Matthew 5: 1-12

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!!]
  • Attitude

    An Illustration from the Archives
    ("I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today. I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have. Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free...")
  • Honoring the Dishonored

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis)
  • Detach from the Idolatry of Money

    by Pope Francis
    ["The Greek adjective ptochós (poor) does not have a purely material meaning. It means “a beggar”, and it should be seen as linked to the Jewish notion of the anawim, 'God’s poor'. It suggests lowliness, a sense of one’s limitations and existential poverty. The anawim trust in the Lord, and they know that they can count on him..."]
  • All Saints (C)(1998)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("John G. Paton was the first missionary to The New Hebrides islands. When he reached the islands, he built himself a little house. In it he put the things he brought from his home: a bed, a table, a chair, a lamp, some pots and pans, some books and papers, all the things he needed to help himself live and do his work. He liked the things he had brought with him..." and other illustrations)
  • Beatitudes (2002)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Barbara Brown Taylor recalls the experience her affluent Atlanta youth group had when they traveled to Appalachia. She writes: 'They thought all teenagers received cars for their 16th birthdays and went on cruises to the Bahamas for their senior class parties. The only thing they were missing was an experience of poverty, so we drove to Appalachia to get them one..." and several other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Beatitudes (1999)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("The movie Titanic chronicles the last hours of the great unsinkable ship and the horrific events of the night of April 15, 1912. But perhaps the single most horrifying event had little to do with the collision itself. While many remember the rich and famous on board Titanic, there were hundreds of other men, women and children--poor immigrants, tradesmen and laborers and their families--who were confined to 'third class' in the lower decks of the ship..." and another illustration)
  • Inner Peace

    by Sil Galvan
    "Except for her passionate love of South Africa, Amy Biehl was a typical Southern California kid, a straight-A student and a college diving champion who would end her diatribes against apartheid with the words 'Free Mandela!'. So it was not surprising that when she won a Fulbright scholarship, she opted to go to South Africa and immerse herself in the country's culture and politics..." and another short humorous illustration
  • Ordinary People

    by Sil Galvan
    Thirteen-year-old Joey Russell's most prized possession was a 1912 postcard of the original Titanic, signed by an actual survivor of the ship's sinking. Four years ago, before the release of the movie Titanic, Joey had saved up all his chore money to buy the postcard at an auction. Now the mania surrounding the movie assured Joey of an excellent deal if he ever decided to sell his card. And he did decide to sell it, but not for his own benefit. When Joey learned that the mother of his best friend Kate needed a bone-marrow transplant, Joey offered to sell his card to raise money for the procedure. She would need at least $60,000 in order to get the transplant, and without it she might die. When talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell heard about Joey's act of kindness, she invited him on her show. There, she introduced him to the cast of the musical Titanic. But that wasn't the only reason she had invited him on that day. O'Donnell, along with the Titanic's producers, had arranged to buy Joey's postcard for $60,000. Now Mary Shelley, Kate's mom, could get her transplant.
  • Epiphany 4A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Beatitudes, Healing, Soft Power

    by Andrew Prior
    ("Yesterday I went to see The Railway Man. The inhumanity of the Thai-Burma railway was not a story I was meeting for the first time. The great healing between Eric Lomax, the British soldier, and Nagase, the Kempetai, or Japanese Secret Service, translator was voiced near the end of the movie: 'Some time you have to stop hating.' It was through this that both men regained their lives and their humanity..." This is well worth the read!!)
  • Blessed Are

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("Nominated for Best Picture this year is Philomena, the story of an Irish woman's quest to find a son taken from her without her permission and sold for adoption to an American family by the convent she had turned to for mercy when she was a pregnant unwed teen. Hers is a testament to the blessing, the power, and the sacredness of mercy, a mercy born in the crucible of blame, shame, humiliation, and oppression..." and two more movies)
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 5:1-12)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis - worth a look!!)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (All Saints)

    by Various Authors
    ("Major Sullivan Ballou wrote this in a letter to his wife before a battle in the Civil War: '...I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you..." and many more)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Resources (Ordinary 4A)

    by Various Authors
    ("Fred Craddock puts it this way: 'Beatitudes need to be seen as responses to God's favor rather than ways of earning God's favor', i.e., the language of the beatitudes is descriptive language---- this is who these people are now, and this is what the future holds for them..." and many more)

Illustrated Resources from Ordinary/Epiphany 4A (2020)

