Aloha Friday Message – October 30, 2015 – We Are Not Alone

1544AFC103015 – We Are Not Alone

Read it online here, please. Today we have a guest speaker, Fr. Mike Schmitz. First, take a look at these terrific Bible passages.

Revelation 7:9-10 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is based on a message we shared with our RCIA catechumens recently. The video is just over 7 minutes long so if you can watch it in a quiet place that would be a good idea. Following the video are a couple of stories about how it happened that we are not alone. “The truth is out there somewhere.”

November 1 every year is All Saints Day. We want you to know that you have support not only from us, not only from the whole Catholic Church all around the world, not only from the Holy Trinity, but also from ALL the Saints in heaven!  Check out this video for a great illustration about what that means.

Click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mad1Jgf0jow

Now, with that in mind here are a couple of stories to help you understand how all those saints got where they are, and why they care about us.

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it on the corner of the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak…”I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What you got there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you gonna do with them?” I asked.

“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh??!!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you get done with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you, and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much?” He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, your tears, and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!”

Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage. He opened the door and he walked from the pulpit.\

Communion_of_Saints

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They say there was once a boy who did not believe in the wisdom of the elders. One day he decided to prove that the old man everyone sought out for advice was really just an old fool.

He knew the old man lived in the mountains near the place where the trees stopped growing and a tall outcrop of rocks pointed up like a Tipi. Early one morning he set out to find the old man. He had decided he would capture a bird on his way to the elder’s camp. When he met the old man he would hold the bird in his hand behind his back. He would tell the old man he had a bird. Then he would ask him if the bird was dead or alive. If the old man said, “Dead,” the boy would release the bird and let it fly away. If the old man said “Alive,” he would crush the bird’s neck with his thumb and throw it at the old man’s feet.

By mid-afternoon he was approaching the tree line and the outcrop of rock. Using a stick coated with piñon pitch, he captured a young cardinal. Smiling to himself with satisfaction at seeing his plan come together, he continued toward the camp. Before long he arrived, and rather than squat and wait for the old man to come out, he stood in a little clearing in front of a lean-to and called out, “Old man! I have a question for you! Come out and show me your wisdom!”

After a few moments, the elder emerged from a narrow passage in the rocks off to the side of the lean-to. Though he moved slowly, he still moved with dignity and strength. “Yes, boy. What is it you want to ask?” The boy took just the slightest step forward and said,

“Old man, you are known for your wisdom. My friends and relatives say that you know and understand all things. I don’t believe that, and I’ve come here to prove it. I have a bird in my hand. If you are so wise, tell me: Is the bird dead, or alive?”

The old man’s eyes softened and a look of great sadness fell over him. He looked directly at the boy’s eyes intently for what seemed like a very long time. Then, crossing his wrists over his heart, he leaned forward and spoke.” My child, do you not know?” The boy’s mind was racing, “He’s fallen for the bait!” he thought. “This is really going to be good!” The old man uncrossed his arms and placed his hands gently on the boy’s shoulders. He brought his face level with the boy’s. He spoke very softly. “Dear child, the bird’s life is in YOUR hands.”

Children, when you listen to this story, ask your heart what you think the boy did. And if you are in the healing professions, remember that the bird’s life is in your hands in every life you touch. You make your own decisions, run your own race, live your own life, but there is a great cloud of witnesses urging you on to do well and to make the right choices.

We are not alone because all the saints who have gone before you – every citizen of heaven – is looking after you, cheering you on, helping you make progress toward Heaven. They cannot pick you up and carry you; you have to run your own race. They cannot run it for you. But they can root for you, and they do! That is why you and I are not alone.

And now, Beloved, I urge you to continue to pray. Make your life a prayer. Offer everything to God – everything – especially the things that you don’t want to show Him. After all, you are not alone; all of us in the MBN all around the world eagerly anticipate meeting up with you in that Mansion in the sky! That great cloud of witnesses is crazy in love with you, too, and they are cheering you on. In this race, there is also a time limit. You need to keep running the race as a believer in finishing because you have only your lifetime to complete the race.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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