AD SENSE

Easter 2 A : Thomas - Doubter

1. Not Much about Thomas in the Gospels; Nothing in the first three Gospels:

If I were to mention the names of certain disciples to you and ask you to write down the first word that comes into your mind, it is unlikely you would come up with the same words. If I were to mention the name of Judas many of you would write down the word "betray" but not all of you. If I were to mention Simon Peter, some of you would write down the word "faith," but not all of you. If I were to mention the names of James and John, some of you would write down the phrase "Sons of Thunder," but not all of you. But when I mention the word Thomas, there is little question about the word most everyone would write down. It would be the word doubt. Indeed, so closely have we associated Thomas with this word, that we have coined a phrase to describe him: "Doubting Thomas."
 You may be interested to know that in the first three gospels we are told absolutely nothing at all about Thomas. It is in John's Gospel that he emerges as a distinct personality, but even then there are only 155 words about him. There is not a lot about this disciple in the Bible but there is more than one description.

When Jesus turned his face toward Jerusalem the disciples thought that it would be certain death for all of them. Surprisingly, it was Thomas who said: Then let us go so that we may die with him. It was a courageous statement, yet we don't remember him for that. We also fail to point out that in this story of Thomas' doubt we have the one place in the all the Gospels where the Divinity of Christ is bluntly and unequivocally stated. It is interesting, is it not, that the story that gives Thomas his infamous nickname, is the same story that has Thomas making an earth shattering confession of faith? Look at his confession, "My Lord, and my God." Not teacher. Not Lord. Not Messiah. But God! It is the only place where Jesus is called God without qualification of any kind. It is uttered with conviction as if Thomas was simply recognizing a fact, just as 2 + 2 = 4, and the sun is in the sky. You are my Lord and my God! These are certainly not the words of a doubter.

Unfortunately history has remembered him for this scene where the resurrected Christ made an appearance to the disciples in a home in Jerusalem...


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2. OUR Security: 

One of the fastest growing, most profitable investment ventures in today's economy is . . . . anything having anything to do with security. You couldn't have lost money in the last twenty years if you invested in storage or security: national security, personal security, home security, financial security, Internet security. The dangers of this world seem to be breathing hotter and closer down our necks. Any offering that promises to cool that threat down is welcomed with open arms and wallets.

We gladly invest in "LifeLock" and "Life Alert" and "Alert Life"- hoping to safeguard both our fiscal and physical lives. Instead of scripted shows by the Blue Angels at air-shows, we are sending long-range spontaneous shows of strength in the form of stealth bombers over South Korean airspace, which offends North Korea. We have "apps" on our smartphones that enable us to watch our front doors at home and our backdoors at work, to turn on our lights and turn off our heat, to be on-guard and on-point, even when we are off-site. We are desperately trying to contain the chaos of the cosmos. 

In John's gospel, Jesus' first appearance to his disciples is when he comes to them behind closed, locked doors. Despite the vision of the empty tomb, despite the version of the resurrected Jesus Mary Magdalene had reported to them, the disciples were still shuttered and shuddering - clamped down and closed off from a threatening world. Then Jesus blasts through their ADT security system, blows out their "Life-Lock," and suddenly stands in their midst...
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 3. We Know Where We Are Going 

The story is told about Albert Einstein, the brilliant physicist of Princeton University in the early 20th century. Einstein was traveling from Princeton on a train, and when the conductor came down the aisle to punch the passengers' tickets, Einstein couldn't find his. He looked in his vest pocket, he looked in his pants pocket, he looked in his briefcase, but there was no ticket. The conductor was gracious; "Not to worry, Dr. Einstein, I know who you are, we all know who you are, and I'm sure you bought a ticket."

As the conductor moved down the aisle, he looked back and noticed Einstein on his hands and knees, searching under the seat for his ticket. The conductor returned to Einstein; "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry. I know who you are. You don't need a ticket, I'm sure you bought one." Einstein arose and said "Young man, I too know who I am; what I don't know is where I am going."

And that is the good news of Easter; that we know where we are going. We have been told by the Savior that his life and death has promised us life eternal. And Low Sundays don't change that promise. And unemployment doesn't change that promise. Neither does divorce, or bankruptcy, or cancer, or depression, or felony, or failure. Through elation and deflation and every emotion in between, this truth remains; we know whose we are and we know where we are going, because the Son of God has promised. And this, my friends, is faith.

Steven Molin, Elated....Deflated
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 4. A New Shalom

When Jesus appeared to the disciples, his greeting was, "Peace be unto you." The Hebrew word shalom, for "peace," is a most comprehensive word, covering the full realm of relationships in daily life and expressing an ideal state of life. The word suggests the fullness of well-being and harmony untouched by ill fortune. The word as a blessing is a prayer for the best that God can give to enable a person to complete one's life with happiness and a natural death. If the concept of shalom became all too casual and light-hearted with no more significance than a passing greeting, Jesus came to give it new meaning. At Bethlehem God announced that peace would come through the gift of God's unique Son. The mission and ministry of our Lord made it quite clear that Jesus had come to introduce the rule of God and to order peace for the world.  

Harry N. Huxhold, Which Way To Jesus?, CSS Publishing
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 5. The Greatest Scar Story  

I can think of no better modern-day illustration of the sacrifice Jesus made for us than a recent scar story I heard from a tennis friend of mine. As we were waiting for another match to finish, she was relating how badly her knees hurt. This friend is the most fit 30-something-year-old I know. Yet she sat beside me with a brace on each knee. I pointed to the open hole of her knee brace and asked if her scar was from knee surgery. She told me, "No, it's from my son, and I actually have an identical scar on my other knee."

You see, several years ago she scooped up her toddler son from the swimming pool and began to walk towards a lounge chair. As she stepped onto the tiled patio, her foot slipped on the wet slick surface. She was also seven months pregnant, and it was one of those moments where you feel like you're moving in slow motion but there's nothing you can do to stop the fall. Within a split second, she knew her momentum was toppling her forward, and she could either face-plant and land on top of both her son and her unborn child, or she could fall on her knees.

 Of course, as any loving parent would do, she chose to fall on her knees directly onto the unforgiving concrete. Her knees immediately burst open and blood went everywhere. She ended up needing stitches, which resulted in scars, but her son and unborn child were both unscathed. It is hard for me to tell this story without tearing up, because to me, it serves as a miniscule example of the immense sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ for us. You see, we are the beloved children of God for whom Jesus took the fall. Christ suffered on the cross and endured unimaginable pain for us. His is the greatest scar story ever told. 

