Luke 19: 1-10

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Seeing Jesus in Others

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Taxman

    by the Beatles
    ("Let me tell you how it will be; There's one for you, nineteen for me. 'Cause I'm the taxman, Yeah, I'm the taxman. Should five per cent appear too small, Be thankful I don't take it all. 'Cause I'm the taxman, Yeah, I'm the taxman...")
  • Who Then Can Be Saved? This Guy!

    by D. Mark Davis
    (lots of Greek exegesis)
  • Zacchaeus

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Most pastors prepare for the Sunday sermon by going off to a quiet place and putting their noses into the books for several hours at a time. But one pastor, Lex Rivers, once did his research for the sermon in a far different way. He wanted to understand what it is like to be homeless. He wanted to know what issues homeless people struggle with..." and several other illustrations)
  • Short People

    by Sil Galvan
    In reading this parable, I also could not help but be reminded of this song by Randy Newman: ∙ Short people got no reason Short people got no reason Short people got no reason To live. They got little hands Little eyes They walk around Tellin' great big lies They got little noses And tiny little teeth They wear platform shoes On their nasty little feet. Well, I don't want no short people Don't want no short people Don't want no short people `Round here. Of course, Newman is writing these lyrics with a huge tongue in cheek and is merely lampooning all kinds of prejudice since he says in the next few lines: ∙ Short people are just the same As you and I (A fool such as I) All men are brothers Until the day they die (It's a wonderful world).
  • Proper 26C

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!!)
  • Exegetical Notes (Luke 19:1-10)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always great exegesis!)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 31C)

    by Various Authors
    ("Mrs. Billie Cannon, a Knoxville, Tennessee homemaker, was preparing to paint her back porch. In order to protect the floor, she very carefully placed around the edges a strip of Scotch tape, the kind with adhesive on both sides. It was her plan to place a drop cloth over the floor and secure it with the tape. Having succeeded in placing the tape around the entire surface, she went back inside the house to get a drop cloth..." and many other illustrations)

Narrative Sermons

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Being a Tree

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher
    ("'Where are you going? And why are you in such a hurry?' You fervently wish you could shout those words aloud to the crowd of noisy people rushing by you on this hot afternoon. Your wish, of course, can never be more than a wish. For you can't talk with people like you talk with the wind, or the sun or the birds in the sky...")
  • Calling Zacchaeus

    Narrative Sermon by Peter Haynes
    ("'Hello, Zacchaeus? This is Peter. I'm calling from Century One Home Improvement Company, and I was just wond...' 'What's that? Do I know you? Have we ever met?' 'Well, no, I don't think so.'...")
  • Zacchaeus' Story

    Narrative Sermon by Jim McCrea
    ("Have you ever been hated? I don't mean simply disliked. I mean passionately and gut-wrenchingly despised. To the point where people who think of themselves as being faithful followers of the Lord feel no compunction whatsoever at spitting on the ground whenever they see you or spitting on you if your back is turned...")
  • Zack's Wife

    Narrative Sermon by Janet Norman
    ("Do you like change? Well, I don't. I hate change. I like things to stay the way they are; change is scary and it takes too much energy. I like to know what is going to happen. I like 'predictable'...")
  • Zacchaeus

    Narrative Sermon by Laura Trent
    ("What a week it had been! I remember so well. I had had to fire one of my collectors, and that was unusual in itself, because most people would love to have that job! Sure, they say they wouldn't, they look down their noses at tax collectors, call us sinners, and other things I won't mention, but if I were to come to them and ask, most people would jump at it, no matter what they say...")

