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Trapping ring-tailed monkeys

Fr. Tony’s 8-minute Homily (everything on one page)

Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. For the Zulus of that continent, however, it’s simple. They’ve been catching this agile little animal with ease for years. The method the Zulus use is based on knowledge of the animal.

Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine. The seeds of this melon are a favorite of the monkey. Knowing this, the Zulus simply cut a hole in the melon, just large enough for the monkey to insert his hand to reach the seeds inside. The monkey will stick his hand in, grab as many seeds as he can, then start to withdraw it. This he cannot do. His fist is now larger than the hole. The monkey will pull and tug, screech and fight the melon for hours.

But he can’t get free of the trap unless he gives up the seeds, which he refuses to do.

Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and nab him.

“I only want to get my nose in”

An Arab fable tells of a miller who was startled by seeing a camel’s nose thrust in at the door of the tent where he was sleeping.

“It’s very cold outside,” said the camel, “I only want to get my nose in.”

The nose was allowed in, then the neck, finally the whole body. Soon the miller began to be inconvenienced by such an ungainly companion in a room not large enough for both.

“If you are inconvenienced,” said the camel, “you may leave; as for myself I shall stay where I am.”

“Give but an inch,” says Lancelot Andrews, “and the devil will take an ell; if he can get in an arm, he will makeshift to shove in his whole body.”

Today’s Gospel warns us against compromising with the devil by allowing him to tempt us. Fr. Tony

Danger of raising a tiger and an alligator as pets

Antoine Yates lived in New York City in a multistoried apartment building. For some inexplicable reason he brought home a two-month-old tiger cub and later a young alligator. It’s not clear where he found them and how he reared them. But they were with him for two years — in his apartment. What was a little tiger cub grew to a 500 pound Bengal tiger, and the little alligator to a frightening monster.

The police got a distress call from Yates about a “dog” bite and when they got to the 19-story public housing apartment building, they discovered Yates in the lobby with injuries to his right arm and leg. Someone alerted the police to the possibility of a “wild animal” in his apartment. A fourth-floor resident informed them that urine had seeped through her ceiling from Yates’ apartment. The police officer peered through a hole drilled into the wall of Yates’ apartment and saw the huge cat prowling around in the room.

To make a long story short, it took a contingent of officers at the door, and the use of a dart gun by a veterinary doctor to bring the tiger under control. When finally, they entered the apartment, they found the big cat lying unconscious atop some newspapers. A big alligator was nearby guarding his unconscious friend. Both animals were trapped and relocated to shelters. His own wild pets tried to kill Yates.

That is what happens to those who habitually entertain temptations in the form of evil thoughts and desires. That is why we are asked to practice prayer, fasting and sharing during the Lenten season to resist and conquer our temptations. Fr. Tony

Temptations

A husband was struggling to make ends meet at home on one salary. Then one day he had to confront his wife with a receipt for a $ 250.00 dress she had bought. “How could you do this?” “I was outside the store looking at the dress in the window, and then I found myself trying it on,“ she explained. “It was like Satan whispering in my ear, “You look fabulous in that dress. Buy it!” “Well,” the husband replied, “You know how I deal with that kind of temptation. I say, ‘Get behind me Satan!’ His wife replied, “I did that, but then he said, ‘It look fabulous from the back too!’” (J. Pichappilly in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

Christ’s head – a composite of scores of smaller faces

At a point in his life when the painter William Zdinak had become frustrated with the seeming emptiness of his success as an artist, he was commissioned to produce a picture for a religious art show. For weeks he stared at the empty canvas, unable to formulate an idea and unwilling to resort to the sentimentality that too often characterizes religious art.

He was haunted by the words of Thomas Merton who said, “If there were no other proof of the infinite patience of God with men, a very good one could be found in God’s toleration of the pictures that are painted. . . under the pretext of being in God’s honor.”

With a prayer to the God of patience, Zdinak turned his attention away from himself toward God and began to paint. When he finished, he had created a likeness of Christ in ruddy skin tones, with kind eyes and handsome Mediterranean features.