Christi O. Brown, Scars of Hope
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6. Peace Be With You...It Already Is!
 

Theologian Karl Barth once remarked that to say the old line from the creed, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church" does not mean that we believe in the church. It means rather to believe that God is present and at work in the church, that "in this assembly, the work of the Holy Spirit takes place. ... We do not believe in the Church: but we do believe that in this congregation the work of the Holy Spirit becomes an event." 

Barth's words rang true for me some years ago, when I was invited by a church in a nearby town to be the worship leader at a special evening communion service. The church staff had planned this service to be educational as well as worshipful. The idea was that, first, the congregation would gather in the sanctuary and I would give a brief talk about the meanings of the Lord's Supper. Then, we would go into the fellowship hall and be seated around tables for the service itself.

At each table there would be the flour and other ingredients to form the dough for the communion loaves. The plan called for each table to prepare a loaf and, while the loaves baked in the ovens of the church kitchen, the people at each table were to engage in various exercises designed to get them talking about their experiences in the faith. 

It was a good idea, but like many well-planned events, things looked better on the drawing board than they turned out in reality. There were problems. Children at many tables began to play in the baking ingredients, and white clouds of flour floated around the room coating everybody and everything. There were delays in the kitchen, and the communion bread baked with agonizing slowness. Some of the tables ran out of things to say; children grew weary and fussy; the room was filled with commotion and restlessness. The planners had dreamed of an event of excitement, innovation, peak learning, and moving worship. What happened was noise, exhaustion, and people making the best of a difficult situation. In other words, despite the rosy plans, it was the real church worshipping down there in the church basement. 

Finally, the service ended, and, with no little relief, I was able to pronounce the benediction. "The peace of Christ be with you all," I said, and just as I did, a child's voice from somewhere in the room called out strong and true, "It already is." 

Just that -- "It already is" -- but with those words the service was transformed into an event of joy and holy mystery. That small voice captured what the Gospel of John is trying to say. In the midst of a church that can claim nothing for itself, a church of noise, confusion, weariness, and even fear, the risen Christ comes to give peace. The peace of Christ be with you? Because the risen Christ comes to inhabit our empty places, then, as the child said, "It already is," and the church with nothing becomes the church with everything.  

Thomas G. Long, Whispering The Lyrics, CSS Publishing
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7. We Want Proof


There is a reason why many Christians around the world have latched so quickly and tenaciously onto the discovery of what may be the ossuary or burial box for James, the brother of Jesus. There's a reason why every time archaeologists discover some inscription referring to King David, Pontius Pilate, or some other biblical figure that this news immediately makes a splash in the pages of Christianity Today. Here, we are told, is further "proof" that the stuff in the Bible really did happen! There's a reason why there is now a huge enterprise that is literally scouring the universe for evidence that the formation of the cosmos required the hand of a Creator God. It's not just that we want to meet evolutionary and atheist scientists on their own turf--most folks also quietly hanker for something tangible that can bolster the confidence they have in their faith.

Over and again we find ourselves wanting more.  

Jesus himself knows that faith is both a blessing and a miracle. That's why he says in verse 29 that while it was one thing for Thomas to believe with Jesus standing right in front of him, it would one day be quite another thing to believe without such undeniable physical proof standing in the same room.

Scott Hoezee, "Wanting More"
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 8. Honey...It's Me

Perhaps you've heard the story of the Yugoslavian judge who was electrocuted when he reached up to turn on the light while standing in the bathtub. No, I'm not cruel or weird, let me tell you the rest of the story. This guy's poor wife found his body sprawled on the bathroom floor. He was pronounced dead and was placed in a preparation room under a crypt in the town cemetery for twenty-four hours before burial.  

Well, and this is the part I love, in the middle of the night, the judge came to. The judge looked around at his surroundings and suddenly realized where he was. He got pretty excited and rushed over to alert the guard. But instead of being any help, the guard was terrified and promptly ran off. 

Fortunately, though, the guard returned with a friend, and they released the newly-revived judge. The judge's first thought was to phone his wife and reassure her that he really wasn't dead. Unfortunately, he got no farther than, "Honey... it's me," when his wife screamed and fainted.

So, he decided that the best course of action was to enlist some friends. He went to the houses of several friends; but because they all had heard the news from his distraught wife, they all doubted that he was really alive. They were all convinced he was a ghost.

Finally, in a last desperate effort, he contacted a friend in another city who hadn't heard about his death. And that person was able to convince his family and friends that the judge really was alive.

That story almost sounds like one of the Gospel writers could have written it, doesn't it? It sure sounds like the passage from John this morning.  

Traditional Story
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9. Watch and You'll See
 

This story is about three accountants who doubted their three engineer friends. They were traveling by train to a conference. The accountants bought three tickets, but the engineers only bought one. "How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" an accountant asked.

"Watch and you'll see," said an engineer. 

They all boarded the train. The accountants took their seats, but the three engineers crammed into a restroom and closed the door behind them. The train departed the station and soon the conductor came through the car asking for tickets. He knocked on the restroom door and said, "Ticket, please." The door opened a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor took it and moved on. 

The accountants agree that this is a rather clever idea so after the conference, they decide to duplicate the engineers' feat. They buy only one ticket, but are astonished when the engineers buy no ticket at all! "How are you going to travel without a ticket?" the accountants ask. Watch and you'll see, reply the engineers. 

When they boarded the train, the accountants crammed into a restroom with their ticket while the three engineers did the same in a nearby restroom. After the train departed the station, one of the engineers left the restroom and walked over to the restroom where the accountants were hiding. He knocked on the door and said, "Ticket, please." 

Author unknown
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10. God's Back 

It was Saturday, the day before Easter, and Joanne Hinch of Woodland Hills, California was sitting at the kitchen table coloring eggs with her three-year-old son Dan and her two-year-old daughter Debbie. She told her kids about the meaning of Easter and taught them the traditional Easter morning greeting and response, "He is risen...He is risen indeed!" The children planned to surprise their Dad, a Presbyterian minister, with that greeting as soon as he awoke the next morning. Easter arrived, little Dan heard his father stirring about in his bedroom, so the boy got up quickly, dashed down the hall and shouted the good news: "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, God's back!"