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  • Sermon Starters (Epiphany 4A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    To the world, the Beatitudes look like a formula for a disastrously dull and melancholy life. Instead, as C.S. Lewis wrote, the people around us think that money and sex and booze and the high life are as good as it gets. To folks like this the Beatitudes sound roaringly stupid. But such people are like an ignorant little child who says that he’d rather just go on making mud pies in some slaggy alley in the slums simply because he can’t imagine what it means that you just invited him to go to the beach for the weekend. People in this world are far too easily pleased. They think mudpies is as good as it gets when really they and we all have been made for joy! Blessed are you if you know the joy that is our God in Christ for it changes everything!
  • The Beatitudes

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    The Rev. Brian Combs, who is shown emerging from behind the stone wall on the right, founded Haywood Street Congregation in 2009 to be a place of welcome for those struggling with addiction and/or homelessness. “The most painful part of holding a cardboard sign at the intersection,” he says, “is not the humiliating public declaration of helplessness or having trash thrown at you, or watching the automatic doors lock down. By far, from what I’ve heard after a decade of listening, is the refusal of so many drivers, idling just feet away at the red light, to even make eye contact.” Commissioning this fresco—a permanent medium in which paint joins with plaster, making the image inseparable from the church architecture—is one way in which Haywood Street is “affirming sacred worth, restoring human dignity, and sabotaging the shame of poverty.”...
  • Everyday Heroes

    by Ginger Litman-Koon
    We all know that heroes rule the box office, but did you know they now rule the internet? Throughout 2019, Google analytics data showed a global increase in searches centering around “heroes.” Sure, some of those searches had to do with what action movies were playing in theaters, but many of them were centered around what they call “everyday heroes.” Google even aired a YouTube video on New Years featuring a montage of all the “everyday heroes” videos that circulated the internet during 2019. The heroes featured in the video are strangers, teachers, first responders, children, athletes. While there were some exceptions, most of the heroic actions emerged from adversity: illness, danger, injury, loss, prejudice, natural disasters. Watching the video will bring happy tears to your eyes, because of the acts of courage and love shown by each of the individuals...
  • Raising Radishes, Raising Children

    by David Russell
    In the musical “The Fantasticks,” two exasperated fathers are talking about the difficulties of raising their children and they compare raising children to raising vegetables. They note that when you plant a vegetable seed, you know what you are going to get, but it’s not that way with children. The break into the song “Plant a Radish.” Plant a radish. Get a radish. Never any doubt. That's why I love vegetables; You know what you're about! Plant a turnip. Get a turnip. Maybe you'll get two. That's why I love vegetables; You know that they'll come through! They're dependable! They're befriendable! They're the best pal a parent's ever known! While with children, It's bewilderin'. You don't know until the seed is nearly grown Just what you've sown. Every turnip green! Every kidney bean! Every plant grows according to the plot! While with progeny, It's hodge-podgenee. For as soon as you think you know what kind you've got, It's what they're not!...
  • Christianity for Dummies

    by David Sellery
    For over thirty years Wiley Publishing has been producing the tremendously successful “… for Dummies” series of titles. My first experience was “Windows for Dummies.” I expect my latest will be “iPhone X10 for Dummies.” The secret of their success is to make intimidating subjects approachable… cutting through the technical jargon and “dumbing down” the core concepts to their absolute essentials in a non-threatening, “how-to” format. That’s exactly what Jesus does for us in this week’s gospel...
  • The Great Reversal

    by Debie Thomas
    In a beautiful reflection on Jesus’s upside-down kingdom, Frederick Buechner writes this: “The world says, ‘Mind your own business,’ and Jesus says, ‘There is no such thing as your own business.’ The world says, ‘Follow the wisest course and be a success,’ and Jesus says, ‘Follow me and be crucified.’ The world says, ‘Drive carefully — the life you save may be your own’ — and Jesus says, ‘Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’ The world says, ‘Law and order,’ and Jesus says, ‘Love.’ The world says, ‘Get’ and Jesus says, ‘Give.’ In terms of the world's sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion."...
  • Strange and Wonderful Blessings