While his work was well done, it was not unlike so many others which were hung on display for the art show. However, when viewers drew nearer to the painting, they were surprised to find that Christ’s head was actually a composite of scores of smaller faces. Represented were men, women and children of every ethnic background, of all races and walks of life. Included among the myriad faces were notables like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy. When viewers drew back from the painting, the mosaic of human faces blended once again to reflect the image of Christ. (Patricia Sanchez)

At the beginning of a yet another Lenten season, William Zdinak’s painting reminds me that this is a time for directing my eyes and my energies away from myself toward the person and mission of Jesus Christ and to find therein, the faces of all my sisters and brothers, whose needs I am called to recognize and serve.  Fr. Tony

“Run, D.J., run!”

William H. Hinson tells about an amusing article that appeared in his local paper. Over the past several years in Houston, Texas, there has been a rash of incidents in which dogs have attacked small children. As a result, the newspapers have run several stories about the attacks, some of which have been gruesome. There was one, however, involving a little boy called D.J. that was not so tragic.

A reporter asked D.J. how he managed to come away from a recent dog attack unharmed. You can almost picture the serious expression on the little guy’s face as he said, “Well, right in the middle of the attack, the Lord spoke to me.” “Oh, really,” asked the reporter, “And what did God say?” “He said, ‘Run, D.J., run!’” the young man reported. [William H. Hinson, Reshaping the Inner You (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988).]

There may have been times in your life in which God has whispered, “Run, Jim, run!” Or “Run, Sally, Run!” Particularly is this a valuable message when we are tempted by the devil. Fr. Tony

Jerome, you have not yet given me your sins!”

Saint Jerome, the brilliant doctor of the Church, lived for twenty-five years in the cave where the Child Jesus was born. One time he prayed to Jesus thus:

“Dear Child, you have suffered much to save me; how can I make amends?” “What can you give me, Jerome?” a Voice was heard.

“I will spend my entire life in prayer, and I will offer all my talents into Your hands,” Jerome replied.

“You do that to glorify Me, but what more can you give to Me?” the Voice asked again.

“I will give all my money to the poor,” Jerome exclaimed.

The Voice said: “Give your money to the poor; it would be just as if you were giving it to Me. But what else can you give to Me?”

Saint Jerome became distraught and said: “Lord, I have given You everything! What is there left to give?”

“Jerome, you have not yet given Me your sins,” the Lord replied. “Give them to Me so I can erase them.”

With these words Jerome burst into tears and spoke, “Dear Jesus, take all that is mine and give me all that is Yours.” (Fr. Benitz)

Lent is the time to give our sins to God with repentant hearts.  Fr. Tony

“Baptize the entire Ford Motor Plant,” Henry Ford:

You might have heard the story of the machinist who worked years ago at the original Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit, Michigan. Over a period of years, he had “borrowed” from the factory various car parts and tools which he hadn’t bothered to return. While the management never condoned this practice, nothing was ever done about it.  In time, however the “forgetful” machinist experienced a Christian conversion and was baptized. More importantly, the man took his Baptism seriously and became a devout believer.

The very morning after his Baptism, the machinist arrived at work with his pickup truck loaded with all the parts and tools he had taken from the Ford Company over the years. He went to his foreman and explained that he never really meant to steal them and asked to be forgiven.

The foreman was so astonished and impressed by this act that he cabled Henry Ford himself, contacting the auto magnate while he was away visiting a European Ford plant. In his telegram the foreman described the entire event in great detail. Ford immediately cabled back this striking two-line response: “Dam up the Detroit River. Baptize the entire Plant!”

Our Scripture for this First Sunday in Lent focuses on the effect our Baptism should have on our lives especially during the Lenten season.

“What did you miss the most?”

After his famous expedition to the South Pole, Admiral Richard E. Byrd was riding on a train. A man came up to him and asked,

“What did you miss the most down at the South Pole?”

Byrd answered that they missed a lot of things. Some of them they didn’t mind missing, and others they did; some they were very glad to get away from. He said he was discussing that very thing in the middle of the six-months-long Polar night with one of the Irishmen in the camp, Jack O’Brien.

Byrd asked, “Jack, what are you missing most from civilization?”

Jack answered without any hesitation, “Temptation.”