Illustrated Resources from 2019 to 2021

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  • Christ’s Mission: Seeking and Saving What Was Lost

    by Klaus Adam
    History has preserved countless examples of Christ’s saving power. One eloquent example is that of Count Armogastus. He was a nobleman and close collaborator with King Theodoric, who ruled Italy in the fifth and sixth centuries. Theodoric was one of the most powerful men in the Byzantine Empire, second only to the Emperor himself. But Theodoric was a heretic, an Arian who didn’t believe in Christ’s divinity. For the sake of unity, he demanded that all of his collaborators also become Arian. All the other noblemen obeyed the King’s command, but not Count Armogastus. He refused to abandon his Catholic faith. The King tried arguing with the Count, but it didn’t work. So he offered the Count a choice: he could either renounce his Catholic faith, or he could die. “Then I at once choose to die,” answered the Count. Instead of executing him right away, the Emperor tried to use torture to make him yield. So he commanded his strongest soldiers to bind the count tightly and completely with sharp cords. When they had finished, Count Armogastus could barely breathe, and the cords were ripping into his flesh and causing unbearable pain. He managed only to raise his eyes to heaven and whisper one word ? the name of Jesus. Immediately the cords snapped and fell to pieces. The enraged King ordered him to be rebound, this time with thick ropes. The result was the same: at the name of Jesus, the ropes broke like threads...
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 26C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who, Frederick Buechner presents from A-Z several dozen character sketches of well-known (and sometimes not-so-well-known) biblical characters. The last entry in the volume under the letter “Z” is, not surprisingly, Zacchaeus. What Buechner shares about this man, and how he lets Zacchaeus be a summary for all the other folks in the Bible, is as delightful as it is instructive! Buechner observes: “Zacchaeus makes for a good [character] to end with because in a way he can stand for all the rest [of the characters in Buechner’s book]. He’s a sawed-off little social disaster with a big bank account and a crooked job, but Jesus welcomes him aboard anyway, and that’s why he reminds you of all the others, too...
  • Out on a Limb

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    They murmured about Jesus. They murmured about Zacchaeus. Some people may have even murmured about the sculpture shown here. The piece has all the right elements: two men and a tree, with one man in the tree. We expect to see those elements. You may have noticed that the artist went out on a limb by dressing neither man in "Bible clothes." The carver, John Mack Walker, chose to set Bible stories in 1950s Appalachia (the USA mountain south). In this piece Jesus and Zacchaeus both wear suit-style coats and sturdy work shoes...
  • Ordinary 31C (2019)

    by Jude Siciliano, OP
    To enter a home, as Jesus did, would have been an act of reconciliation. If an enemy were invited into a home to "break bread," have a meal, the enemy was reconciled, the past forgiven, a new relationship was formed,. The Eucharist comes from that middle eastern tradition, where enemies eating together are reconciled...
  • When Salvation Comes

    by Debie Thomas
    In his collection of essays, The Weight of Glory, C.S Lewis challenges his readers to see themselves and their neighbors as Jesus sees them. To apprehend the extraordinary and the immortal in all people: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."...
  • Down from the Tree Branches

    by Ben Wagener
    Born in Sweden in 1833, Alfred Bernhard Nobel became a brilliant chemist and inventor. In 1867 he invented a new explosive by incorporating the unstable nitroglycerin into an absorbent inert substance, rendering it safer and more convenient to handle. He called this new mixture “dynamite,” drawing on the Greek word for “power.” This new substance was used extensively in mining and building, as well as in weapons. When in 1888 his brother Ludvig died, several newspapers published obituaries of Alfred in error. Nobel shuddered as he read the headline in his morning paper, “Alfred Nobel Dead,” with a subtitle “Dynamite King Dies.” Other descriptions targeted him as “the Merchant of Death” and “Inventor of Destruction.” Nobel was severely shaken, imagining that he was likely to be remembered as the cause of death through explosives. Determined to leave a different kind of legacy, Nobel pondered what kind of radical transformation it would take to be remembered for a life-affirming action. After much thought, he signed his last will and testament designating the bulk of his fortune to establish five Nobel Prizes honoring those who “confer the greatest benefit on mankind” in five areas: chemistry, literature, peace, physics, and physiology or medicine. After Nobel died in 1896, these prizes were first awarded in 1901...

