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Pursued By Mercy

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life...You are the Holy One of God
Joshua 24:1-2,15-17,18; Psalm 34:2-3,16-23; Ephesians 5:21-32; John 6:60-69

Sermon Week Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 6:67-69

He was known as a mean old man. Resentful! Bitter! Someone said that his bitterness was justified. His beloved wife died, giving birth to their one child. The child died shortly after that from complications. "He has reason to be bitter," they said in town. He never went to Church and never had anything to do with anyone. When, in his late sixties, they carried him out of his apartment and over to the hospital to die, no one visited, no flowers were sent. He went there to die alone.

There was a nurse. Well, she wasn't actually a nurse yet, just a student nurse. She was in training, and because she was in training, she didn't know everything that they teach you in school about the necessity of detachment -- the need to distance oneself from one's patients. She befriended the old man. It had been so long since he had friends, he didn't know how to act with one. He told her, "Go away! Leave me alone!" She would smile, try to coax him to eat his Jell-O. At night, she would tuck him in.

"Don't need nobody to help me," he would growl.

Soon, he grew so weak he had not the strength to resist her kindness. Late at night, after her duties were done, she would pull up a chair and sit by his bed and sing to him as she held his old, gnarled hand. And he looked up at her in the dim lamplight and wondered if he saw the face of a little one whom he never got to see as an adult. And a tear formed in his eye when she kissed him goodnight. And for the first time in forty, maybe fifty years, he said, "God bless you."

And as she left the room, two others remained, breathless, whispering softly in the old man's ear the last word he heard before slipping away into the dark valley. The word was "Gotcha" -- whispered in unison by Goodness and Mercy. -1

The Twenty-Third Psalm has been familiar to most of us since childhood. For many of [...]

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