    by Todd Weir
    Linda was nine-years-old when her mother died of cancer. She felt robbed of everyday life, jealous of her classmates who had perfect mom-and-dad families. When she was 12, she was on a walk with her Dad in an old town cemetery where she saw an engraved tombstone, “William Berkley, March 15, 1802-March 18, 1802.” She remarked, “This baby only got three days.” Her father explained that babies often died young in that time due to a lack of medical understanding, but Linda was startled to realize she had never thought other people had grief and loss. She said, “I never realized I could have Mom for even less time.” It was the beginning of a sense of gratitude for the time she did have for her mother. After a few days, this changed to fear. “What if you died too?” she asked her father. “Honey, let’s hope that doesn’t happen for a long time.” Linda had seen a commercial on television about life insurance. For $1 a month, you could buy a policy that could help pay for funeral costs so you don’t burden your family. When she mentioned this to her father, he asked if she would feel better if he got the policy. Linda answered, “Yes, but don’t die.” Years later, Linda appreciated this honest and real discussion of death and her father taking her needs seriously. Fortunately, her father did live a good, long life and died at home at the age of 84. Linda gave her father a wonderful send-off and buried her father next to her mother in the cemetery. A few weeks later, Linda and her husband were rushing to a charity fundraiser for cancer...

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019 (Ordinary/Epiphany 4A and All Saints)

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  • All Saints (A)(2017)

    by Kevin Bright
    An enduring memory of mine is the prayer card she had wedged into one of the kitchen cupboards, laminated of course so it could be wiped clean occasionally amid the chaos. It may be familiar to you. Many simply know it as the ‘Kitchen Prayer’. The first part of it goes… Lord of all pots and pans and things Since I’ve not time to be A saint by doing lovely things or Watching late with Thee Or dreaming in the dawn light or Storming Heaven’s gates Make me a saint by getting meals and Washing up the plates...
  • #Blessed

    by Sarah Brock
    Just a few months ago, Pope Francis offered new beatitudes for the modern church. “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians. All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness. Surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”
  • Blessed Are They... Seriously?

    by Jim Chern
    Some years ago, as chaplain of the West Orange Fire Department, a couple of guys on the department called one day to tell me that there was a fireman from New York who was going to be at Kessler Rehabilitation Center and asked me to go up to meet him. Little did I know who it was. His name is Eugene Stolowski. And he was one of the men who were responding to a fire in Jan 2005 which became infamously known as Black Sunday and had been in the local news a great deal. They were in a burning Bronx building, became trapped, had no safety ropes to lower them down 50 feet to the cold, icy ground below and were forced to decide whether to stay in the inferno or make an attempt to jump out the windows of the building. Realizing their best shot at survival was to jump, that’s what they did. Tragically, two of the men would die from the fall, and the other three would have very serious injuries. But none of them as bad as Gene...
  • Epiphany 4A (2017)

    by Phil Heinze
    Those of us who have been forever contaminated by close contact to Monty Python’s movie “Life of Brian” are no longer able to listen to or read these verses without thinking of the line “blessed are the cheese makers.” I’ll risk an explanation for those of you who are still pure of heart. In the movie those who are on the edge of the large crowd are having trouble hearing Jesus so one of them asks, “What was that?” The response is, “I think it was blessed are the cheese makers” which in turn prompts the response, “What’s so special about the cheese makers?”...
  • Epiphany 4A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("To the world, the Beatitudes look like a formula for a disastrously dull and melancholy life. Instead, as C.S. Lewis wrote, the people around us think that money and sex and booze and the high life are as good as it gets. To folks like this the Beatitudes sound roaringly stupid....")
  • The Beatitudes and the Power of One

    by Dawn Hutchings
    he unfamiliar story is taken from Bruce Courtenay’s autobiographical novel “The Power of One.” The Power of One was made into a movie about twenty years ago, so the story may be somewhat familiar. The story begins in the late 1930's, when Bruce is just six years old. Bruce is an English boy living in South Africa. Bruce’s father has been killed by a rogue elephant and his mother has gone into a sanitarium after the killing of the boy’s father. The little boy ends up being raised by his Zulu nanny and because he is six years old and he should go to school, she ships him off to boarding school. But the boarding school the boy finds himself in is a school for Boer boys, and the Boers and the English hate each other for reasons too long to go into here.
  • Words for a Time Such as This

    by Karoline Lewis
    As those of us in the United States approach the one-year anniversary of our presidential election, Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 and now again in Matthew 23 are words to embolden resistance and persistence. As anti-Beatitude living becomes more acceptable, more normative, more regularized, these are words that call us out of our complacency and conformity. As we continue to experience the effects of national and global trauma, of natural and human made disasters, these are words to believe in, to count on, to trust. As we feel the burden of compassion fatigue, of empathetic exhaustion, as a result of the many perils of the people in our parishes, in our communities, in our nation, and in our world, these words bring peace.
  • Preaching a Beatitudes Inversion