David E. Leininger, "Laugh, Thomas, Laugh!"
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11. Ants in The Pants of Faith 

Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don't have any doubts you are either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving. 

Frederick Buechner
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12. Just Because We Can't See It

 A junior high school teacher was telling her class about evolution and how the way everything in the world was formed proved that God doesn't exist. She said, "Look out the window. You can't see God, can you?" The kids shook their heads. "Look around you in this room. You can't see God, can you?" The kids shook their heads. "Then our logical conclusion is that God doesn't exist, does He?" she asked at last, certain that she had won her audience over.

 But one girl from the back of the classroom said, "Miss Smith, just because we can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We could do brain surgery and investigate the parts of your brain and we could do a CAT scan and see the brain patterns in your head. But we couldn't prove that you've had a single thought today...

MERCY

1.      Divine Mercy in action:
 
A TIME magazine issue in 1984 presented a startling cover. It pictured a prison cell where two men sat on metal folding chairs. The young man wore a black turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and white running shoes. The older man was dressed in a white robe and had a white skullcap on his head. They sat facing one another,  up-close and personal. They spoke quietly so as to keep others from hearing the conversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin (he shot and wounded the Pope on May 13, 1981); the other man was Pope John Paul II, the intended victim. The Pope held the hand that had held the gun whose bullet tore into the Pope’s body. This was a living icon of mercy. John Paul’s forgiveness was deeply Christian. His deed with Ali Agca spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the end of their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the Pope’s hand to his forehead as a sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the Pope left the cell he said, “What we talked about must remain a secret between us. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.” This is an example of God’s Divine Mercy, the same Divine Mercy whose message St. Faustina witnessed.  
2.  "Well, then, I will have mercy."

Emperor Napoleon was moved by a mother's plea for pardon for her soldier son. However, the emperor said that since it was the man’s second major offense, justice demanded death.
"I do not ask for justice," implored the mother, "I plead for mercy."
 
"But," said the emperor, "he does not deserve mercy."
"Sir," cried the mother, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."
The compassion and clarity of the mother's logic prompted Napoleon to respond, "Well, then, I will have mercy."
 
(Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984. )

The Second Sunday of the Easter season invites us to reflect on God’s infinite love and mercy for His people, as detailed in the Bible and as lived and taught by Jesus, and to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

3.     St. Faustina and the Image of the Divine Mercy:

St. Faustina of Poland is the well known apostle of Divine Mercy. On the 30th of April, 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter, at 10:00 a.m., His Holiness Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist in Saint Peter’s Square and proceeded to the canonization of Blessed Sister FAUSTINA. The new Saint invites us by the witness of her life to keep our faith and hope fixed on God, the Father, rich in mercy, who saved us by the precious blood of His Son. During her short life, the Lord Jesus assigned St. Faustina three basic tasks: 1. to pray for souls, entrusting them to God's incomprehensible Mercy; 2. to tell the world about God's Generous Mercy; 3. to start a new movement in the Church focusing on God's Mercy. At the canonization of Sr. Faustina, Pope John Paul II said: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks and never ceases to speak of God the Father, who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man....

Believing in this love means believing in mercy." “The Lord of Divine Mercy” a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina, shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with his left hand on his chest from which gush forth two rays, one red and one white. The picture contains the message "Jesus, I trust in You!" (Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus, which is the life of souls and white for the water which justifies souls. The whole image is symbolic of the mercy, forgiveness and love of God.

4.      Mayor’s mercy: 

One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, mayor of New York, showed up at a night court in the poorest ward of the city. He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench. One case involved an elderly woman who was caught stealing bread to feed her grandchildren. La Guardia said, "I've got to punish you. Ten dollars or ten days in jail."

As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat. He then fined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city "where an old woman had to steal bread so that her grandchildren should not starve." The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50.

5.     Traffic cop’s mercy:

A priest was forced, by a traffic police, to pull over for speeding. As the cop was about to write the ticket, the priest said to him, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." The cop handed the priest the ticket, and said, "Go, and sin no more."

6.     Photographer’s mercy:

The story is told of a politician who, after receiving the proofs of a picture, was very angry with the photographer. He stormed back to the man's studio and screamed at him: "This picture does not do me justice!" The photographer replied, "Sir, with a face like yours, what you need is mercy, not justice!"
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From Sermon Illustrations:
 
Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet -- which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! -- declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.) 

Today in the Word, October 8, 1992.

Pancakes
God’s Forgiveness
Six year old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten. Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad. He didn’t know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, (and he didn’t know how the stove worked)! Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pyjamas dirty. And just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon’s eyes. All he wanted to do was something good, but he’d made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a smacking. But his father just watched him. Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pyjamas dirty in the process. That’s how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend or we can’t stand our job or our health goes sour. Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can’t think of anything else to do. That’s when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him. But just because we might mess up, we can’t stop trying to “make pancakes,” for God or for others. Sooner or later we’ll get it right, and then they’ll be glad we tried.
(Fr. Tommy Lane's Collection)
Windshield Wipers
A Story about God’s Forgiveness
One rainy afternoon a mother was driving along one of the main streets of town. Suddenly, her son Matthew spoke up from his relaxed position in the rear seat. “Mom, I’m thinking of something.” This announcement usually meant he had been pondering some fact for a while and was now ready to expound all that his seven-year-old mind had discovered. His mother was eager to hear. “What are you thinking?” she asked. “The rain, is like sin and the windscreen wipers are like God, wiping our sins away.” “That’s really good, Matthew”, she replied. Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little boy take this revelation? So she asked,”Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?” Matthew didn’t hesitate one moment with his answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.” Isn’t it comforting to know that God does keep forgiving us? That all we have to do is trust Jesus as our Savior and He will keep washing our sins away. Hallelujah!!!! (Fr. Tommy Lane's Collection)

Triduum 2014


Incredible Act of Forgiveness
 
Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.
Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them.
It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family’s killers.

The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman’s journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss.
 
Almost all members of Holy Cross were either decimated or had to flee Rwanda.