Temptation is a very real part of life: temptation to stray from the values we hold dear, temptation to take short cuts, to avoid struggle, to find the easy way through.

“Get behind me Satan.”

Experiencing martial problems, a Christian couple sought out the advice of a marriage counselor. After numerous sessions, it became quite evident that their problems centered on monetary issues.

“You have to quit spending money foolishly” he said. “The next time you feel tempted just forcefully say, “Get behind me Satan!”

They both agreed that this would work. Within a week things were getting back to normal in their household. The husband quit making his weekly stop at the tool section in the local hardware store and his wife, who was chronic spendthrift obsessed with purchasing the latest fashions, ceased buying dresses every time she went out to the mall. For whenever they got the urge to spend money they would both repeat the words, the counselor told them, “Get behind me Satan.”

However, by the third week the woman succumbed to her weakness and bought an extremely expensive evening gown.

Her husband was furious

“Why didn’t you say, “Get behind me Satan”

“I did” replied his wife “But when I did I heard a response”

“Yah, and what was that response?” growled back her husband.

“Well I heard him say, “It looks better from the back than it does from the front!” (Sent by Deacon Gary)

Conversion of Piri Thomas

Piri Thomas wrote a book called Down These Mean Streets. It describes his conversion from being a convict, a drug addict, and an attempted killer, to becoming an exemplary Christian.

One-night Piri was lying on his cell bunk in prison. Suddenly it occurred to him what a mess he had made of his life. He felt an overwhelming desire to pray. But he was sharing his cell with another prisoner called ‘the thin kid.’ So he waited. After he thought ‘the thin kid’ was asleep, he climbed out of his bunk, knelt down on the cold concrete, and prayed.

He said: “I told God what was in my heart… I talked to him plain…I talked to him of all my wants and lacks, of my hopes and disappointments… I felt like I could even cry….”

After Piri finished his prayer, a small voice said “Amen.” It was ‘the thin kid.’

The two young men talked a long time. Then Piri climbed back into his bunk.

“Good night, Chico,” he said. “I’m thinking that God is always with us -it’s just that we aren’t with Him.”

This story is a beautiful illustration of what Jesus means when he says, “Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel!” Fr. Tony

A box of enchanted Turkish Delight.

In C. S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the wicked queen entices the boy, Edmund, with a box of enchanted Turkish Delight. Each piece is sweet and delicious, and Edmund has never tasted anything better. There is only one problem. The more he eats of this enchanted Turkish Delight, the more he wants. He doesn’t know that this is the wicked queen’s plan. The more he eats, the more he will want, and thus he will eat and eat until it kills him. It would never satisfy his hunger; it would never fill him up…it would simply kill him. (Rev. John Lestock)

Lewis is giving us a metaphor for temptations to sin. Sin never satisfies, it only enslaves.

Open for a Left Hook:

On May 21, 2005, Andrew Golota fought Lamon Brewster for the WBO heavyweight boxing title.  Golota, a strong fighter with a powerful punch, had 38 wins, 5 loses, and 31 knockouts.

In preparation for the fight, Brewster studied tape of Golota’s boxing, looking for an opening. He noticed that the way Golota held his hands left him open for a left hook. Within seconds after the first round began, Brewster found the opening and threw a left hook.

Golota went down to the mat and got up.  Brewster threw another left hook and Golota went down again.  He stood up and the fight resumed.

Brewster threw another left hook to the same opening, and Golota went down for the 3rd time, which counted as a knockout.

Lamon Brewster won the fight in the first round because he was the smarter fighter.  All he had to do pound on his opponent’s weakness.  (Kent Corckett)

In a similar way, Satan is looking to pound on our weakest areas.  When we leave an opening by yielding to temptation, he’ll take advantage and throw a left hook.  But if we’ll not yield to temptation, we’ll close off the area and cut off his opportunity.  Fr. Tony

The real temptation

The popular picture we have of Mother Teresa is either carrying a tiny, undernourished child or applying medicines on the wounds of a leper. We have identified her with social works. One day, when Mother Teresa was talking to Father Le Joly, a Jesuit priest, who had written few books on Mother and her congregation, she said to him,

“Father, when you write a book about me, tell everybody we are not here for work, we are here for Jesus. We are religious, not social workers, or nurses, or teachers; we are religious Sisters. All we do, our prayer, our work, our suffering, is for Jesus. Without Jesus our life would be meaningless…. Incomprehensible….” (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

“You knew what I was when you picked me up”

An old Indian legend sums up our situation: Many years ago, Indian braves would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. “I will test myself against that mountain,” he thought. He put on his buffalo hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the pinnacle. When he reached the top, he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride.

