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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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Your IP: 3.95.131.97
2019-11-15 02:59

สถานะการเยี่ยมชม

มี 97 ผู้มาเยือน และ ไม่มีสมาชิกออนไลน์ ออนไลน์

25th Sunday of the Year
Amos 8:4–7; 1 Timothy 2:1–8; Luke 16:1–13


That’s a nice story
People work harder for earthly rewards that last a few
years than they do for heavenly ones that last forever.
Afew years ago a priest was giving a retreat
to inmates in a federal prison in the South.
One of the talks dealt with Jesus’ teaching
about revenge. Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said,
‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
But now I tell you: do not take revenge
on someone who wrongs you.
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
Let him slap your left cheek too.” Matthew 5:38–39
To illustrate Jesus’ point,
the priest told the story of Jackie Robinson,
the first black athlete
to play in the major leagues.
When Branch Rickey signed Jackie
to a Dodger contract in 1945, he told him,
“You will have to take everything
they dish out to you and never strike back.’’
Rickey was right.
On the field,
pitchers brushed Jackie back
with blazing fastballs,
and opposing fans and teams taunted him.
Off the field,
he was thrown out of hotels and restaurants
where the rest of the team stayed and ate.
Through it all, Jackie kept his cool.
He turned the other cheek.
And so did Branch Rickey,
who was abused by people for signing Jackie.
The priest ended the story
by asking the prisoners this question:
“Where do you think
black athletes would be today
had Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey
not turned the other cheek?’’
After the talk, a prisoner said to the priest:
“That’s a nice story, father.
But why didn’t you tell the whole story?
Why didn’t you tell why
Rickey and Robinson turned the other cheek?
It wasn’t for love of God.
It was for love of money.
“Rickey turned the other cheek
because he had signed up
all the best black athletes in the country
and would make a fortune if Jackie succeeded.
“And Jackie turned the other cheek
because if he succeeded,
he would make a fortune too.’’
The priest thought to himself for a minute:
“If the prisoner’s right,
then he’s just shot my nice little story
right out of the water.’’
But then the priest thought:
“Hey! Wait a minute!
If the prisoner’s right, then my story
makes an even more important point.’’
It’s the same point Jesus makes
in today’s gospel.
Jesus says:
“The people of this world are much more shrewd
in handling their affairs than the people
who belong to the light.”
Or to put it more simply:
“Worldly people
work harder for worldly rewards
that last only a few years
than Christians do for heavenly rewards
that last forever.’’
In other words, if the prisoner was right,
then Rickey and Robinson
were more willing to turn the other cheek
for the sake of money
than you and I are willing to do it
for the sake of God.
Afew years ago
a French communist newspaper addressed
the following remarks to French Christians:
“Your Gospel
is a much more powerful weapon
than is our Marxist philosophy of life.
Yet, we will defeat you in the long run. . . .
“How can anyone believe in your Gospel
if you refuse to live it out in your lives,
if you refuse to sacrifice
your time and your money for it?
How can anyone believe in your Gospel
if you refuse to dirty your hands for it?’’
The point of these remarks
cuts deeply into each one of us.
And the reason it does
is because it’s true in so many, many cases.
And that brings us back
to the point Jesus makes in today’s gospel:
Worldly people are more willing to sacrifice
for worldly rewards
than Christians are for heavenly rewards.
Communists are more willing to sacrifice
for the spread of Communism
than Christians are
for the spread of Christianity.
This raises
a question.
Why are worldly people
more willing to sacrifice for worldly rewards
than Christians are for heavenly ones?
Why are we ourselves
more willing to sacrifice for worldly rewards
than we are for heavenly ones?
Why are we
more willing to treat strangers kindly
for financial gains
than we are our own family for heavenly gains?
Of course, we can’t answer that question
in a general way.
There is no general answer to it.
There is only a personal answer.
We each must answer for ourselves.
And so the message
of today’s gospel is this:
Are we like the Christians
whom Jesus talks about?
Are we less willing
to sacrifice for a heavenly reward
than we are for a worldly reward?
Are we less willing
to sacrifice for the spread of the Gospel
than we are for our own worldly advancement?
If we are,
then we will want to pray the following prayer
with special devotion:
Lord,
open our ears to your word
even when we’d rather not listen to it,
because it challenges us
more than we want to be challenged.
Lord, open our minds to your word
even when we’d rather not think about it,
because it disturbs us
more than we want to be disturbed.
Lord,
help us put your word into practice
even when we’d rather not act on it,
because it means changing
what we’d rather not change.
Above all, Lord,
help us realize
that you never ask us to do anything
that you won’t bless us for
beyond our wildest dreams.
You are never outdone in generosity.