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‘My decision to donate a kidney was God’s will’ Fr Davis Chiramel

Shaju Philip
mangalam malayalam online newspaper
"This is my body which is broken for you." Christian priests regularly recite this Biblical verse to drive home the message of sharing and sacrifice. Now in Vadanappally, a village in Kerala's Thrissur district, a priest has practised what he preached and donated his kidney to save a villager.
The transplant took place last week in a private hospital in Kochi and both Father Davis Chiramel, 48, and CG Gopinath, 47, are now recuperating. Chiramel will be discharged Monday.
Gopinath, an electrician, had been suffering from a kidney ailment for the past four years. Chiramel, a priest at the St Francis Xavier's Church in Vadanappally, floated a relief committee to collect money for his treatment.
But a donor remained elusive. So in April, the priest decided to give his own. Last Wednesday, when doctors harvested the kidney from Chiramel and grafted it on to Gopinath, people from all faiths gathered to pray for them.
Once he has recovered, Chiramel, who has been a priest in Thrissur for 20 years, will also begin work at the Kidney Foundation of India (KFI) that he has founded in the village—its official inauguration will be held on October 30. "God demands several things from our lives. The decision to donate a kidney was God's will," he says. "We have to implement what we preach in life," he says.
"Father Chiramel is our god," says CP Premlal, Gopinath's brother-in law.

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Death gives life - Nicholas Green Foundation
The Nicholas Green Foundation

Nicholas Green, his sister, Eleanor Green, and their parents, Margaret and Reginald Green, were having a holiday in Calabria Southern Italy. On the night of September 29, 1994 his parents were driving on the A3 motorway between Salerno and Reggio Calabria.[1][3] They stopped at an Autogrill, where two men started following their car believing they were jewellers. The men pulled alongside the Greens' vehicle and shouted something in Italian, which the Greens did not understand. Reginald Green accelerated, at which point the men fired shots into the rear of the car. He accelerated a second time, and once again the men shot into the back of the car. After the pursuers gave up Reginald stopped the car, and at this point he and Margaret realised that Nicholas had been shot in the head.[3] They drove directly to the nearest town, but the hospital was not equipped to deal with Nicholas' injuries. The police took the family to Villa San Giovanni, where they transferred to a ferry which brought them across the Strait of Messina to the port of Messina. From there, the police took them to a specialist head injuries unit at a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead the next day.[4]
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A seven year-old boy from California, Nicholas Green, was killed by highway robbers in 1994 while vacationing in Italy with his family. His parents agreed to donate his organs and corneas, which went to seven Italians waiting for transplants. Reg and Maggie Green spoke openly to the media, with no bitterness, about their loss and decision. The world took the story--and the Greens--to its heart. Organ donations in Italy have quadrupled since Nicholas was killed so that thousands of people are alive who would have died.

The world's response to the Green's personal tragedy is called "the Nicholas effect." No matter their nationality or calling, people respond from the heart--presidents, movie stars, schoolchildren, grandmothers, Boy scouts, soccer players, surgeons, and organ recipients. Organ donor cards are signed. Poems are written, pictures painted, parks dedicated, scholarships established, medals given, children hugged.
New Edition of Reg Green’s Highly-Acclaimed Book, “The Nicholas Effect.” A new edition of “The Nicholas Effect,” by Reg Green -- the story of Nicholas’ death and its astonishing results-- has just been brought out by AuthorHouse, the world’s largest self-publishing company, and includes an afterword to bring the story up to date.
The new edition marks the 15th anniversary of the shooting. “I can think of no book that surpasses ‘The Nicholas Effect’ in opening the heart and changing attitudes for the common good,” Bud Gardner, editor of Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul, wrote when it was first published.
It tells the horrifying story of the shooting, as four-year-old Eleanor lay asleep next to Nicholas, the failed efforts to save him and the emotion that engulfed Italy when the decision to donate his organs and corneas became known. The President and Prime Minister of Italy asked to see the Greens privately and talked to them like friends of the family instead of leaders of a nation.
The book shows them going home to their beautiful village of Bodega Bay on the Northern California coast and, in a wrenching ceremony, burying Nicholas in a simple country churchyard, then picking up the threads in a house that suddenly seemed empty.
The media interest was intense from the beginning, as the book relates, with virtually every major daily paper in the world carrying the story and the major television shows, including Oprah, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw, interviewing the family.
The book goes on location for the making of “Nicholas’ Gift,” a CBS movie of the week, for which Jamie Lee Curtis was nominated for an Emmy. It details the arrest of the two suspects and the long-drawn-out murder trial. It describes how Pope John Paul II had a bell made in the papal foundry and sent to the memorial tower that was built in Bodega Bay.
No other country has come remotely close to the rate of increase in organ donation shown by Italy. “A change of that magnitude must have multiple causes, including dedicated volunteers and health care personnel all over Italy,” says Green. “But it is clear that Nicholas’ story was the catalyst that changed the thinking of an entire nation.”
More broadly, the story sharply increased awareness of the tens of thousands of deaths caused around the world every year by the shortage of donated organs. As the book puts it “it sent an electric shock through the human spirit.”
“The Nicholas Effect,” originally published by O’Reilly and Associates, Sebastopol, California, has been out of print for several years. It can now be ordered at www.authorhouse.com for $9.90 plus shipping and handling. Discounts apply for quantity orders and for non-profit organizations. For details about these orders please call 888 280 7715. It is also available through online bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders. For those orders purchasers should specify the 15th anniversary edition.
Read a chapter from The Nicholas Effect

