were probably inflated
by the steward, so that he could be sure to get his cut.
And, he might not have always been returning
the master’s full amount to him.

This may be why he had been reported as squandering.
We heard that the steward hoped that
his reduction of the debts
would put him in the favor of the debtors,
so he could rely on them in the future.
Maybe that favor would come from his now finally
charging the master’s customers a fair price.
The steward was resourceful like the boy in the story.
In this light,
we might see the prudence in what the steward did.

He was considering the big picture;
He was foregoing his immediate plans to get rich
in favor of his future security.
Maybe, just maybe, the steward truly deserved the acclamation
that he was now prudent,
because he decided that he valued the love
and compassion he would show for the debtors,
AND the hoped-for love and compassion
he would receive from them,
more than he valued his own desire for wealth.    

Prudence is one of the four cardinal virtues of the Church.
They are prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.
Prudence is called the “rudder” virtue,
because it “steers” all the others.
To live a moral life one must know what is good AND
have the intelligent discernment
to translate the general demands of morality
into concrete actions.
That intelligent discernment and its translation to action
is prudence.
It’s  doing the right thing at the right time.
The steward did the right thing at the right time,
for himself, for the debtors and for his master.
In this parable, Jesus is teaching us that we must be prudent.
Like the steward who reduced the debts,
we must seek to do the right thing at the right time.


Fr, Lou Guntzelman of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
in an article listed some practices that can help us
to become more prudent.
I will mention four of them.

1. We must have the facts; we must inquire,
look at all sides of a situation.
The steward realized
that it was bigger than just he and the master.
He knew he needed friends for the future;
he saw the bigger picture.
WI we are contemplating the use of illicit drugs,
we should ask ourselves,
"Who else will be hurt by my experimenting with illicit drugs?"
Get those facts.

2. We must think.  Reason deeply.
While emotion may play a part, in our actions
acting solely out of emotion can be dangerous.
We may be used to making decisions based on
slogans, impressions and “gut feelings.”
But we must determine with good reasoning
what would be good for ourselves and for others.
We must discover what love demands,
what authentically expresses love.
At first, the steward was acting out of the emotion
of self preservation, to get as much wealth as he could.
As he thought the situation through,
he found a way that his actions, in the long term,
could benefit himself AND the others.

If we are faced with what to do
after we have been hurt by another,
we must listen to reason not emotion.
Emotion would lead us to retaliation.
Forgiveness authenticates our love of the other person,
AND our love of ourself
in removing that burden of the need for retaliation from ourselves.
When we take this view, it becomes simply prudent to forgive.

3.  Don’t let fear be your enemy.
Some act impulsively without deeply
thinking a situation through
for fear that they will be mired in complexity.
“Just make the decision and get it over with.”
Or, some do not follow a reasoned approach,
for fear of being out of step with others.

I believe that most couples
who decide to live together before marriage
make that decision out of fear,
fear that their relationship will not continue,
“if they can’t take it to the next level.”
They fear that their relationship will be hurt,
if they actually tried to deal with all of the complex issues
that are raised by seriously considering
all the implications of their cohabitation.
On the other hand some couples make this decision,
because they fear that other couples will wonder
what is wrong with them.
Fear is overcome by our faith in God. 

4. When in doubt, seek advice.
When we are unsure about our capacity to make a decision,
we must be open to seeking out someone we can trust,
not to make the decision for us,
but to give input AND
to provide the confidence
that will help to validate our decision.
Make use of the experience of others,
especially family, clergy, professionals, friends,
and coworkers.

To act prudently we must call upon our resources
1.    The facts of the situation,
and the teachings of Jesus related to the situation,
and the teachings of the Church.
2.    Our intellect;
take the reasoned approach, not the emotional approach.
We might measure what we are about to do
against the question, “What would Jesus do?”
3.    Faith that overcomes the fears
 that keep us from a decision based
on right reasoning,
Our faith in Jesus must be stronger than those fears.
4.    Outside source of help
If we need help, we must be open to seeking it,
either from those around us who can advise us,
or from the Lord in prayer.

God wants us to be prudent,
to make decisions that will ensure
that we do the right thing at the right time,
the right decisions that lead us to Him in heaven.
We cannot serve two masters: God and the world.
Some know only one master, the world.
It controls their decisions
and sadly they are often not the right decisions.
We know another master: God.
He has given each of us gifts, among them our intellect,
which we must use to make prudent decisions.

Like the little boy in the opening story we must be resourceful.
To be prudent,
each of us must look within ourselves and beyond,
know where those “little loose teeth” might be
so that we can pull them out
and use them at the right time.

A former Yale University chaplain once said,
“Christ came to take away our sins, not our minds.”

*Story taken from “Humor for Preaching and Teaching”
E. K. Rowell and B. L. Steffen Eds. Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI, 1998 p 145

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


By Deacon Jerry Franzen  -  Cathedral 7/28/13
Genesis 18: 20-32     Colossians 2: 12-14      Luke 11: 1-13

Today’s first reading and the Gospel are about prayer,
specially prayers of petition
Abraham had a direct, forward, no-holds-barred
conversation with God,
and Jesus teaches those of us who have trouble
striking up a conversation with God
a more formal way to pray in a monologue.

Jesus’ formula goes something like this:
We pray that God’s name be hallowed,
In this we express our own reverence for God.
We also include our own subservience to God,
that we wish to be in his kingdom,
not that we want God to be in our kingdom.
This is what might be called the praise part
of Jesus’ formula for prayer.
Abraham included this element cloaked in subservience:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes.”

