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Perfect Plus Sign

Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:27) Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

A father was driving his young daughter to pre-school. As they passed the local church the little girl asked, "Daddy, why is there a big plus sign on top of that house?"

Don't you just love the symbolism? Isn't the Cross of Christ the Perfect Plus Sign? Which reminds me of the story about a priest and a rabbi who are playing golf together for the first time. The rabbi soon discovers that the priest is an excellent putter. He also notices that before putting, the priest always makes the sign of the Cross. Halfway through the course, the rabbi is losing by ten strokes. And so he asks the priest if he thinks it will be all right if he too crosses himself. "Sure rabbi, go ahead," the priest says. "But it won't do you any good unless you also learn how to putt."

Indeed, for Christians, the Cross of Christ is our perfect plus sign. But it won't do us any good until we learn how to translate that most precious symbol of our faith into life. We cannot grow in the faith unless we learn how to translate our good intentions, into genuine, loving deeds.

Several years ago, in an interview, a well-known member of the clergy said that some of the meanest people he knew could quote the Bible forward and backward. "They are familiar with the facts," he said, "but they have never been able to translate fact into life."

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus speaks to a large crowd of followers and would-be followers about this very problem. He says, "Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after Me [...]

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Stories you can use...

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

Father’s Day, Children, Father, Strength

“We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength” (Romans 15:1). Five-year-old Johnny was fascinated with his Daddy’s slippers. One morning, Johnny came into his father ’s room and slipped his little feet into those big slippers. Then he put his fingers into the loops on top. “Now pull real hard and see if you can lift yourself up,” Dad encouraged. But no matter how hard he tried, Johnny couldn’t lift himself up. But how excited and proud he was when he discovered that his Daddy could!

Fatted Calf

At a midwestern State Fair, a grand-champion lamb, owned by a little girl, was being auctioned. As the bids reached five dollars per pound, the little girl, standing beside the lamb in the arena, began to cry. At ten dollars, the tears were streaming down her face and she clasped her arms tightly around the lamb’s neck. The higher the bids rose the more she cried. Finally, a local businessman bought the lamb for more than $1000, but then announced that he was donating it to the little girl. The crowd applauded and cheered. Several months later, a school teacher who had witnessed the auction was judging some entries in a statewide essay contest. She came across one from a girl who told about the time her grand-champion lamb had been auctioned. “The prices began to get so high during the bidding,” she wrote, “that I started to cry from happiness. Then the man who bought the lamb for so much more than I ever dreamed I would get, returned the lamb to me. And when I got home, Daddy barbecued the lamb—and it was really delicious. “You killed the fatted calf for him” (Luke 15:30) Wagner, J., R.D. (Adapted).

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