“The Gift that Heals” : 42 Transplant Stories
The Gift that Heals, Reg Green’s second book, tells the stories of 42 families at every stage of the transplantation process. Some are recipients, among them, a GI blinded in World War II who fathered five children, none of whom he had ever seen, whose sight was restored after 48 years by a donated cornea; a man who was so short of breath that he couldn’t walk and talk at the same time but, after a transplant, ran a marathon alongside the father of the girl whose lungs saved his life; and a police officer, shot at close range, whose wounds were so large that his rescuers had to put their fists in them to slow the flow of blood.
Others are donor families who, though numb with pain, put their grief on one side to save the lives of complete strangers or living donors, people who undergo an otherwise entirely unnecessary operation to donate a kidney to someone they have never met, because "they need it more than I do." Still others are on the waiting list, like the woman in the prime of life terrified that unless a donated kidney comes soon her son will be left without a mother. Professionals also tell their stories, such as the transplant coordinators, who have to ask bereaved families if they will give something more at the worst moments of their lives, and the pilot of the aircraft racing to deliver organs to dying patients.
"The sobering fact is that any one of us could need a new organ or tissue to save our lives -- and virtually every one of us could be a donor," Green writes. "The results of transplantation are astounding. However many times it happens, an inert organ, that has been taken from someone already dead, and springs suddenly into life in another dying body, still seems to most of us to have more in common with science fiction than regular medicine."
Results differ for different organs, he adds, but about 90 percent of patients who have had a heart transplant are alive after one year, 75 percent after five years and 55 percent after ten years. "Given that all these people were terminally ill, that many were close to death at the time of their operation and that, over the years, some proportion of them will die from unrelated causes, the distance transplantation has come speaks for itself."
Every month, however, the waiting list grows. "These people live perpetually on the edge, always aware of a winner-takes-all race between a wasting disease and a cure over which they have no control."
A donation produces on average three or four organs, saving three or four families from devastation, in addition to tissue that can help up to 50 people, Green points out. "With that much on the line, I often wonder what possible debate there can be about what is the right thing to do."
Read a few chapters from The Gift that Heals
The Gift that Heals: Stories of hope, renewal and transformation through organ and tissue donation, which is published jointly by the Nicholas Green Foundation and United Network for Organ Sharing, can be ordered here or through major booksellers.

The Nicholas Green Foundation, set up by the Green family, is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the cause of organ and tissue donation around the world. It does this by spreading information to increase awareness of the shortage of donors everywhere. It can also support a broad range of children's causes. It produces videos and helps organize special events.
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Forgive them, Father, They know not ---An Iranian Mother
 
Last-minute reprieve: Iranian woman spares life of son's killer with a slap



TEHRAN: An Iranian mother spared the life of her son's convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The dramatic climax followed a rare public campaign to save the life of Balal, who at 19 killed another young man, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, in a street fight with a knife back in 2007.
Shargh newspaper said police officers led Balal to a public execution site in the northern city of Nowshahr as a large crowd gathering on Tuesday morning.

Samereh Alinejad, mother of the victim who lost another son in a motorbike accident four years ago, asked the crowd whether they know "how difficult it is to live in an empty house." Balal, blackhooded and standing on a chair before a makeshift gallows, had the noose around his neck when Alinejad approached. She slapped him in the face and removed the rope from his neck assisted by her husband, Abdolghani Hosseinzadeh, a former professional footballer.

"I am a believer. I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place... After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer," Alinejad told Shargh. "The murderer was crying, asking for forgiveness. I slapped him in the face. That slap helped to calm me down," she said. "Now that I've forgiven him, I feel relieved." Balal said the "slap was the space between revenge and forgiveness." "I've asked my friends not to carry knives... I wish someone had slapped me in the face when I wanted to carry one," Balal said in a television interview.

A campaign was launched by public figures including Adel Ferdosipour, a popular football commentator and TV show host, and former international footballer Ali Daei, appealed for the victim's family to forgive the killer.

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Left to Die: Dan Mazur's Act of Courage and Compassion
LIFESAVER HERO:
DAN MAZUR
by John from Olympia
Dan Mazur, Team Leader

On the morning of May 26th, 2006, Dan Mazur was leading a team of climbers on a planned ascent up the north ridge of Mount Everest to its summit. Mr. Mazur’s team of climbers consisted of himself, Andrew Brash, Myles Osborne and Jangbu Sherpa. The team was feeling strong and healthy. There were no winds or clouds. Conditions seemed perfect for climbing to the summit.
The Team - Andrew Brash, Myles Osborne and Jangbu Sherpa

 
 
At 7:30 AM, eight hours into their ascent and two hours below the summit, the men encountered a stricken climber at an altitude of approximately 28,000 feet. The fallen climber was an Australian named Lincoln Hall. He was sitting on the trail with his jacket around his waist, wearing no hat or gloves. The group stopped to investigate and found he was suffering from symptoms of edema, frostbite and dehydration. He was alone and hallucinating; and generally incoherent in his responses to their offers of help. He was without any of the proper equipment for survival in such conditions. Apparently, Mr. Hall had collapsed the previous day on his way down from the summit. The North Ridge is an inhospitable place. Besides being at 28,000 feet, it is located along a severe ridgeline, dropping off 10,000 feet to one side and 7,000 feet to the other. Oxygen and proper equipment are virtually essential to survival.

Makalu, world's fifth highest peak. View as seen by Lincoln as he waited. 



 

Mazur’s party quickly decided to give up their own summit attempt to save Mr. Hall. They anchored him to the mountain, replaced the hat, jacket and gloves he had discarded, and gave him their own oxygen, food and water. They radioed Hall’s team, who had given him up for dead. Mazur convinced them that Hall was still alive and must and could be saved. (Mr. Hall’s team leader had called his wife the night before to tell her that Hall was dead.) 

Lincoln Hall from Australia, when he was found.

 


 
 
The rescuers arranged for Sherpas from Hall’s team to ascend and help with the rescue. Mazur’s group stayed four hours to care for Mr. Hall. Phil Crampton coordinated the rescue from the high camp at 26,000 feet and Kipa Sherpa acted as liaison to Lincoln Hall’s team at advance base camp at 21,000 feet. Extended stays at extreme altitude are risky even when planned in advance and when climbers have all the supplies they need. Going to the summit after so many hours spent helping Hall was out of the question. By using their own survival supplies to sustain Hall, Mazur and his team risked worsening weather conditions that could have severely inhibited their own descent. Clearly, these men sacrificed a lifetime dream and risked their own lives to save Lincoln Hall.




Eucharist

Chinese Eucharistic Martyr inspired Archbishop Fulton Sheen to pray his Holy Hour
During China's 1911 Republican Revolution or the earlier Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), anti-Catholic militants seized a Catholic parish. They confined the pastor to house arrest. From his rectory window he witnessed the desecration of the Church.

He knew that there had been thirty-two consecrated hosts in the tabernacle. An eleven year old girl was praying at the back of the church and the guards either did not see her or else paid no attention to her. She returned to the Church that night and made a Holy Hour and then consumed one of the sacred hosts, bending down to receive Jesus on her tongue. She continued to return every night, making a nightly Holy Hour and consuming one sacred host. On the last night, the thirty-second night, unfortunately a guard was awakened after she consumed the sacred host. He chased her, grabbed her, and beat her to death with his rifle. Archbishop Fulton Sheen became aware of her martyrdom while he was a seminarian. He was so inspired by her sacrifice that he promised to pray a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament each day for the rest of his life. The eleven year old girl could have had no idea how she would have influenced a future bishop who would in turn influence millions and promote Eucharistic Adoration. We also have no idea how our witness and sacrifices influence others.
 