Then we get to the petition part, the asking part.
We ask that we be given our daily bread
that we be forgiven our sins, as we forgive others,
and that we not be put to the final test.
Abraham also petitioned;
he asked for mercy for the innocent of Sodom.

There is a third segment to prayer: our listening for the answer.
Certainly Abraham listened to God’s answers;
One can tell that from the progression of Abraham’s petitions:
First 50? Yes.  Then 45? Yes.  Then 35? And so on.

Listening for the answer to our prayers!
That begs the question, “Does God answer our prayers?”
It seems that Abraham had it pretty easy,
He heard God’s voice directly with the answers.
We are not so lucky to hear God’s voice
with immediate answers to our prayers of petition.
I dare to say that each of us can recall an instance
where we have prayed for something
and not found our prayer answered with what we wanted.
It may have been something major
like a new job that didn’t come through,
or a cure for an illness
that eventually took the life of a loved one.
I had prayed that my mother’s
Parkinson’s Disease would be cured.
It only progressed further until she died.

Or it may have been something minor that we prayed for:
 a victory in a basketball game,
a new car,
a date for the prom,
times when we knocked and that door seemed to remain closed,
prayer without an answer.

The latter part of today’s Gospel is Jesus’ teaching
on how God answers our prayers.
Understanding this latter part can help us
to tune our ears to hear God’s answers to our prayers.
During a previous assignment at a parish with a school
at one of the  school Masses, the passage that states:
“Ask and you shall receive.  Seek and you will find.
Knock and it shall be opened to you”
was in the Gospel, probably Matthew’s version.
After reading the Gospel,
I walked down in the aisle among the 5th through 8th graders
and said, “It sounds pretty simple.
Whatever you want just ask God for it,
and it will be given to you.  That’s what Jesus said.”
I looked over at one of the fifth graders;
she had this disagreeing look on her face,
and was shaking her head.
I said, “You mean it’s not that simple?”
She just nodded her head in agreement.
It’s not that simple; and yet it is that simple.


*In today’s Gospel passage “God” is always referred to as “Father.”
Our God is there for us not as a power-figure,
but as One who loves us as a father loves his children.
as One who has our greatest well-being in mind,
One who seeks to have us become
all that we are meant to become.

Many of us as parents and all of us as children
have experienced the answer “No”
to requests for things we WANTED the most,
for things we perceive as being NEEDED to live –
that new bike, new car, new dress, or that computer upgrade.
And so it is also that God, at times,
says “no” to what we WANT,
even when it seems we NEED it to survive.
I really WANTED my mother to get better;
it would have meant a lot less trial and tribulation for me.
It would have made my life simpler; I NEEDED that.

Jesus states that a father would never give his children scorpions
when they ask for eggs;
neither would a father give his child a scorpion
when the child asks for a scorpion.
You might say that our getting the answer we want,
is all in what we ask for.
Jesus tells us what to ask for:
our daily bread
(which actually means enough bread
to get us through this day)
the forgiveness of sins,
and strength in the hour of temptation. 

Basically, Jesus is teaching us to pray for those things
we really NEED in life –
what we NEED for life in this world and for the world to come.
It is not that the Lord is saying
that the WANTS of life are not important;
but the Lord is saying that the NEEDS of life
have a greater precedence over the WANTS of life.
God is always faithful
in making sure we have what we need -
what we need in order to share in divine life, in eternal life.
God will give us anything and everything we need
to become what we are meant to become, one with him.
The answer to my prayer was whatever it was that I needed
to be able to deal with my mother’s Parkinson’s Disease
in a Christ-like manner.

Each of us in our own lives, if we reflect long enough,
should be able to see that,
when it appeared that God did not answer our prayer,
he in fact did answer it, and the answer was
“No, but I will give you what you really need
in the big picture of things.”

How God answers our prayers can be found in the statement,
“your kingdom come.”
To pray for God’s kingdom to come
is to pray that each of us will live according to the will of God.
God answers our prayers through our submitting to God’s will
AND through others who submit themselves to his will.
It didn’t read, “Give ME each day MY daily bread.”
“Forgive ME MY sins.
as I forgive everyone in debt to ME.”
It’s not just about me and God;
it is also about me and my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Could it be that God intends to answer our prayers
through the actions of other people?
What if THEY choose not to cooperate?
Could it be that God is answering other people’s prayers
through us and our actions?
What if WE choose not to cooperate?

God is always answering with what we need,
seeking to “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
It is only through the Holy Spirit
that we are able to respond to God’s answer to our prayers.
Here’s a little treatise I found on God’s answers to prayers
and some of his expected responses:

**I asked God to take away my pride, and God said no.
He said it was not for him to take away, but for me to give up.

I asked God to make a handicapped child whole, and God said no.
He said her spirit is whole.  Her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience, and God said no.
He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation.
It isn’t granted.  It’s earned.

I asked God to give me happiness, and God said no.
He said he gives blessings. Happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain, and God said no.
He said suffering draws you away from worldly care
and brings you closer to him.

I asked God to make my spirit grow, and God said no.
He said that I must grow on my own.
But I will be in heaven someday because I believe.

I asked God to help me love others as much as he loves me.
God said, “Ah, at last. You finally have the idea.”

I now pray that I can do in love for Christ
and for my brothers and sisters
whatever is needed for me and them.

May we each seek God’s gracious gift of the Holy Spirit,
accept the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives
and grow in God’s love for us
and our love for each other.

* Middle portion adapted from Homily by Jeffrey Kemper at the Athenaeum Preaching Website for 17th Sunday in OT Year C, July 25,2004

* Taken form “A World of Stories for Teachers and Preachers”  by Willima J. Bausch #68 P 213.