Then he heard a rustle at his feet. Looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke. ”I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here, and there is no food. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley”

“No,” said the youth. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.”

“Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, I will not harm you.”

The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it down gently. Suddenly the snake coiled, rattled and leaped, biting him on the leg.

“But you promised,” cried the youth.”

“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” said the snake as it slithered away. [Guideposts (July, 1988).]

That is a powerful little parable. The snake could be drugs or alcohol or extramarital sex or greed or a host of other attractions forbidden by God and our good sense. The best protection we have is in avoidance.  Fr. Tony

“Then I can go live with my sister.”

A married couple had lived together for twenty-five years in what outwardly seemed like a reasonably good union. The husband was a good provider. The wife was a good housekeeper. They went to Church together every Sunday and prayed together every night before they retired. But they did have one problem that seemed insurmountable. They could not have a conversation that didn’t end up in an argument. Finally, the wife decided she’d had enough, but because of her religious scruples, divorce was out of the question. She had a better idea, however. One night as the couple settled down for their nightly prayers, she said to her husband, “We must put an end to this terrible situation we’re in. We can’t go on like this anymore. Since today is the first day of Lent, why don’t we pray that things will change. Let’s pray that the Lord will call one of us home to Him. Then I can go live with my sister.” Fr. Tony

Satan is Making a Comeback!

Within recent years, Satan has been featured in several best-selling novels and block-buster movies. He fathered Rosemary’s Baby. He turned on movie audiences as he did battle with The Exorcist (twice)-and many people declared him the winner. In the film called The Exorcist and Its Sequel, he successfully resisted all human efforts to destroy him. He now has his own section in most of the big bookstores under the heading, Occult. A few years ago, Satan’s comeback was the subject of a book by Arthur Lyons, called The Second Coming: Satanism in America. The author’s research revealed that the number of satanic cults in America had been rapidly rising. In his words, “…the United States probably harbors the fastest growing and most highly organized body of Satanists in the world.” Fr. Tony

Carnivorous plant – Sundew:

In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the “sundew.” It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew. Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance on it. Although its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly. The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky and will imprison any bug that touches it. As an insect struggles to free itself, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around it. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim. [Our Daily Bread, (December 11, 1992).]

Temptations do the same. Fr. Tony

“So no one will know.”

In China’s later Han era, there lived a politician called Yang Zhen, a man known for his upright character. After Yang Zhen was made a provincial governor, one of his earlier patrons, Wang Mi, paid him an unexpected visit. As they talked over old times, Wang Mi brought out a large gold cup and presented it to Yang Zhen. Yang Zhen refused to accept it, but Wang Mi persisted, saying, “There’s no one here tonight but you and me, so no one will know.” “You say that no one will know,” Yang Zhen replied, “but that is not true. Heaven will know, and you and I will know, too.” Wang Mi was ashamed and backed down. Subsequently, Yang Zhen’s integrity won increasing recognition, and he rose to a high post in the central government.

Human nature is weak, and we tend to yield to temptation when we think nobody can see us. Fr. Tony

 “Are you trying to break this bridge?”

As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West.  Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day.

One worker asked, “Are you trying to break this bridge?”

“No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.” [Today in the Word (March 14, 1991).]

In the same way, the temptations Jesus faced weren’t designed to see if He would sin, but to prove that He wouldn’t.

The devil uses the same trick on human beings by exploiting our weaknesses. Fr. Tony

“Don’t swim in that canal.”

Some people fall into temptation, but a great many make plans for disaster ahead of time.

“Son,” ordered a father, “Don’t swim in that canal.”