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2016 to 2018

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Salvation Today

    by Karoline Lewis
    In his most recent column, “The Power of the Dinner Table,” New York Times columnist David Brooks tells the story of Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson. “They have a son named Santi, who went to Washington, D.C. public schools. Santi had a friend who sometimes went to school hungry. So, Santi invited him to occasionally eat and sleep at his house.” “That friend had a friend and that friend had a friend, and now when you go to dinner at Kathy and David’s house on Thursday night there might be 15 to 20 teenagers crammed around the table, and later there will be groups of them crashing in the basement or in the few small bedrooms upstairs.” “The kids who show up at Kathy and David’s have endured the ordeals of modern poverty: homelessness, hunger, abuse, sexual assault. Almost all have seen death firsthand -- to a sibling, friend or parent.”
  • Being Visible

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    When it comes to visibility - physical visibility anyway - one of the most traditional things congregations do is put steeples on their church buildings. When a symbolic meaning is applied to the structure(s), it has to do with drawing our eye up toward God and heaven. There is also a purpose that is a bit more prosaic. In a town where buildings are cheek by jowl and all made of the same local building materials, it's hard to distinguish one building from another.
  • The Specificity of Zacchaeus

    by Larry Patten
    The diminutive Zacchaeus is mentioned once in Luke’s gospel, and never appears in any other Biblical verse. But each time I stride into Jericho for his story, I’m fascinated with the account’s particulars. I sense his eagerness. I sense his anticipation. I sense his frustration. I sense his joy. Though I’ve read Luke 19 at least 999 times (from when I was a munchkin in Sunday school relating to Zacchaeus’ short stature to an ordained clergy challenging a congregation to embrace the Z-man’s four-times-as-much generosity), I’ll read it for the thousandth time with fresh eyes. Why? Specificity!
  • From a Tree to a Throne

    by Johnny Ramirez-Johnson
    When you are John G. Stumpf and the year is 2005, you have just become president of Wells Fargo, it is a good thing for your career. But when the year is 2016 and you have to present in front of Congress to defend your bank—that is a bummer! As American news consumers there are to traits to love about Mr. Stumpf, he represents all we middle class dislike and find gruesome of Wall Street greed. Stumpf’s bank created false accounts in order to charge fees to unaware people, these people, for the most part, paid the unjust fees, who were no other than being robbed.
  • Gospel Challenge

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    a friend of mine shares this story: He has a neighbor who frequently drops round to drink coffee and chat. The neighbor is a good man from a wonderful family and has been blessed with lots of love and good example in his life. But, like the rest of us, he has his weaknesses; in his case, gossip and occasional pettiness. One day, as he was sitting with my friend, he made a very racist remark. My friend, instead of accusing him of being a racist or shaming him with the inappropriateness of his remark, called him instead to his own essential goodness: “That comment surprises me,” he said, “coming from you. I’ve always considered you and your family big-hearted people, with class, never petty. I’ve always envied your family for its goodness and understanding. That remark simply doesn’t sound like you!” The man’s reaction was instant, positive. Immediately he apologized: “You’re right,” he said, “I don’t know why I sometimes say stupid things like that!” Like Zacchaeus the taller man gave back what the smaller man had taken...
  • Loved for What We Have in Us

    by Timothy Ross
    God sees you. God knows your need. God stops right where you are and calls your name. God says, “Come on down from that place you’re trying to hide, I must stay at your place today.” God sees beyond our supposed resources all the way to our deepest need. God loves the poor; God loves the rich. God loves our friends. God loves our enemies. God loves us just as we are, but God also loves us too much to allow us to remain “as we are.” And this is a story about people, about us. Fred Buechner writes: He’s a sawed-off little social disaster with a big bank account and a crooked job, but Jesus welcomes him aboard anyway, and that’s why he reminds (us) of all the others too. There’s Aaron whooping it up with the Golden Calf the moment his brother’s back is turned, and there’s Jacob conning everybody including his own father.
  • Crowd Versus Zacchaeus