    by David Lose
    There is a scene in Schindler’s List that came back to me while reading the Beatitudes. Amon Goeth, played by Ralph Fiennes, is the commandant of a German death camp. Goeth is, in brief, a violent sociopath, prone to kill the Jewish prisoners at his camp indiscriminately. And he believes that his ability to kill is the very essence of power. Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, is a consummate showman and has somehow worked his way into Amon Goeth’s good graces. One evening, Schindler challenges Goeth’s beliefs about power. The ability to kill isn’t power; the ability to have mercy is power. That’s why, Schindler argues, the Emperor was the most powerful person in Rome. Anyone could kill; only the Emperor could pardon a convicted criminal out of mercy. Goeth “tries on” being merciful, pardoning a few people who have annoyed him. It feels good, but he can’t pull it off for long, eventually returning to his brutal ways...
  • Wisdom and Foolishness and Blessings and Woes

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Russian artist Marc Chagall illustrates the collision of wisdom and foolishness in an illustration that is part of The Fables of La Fontaine. "The Madman Who Sold Wisdom" (Le Fou qui vent la Sagesse) tells the tale of a fool who announces that he has wisdom for sale. Soon enough people line up to buy wisdom, and what he gives them is a length of cord and a slap on the side of the head. Some were angry that they had paid for this; others simply walk away, believing they will look more foolish if they try to argue with a fool.
  • Epiphany 4A (2017)

    by Bob Morrison
    Martin Scorsese’s film “Silence” has just been released. It’s both harrowing and very inspiring. It’s based on a novel written about fifty years ago by Japanese author Shusaku Endo and deals with the introduction into Japan of Christianity and then the persecution of both clergy and laity when too many challenges were raised, when the power of the local lords was threatened. The first chapters of the book are written as letter from Fr. Sebastian Rodrigues after the intense persecution had begun. He said, “My hunch from some time back was not wrong. What are Japanese peasants looking for in me? These people who work and live and die like beasts find for the first time in our teaching a path in which they can cast away the fetters that bind them. The Buddhist bonzes simply treat them like cattle. For a long time they have just lived in resignation to such a fate...
  • Theology at the Theater: Wicked

    by Beth Quick
    Wicked opens with the people of Oz celebrating the death of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Someone in the crowds asks Glinda, the Good Witch, if it’s true that Glinda and Elphaba were once friends, and the question prompts Glinda to share the story. We flash back in time to when Elphaba and Glinda – then Galinda – both arrive at school, along with Elphaba’s sister Nessarose. Elphaba, who is born with the distinctive green skin that we see in The Wizard of Oz, is smart and skilled, and generally disliked by father and her classmates, especially the very pretty and popular but not-so-magically-skilled Galinda. At the start of the musical, then, Galinda and Elphaba do not get along, but after Galinda tries to make a fool of Elphaba by setting her up to wear a big black pointy hat, something no one else is wearing, Galinda feels bad and tries to make up for her mean behavior. Slowly the two young women become friends...In the song “For Good,” they sing these words to each other: “I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason. Bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them and we help them in return. Well, I don't know if I believe that's true, but I know I'm who I am today because I knew you.” “Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you I have been changed for good.”...
  • Salt and Light

    by David Russell
    The Food Network used to have this show called "Restaurant Impossible." Anybody ever watch that? I loved it because it combined cooking and travel and building renovation and marketing and budgeting and sometimes even conflict management and family therapy – all interesting in themselves, but then you put those things together with this no-nonsense chef Robert Irvine, you had great television. The way it worked was that he would travel to a failing restaurant, quickly assess the situation, and then work to turn it around. He had an interior designer, a carpenter, two days and $10,000. They might remodel the dining room, tweak the menu, update the kitchen, or change the way the business was managed. They worked feverishly with the limited budget and time schedule, and then they would reopen and a crowd of diners would test the new and improved restaurant...
  • Called to Be Saints (2017)

    by Paul Sizemore
    The Arlington House was a mansion built as a living memorial to the late President George Washington by his adopted grandson. The estate was built on 1100 acres of land across the Potomac River from Washington DC. Decades later, a distant cousin named Robert E. Lee would become the resident of this magnificent home. Between 1841 and 1857, Lee was away from Arlington House, for several extended periods while serving in the Mexican War and then as superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, his alma mater. In 1857, Lee returned to Arlington to join his family and to serve as executor of the estate. Robert E. Lee and his wife Mary Anna lived at Arlington House until 1861, when the Commonwealth of Virginia ratified an alliance with the Confederacy and seceded from the Union. Lee, who had been a Major General for the Virginia Military Forces in April 1861, feared for his wife’s safety and anticipated the loss of their family inheritance! Therefore he moved her and his family to a new residence. Following the ratification of secession by Virginia, Federal Troops crossed the Potomac and took up positions around Arlington...
  • Those Who Most Need a Blessing