“OK, Dad,” he answered.

But he came home carrying a wet bathing suit that evening.

“Where have you been?” demanded the father.

“Swimming in the canal,” answered the boy.

“Didn’t I tell you not to swim there?” asked the father.

“Yes, Sir,” answered the boy.

“Why did you?” he asked.

“Well, Dad,” he explained, “I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn’t resist the temptation.”

“Why did you take your bathing suit with you?” he questioned.

“So I’d be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted,” he replied.

Too many of us expect to sin and do sin. The remedy for such dangerous action is found in Romans 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Whenever we play with temptation, it is easy to drift into great danger. Fr. Tony

Spiritual Boot camp

In the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, we are taken inside a boot camp, where candidates are trained to be naval flight officers. Actor Richard Gere plays the lead role of a candidate, who is so intent on being a flight officer that he endures, every test and challenge his tough drill sergeant, played by Lou Gossett, can throw at him.

In the end Richard Gere emerges from the training grounds a changed man. Upon entering boot camp he was selfish; he cared only about his own success and comforts. Before he left he learned how to reach out and help his batch mates, he felt real pain when his close friend committed suicide, and he proved a true gentleman by marrying his girlfriend, played by Debra Winger. [Internet Notes; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

Lent is like a spiritual boot camp in a sense. Its theme of spiritual training is set forth in the Gospel. Fr. Tony

Selling our soul

t was 11.00 P.M. and when the clock struck. Terror engulfed Dr. Faustus. He had one more hour to live, and then he had to surrender his soul to Satan. He helplessly cried out in terror: “Stand still, you ever moving spheres of heaven,/ That time may cease, and midnight never come;/ Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again and make /Perpetual day; or let this hour be but/ A year, a month, a week, a natural day,/That Faustus may repent and save his soul.” [Christopher Marlowe. The Tragedy of Dr. Faustus, Scene xiv, ll. 74-79 (NY: Folger Library, 1975) p. 76]. But the clock struck 12:00 at midnight; the devil came and took his soul. This is the tragic story of Dr. Faustus. He got into an agreement with Lucifer, the chief lord of perpetual darkness. In return for bequeathing his soul to Lucifer, he demanded a life of voluptuousness for 24 years, and then attendance of Mephistopheles to grant whatever he demanded either to aid his friends or slay his enemies. He cut his arm, and with the blood when he wrote the deed of agreement, the blood congealed. Later, Faustus finished the deed and sold his soul.  (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho)

In life, we always confront situations wherein we sell out. We sell out for good or for bad causes. We sell out to the Devil or to God. Jesus, too, confronted such a situation. Today we heard in the Gospel about Jesus’ temptation. Fr. Tony

“What more can I do?” Radical Solution

There is a story of a man who had an apple tree in his garden. He loved apples and believed he could not live without them. However, while the tree never failed to supply him with apples, apples which tasted good, there was something definitely lacking in their quality. One thing was missing – there was no nourishment in them. He consulted a friend who was an expert on apple trees. The expert looked at the tree and pointed out some obvious deficiencies in it. It needed to be sprayed for its branches were encrusted with moss, the branches needed pruning. It could do with having the earth around it dug up and fertilized. The man listened and acted on the expert’s advice. Yet the following autumn the apples, though slightly more plentiful were no more nourishing. The quality remained unchanged. The man was disappointed and once more consulted the expert. “What more can I do?” he asked. “You are wasting your time.” The expert answered. “What do you mean?” “Obviously the only thing to do is to cut the tree down and plant a new one in its place.” “But what will I do in the meantime for apples?” “You will have to do without them, won’t you?” came the answer. (Anonymous; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

The question is: was the man ready for a radical decision, in order to have new and wholesome fruit? Are we ready for a radical change of heart?  Fr. Tony 

Crumpled $50 bill

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $50 bill. he asked the 200 participants in the seminar, “Who would like this $50 bill?”

Hands started going up. He proceeded to crumple up the fifty-dollar bill.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

The hands went up again. Then he dropped it on the ground and ground it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, crumpled and dirty, and said.

“Now who still wants it?”

The hands went up.

