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With nearly one-point-five million Youtube views, a tough-as-nails high school instructor has become something of a celebrity. Jim O'Connor, who teaches advanced math classes at St. Francis High School in Southern California, demands respect, and seems to get it in spades. "If you have a class full of 32 teenage boys, you better have some discipline," O'Connor said. "If you don't have control of the class, you don't have a learning environment." "Everybody thinks he's being really mean" until they get used to his teaching style," said one student.
OK. We get it. He's tough. But what's so special about this teacher? When Mr. O'Connor's students at St. Francis High School learned where their strict teacher spends his free-time, their respect for him multiplied -- exponentially. O'Connor, who is a Viet Nam vet surprised his students when they learned that Mr. Tough-Guy's nickname at the hospital where he volunteers is "the baby whisperer." You see, although his students find him anything but cuddly, Mr. O'Connor's other job is a volunteer "baby cuddler." O'Connor is a "TLC Volunteer" at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where he has spent several days a week for the past 20 years cuddling sick babies.
"He holds them, feeds them, walks around with them, gets to know them -- and he can always coax a smile out of them," said one of the nurses he works with. "They just stare at him adoringly, and he can really get the crabbiest baby to calm down. It's amazing. He's just a natural-born cuddler," she said.
"The kids who have nobody -- those are the ones who obviously need volunteers," Mr. O'Connor explained. "They just want to be held by somebody."
O'Connor, whose career included three years in the U.S. Navy, has been an educator for 38 years. He now teaches part-time, and spends his days off at the hospital.
Said one of his students, "I've always respected him, but now I want to emulate him. He is truly a man of service."-1
In today's Gospel Lesson, the Risen Jesus has summoned His disciples to meet with Him in Galilee. "When they saw him they fell [...]
Preview more SUNDAY SERMONS...
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May 31, 2015
The Holy Trinity
Scripture : Matthew 28:19
Get Off The Bus!
Jun 14, 2015
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scripture : Mark 4:30
The Riddle Of Life
Jun 28, 2015
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scripture : Mark 5:34
All You Can Eat
Jun 07, 2015
The Body and Blood of Christ
Scripture : Mark 14:22
When Lightning Strikes
Jun 21, 2015
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scripture : Mark 4:40
A Christian Context
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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scripture : Mark 6:2
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Recently, a West Coast pastor compiled a list of parishioners whose Christian powers he felt were withering with disuse. To them he mailed the following message concerning a forthcoming “no-excuse-to-stay-home-Sunday:” There will be: ...cots available for those who say Sunday is their only day to sleep; ...eye-drops for those who have red eyes from watching late Saturday night TV; ...steel helmets for those who say the roof would cave in if they ever went to Church; ...blankets for persons who think the Church is too cold, fans for those who say it is too hot; ...score cards for those wishing to list all hypocrites present; ...TV dinners for those who can’t cook Sunday dinner and still have the time to go to Church; ...a sanctuary decorated with Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen Church without them.
". . . wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the Child who has been born King of the Jews? For we observed His star rising and have come to pay Him homage." (Mt. 2:1-2). W.H. Auden, the contemporary poet, has written a long musical work (an oratorio) based on the story of the Three Wise Men. In it, each man tells why he is following the star. The first one says, "To discover how to be truthful now is the reason I follow the star." The second one says, "To discover how to be living now is the reason I follow the star." The third one says, "To discover how to be loving now is the reason I follow the star." The moving and beautiful climax occurs when the three strong male voices all sing together, "To discover how to be human now is the reason we follow the star." That is what Advent and the Christmas story are all about: to discover how to be human now. That is why we are here now. That is why we are celebrating an Advent Season. We prepare ourselves for our Christmas discovery of what it means to be human by reflecting seriously on what it means to be truthful, what it means to be living, what it means to be loving, as did Auden's Three Wise Men.
Happiness, Responsibility, Work
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain” (I Corinthians 15:58). There is a Charlie Brown cartoon strip in which little Lucy asks, “Why do you think we’re put on earth, Charlie Brown?” Charlie replies, “To make others happy.” Lucy says, “I don’t think I’m making anyone very happy...of course nobody’s making me very happy either.” In the final panel, Lucy literally screams it out: SOMEBODY’S NOT DOING HIS JOB!!!
“Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long” (Psalms 25:5). A little girl had developed a bad habit of lying. Once, when she was given a St. Bernard dog for her birthday, she went out and told all the neighbors that she had been given a lion. The mother took her aside and said, “I told you not to lie. You go upstairs and tell God you are sorry. Promise God you will not lie again.” The little girl went upstairs, said her prayers, then came down again. Her mother asked, “Did you tell God you are sorry?” The little girl replied, “Yes, I did. And God said that sometimes He finds it hard to tell my dog from a lion, too.”MORE