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Can a child pass up a tasty marshmallow? A researcher who wanted to know set up an experiment. He left a succession of four-year-olds alone in a room, seated at a table. On the table was a single marshmallow. The researcher told the children that they could eat the marshmallow when he left the room, or they could wait until he returned. If they waited, they would receive a second marshmallow. The children had a choice: one marshmallow now or two marshmallows if they were patient. The researcher then left the room. As you would guess, the researcher watched and recorded the responses of the children through a hidden window. You can probably guess the results.

Illustrated Resources from 2014 to 2016

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  • Black Lives, Blue Lives - All Lives Matter

    by Jim Chern
    Professor Henry Gates, had been returning home from an international trip. He and his driver were having difficulty trying to open the front door of his house. A concerned neighbor called the police thinking that she was witnessing someone trying to break into the house. When Police Sergeant Crowley arrived to investigate, Gates, who is an African-American, accused him of racial profiling. Tensions escalated, words were exchanged and Gates was arrested...
  • Epiphany 4A (2014)

    by Delmar Chilton
    ("Less than ten years ago a couple of researchers at Princeton Seminary studied what they called The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teen-agers. Christian Smith and Melinda Denton concluded from their research that 21st century American teenagers of almost all religions share a common theological outlook called 'Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism,' or MTD for short...")
  • Live Different: The Beatitudes of Jesus

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("Is "Think Different" really different? And is Apple Inc. really revolutionary? The ad campaign was brilliant. And there's no denying that computers, smart phones, search engines, and social media have revolutionized our lives. On a deeper level, though, 'Think Different' was just more Silicon Valley hype, and no one sold the Kool-Aid better than Steve Jobs...")
  • Blessing and Being Blessed

    by Beth Johnston
    Early in this past week the big news was the death of American folk singer-songwriter, Pete Seeger. I've known some of his songs since I was a child but before last week I could not have told you that this was the name of the singer who made them popular. As I looked at the list of those songs though, it really did not surprise me that thy were his songs...
  • Anxiety and Sanctity

    by Terrance Klein
    We celebrate the Solemnity of All the Saints. It's a good time to remember that there is really only one thing about which we should be anxious. Are we fulfilling the purpose of our lives, of our very existence? Are we becoming saints? In the end—at the end—that's the one thing that matters: not to be found wanting before God...
  • Stand Up and Show Your Soul!

    by Nicholas Lang
    ("In her book A Passion for Life, Joan Chittister writes 'For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean is "icon," "star," "hero," ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves.'...")
  • Are You Blessed?

    by Philip McLarty
    Maureen was a member of my congregation in Odessa, Texas. In her early years she was a ballerina. In midlife, she taught ballet at the Maureen Emerson School of Dance. By the time I got there, she was in her senior years and bedridden with rheumatoid arthritis. We had a dedicated corps of volunteers who visited the sick and homebound, and they all told me what a blessing I’d get out of visiting Maureen. They were right. I found her upbeat and cheerful and teeming with life. She was quick to ask how I was doing, and she wanted to know all about my family. I couldn’t escape the irony: A once-graceful ballerina now reduced to a tiny, gnarled, twisted body confined to a hospital bed. She had every reason to be bitter and complain and feel sorry for herself. Instead, she exuded a spirit of joy and optimism and gratitude for life in all its abundance. She turned a curse into a blessing, not by living in denial, but by living by faith. God was her strength and hope. That’s what she shared with others, and that’s what I think she’d have me share with you today...
  • A New Identity