    by David Russell
    Several years ago a school teacher who worked with children in a large city hospital received a routine call asking her to visit a particular boy. She took his name and room number and was told by the teacher on the phone, “We’re working on nouns and adverbs in class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him with his homework so he doesn’t fall behind.” It wasn’t until the visiting teacher walked into the boy’s room that she realized she was in the burn unit. No one had prepared her to see a boy horribly burned and in great pain. He obviously was not in any condition to study, but she felt she couldn’t just turn and walk out, so she stammered, “I’m the hospital teacher--your teacher sent me to help you with nouns and adverbs.” That was about it and she left. The next morning a nurse on the burn unit asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” Before she could apologize, the nurse interrupted her and said, “You don’t understand. We’ve been very worried about him, but ever since you were here yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, he’s responding to treatment...it’s as though he’s decided to live.” The boy later explained that he had completely given up hope until he saw the teacher. It all changed when he came to a simple realization. He expressed it this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?”
  • Proper 26C

    from Sacra Conversazione
    An understanding of “gift” is central to many postmodern writers. If one accepts it, it defines who we are and how we are to regard one another. For many, the ultimate gift-giver is God, whose unexpected, undeserved, unrepayable, reckless impeteousness saturates our whole perception of this life and can transform us. It is it’s sheer limitlessness, surprise and even a kind of madness that knocks us off our feet every time and induces its own kind of madness/impetousness in us. Concentrating on the treatment of “the gift,” especially in the works of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, Robyn Horner writes in Rethinking God As Gift: Derrida and the Limits of Phenomenology:” …there is every reason to conclude that the gift incites a kind of madness, that the gift only belongs to a kind of madness, that the gift ‘is’ madness.” She asks, Yet who would rather stay sane than enter into this madness?
  • On the Road with Zacchaeus

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal were newlyweds. They had had a bitter argument. Angry words were spoken. Their spirits were wounded. Their feelings were hurt. Their relationship was strained. In pain and frustration, they had pulled back from one another. Then, awkwardly, tentatively... they tried to fix it. Ryan O'Neal was trying to figure out how to apologize when... Ali McGraw interrupted him and said those words that became the marketing theme for that movie. She said to him: "Love means never having to say 'I'm sorry'!" Now, that sounds great... has a nice, sentimental ring to it... and evidently it drew people to the box office, but there's only one thing wrong with it... It's just not true!
  • Learning to See

    by Debie Thomas
    In his collection of essays, Weight of Glory, C.S Lewis reminds us of the high stakes involved in our seeing: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."
  • Helping Yourself

    by Peter Thompson
    The 2003 Tony-winning Broadway musical Avenue Q is crude and offensive, yet not even the crassest that musical theater has to offer is beyond exploitation by the Sunday morning preacher—especially this preacher, who is flush with musical theater spirit in the wake of his second annual appearance in the St. Paul’s Cabaret. This particular morning, I wish to draw your attention to a number that happens towards the end of Avenue Q called “The Money Song,” in which the despairing protagonist, Princeton, encounters his acquaintance Nicky, who had recently become homeless. Nicky, recognizing Princeton, demands a quarter from him, telling him that “helping others brings you closer to God.” But when Princeton lets Nicky know that he has no change, Nicky is happy to revise his request to a dollar or a five.
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Call

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Grace

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Redemption

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Repentance

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2010 to 2015

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Standing in Another's Shoes

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("A reporter was interviewing a couple on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary. The eager interviewer asked, 'You must have had many arguments in that time?' The couple replied in unison, 'No never'. The reporter persisted, 'There must have been many occasions when you've fallen out with one another?' Again they said, 'No.' In an even more insistent way the reporter enquired, 'Surely at sometime you must have thought of divorce?' The wife spoke, 'Divorce – never; murder – often!'...")
  • St. Zacchaeus??

    by Sarah Buteux
    Father Richard Rohr puts it this way, and this is printed on the back of your bulletin if you want to read along: Those at the edge of any system and those excluded from any system ironically and invariably hold the secret for the conversion and wholeness of that very group. They always hold the feared, rejected, and denied parts of the group’s soul. You see, therefore, why the church was meant to be that group that constantly went to the edges, to the “least of the brothers and sisters,” and even to the enemy. Jesus was not just a theological genius, but he was also a psychological and sociological genius. When any church defines itself by exclusion of anybody, it is always wrong. It is avoiding its only vocation, which is to be the Christ. The only groups that Jesus seriously critiques are those who include themselves and exclude others from the always-given grace of God. Only as the People of God receive the stranger, the sinner, and the immigrant, those who don’t play our game our way, do we discover not only the hidden, feared, and hated parts of our own souls, but the fullness of Jesus himself. We need them for our own conversion...
  • Ordinary 31C (2010)

    by Leroy Clementich, CSC
    ("Modern film is another standard venue for depicting the salvation theme in human life. I think, for instance, of a classic film entitled Tender Mercies. Robert Duval plays the part of a down-on-his luck country and western singer who just happens to be 'on the road again'..." and other illustrations)
  • A Repentant Sinner or a Hidden Saint? The Story of Zacchaeus

