The curse of the monster watermelonsOnce upon a time, there was a man who traveled to a strange land. There he saw people fleeing in horror from a wheat field. There was a horrible monster in the field! they screamed. The traveler went into the field himself and found the monster – a watermelon. The villagers had never seen a watermelon before. Trying to be kind, he offered to “kill” the monster for them. He hacked the melon off the vine and then cut a slide and began to eat it. The people became even more terrified of the traveler. He will eat us too! they cried, and then drive him off with their pitchforks.
Eden and OliviaAt first, Mom was repelled by the very idea. Her teenage daughter wanted to get a pet rat? Living in Brooklyn, the only rats she knew were those horrible little creatures scurrying across the subway tracks. And their bad rap as carriers of disease didn’t help.
“No, Mom,” Olivia said, frustrated by her resistance. “It wouldn’t be like that! This would be a lab rat. You’ll see. They’re so sweet and really smart.”
Small ‘c’ church
On a business trip to South America, he visited a small church in one of the poor barrios. He was deeply moved by what he saw: the joy-filled faith of these families despite the overwhelming poverty of their daily lives. When he returned home, he was telling some friends after Mass about what he had seen. The group wondered what they could do to help, so they contacted the pastor of the barrio parish. The priest expressed gratitude for any help, especially for the parish’s school and small clinic. So the group collected school and medical supplies and shipped them; next they gathered up blankets and clothes; now they are raising money to dig a new well for the community. They see themselves as just a group of friends doing what they are able to do for their South American brothers and sisters. But, in truth, they are being church.
In the first reading Sirach insists that anger and resentment are hateful things. He also admonishes us to show mercy towards others, since we look to God to have mercy for ourselves. If we hold on to resentment and anger against others who have hurt us, how can we demand compassion from God? And if we show no pity for a fellow human being, how can we plead for pity for ourselves? We make it difficult for ourselves to receive God’s forgiveness if we do not want to forgive.