25th Sunday of the Year
Amos 8:4–7; 1 Timothy 2:1–8; Luke 16:1–13
Great capacity!
We have a great power to achieve great things for Christ
if we just use it.
Parry O’Brien
was an Olympic shot-put champion.
Parry’s father tells this story about his son.
One day in high school,
Parry took second place in a school meet.
He was convinced
that he could throw the shot better,
but he couldn’t figure out
what he was doing wrong.
At three o’clock the next morning,
Parry’s father was awakened from sleep
by a series of strange thuds outside.
He went to the window
to see what in the world was going on.
There under the streetlight was Parry,
throwing the shot.
His father called out to him,
“What on earth are you doing at this hour?’’
Parry replied,
“I was lying awake trying to figure out
what it is that I was doing wrong.
I got an idea,
and I couldn’t wait until morning
to try it out.’’
Consider another story.
Years ago
Alice Marble was an outstanding tennis player
in the United States.
She had advanced to the finals
at Wimbledon in England.
She woke up the day of the championship match
with a sharp pain in her stomach.
Within minutes, a Wimbledon doctor
diagnosed it as a torn stomach muscle.
Alice insisted on playing in the finals anyway,
and the doctor told her she was foolish.
When Alice walked onto the center court,
the stadium was packed with 20,000 fans.
Among them was the Queen of England.
Describing the first game of the match,
Alice wrote later:
“As long as I live,
I shall never forget that opening game.
Each swing of the racket
made me want to scream.
The score went to deuce four times
before I won the game.’’
To make a long story short,
Alice won the Wimbledon championship.
Those two stories
make an important point.
It’s the same point
that Jesus makes in today’s gospel
when he says:
“The people of this world
are much more shrewd
in handling their affairs
than the people who belong to the light.’’
Or to put it another way,
Jesus is saying that worldly people
are more willing
to sacrifice for worldly goals
than Christians are for Christian goals.
And nowhere is this better illustrated
than in sports.
And this is true
not only of our own times
but also of biblical times.
For example,
St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
Every athlete in training
submits to strict discipline,
in order to be crowned with a wreath
that will not last; but we do it
for one that will last forever.
The stories of Parry O’Brien and Alice Marble
and the words of Jesus and St. Paul
are not intended to shame or to embarrass us.
Rather, they are intended
to encourage and to inspire us.
They are intended to remind us
that God has put into the human spirit
a tremendous capacity
to work and to sacrifice to achieve great goals.
They are intended to remind us
that no one has a greater goal
to work and to sacrifice for
than we Christians.
And what is that goal?
It is to bring peace
to those who are disturbed.
It is to bring happiness to those who are sad.
It is to bring the light of the Gospel
to those who walk in darkness.
It is to bring the good news of Jesus Christ
to the people of our world.
The stories of Parry O’Brien and Alice Marble
and the words of Jesus and St. Paul
are intended to inspire us.
They are intended to remind us
of the great calling and the great goal
that we have as Christians.
Asign outside of a Chicago service station
reads as follows:
“We crawl under your car oftener,
we get our hands dirtier,
and we work harder and longer
than any of our competitors
to make your car run better.’’
That kind of commitment to service
is the kind of commitment
that we Christians are capable of making
to Jesus and to God’s kingdom.
It is the kind of commitment
that is within the capacity of each of us here.
The grace for this commitment
was given to us
in Baptism and in Confirmation.
And it is renewed in us
each time we gather
on the Lord’s Day
around the Lord’s Table
to hear the Lord’s Word
and to share the Lord’s Supper.
If worldly people are capable
of making great sacrifices for worldly goals,
how much more are we Christians capable
of making even greater sacrifices
for Jesus Christ and for God’s kingdom?
This is the good news
that the Church reminds us of
in today’s Scripture readings.
This is the good news
that Jesus speaks of in today’s liturgy.
It is the good news
that you and I have the power to do great things
for Jesus and for God’s kingdom—
if we but choose to.
Let us close
with a prayer:
Lord, open our ears to your word,
even when it challenges us
more than we want to be challenged.
Lord, open our minds to your word,
even when it disturbs us
more than we want to be disturbed.
Lord, help us put your word into practice,
even when it means changing our lives
more than we want to change.
Above all, Lord,
help us realize
that you want to achieve great things
through us
and that we can achieve great things for you
if we but open our hearts to you.