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("The Episcopal priest Elizabeth Kaeton notes the several ironies here. The despicable Zacchaeus is the generous one. The traditional interpretation that Zacchaeus is a sinner who's converted 'tricks us into committing the very sin that the story condemns. It presents Zacchaeus not as a righteous and generous man who is wrongly scorned by his prejudiced neighbors, but as the story of a penitent sinner.'...")
  • The Problem of Being Little

    by Ian Cook
    John Greenleaf Whittier was an American Quaker idealist. Born in 1807, he became in his early twenties editor of a couple of thought provoking magazines and dreamed of becoming a Southern Congressman. His problem was that his Quaker upbringing led him to a deep rooted belief in the equality of all people; the abolition of slavery was the logical extension of that belief, and no abolitionist could be elected to Congress in the 1830s. His choice was between the principles of his belief and the expediency of compromise. So he wrote a few anti slavery articles and poems under a pseudonym in order to protect his political ambitions, but then came to see that compromise as a futile act and devoted his next thirty years to the cause of the abolition of slavery. He became Americas most effective anti slavery advocate...
  • Going Out on a Limb

    by Tom Cox
    ("Never judgemental, Smiling in friendship Laughing our joy. Seeing our pain. Accepting our failings. Understanding our struggles. Sharing our sadness. Crying our tears. Watching our sleep. Hidden in others. Keeping our secrets, Easing our fears. Blessing our lives. Living our hopes. Waiting for ever. Forever our friend...")
  • Doing Faith

    by Ben Helmer
    ("A man recently died who had lived modestly in a van in a small town in the Ozarks. He had no close family, but a number of friends came to a memorial service for him held in the garden at a local church. 'Al' was not a member of that church, but he often came to their Sunday night suppers during the cold winter months. He was also a regular recipient at the local food bank...")
  • Proper 26C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("In his book Peculiar Treasures, Frederick Buechner presents several dozen character sketches of biblical characters. The last entry in the volume under the letter 'Z' is, not surprisingly, Zacchaeus. What Buechner shares about this man, and how he lets Zacchaeus be a summary for all the other folks in the Bible, is as delightful as it is instructive!...")
  • Short in Stature, Tall in Faith

    by Beth Johnston
    "There was once a pub whose owners were so certain that their head bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 prize. How could you win the prize? Well, the bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to the contestant. If that person could squeeze one more drop of juice out, he or she would win the money..."
  • Short of Saint

    by Robert Kitchen
    ("The spiritual leader of a congregation in a small town probably in northeastern Iraq in the Sasanian Persian Empire of the late 300's wrote 30 sermons called the Book of Steps. If you were a Christian in the Persian Empire, you were always suspected of being at heart a Roman sympathizer, Christianity being the state religion of the rival enemy Roman Empire. Bloody persecutions occurred periodically,..")
  • From a Zacchaeus Branch

    by Anna Murdock
    ("There once was a huge pine tree on the corner of the street where I lived. It had a most wonderful branch, shooting straight out from the trunk and then curving upward that made for a comfortable seat. I could sit in the tree and feel very hidden by its branches from anyone who walked by or any car that would briefly stop at the end of the street...")
  • Gospel Challenge