From Fr. Tommy Lane's collection

Holy Thursday

From Father Tony Kadavil's and Others' Collections:

1) The Stole and the Towel is the title of a book, which sums up the message of the Italian bishop, Tony Bello, who died of cancer at the age of 58. On Maundy Thursday of 1993, while on his deathbed, he dictated a pastoral letter to the priests of his diocese. He called upon them to be bound by "the stole and the towel." The stole symbolizes union with Christ in the Eucharist, and the towel symbolizes union with humanity by service. The priest is called upon to be united with the Lord in the Eucharist and with the people as their servant. Today we celebrate the institution of both the Eucharist and the priesthood: the feast of "the stole and the towel," the feast of love and service.

2) “Jesus Christ gave a lasting memorial”: One of his Catholic disciples asked the controversial god-man Osho Rajneesh about the difference between Buddha the founder of Buddhism and Jesus Christ. He told a story to distinguish between Buddha and Christ. When Buddha was on his death bed, his disciple Anand asked him for a memorial and Buddha gave him a Jasmine flower. But as the flower dried up, the memory of Buddha also dwindled. Jesus Christ, however, instituted a lasting memorial without anybody’s asking for it. He offered his body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine and commanded his disciples to share his divinity by repeating the ceremony. So Jesus continues to live in his followers, while Buddha lives only in history books. On Holy Thursday, we reflect on the importance of the institution of the Holy Eucharist and priesthood. [Osho Rajneesh claimed that he was another incarnation of God who attained “enlightenment” at 29 when he was a professor of Hindu philosophy in Jabalpur University in India. He had thousands of followers for his controversial “liberation through sex theology,” based on Hindu, Buddhist and Christian theology].
3) Why the other side is empty Have you ever noticed that in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper that everybody is on one side of the table? The other side is empty. “Why's that?” asked someone of the great artist. His answer was simple: “So that there may be plenty of room for us to join them.” Want to let Jesus do his thing on earth through you? Then pull up a chair and receive him into your heart (Fr. Jack Dorsel).
4) “Young lady, I'm so sorry this happened to you.” Comedian Jerry Clower tells a story about Christian love in action. Two Christian businessmen were having lunch in a downtown restaurant. The waitress serving their table dumped a bowl of hot soup right over one of these businessmen. Everybody gasped and stared. As Clower tells it, "They just couldn't wait for the manager to run out and fire this lady. They just couldn't wait for this man, standing there, dripping, with his suit ruined, to cuss this waitress out, but the fellow looked at that waitress and said, “Young lady, I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know it embarrasses you.'" [Jerry Clower, Life Ever Laughter (Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press, 1988).] How would you have handled that situation? Can you love as the Master would have us love? “Love one another as I have loved you.”
 
Additional Illustrations
1) Holy Communion on the moon: On July 20, 1969, the space rocket Apollo 11 became the first manned vehicle to land on the surface of the moon carrying the astronauts Neil Armstrong (commander), Michael Collins (pilot of the command module) and Edwin Aldrin (commander of the lunar module). It was an event that inspired awe all around the world. After landing on the moon, Aldrin radioed earth with these words: "I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way." Then, when he journeyed out of the space module onto the moon's surface, he did something quite significant. He took out a small home Communion kit and became the first person to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion on the surface of the moon. This is to say that the event we celebrate this night is the only religious rite in all the world that has been celebrated on the surface of the moon. Here's an interesting sidebar. Aldrin kept his intent to celebrate Holy Communion on the moon a secret, even from his fellow astronauts. Why? Because earlier someone had filed a lawsuit regarding the reading of Genesis 1 by the astronauts on Apollo 8 as they circled the earth on Christmas Eve a few years earlier. (Chaikin, Andrew. A Man On The Moon. Cited at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzz_Aldrin ) It is nice to know, isn't it, that the Eucharist has been received by a man on the moon. It's much more critical to know that we have this rite to celebrate because God came down to earth. This is a rite initiated by the Master himself. Understanding that is particularly significant when we read John's portrayal of that First Holy Communion, which we know as the Last Supper.

2) "Now she's ready for living--in this life and the next." TV pastor Robert Schuller tells about the time Bishop Fulton Sheen spoke at the Crystal Cathedral. Fulton Sheen was one of the most effective religious communicators of his time. In the early 1950s, his weekly television broadcast was the most popular program in the country. Because he was so popular, thousands of people came to hear Sheen at the Crystal Cathedral. After the message, he and Robert Schuller were able to get to their car only because a passageway was roped off. Otherwise, they would have been mobbed. Along both sides of the ropes, people were reaching out in an attempt to touch the bishop. It was as if the pope himself had come to town. As Sheen was passing through this section on his way to his car, someone handed him a note, which he folded and put into his pocket. Then, as he and Schuller were on their way to the restaurant where they where going to eat lunch, Bishop Sheen pulled out that note, read it, and asked Schuller, "Do you know where this trailer park is?" Schuller looked at the note and said, "Yes, it's just a couple of miles from here." The bishop said, "Do you think we could go there before we go to lunch?" "Sure," Schuller answered. "We have plenty of time." So they drove to this little trailer park, and Bishop Sheen went up to one of the trailers and knocked on the door. An elderly woman opened the door, and seemed surprised--flabbergasted, really--when she saw who had come to visit her. She opened the door and the bishop went in. After a few moments, he came out, got back in the car and said, "Now she's ready for living--in this life and the next." [Robert A. Schuller, Dump Your Hang-ups (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1993).] Bishop Sheen showed the Spirit of Jesus on Holy Thursday.
3) A president in servant’s role: "When I try to tell people what Ronald Reagan was like," says Peggy Noonan, former White House speechwriter, "I tell them the bathroom story." A few days after President Reagan had been shot, when he was able to get out of bed, he wasn't feeling well, so he went into the bathroom that connected to his room. He slapped some water on his face and some of the water slopped out of the sink. He got some paper towels and got down on the floor to clean it up. An aide went in to check on him, and found the president of the United States on his hands and knees on the cold tile floor, mopping up water with paper towels. "Mr. President," the aide said, "what are you doing? Let the nurse clean that up!" And President Ronald Reagan said, "Oh, no. I made that mess, and I'd hate for the nurse to have to clean it up." [Pat Williams, The Paradox of Power (New York: Warner Faith, 2002).]
4) Waiting and remembering: One day the professor of Eucharistic theology came in carrying a brown paper bag, and declared that his theology students were going to learn the significance of the Lord’s Supper. As he began to talk he reached into the bag and pulled out a hand full of Buckeyes, and began throwing them, one by one, to each member of the class. (If you are not familiar with the Buckeye, it is the large, shiny brown seed of the Horse Chestnut tree. It is especially abundant in Ohio which is the reason Ohio is known as the Buckeye State.) The professor then reached into his own pocket and removed a small, brown, shriveled up something. Holding it between his two fingers for all to see he said to the class, “See this? This is a Buckeye like you have. I have been carrying it around in my pocket since 1942. I had a son who went off to the war that year. When he left he gave me this Buckeye, and told me to put it in my pocket and keep it there until he came home. That way each time I reached in my pocket I would always remember him. Well, I have been carrying that Buckeye in my pocket since 1942. And I have been waiting. Waiting for my son to come back, and each time I reach in my pocket I remember my son.” Eucharistic celebration is about waiting and remembering. Each time, we, as a community of faith, gather around the table to take the consecrated bread and cup we are remembering, and we are proclaiming that we are waiting for our Lord to return. (Jerry Fritz, http://leiningers.com/waiting.html).

