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I've Got A Secret

You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16) Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

If you are over 50, there's a chance you may remember the popular weekly TV game show called "I've Got A Secret." In the show, celebrity panelists would attempt to determine a contestant's "secret": something that was unusual, amazing, embarrassing, or humorous about that person. The host would introduce the contestant, and then, without revealing it to the panelists, the contestant would whisper his or her secret to the host. Meanwhile, viewers were shown the secret displayed on their television screens. The panelists would then be given a clue, and the questioning would commence. Over the years, hundreds of interesting guests appeared with their "secrets" -- among them Colonel Harland Sanders whose secret was, "I started my restaurant with my first Social Security check"; drummer Pete Best whose secret was, "I used to be one of The Beatles"; and a 95-year-old man named Samuel J. Seymour who secret was "I am the last surviving eyewitness to Abraham Lincoln's assassination" (he was five-years-old at the time). In 1958, an episode devoted to the theme of "teenage appreciation" was the show's answer to media reports of teenage delinquency -- and featured nine teens of unusual accomplishment including the then 15-year-old chess champion Bobby Fischer, and 16-year-old pop star Paul Anka. In it's original format, the show aired for more than fifteen continuous seasons. So you might say, the show's secret of success was it's secrets!

This morning I've got my own secret to share. And it is the answer to a question that has plagued mankind for untold centuries: "What is the secret of happiness?"

So listen closely. There once was a very learned philosophy professor who had earned not one, not two, but three post-graduate degrees. And his head was crammed full of just about everything philosophers of every Age had to say about happiness. Still, he pondered the subject incessantly. He was so obsessed with the question that he decided to set out in search of the wisest and happiest person in the world, wherever it took him, and at whatever cost. After years of travel to distant places, and at [...]

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Stories you can use...

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

Faith, God, Presence of, Spirit

That is why I am telling you to worry about your life . . . (Mt. 6:25). A man worked hard for twenty-five years to achieve a certain level of success in the company he worked for. Finally his time had come — or so he thought. He was on the verge of receiving the big promotion that would fulfill his life’s ambition. Suddenly, out of the blue, it happened. There was a change in the company’s upper management. As a result, he not only didn’t get the promotion, he found himself out of a job. After all those years of loyal service he was fired. His services were no longer required. It was a devastating blow. And when he went home that day, he felt as though he had fallen into a bottomless pit of bitterness, hatred and despair. He was greeted by his 12-year-old son. “Dad,” the boy said, “a bird fell down the drainpipe.” “Let’s see if we can get it out,” he replied automatically. Then, in his own words... The drainpipe came down the side of the house and ran directly into the sewer. I looked at it for a moment and then sent the boy to the garage for a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. When he returned, the two of us began peeling away the aluminum. Within minutes, we had an opening. It was packed with grass. “The birds must have been building a nest at the top,” I said hurriedly, pulling out the grass. “If water is in there, the bird may have drowned,” I said gently, preparing him. I pulled out the last handful of grass and the sparrow, freed from its death cell, came out behind my hand and flew off. Immediately another one followed. It too flew away. “We saved them, Dad!” my son exclaimed, and turned to run and tell his mother. I smiled after him and then began bending the metal back into place. I was still thinking of my problems as I walked back inside. Suddenly I stopped cold, remembering something I had read in the Bible: “Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” Chill after chill went through me. My thoughts a few minutes earlier, that even God wasn’t aware of my existence, had been answered by God. My depression disappeared and was replaced with a joy I can’t describe. It seemed like a miracle. Had my son not passed that drainpipe at exactly the moment he heard the sound, we would not have known about it. I knew it was not a coincidence. I knew at that moment I had nothing to worry about: God was with me.

Perfection

One afternoon, according to an old Sufi tale, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea, and talking about life and love. ”How come you never got married, Nasruddin?” asked his friend at one point. ”Well,” Nasruddin said, “to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo, I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, with eyes like dark olives, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no interests in common. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. One day, I met her. She was beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had everything in common. In fact, she was perfect.” ”Well,” said Nasruddin’s friend, “What happened? Why didn’t you marry her?” Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. “Well,” he replied, “It’s a sad thing. Seems she was looking for the perfect man.” de Mello, A. “Taking Flight.”

Memorial Day, Peace, War

“…he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying ’Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another’”(Acts 7:26). On “Memorial Day,” Americans especially remember and honor their war dead. They renew their resolve “that these dead shall not have died in vain.” But whether or not they died in vain depends on us and what we do: to de-romanticize War, to denounce War, to make War the victim of a holy people so that never again will people be made victims of “Holy Wars.” Has the killing and maiming made us desperate enough to echo with finality the words of General William Tecumseh Sherman: “I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have never fired a shot, not heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.” If we honor our war-dead by recognizing the folly and the futility of war, they will not have died in vain. If we give a witness to the world. that says, “Enough!...Never Again!,” they will not have died in vain.

Logic, Aging, Beauty

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty; the woman which is wise is the one to praise” (Proverbs 31:30). In an anthropology class, the teacher was groping for an example of how our ideas about beauty keep changing over the years. Finally, he said, “Take the ‘Miss America’ contest, for example. Seventy years ago, the Miss America winner was only five feet tall, she weighed just over one hundred pounds, and her measurements were 30-25-32. How do you think she would be regarded by the judges in this year ’s contest?” One student replied, “Not very well.” “And why not?” the teacher asked. “Because she’s too old,” said the student.

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