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("a friend of mine has a neighbour who frequently drops round to drink coffee and chat. The neighbour is a good man from a wonderful family and has been blessed with lots of love and good example in his life. But, like the rest of us, he has his weaknesses; in his case, gossip and occasional pettiness...")
  • A Great Day of Generosity

    by David Russell
    ("Several years ago a school teacher who worked with children in a large city hospital received a routine call asking her to visit a particular boy. She took his name and room number and was told by the teacher on the phone, 'We're working on nouns and adverbs in class now. I'd be grateful if you could help him with his homework so he doesn't fall behind.' It wasn't until the visiting teacher walked into the boy's room that she realized she was in the burn unit...")
  • Domingo 30C (2010)

    by Jim Schmitmeyer
    Tony Woodlief is a father. He is also a writer and the author of a new book, Somewhere More Holy. In this book, he describes the various rooms of the house That he shares with his wife and their four sons. The rooms are filled with laughter, tears, arguments and love. And God. Chapter Three—believe it or not—ushers us into the bathroom. “”[T]here is more to the bathroom than the worst parts of it,” writes Woodlief, “which is something that is true of all of us. The bathroom, with all its attendant humiliations, is where we are cleansed as well as debased…. Perhaps more than any other room in the house, the bathroom reflects the filth and chaos as well as the occasional beauty of who we are.” Anyone who’s raised a family knows the fun of bathtub play, the smell of diapers, and the unnerving lack of privacy that a trip to the bathroom entails. But can the bathroom also be a place of prayer?
  • Proper 26C (2010)

    by Jason Sierra
    ("Hookworm. Largely eradicated in the U.S. for nearly a century, these tiny parasites are one of the leading causes of maternal and child mortality in the tropics and subtropics. Debilitating the immune system, they are a known cause of anemia, and hookworm infections can make the body more susceptible to malaria and HIV...")
  • Jesus and Zacchaeus

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Bernie Siegel writes in Love, Medicine and Miracles that love is key to health. People who are in the midst of a loving relationship suffer fewer illnesses. He writes, "I feel that all disease is ultimately related to a lack of love or to love that is only conditional...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Recovery: Step Eight

    by Mickey Anders
    ("'Karma. You got to love it.' That's a quote from my newest favorite television show, My Name is Earl. Earl readily confesses that he has done too many wrong things in life, but now he is on a mission to set things right. He feels he had to after his wake-up call...")
  • Short People

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Remember that funny song by Randy Newman about short people? He begins the song by repeating the prejudicial statements that some people make: ' got no reason. Short people got no reason Short people got no reason to li - ive. They got little hands and little eyes They walk around tell-in' great big lies...")
  • Hide and Seek

    by Gebhard Maria Behler
    "Rabbi Baruck’s grandson Jechiel was playing hide-and-seek with another child. Jechiel hid and waited for his friend to search for him. He waited a long time, and finally left his hiding place. His playmate was nowhere to be found..."
  • The Short One

    by Roberta Bondi
    ("On my refrigerator is a favorite cartoon, cut from the New Yorker magazine many years ago. It is a picture of a small, balding, middle-aged, skinny white guy in a loin cloth sitting on a throne beneath a sign that says 'God.'' A puzzled middle-aged white guy is standing in front of him and staring as he says something to God like, 'You know, you don’t look a bit like your picture'...")
  • Saving Stories

    by Gilbert Bowen
    Fred Beuchner in his remarkable little autobiographical statement The Sacred Journey tells of how he learned after having given himself rather one-eyed to his professional writing career, allowing it to dominate. He tells of one evening toward the end of his teaching career when he went to have dinner with his mother who was living alone in New York. "It was to be just the two of us, and we had both looked forward to it, not simply as mother and son but as two old friends who no longer got to see each other all that much. Then just as we were about to sit down to eat, the telephone rang, and it was for me. It was a friend I taught with at Lawrenceville, and he had not spoken more than a word or two when his voice broke and I realized to my horror that he was weeping. His mother and father and a pregnant sister had been in an automobile accident on the West Coast, and it was uncertain whether any of them would live. He was at the airport waiting for a flight to take him out to them. Could I come down, he asked, and wait with him till the plane left?...
  • Saving Stories

    by Gilbert Bowen
    ("Fred Beuchner tells of one evening toward the end of his teaching career when he went to have dinner with his mother who was living alone in New York. 'It was to be just the two of us, and we had both looked forward to it, not simply as mother and son but as two old friends who no longer got to see each other all that much...")
  • Limb-Climber or Branch-Sitter

