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All Too Human

For where two or three meet in My Name, I shall be there with them (Matthew 18:20) Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

It happened not long ago, but for most, the events that began that day have faded from memory. Citizens the world-over desperately waiting for a sliver of hope. Prayers pouring in from every corner of the globe. Offers of financial and technical assistance increasing by the minute. The high drama portrayed in living color on nightly newscasts, touching countless millions. Most of all, the spirit of brotherhood and compassion exhibited by people of virtually every nation -- an inspiring testimony to the better angels of our nature.

For the thirty-three trapped Chilean miners, the nightmare that began that day culminated with a rescue that was nothing short of a miracle. A few awful seconds in the afternoon of August 5th, 2010 would forever change the lives of the men working at the San Jose Mine. Hours earlier, a group of miners, drenched in sweat and covered with soot, assembled in one of the caverns. Their night shift over, the crew waited for a truck that would transport them on the forty-five-minute drive to the surface. That morning, they noted a rumbling in the distance, the sound of tons of rock falling in long-forgotten caverns deep inside the mountain. The mine is "weeping a lot," the men said to one another. A few mentioned the rumblings to their brother miners arriving for the next shift, but there was no real sense of alarm.

And then it happened. Around 1 PM, they heard the deafening roar -- like a skyscraper coming down behind them -- a single block of granite, as tall as a forty-five-story building had broken loose and was falling through the vast layers of the mine, pancaking the levels below. One miner said the blast from the exploding rock created such a pressure between his ears that it felt like his skull was a balloon being inflated. Others ran for their lives, saying it was like crossing a bridge, swaying violently in the wind. And when it was all over, the men realized that ten levels of their escape ramp had been wiped out. Incredibly, the rock that had fallen [...]

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Stories you can use...

We've got a million of them (well, almost).

Compassion

Frederich Engels was a German socialist leader and political philosopher who collaborated with Karl Marx on the Communist Manifesto in 1848. When he was a youngster, his father took him on a tour of the family textile factory—the factory that was to become young Frederich’s inheritance. The six-year-old lad was bothered by the miserable working conditions there. He saw children about his own age working long hours. He didn’t have the courage to ask his stern father any questions about the situation, but he did question his mother when he got home. “Will I soon have to go to work in the factory?” he asked. His mother reassured him. “No Frederich, you won’t. You can be glad that we own the factory.” That didn’t quite satisfy him. He asked, “How about the children who do work there? Are they glad?” His mother now put him off. She said, “Frederich, it’s better that you don’t worry your head about such things. You can’t change things.” The problem bothered the boy. He thought about it as he went to sleep. The next day when his mother woke him, he said, “Mother, suppose I want to change things . . . then what . . . ?” ”Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us . . . “ (Eph. 5:1-2).

Jesus, Healing, Love

“My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another” (I John 4:11). We have heard and we have learned from the Gospel story of what Jesus did when He encountered an incurably diseased woman and a young girl presumed dead. But it might be illuminating to consider what Jesus did not do: He did not wait, He did not hesitate. He did not list the reasons why He should do nothing. He did not look askance or look away. He did not ask for a morality clearance on their character. He did not ask what the doctors said, or didn’t say, or did, or didn’t do. He saw each of them as human beings — as a sister, as a friend, as a child of God, as someone to love. Carlisle, T.J., “What Jesus Did And Did Not Do” (Adapted).

Faith

At the age of four I knew that God was everywhere. I spoke to Him, and sometimes He listened with sympathy. It was an unforgettable occasion in boyhood when He sent me a bicycle with a coaster brake. As I grew toward manhood, the more I learned, the less I believed in God. I told myself that He had been invented by ancients who feared the eternal darkness of death. My superior intellect told me that God was a fake. Heaven could not be up, and Hell down, because in space there is no up or down. Then one day I felt a new experience. I saw the miracle of birth, and it turned my wandering mind around. How, I wondered, could an infant, unconscious of life, fashion the correct number of limbs and toes and fingers and eyes. I began to doubt my doubts. Then, suddenly, in a span of nine weeks, I lost both my wife and my mother. I was forced to return to the beginning. Day by Day I began to see that all events — good and bad — are part of a Divine scheme. But faith does not come quickly. It floods and it recedes. I was grasping, clawing, reaching — and then the calm came. When I surrendered, I could feel His Presence. But I still wanted proof — something I could touch, and He wanted me to come by faith. Faith was what He required of me, and He never rested until I found it. Bishop, J. “The Art Of Living.” (adapted).

Christmas Message, Service

“…His mercy reaches from Age to Age…the hungry He has filled with good things” (Luke 1:31). The work of Christmas begins: When the song of the angels is stilled, When the Star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoners, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among men and women everywhere, To make music in the heart! Thurman, H., “The Mood of Christmas” (adapted).

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