5) "You don't recognize me, do you?” There is an old legend about DaVinci's painting of the Last Supper. In all of his paintings he tried to find someone to pose that fit the face of the particular character he was painting. Out of hundreds of possibilities he chose a young 19-year old to portray Jesus. It took him six months to paint the face of Jesus. Seven years later DaVinci started hunting for just the right face for Judas. Where could he find one that would portray that image? He looked high and low. Down in a dark Roman dungeon he found a wretched, unkempt prisoner to strike the perfect pose. The prisoner was released to his care and when the portrait of Judas was complete the prisoner said to the great artist, "You don't recognize me, do you? I am the man you painted seven years ago as the face of Christ. O God, I have fallen so low."
6) “Neither is your best good enough for Almighty God." There was once an old retired Methodist bishop who never missed an opportunity to say a word for his Lord. One day he was in the barbershop receiving a haircut from the young man who was his regular barber. There was enough conversation in the shop to allow him to speak with his barber privately, so he said, "Harry, how are you and the Lord getting along?" Rather curtly the young man replied, "Bishop, I do the best I can and that's good enough for me." The bishop said no more. When his haircut was finished, he got up and paid the barber. Then he said with a smile, "Harry, you work so hard that you deserve a break. Sit down, rest, and have a coke. I'll cut the next customer's hair." The barber smiled and said, "Bishop, I appreciate that but I can't let you do it." "But why not?" asked the Bishop. "I promise to do my best." "But," said the barber, "I'm afraid that your best wouldn't be good enough." Then the bishop added the obvious, "And son, neither is your best good enough for Almighty God."
7) Precious gift: We are all familiar with the situation of the little boy who wants to give his father a birthday present but does not have any money to buy one. His father, realizing his son is too young and unable to make any money, slips him five bucks so that he can do some shopping the next time they are in town. The big day comes, and the little boy proudly presents his father with a beautifully wrapped, birthday gift. He is so very happy and proud of himself. So is his father - proud and happy to have such a loving son. God gave us his Son so that we could give him back as a gift and become once again his sons and daughters. Jesus Christ was placed in our hands so that we could have a gift, the best of gifts. During each Eucharistic celebration we give this precious gift back to God the Father. Today we celebrate the feast of the First Mass (Fr. Jack Dorsel).
8) “Gone, But Not for Cotton:” There is an absolutely terrible old joke about a bill collector in Georgia who knocked on the door of a client who lived out in a rural area. This client owed the bill collector’s company money. “Is Fred home?” he asked the woman who answered the door.” Sorry,” the woman replied. “Fred’s gone for cotton.” The next day the collector tried again. “Is Fred here today?” “No, sir,” she said, “I’m afraid Fred has gone for cotton.” When he returned the third day, he said sarcastically, “I suppose Fred is gone for cotton again?” “No,” the woman answered solemnly, “Fred died yesterday.” Suspicious that he was being avoided, the bill collector decided to wait a week and check out the cemetery himself. Sure enough, there was poor Fred’s tombstone. On it was this inscription: “Gone, But Not for Cotton.” That’s terrible, I know, but it is a reminder that tonight as we participate in the Lord’s Supper, proclaiming that Christ is neither gone nor forgotten. We assert our faith that he is present, here with us, as we receive Holy Communion in remembrance of him.
9) “I still think they are wonderful." Dr. Robert Kopp tells of an interview someone did with the great composer Irving Berlin. We remember Berlin for favorites like "God Bless America," "Easter Parade," and "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." Berlin was asked, "Is there any question you've never been asked that you would like someone to ask you?" "Well, yes, there is one," Berlin replied. He posed the question himself: "What do you think of the many songs you've written that didn't become hits?" Then he answered his own question: "My reply would be that I still think they are wonderful." Then he added, "God, too, has an unshakable delight in what--and whom--He has made. He thinks each of His children is wonderful, and whether they're a ‘hit’ in the eyes of others or not, He will always think they're wonderful." Irving Berlin hit it right on the head. Here is the critical truth about faith--it is grounded in God's wondrous love for us. We may not feel worthy to be loved, we may even repudiate that love--but we cannot keep God from loving. That is God's very nature. God is love.
10) “Forget-me-not:” There is an old legend that after God finished creating the world, He still had the task of naming every creature and plant in it. Anyone who has ever faced the task of naming a newborn knows this is not as easy as it seems. Thinking Himself finished at last, God heard a small voice saying, "How about me?" Looking down, the Creator spied a small flower. "I forgot you once," He said, "but it will not happen again." And, at that moment, the forget-me-not was born. [The Great American Bathroom Reader by Mark B. Charlton, (Barnes & Noble, New York, 1997), p. 260.} It's just a silly legend--a myth, if you will--but the reason such legends and myths abound is that they reflect the truth about God. God loves. God loves each of us as if God had no one else to love. Originally developed to track Israeli secret-service agents abroad, the $5,000 battery-less Sky-Eye chip sold by Gen-Etics runs solely on the neurophysiological energy generated within the human body. Gen-Etics won't reveal where the chip is inserted but says 43 people have had it implanted. ("World Watch," edited by Anita Hamilton, Timedigital, Nov. 30, 1998, p. 107.) It is amazing to me that it is easier for some people to believe that technology can track an individual person's movements anywhere in the world, but that somehow we are lost to God. How absurd. We are under the watchful eye of a Heavenly Father who never forgets us, never leaves us and is always concerned about our well-being.