    by Tom Cox
    ("Better nutrition seems to have meant that people are taller and bigger. Even a baby's first shoe has gone up in size over the years. Still, while we may have tall people, there's one area we seem to come short on - character. ...")
  • Every Saint Has a Past, Every Sinner a Future

    by Nancy Cushman
    ("One day I was listening to an interview on Talk of the Nation on National Public Radio. Army Colonel Sean MacFarland was talking about the cooperation of the military with the local tribal leaders in Anbar province, Iraq to stop the insurgents. The interviewer made the remark that one of the key Sheikhs that Colonel MacFarland was praising, Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha, was no saint..." and another illustration about Mother Teresa)
  • Ordinary 31C (2004)

    by Mary Durkin
    ("Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the members of a certain parish were delighted to hear that the new archbishop of their archdiocese would be confirming the members of the confirmation class. The new pastor set up a committee to make all the arrangements:pre-ceremony, after ceremony and anything else they considered important...")
  • The Rich Also Cry

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Boris Becker was the world's number one tennis star. At the height of his tennis career, he had won Wimbledon twice, once as the youngest player. He was rich and could afford all the material comfort and luxury he wanted. Yet he was an unhappy man. In spite of all his achievements, his life was so empty and meaningless that he contemplated suicide...")
  • The Quest for Happiness

    by James Farfaglia
    ("At the age of seven, he had to go to work to help support his family. At nine, his mother died. At twenty-two, he lost his job as a store clerk. At twenty-three, he went into debt and became a partner in a small store. At twenty-six, his partner died leaving him a huge debt...")
  • Out on a Limb for Jesus

    by Alex Gondola
    ("President Lincoln once received a letter from a man requesting a pardon. There were no letters of recommendation attached to the request. 'Doesn't this man have any friends?' asked Lincoln. His aide answered, 'No, Sir, he doesn't.' 'Then I will be his friend,' Lincoln responded, and signed the pardon...")
  • All the Joy You Need

    by Steve Goodier
    ("Try to imagine this picture. It is a photograph taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson and was shot in a poor section of Spain in the 1930's. The picture depicts a run-down alley surrounded by decaying walls, strewn with rubble randomly stacked in thick piles lying on the street, and riddled with bullet holes dotting gray walls...")
  • Ordinary 31C (2007)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once there was a high school football quarterback. He was very good, very professional, very slick. He never took any chances. If the alternative was a long pass to a receiver who might have been open or a short pass to a tightend for seven yards, he threw the latter...")
  • Ordinary 31C (2004)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a top executive traveled to his company’s plant in a small city. The plant was a major source of pollution for the city causing damage to the lungs of the workers and of those who lived near the plant. The locals had mounted a campaign demanding a clean up of the area. The cost of a clean up would eat into the company profits...")
  • A Lunch Invitation

    by George Hermanson
    ("Frank Rogers, who teaches Religious Education at Claremont School of Theology in California says: 'We believe God is present, hoping and urging, in the midst of all of the situations of life. As Christians, we believe that God is passionately involved in human affairs and intimately involved in all our questioning...")
  • Keep the Faith

    by Don Hoffman
    ("In the musical 1776, the continental congress is squabbling and arguing and dithering around and wasting time and criticizing each other, and a young soldier comes dashing in from time to time with dispatches from the front line of battle, messages from General George Washington...")
  • Reflections on Some Sycamore Theology

