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Make The Extraordinary Ordinary

And making a whip out of some chord, He drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well...
Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19:8-11; I Corinthians 1:22-25; John 2:13-25

Sermon Week Third Sunday of Lent Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 2:15

Someone has said that a saint does extraordinary things in ordinary ways. There is one such group of ordinary people doing extraordinary work in midtown Manhattan called the “Friends of St. Giles.” Some years ago, the group was featured in a New York Times article. Here is a portion of that story:

Child-sized wheelchairs sat empty in the corridor, an odd sight alongside the playful murals of elephants peeking through the jungle bush. Colorful too were the red and yellow syrups and pills by the nurse’s station. In a crib tucked in one corner, a three-year-old rested, his chest rising and falling with every rasp of breath.

Thomas Cahill walked into the room and glanced at the youngsters living in the “Incarnation Children’s Center,” a residence for HIV positive children. He was there to read bedtime stories — a simple act filled with the sing-song cadences of tales about giants, princesses, and animals. Yet, in reading to these fragile children, Mr. Cahill and his friends hoped to find strength for themselves.

The ongoing ministry of the “Friends of St. Giles” also includes regular visits to hospitalized AIDS patients, recruiting volunteers for soup kitchens and working with imprisoned youth who, Cahill says, “are overwhelmed with hopelessness.”

Mr. Cahill insists that it is neither impossible nor foolish to think that small acts of charity can make a difference. “We’re just a bunch of middle-class people,” he said. “None of this is earth-shaking or monumental. It seems extremely minor in a way. But, you know the famous response of Mother Teresa when she was asked, ‘How do you do it?’ ‘One by one,’ she replied. Then Cahill added, “The Gospel is like a treasure hidden inside a beautiful building that no one goes into. Ironically, he said, “it is uptight Church people who put up a smoke-screen between the Gospel and ordinary people.”

It is important for us to talk about the compassion of the Christian because unless we are a people of compassion, the love of God is not flowing in us and through us. Compassion is a mark of a Christian person, and unless we are [...]


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