25th Sunday of the Year
Amos 8:4–7, 1 Timothy 2:1–8, Luke 16:10–13
Commitment
“Giving the best you have to the highest you know—
and doing it now.” Ralph Sockman
No servant
can be the slave of two masters. . . .
You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
Cal Ripken was a star infielder
of the Baltimore Orioles.
He holds the record for consecutive
games played: 2,131.
That means that over a span of 13 years,
he did not miss a single game.
A host of celebrities, including
the president of the United States,
was on hand to celebrate the event.
When the record became official
in the fifth inning of the game,
an incredible celebration broke out.
For 22 minutes, the fans at Camden Yards
applauded and celebrated.
Midway through the applause
the usually reserved Ripken
began jogging around the stadium,
touching hands of fans as he passed.
All this time TV announcers
for ESPN remained silent,
allowing the camera to tell the story.
More amazing yet,
games around the country stopped
as fans in stadiums as far away as California
stood and applauded.
Author James Bacik observed
that no baseball record,
including Aaron’s breaking
of Ruth’s lifetime home-run record,
generated such national enthusiasm.
That raises a question.
What caused the nation to get so excited
about Ripken and his record?
Bacik suggests three reasons.
First, Ripken was a model
of commitment to his profession.
He approached baseball
with the dedication of a CEO
of a Fortune 500 company.
He went to the ballpark early
to prepare mentally and physically.
After the game, he left the park late,
because he obliged the many fans
who were waiting in line
for his autograph.
Second, Ripken is a model
of commitment to his family.
He is happily married to a lovely wife
and spends a lot of time with his kids.
This includes driving his daughter
to school daily, even on game days.
Finally, he is a model of commitment
to Baltimore and its fans. Bacik writes:
After becoming a star,
he had opportunities to become
a free agent and
sign with other teams for more money,
but he chose to remain in Baltimore. . . .
Over the years he has expressed
his commitment to Baltimore . . .
by raising and donating hundreds
of thousands of dollars each year
to local charities.
Ripken’s commitment to baseball
brings to mind Paul’s First Letter
to the Corinthians.
There Paul exhorts us
to imitate the commitment
of dedicated athletes, saying:
Every athlete in training
submits to strict discipline,
in order to be crowned with a wreath
that will not last; but we do it
for one that will last forever.
That is why I run straight
for the finish line . . .
to keep myself from being disqualified
after having called others to the contest.
1 Corinthians 9:25–27
This brings us to today’s Gospel.
There Jesus takes up the whole question
of Christian commitment and service.
He ends with this surprising statement:
“No servant can be the slave of two masters;
such a slave . . . will be loyal to one
and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
In other words, Jesus is saying
that when the chips are down,
our priority has to go to one or the other.
It can never be shared.
We cannot choose both.
We see this in the Gospel story
of the rich young man.
Recall that he had kept
the commandments from his youth.
One day he came to Jesus and asked
what more he should do.
Jesus answered:
“If you want to be perfect,
go and sell all you have
and give the money to the poor,
and you will have riches in heaven;
then come and follow me.”
When the young man heard this,
he went away sad,
because he was very rich. Matthew 19:21–22
The point of that story is clear.
When the rich young man
found himself between a rock
and a hard place, he had to choose.
He couldn’t have both.
So he ended up choosing
the treasures of this world
over the treasures of heaven.
And that brings us to each one of us
here in this church.
Years ago a committed Communist
made a shocking statement to
a group of Christians like ourselves.
I don’t have his exact words,
but they went something like this:
“Your Gospel is far more powerful
than our Communist philosophy.
But you’d never guess it,
judging from the way
some Christians live their Gospel.
“They’re just as prejudiced
as their non-Christian neighbors,
and they’re just as materialistic
as their friends who claim no religion.”
The point of that statement
cuts deeply into each one of us.
And the reason it does is because
we know that in many cases it is true.
The personal challenge
this sets before us is painfully clear.
There is no point in laboring the point.
Therefore, let us simply end
on a positive note.
We’ve come together as a community
to hear the word of the Lord and
be nourished at the table of the Lord.
We’ve come together as a community
to support one another.
And so we pray:
Lord, open our ears to your word,
even when it challenges us
more than we want to be challenged.
Lord, open our minds to your word,
even when it disturbs us
more than we want to be disturbed.
Lord, help us live out your word,
even when it means changing our lives
more than we want to change them.
Lord, help us serve you
as you deserve.