    Story Sermon by Rex Hunt
    So with the help of others, let’s imagine the scene… There’s a line of people gathered along Main street. The sun is beating down. There’s a rumour that this Jesus from Nazareth has given sight back to the old blind fellow who lives down by the city gate. Zacchaeus, curious, and not wanting to miss the show, looks for some spot where he can get a good look at the procession as it makes its way through Jericho and on up to Jerusalem. He asks a few people if he could squeeze past, but he soon realises his lack of popularity makes it difficult to request favours for a ring-side seat.
  • A View from the Tree

    by John Jewell
    "Some people are just plain unacceptable. You know it? They just don’t deserve to live and eat and work and play along with the rest of us good folk. One of these 'unacceptable' people is a convicted sex offender who was released from prison last summer. He tried to move into a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood where his presence was made known to the residents..."
  • Being Called Out of Your Tree

    by Beth Johnston
    "A few years ago there was a call-in program on the radio and the topic was 'explicit videos'. One caller was a store owner. He said that he came to the point in his life where he could not go to Church on Sunday morning and confess his sins while he was continuing to rent and profit from sexually explicit and violent videos..."
  • No Shortage of Grace

    by Beth Johnston
    "December 24, 1914 was bitterly cold. All along the front, the allied troops were hunkered down in their trenches wishing for home. They were within sight of the German lines. If they listened hard enough, they could hear them, they were that close. They had previously thought that the war would be over and they would have been home by Christmas but that has not happened..."
  • Sundays with Jesus

    by Fred Kane
    ("One day Mitch Albom was watching TV when he saw his old professor from Brandeis University, Morrie Schwartz, being interviewed by Ted Koppel. His professor had Lou Gehrig's disease and was slowly losing control of his bodily functions. His old professor told Ted Koppel, rather matter of factly, that in the relatively near future, he would suffocate to death because nothing would work anymore..." and other illustrations)
  • Ordinary 31C

    by Dan Laurita
    ("Have you ever gone back to your old grade school? It is amazing what a different perspective you get when you gain a few years, a few pounds and a few inches. Those looooong hallways were not really that long. The great auditorium where we ate lunch, saluted the flags and went to assembly was not as large as I remembered. The desks and the chairs were somewhat smaller...")
  • Grit, Grace and Gratitude

    by James Moore
    ("Recently, a fascinating essay arrived at my desk. The essay had been written by a man named David Saucier, the fourth patient at Methodist Hospital to receive a heart transplant. The poignant essay had been written on the 10th anniversary of David's heart transplant operation..." and several other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Ordinary 31C

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("this story of Zacchaeus always reminds me of a man I once knew called Zach. Zach was a man in his early 30's who didn't have a job as such, but he had a very large and expensive house in a very poor part of town, a brand-new white Mercedes Benz, several children by several different women, always carried a gun and he was of course a drug dealer...")
  • Dinner and a Tax Rebate

    by James Standiford
    ("There is a short person in your life. I am not speaking of this person’s height. I am speaking of the fact that they have been cut off, left out, or blocked out by others. This person is the victim of prejudice, or assumed to be guilty of some wrong but no one has ever bothered to ask them directly for their story...")
  • Thank God

    by James Standiford
    ("Elbert Kim told me he was thirteen years old when the Star Wars movie, The Return of the Jedi came out. He said he and some friends waited for ten hours in line to get into the theatre. They were the first in line. They could choose any seats in the house. So where did they go, once in the theatre?...")
  • Are We Capable of Change?

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Sue Grafton's latest book R Is For Ricochet begins this way: The basic question is this: given human nature, are any of us really capable of change? The mistakes other people make are usually patently obvious. Our own are tougher to recognize. In most cases, our path through life reflects a fundamental truth about who we are now and who we've been since birth...")
  • Going Out on a Limb

    by Keith Wagner
    ("A few weeks ago I was playing golf with a friend. On one hole my ball slipped into a pond. Fortunately, it was close to the bank and I could see it about four feet away. My friend is much bigger than I and I asked him to hold my hand as I stretched my other hand out into the water to retrieve the ball...")
  • Little Guy, Big Gift

    by Keith Wagner
    "One time an American soldier met up with the famous painter, Pablo Picasso. The two of them were seated at a Parisian café and decided to have lunch. Soon their conversation turned to art. Picasso described his style of art which was not traditional. The soldier said, 'I don’t like modern art.' 'Why not?' Picasso replied..."

Other Resources from 2019 to 2021

Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

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Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

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Other Resources from 2007 to 2009

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Other Resources from 2004 to 2006

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Other Resources from 2001 to 2003

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Other Resources from 2010 to 2012

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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Recursos en Español

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The Classics

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