He said, “You have all learned a valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it didn’t decrease in value. It was still worth $50.” (E- Priest).

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by our own decisions or those of other people. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, we will never lose our value: dirty, clean, crumpled or finely creased, we are still priceless to the One Who knows us through and through, and values us so much that He wants to live in friendship with us forever. If you still find it hard to believe, look closely at the crucifix. That is the real message of Lent. Christ wants us with him forever in Heaven, so much so that he was willing to be torn and crumpled and stomped on and humiliated just as much as we have been, to show each of us how much he loves us.

I am guilty and richly deserve all that I get!” 

One day, Frederick William I visited a prison at Potsdam and listened to a number of pleas for pardon from prisoners who had grievances against the law’s injustice. All said they had suffered imprisonment on account of prejudiced judges, perjured witnesses, and unscrupulous lawyers. From cell to cell the tale of wronged innocence continued, until the King stopped at the door of one cell inhabited by a surly inmate who said nothing. Surprised at his silence Frederick said jocularly, “Well I suppose you are innocent too.”  “No, your Majesty”, was the startling response; “I am guilty and richly deserve all that I get.” On hearing this, the King shouted at the jail authorities and asked them to set the prisoner free.(Francis Xavier in Inspiring Stories for Successful Living; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

The prisoner who admitted his guilt showed certain potential for improvement. The others were not likely to change.  Fr. Tony

“Is that Jesus knocking?” 

A paediatrician would plug his stethoscope into his little patients’ ears to let them listen to their own heartbeats. Their eyes would always light up in awe. He was taken aback one day when he placed the disk over little Sylvia’s heart. “Listen” said the doctor. “What do you suppose that is?” Sylvia listened carefully to the tap-tap-tapping in her chest and cried, “Is that Jesus knocking?” (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho)

During Lent Jesus is knocking at my heart so that I might love like him and allow my heart to be opened to His. True, rendering, repenting, and re-turning must come from my heart. Only then will I understand the reassurance of rainbows and the welcoming warmth of spring –in my heart.

What profound Humility!

I read recently that Copernicus, the great astronomer, wrote a masterpiece entitled The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies. When he was dying, we are told that a copy of that scholarly masterpiece was placed in his hands, so that he could treasure his finest achievement in his last moments and enjoy both solace and pride. Much as he valued that outstanding work, Copernicus had other things on his mind. Calling a friend, he requested that the following epitaph be placed on his grave at Frauenberg: “O Lord, the Faith thou didst give to St. Paul, I cannot ask; the mercy thou didst show to St. Peter, I dare not ask; but, Lord, the grace thou didst show unto the repentant thief, that Lord, show to me!” (James Valladares in Your Words O Lord Are Spirit, and They Are Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

What profound humility! What amazing faith! What sense of repentance! These are the virtues we need to practice, especially during Lenten season. Fr. Tony

“I’m already working on a murder case!”

The local sheriff was looking for a deputy, and one of the applicants – who was not known to be the brightest academically, was called in for an interview. “Okay,” began the sheriff, “What is 1 and 1?” “Eleven,” came the reply. The sheriff thought to himself, “That’s not what I meant, but he’s right.” Then the sheriff asked, “What two days of the week start with the letter ‘T’?” “Today & tomorrow,” replied the applicant. The sheriff was again surprised over the answer, one that he had never thought of himself. “Now, listen carefully, who killed Abraham Lincoln?” asked the sheriff. The jobseeker seemed a little surprised, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, “I don’t know.” The sheriff replied, “Well, why don’t you go home and work on that one for a while?” The applicant left and wandered over to his pals who were waiting to hear the results of the interview. He greeted them with a cheery smile, “The job is mine! The interview went great! First day on the job and I’m already working on a murder case!” (Sermons.com)

In our Gospel reading this morning, in Mark 1, it is Jesus’ first day on the job. Immediately he is confronted with three major temptations. And he is confronted with this basic question: Would he take the crown without the cross? Fr. Tony

Permission granted for the use of the materials on this page for education and homiletical purposes at no charge. If used in writing, please make acknowledgment of the author, Fr. Anthony Kadavil.. For more information, contact Fr. Tony by clicking here.

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