11) "I missed." Former President Reagan told a humorous story during the last days of his administration. It was about Alexander Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. It seems that Dumas and a friend had a severe argument. The matter got so out of hand that one challenged the other to a duel. Both Dumas and his friend were superb marksmen. Fearing that both men might fall in such a duel they resolved to draw straws instead. Whoever drew the shorter straw would then be pledged to shoot himself. Dumas was the unlucky one. He drew the short straw. With a heavy sigh, he picked up his pistol and trudged into the library and closed the door, leaving the company of friends who had gathered to witness the non-duel outside. In a few moments a solitary shot was fired. All the curious pressed into the library. They found Dumas standing with his pistol still smoking. "An amazing thing just happened," said Dumas. "I missed." I am amazed how many Christians have been in the church all their lives and still have missed the Gospel. So many folks still live in the Old Testament, bound by legalisms, restricted by the "Thou shalt nots" without being empowered by "Thou shalts." Some are experts at the Ten Commandments, but absolute failures at the eleventh and most important of all. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." (RSV)
12) "What did you have for breakfast today?" President Nelson Mandela of South Africa is one of those rare politicians who has the common touch even when the cameras are not rolling. When he speaks at banquets, he makes a point of going into the kitchen and shaking hands with every dishwasher and busboy. When out in public he often worries his bodyguards because he is prone to stop to talk with a little child. Typically he will ask, "How old are you son?" Then his next question is, "What did you have for breakfast today?" In that strange, wonderful company called the Kingdom of God, even the bosses wash feet. Have you allowed Jesus to give you a servant's heart and servant's hands? Be servant leaders in a serving community.
13) He picked it up and returned it to the bench: Many years ago, a sticky situation arose at the wedding ceremony for the Duke of York. All the guests and the wedding attendants were in place. Majestic organ music filled the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey. But something was wrong. As part of the marriage ceremony, the Duke and his bride were to kneel on a cushioned bench to receive a blessing. A nervous whisper spread through the congregation as guests noticed that one of the cushions from the kneeling bench had fallen on the floor. Most of the attendants standing near the kneeling bench had royal blood lines; at the very least, they were all from the upper crust of British society. To reach down and pick up the pillow would have been beneath them. They all pretended to ignore the misplaced pillow until finally the Prince of Wales, who was a groomsman, picked it up and returned it to the bench. (George C. Pidgeon) That may not impress us very much, but in a society that is as class-conscious as British society is, this was an extraordinary act. No wonder Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

14) Jesus has no desire to be cloned: That night in the upper room Jesus knew what it would take to change the world -- not strife and revolution, not warfare and bloodshed, but love, sincere, self-sacrificing love on the part of his people. Last November, Dr. Avi Ben-Abraham, head resident of the American Cryogenics Society, told an audience in Washington, D.C., that several high-ranking Roman Catholic Church leaders had privately told him that despite the church's public stance against research in genetics and gene reproduction and experimentation in artificial life production, they personally supported his way-out research. According to Ben-Abraham, those church leaders hope to reproduce Jesus Christ from DNA fibers found on the Shroud of Turin. If Dr. Ben-Abraham is right, somebody’d better tell those venerable church leaders that Jesus has no desire to be cloned -- except in the lives of those who love him and follow him. That's why he takes bread and wine and gives us himself in Holy Communion, to bring us forgiveness and to strengthen us to love one another. “This is My will -- this is My commandment for you.”
15) The Beloved Captain: Donald Hankey’s The Beloved Captain tells how the captain cared for his men’s feet. After long marches he went into the barracks to inspect the feet of his soldiers. He’d get down on his hands and knees to take a good look at the worst cases. If a blister needed lancing, he’d frequently lance it himself. “There was no affectation about this,” says Donald Hankey. “It seemed to have a touch of Christ about it, and we loved and honored him the more” for it. – Is there a ‘touch of Christ’ about our concern for our brothers and sisters? “Jesus, my feet are dirty…. Pour water into your basin and come and wash my feet. I know that I am overbold is asking this, but I dread your warning, when you said, ‘If I do not wash your feet, you can have no companionship with me.’ Wash my feet, then, because I do want your companionship.” Mark Link in ‘Daily Homilies’ (Fr. Botelho)
16) Pope missing: A story from the life of Pope John Paul II brings home the profound significance of what we do tonight. Bishop John Magee, who was personal secretary to the pope, tells about something that happened after Pope John Paul's election. An official came to Vatican asking to speak immediately with the new pope. Bishop Magee went to the pope's room. He was not there. He went to the library, the chapel, the kitchen, even the roof. When he couldn't find the pope, he began to think about Morris West's novel, The Shoes of the Fisherman. In that novel a newly elected Slavic pope slips out of the Vatican to find out what is happening with ordinary people in his new diocese. That was fiction, but if the new pope actually did it, it might turn out badly. So Bishop Magee ran to a priest who knew the pope. "We've lost the Holy Father," he said. "I've looked everywhere and cannot find him." The Polish priest asked calmly, "Did you look in the chapel?" "Yes," said Bishop Magee, "he was nowhere in sight." "Go further in," the Polish priest said, “but do not turn on the light.” Bishop Magee walked quietly into the darkened chapel. In front of the tabernacle, lying prostrate on the floor, was the pope. The Polish priest knew that, before his election, the pope often prostrated himself before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Tonight we commemorate that greatest of all tangible gifts. St. Paul quotes Jesus saying, "This is my body that is for you." Jesus gives himself to us in a humble form - unleavened bread like that the Israelites ate during their Passover. (Fr. Phil Bloom).