Advent Sunday 1 B

From Fr. Jude Botelho:

Waiting to be Rescued

One December day 16-year-old Gary Schneider and two friends set out on a four-day climb up Mt. Hood. Nine thousand feet up, a blinding storm engulfed the three boys. They tunneled into a snow bank to get out of the driving wind and to wait out the blizzard. Eleven days later the blizzard continued to rage. The boys’ sleeping bags grew wet and lumpy.  Their food supply dwindled to a daily ration of two spoonfuls of pancake batter apiece. Their sole comfort was a small Bible one of the boys had packed in his gear. The boys took turns reading it, eight hours a day. The only light was a spooky, reflected light coming from the cave’s tiny opening. There the three boys remained huddled hour after hour, day after day, listening to the word of God against a background of howling wind. Waiting like this was not easy. All the boys could do was pray, hoping the blizzard would blow itself out and help would come. Finally, on the 16th day the weather cleared and the boys crawled out of their snow cave. They were weak from the ordeal and could manage only a few steps at a time. Later that day they caught sight of a rescue party. Their long ordeal of waiting finally ended.
Mark Link in ‘Illustrated Sunday Homilies’

34 Sunday A: Christ the King

1.     Fr. Jude Botelho 

In our present times we do not make much of royalty and we have discarded the trappings and structures of royalty in favour of democracy. Yet we admire people who are loyal and faithful to lawfully constituted authority. Today we are reminded that God is the ultimate authority and He commands our respect and loyalty not because he exercises power over us but because He constantly cares for us. We can show our loyalty to Him by respecting and caring for His people, our brothers and sisters. 

33 Sunday A: Talents

Fr. Jude Botelho:

What have I made of myself?

Once a re-union took place of past pupils and an elderly priest who had come back to be present at the re-union. It was obvious from the way they flocked around him that he enjoyed great respect among them. Without the slightest promptings they began to pour out their stories. One was an architect, another was a university professor, another was a head of a company, another was a highly successful farmer, another was a monsignor in the Church, and another was a principal of a very prestigious school. The old priest listened with pleasure, as there didn’t seem to be a single failure or loser among them. Whey they had finished he complimented them on their achievements. Then, looking at them with affection, he said, “And now, tell me what you have made of yourselves?” A long silence followed. They were reluctant to speak of themselves. It seems they were so absorbed in their careers that they had neglected their personal lives. Their energies were so focused on efficiency and success that they didn’t have time to grow emotionally, with the result that in terms of relationships many of them were impoverished.

32 Sunday A - 10 Virgins

Fr. Jude Boteho:

The Parable of the Cave
Three wise men were encouraged to find what had been called the Cave of wisdom and life. They made careful preparations for what would be a challenging and arduous journey. When they reached the place of the cave, they noted a guard at the entrance. They were not permitted to enter the cave until they had spoken to the guard. He had only one question for them, and he demanded that they answer only after talking it over with one another. He assured them that they would have a guide to lead them through the regions of the cave. His question was a simple one, “How far into the Cave of wisdom and life do you wish to go?” The three travelers took counsel together and returned to the guard. Their response was, “Oh, not very far. We just want to go far enough into the cave so that we can say that we have been there.” The reaction of the guard manifested none of his great disappointment as he summoned someone to lead the three seekers a short distance into the cave, and then watched them set out again after a very short time, set out to make the journey back into their own land.Paula Ripple in ‘Walking with Loneliness’

31 Sunday A

From Fr. Tony Kadavil:

1) Elephantine shock therapy. The story has been told of a lion who was very proud. He decided to take a walk one day to demonstrate his mastery over all the other creatures.  He strutted his way through the forest until he came across a bear. “WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE, BEAR?”  “Why of course you are, mighty lion.”  He went on until he found the tiger. “WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE, TIGER?”  ‘Why you are, great lion.”  Next the lion found the elephant. “WHO IS THE KING OF THE JUNGLE, ELEPHANT?”  The elephant instantly grabbed the lion with his trunk and spun him around a few times and slammed him to the ground.  He then stepped on him a few times, picked him up and dunked him in the water and then threw him up against a tree.  The lion staggered to his feet and said, “LOOK, JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET SO UPSET!’  The lion was the one who wasn’t getting it.  He was missing the truth, just as were many of the scribes and Pharisees and Jewish priests to whom Jesus gives an elephantine shock treatment in today’s Gospel.  

30 Sunday A

1.     Fr. Tony Kadavil

The inspiring five word sermon:

There is a legend handed down from the early Church about John, the beloved disciple of Jesus. Of the twelve original apostles, only John is said to have lived to a ripe old age. In his later years, not only his body but also his eyesight and his mind began to fail him. Eventually, according to the legend, John's mind had deteriorated to the point that he could only speak five words, one sentence which he would repeat over and over. You can imagine the high regard in which the early Church must have held the last surviving apostle of Jesus. The legend says that every Lord's Day, John would be carried into the midst of the congregation that had assembled for worship in the Church at Ephesus, where John spent the last years of his life. Total silence would fall over the congregation, even though they already knew what John was going to say. Then the old man would speak the words, "My children, love one another." Over and over, he would repeat them until he grew tired from talking, and no one yawned or looked at his watch or gazed off into space absentmindedly. They listened as John preached his five-word sermon over and over: "My children, love one another."