If I Want Your Opinion

We all have opinions don’t we? Some are better than others. We all try to second guess our government. I have caught myself, on numerous occasions, critiquing television commercials.   At every level sporting event we all turn into coaches. And we don’t mind voicing our opinions. Of course if ours is different than yours, we don’t want to hear it.

Can you imagine what it was like in Jesus’ day? I mean he travelled with twelve men. You know how men are. If there were twelve there then there were twelve different opinions. If women were travelling with them then they had their opinions too. They probably spoke most of those under their breath. I’m sure this happened a lot more than we hear about.
But in the Gospel this week we heard it more than once. Everyone had an opinion. The apostles tell Jesus that he doesn’t need to go back to Lazarus when they found out he was sick. Then when he died they tell him there was nothing more he could do. I’ll bet they grumbled all the way back to Judea. And then when he gets back Martha is telling him how she sees the situation and what he needs to do now. I especially like how she agrees with everything he says but doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about. If she hadn’t interrupted him with “Yes Lord, but . . . ” she might have been able to pick up on what the Lord was talking about. I wonder how often I do that. “Lord, I know you’ve got this but I’m going to worry about it a little more” or “Lord I know that you hear me but I’m going to . . . ”
Fr. Darrell asked us if we are believers during his sermon and then waited for our reply.   The church was silent.  Then he said “I guess not” and ended his sermon. I wanted to stand up and holler “Yes! I do believe!” But of course, that wouldn’t have been appropriate. If I didn’t agree with what he was saying I would have probably punched Jimmy in the belly and said something under my breath. Why would that have been appropriate? Of course, we could all tell Fr. Darrell what we think would be appropriate. That would probably go over about as good as the apostles telling Jesus what He should do.
I think we need to start a cheering section in the first few pews during Mass. I mean if we truly believe then we should cheer all through Mass.
So, a couple of things this week. I am going to continue to try to live the Gospel. Of course that does require reading the Gospel. If I ask the Lord to help me then I am going to accept His help. And if anyone asks me if I believe I’m going to shout it to the rooftops. I’ll leave the “hell yeah” out of it though.
Cynthia Elder

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An Easter Wake-Up Call

Days after holidays are my favorite Facebook days!
Never get to go to church on Sundays
Because of my work schedule
Got to go to church 4 times last week
It was awesome and did me ALOT of good
Best part was I managed to stay awake
And go to Easter Sunday mass yesterday (early mass)
I was sitting in the back pew
Drifting off just a little when SUDDENLY…..
I was startled by a cold gush of many holy water sprinkles
Splash me from behind and run down my neck
I had not seen Father leave the altar
With that big bucket of ice cold Easter water
Needless to say, Father Darrell took much enjoyment
When he returned to the altar after generously “blessing” us all
It was then that he simply, but proudly confessed…

“THAT…is one of my favorite things I get to do as a priest!”

Susan Mills Carrico12923214_10207731927349804_6045123536555060282_n

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Serve

I love the readings after Easter.  I love hearing how bumbling the Apostles are.  I love how they are just trying to understand.  I am reminded that most of the time the Apostles didn’t have a clue.  I love how Jesus just shows up in their midst.

And I love how Fr. Darrell talks about these things during the homily at Mass.  Talking about Jesus showing up, Fr. Darrell reminds us just how human Jesus is.  After he got past the Apostles’ shock at him showing up he asked if they had anything to eat.  They did.  Baked fish.  So he sat down and ate.

Fr. Darrell likes to talk about normal stuff.  He brought up how we can say so many stupid things at the most inopportune times.  He brought up how we feel like we have to say something, anything, to a daily who is experiencing a death or a tragedy.  He told us that we don’t really need to say anything.  Sometimes we just have to be there.  Sometimes we need to bring a casserole.   Sometimes we need to go get a glass of water.  All we have to do is serve.

That brought back something my nephew said recently.  We were talking about the Picnic that we have in August every year.  We talked about all the people who come to the picnic and what that all means to our community, and to our church.  I asked him if he head ever invited anyone to the picnic.  He responded “of course”.  But he went on to talk about how the picnic is a wonderful place to invite people into our community, so that we can serve them.  That as a Christian, it is our responsibility to serve.

Which brings me back to Jesus’ ministry.  Throughout his entire ministry he served.  He did for other people time and time again.  And when his Apostles didn’t want him to serve them then he made sure they were aware that if he didn’t serve them then they could not enter the kingdom of heaven.  They changed their tune pretty quick.  But it wasn’t just them letting him serve them.  It was them serving others as well.

If you follow the life of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta you find that all she did was to serve.  She didn’t care who you were, she would serve you.  And she expected that of her followers.  Some couldn’t do it.  They couldn’t deny themselves in order to serve others.  But those that did follow her learned to live as Christ taught.

I’m one of those who say stupid things when someone dies or tragedy strikes.  I feel like I need to say something, anything.  But the times that I feel that I’ve been the most helpful have been the times that I have just been there.  When Jimmy’s mother died I had never seen anyone with that much grief.  And I came to realize quickly that all I could do was to be there with him.  All I could do was to sit beside him and let him cry.  I had never been around anyone like that and I didn’t know what to say, or do.  It turned out I didn’t have to say a thing.  I didn’t have to do anything other than be there.  And even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done I came to realize that was all I had to do.

The same thing happened when my older children’s grandparents died.  I knew that it would hard.  But I also knew that I had to be there for them.  When I heard their sobs I knew that all I could do for them was allow them to cry.  I could do that for them.

So a lot of times it’s not what you say but what you do that lets people know who you are.  It’s the action, not the words that allow others to recognize your Christianity, even if it’s uncomfortable to you.  After all, that’s what Jesus would do.

Cynthia Elder