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    As a background story to keep in mind, I suggest one of the pre-eminently Christian sagas of our time, the Harry Potter series. As the first of the seven books begins, (2) Harry is about to turn eleven years-old, living with his aunt and uncle, who treat him outrageously like an outsider to their home, favoring their own son Dudley. And all that Harry knows about his parents are that they died senselessly in a car crash, leaving him orphaned. He lives with an orphan identity in a home where he is not really wanted, constantly feeling as an outsider. On the night that Harry turns eleven, that all changes...
  • Robed in White Around the Throne

    by G. Lee Ramsey Jr.
    ("Nathan cleaned the church sanctuary every Saturday evening so that it would be ready for worship on Sunday mornings. One Saturday evening, I went to the sanctuary to collect the Bible that I had left there the previous Sunday. But just before I entered the sanctuary, I heard Nathan's voice coming from inside. He seemed to be having a conversation, but I could not hear anyone else talking...")
  • Saints in the Shadows

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("Jesus, though, lifted up the lives of those from whom we'd rather look away: the lost, the lame, the lonely, the lovelorn, the left-behind. A blind beggar from the streets of Jericho. A Samaritan who helped a beaten man. A father with two troublesome sons and a weary heart. A woman bent-over for eighteen years. Another with twelve demons in her spirit. Peter, the fool, who loved Jesus and almost never understood him...")
  • Needed: Three New Saints

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    If I had a wish-list for the church today, it would include a request for three saints of old to re-appear in a new guise. What the church needs today is a new Augustine of Hippo, a new Francis of Assisi, and a new Thomas More...
  • Humvee Holiness and Humble Holiness

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Halloween is the ultimate holiday of 'pretending'. The community of 'all saints' didn't need to play 'pretend'. Their lives witnessed to the living presence of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who made them all into 'transformers', transformers of lives, transformers of hopes, transformers of dreams, transformers of the world they lived in....")
  • The True Nature of Happiness

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Some years ago the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer published an article entitled: "How Do You Measure Up As A Man? The article stated that some extensive research had been conducted on the 20th century standards for measuring a man. The criteria were quite interesting and I thought that I might list them for the men here this morning just to see how they measure up.
  • What Is So Blessed About the Beatitudes?

    by Todd Weir
    ("One of my favorite lines in Monty Python's movie Life with Brian has a scene from the Sermon on the Mount among people in the back of the crowd struggling to hear. They are arguing and bickering with each other while Jesus is speaking and one man asks what Jesus is saying. 'I think he said, 'Blessed are the cheese makers'. 'The cheese makers, what's so blessed about the cheese makers?' a woman asks.'...")

Illustrated Resources from 2011 to 2013

  • The Four Daughters of God

    by Phil Bloom
    ("A sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux has this intriguing title: . They are Truth, Justice, Mercy and Peace. In the sermon the Four Daughters come before God after our first parents fell, that is, after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. The held a kind of trial: Truth spoke first...")
  • True Happiness

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("On October 2, 2006 ten Amish schoolgirls were murdered at the Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. While the rest of the world was horrified and angry at this horrific massacre and even though the Amish parents of these children were terribly hurt and grief stricken, as you might imagine, they stunned the world by immediately forgiving the killer of their children...")
  • Blest Are You

    by Bill Gordon
    ["Now, what scene do you picture in your mind (when you read about the Sermon on the Mount? Does it look something like this? This is a lovely scene, isn't it? Very pastoral. This is a painting by 19th century artist Gustave Doré..." and two more paintings)
  • All Saints’ Day (B)(2012)

    by Denis Hanly, MM
    And now there’s a little a poem that I would like to, it’s an anonymous one, but this is his tribute to All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. The saints are like windows. Through them the light of God’s wisdom streams into the world, banishing the darkness and brightening the road for uncertain travellers. Through them the warmth of God’s love radiates throughout the world, banishing the coldness, warming the hearts of even the most forlorn of his creatures. And through them we catch a glimpse for a moment of another world, a world that lies not just beyond the walls of our eternal home, but even beyond the stars...
  • If the Shoe Fits

    by Beth Johnston
    I love the “Family Circus” cartoon series. Bill Keane, the artist, has the knack of taking something profound and saying it in a picture and a very few words. In this block the mom is walking with her kids on the sidewalk and a woman asks her how she divides her love among so many children. She replies simply, “I don’t divide it, I multiply it!”
  • Roll Call

    by Rick Miles
    A young man tells about the most devastating event of his life; the death of his mother. His mother was a beautiful person, this young man writes, not because of any remarkable physical appearance, but because of her deep faith in God and her love of her family. She never complained about her life being cut short at the age of forty nine. Throughout her suffering, his mother would say, "I thank God for my family and my life." Even though she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his mother radiated the joy that comes from placing her total trust in God. Each morning her husband would say to her, "This is the day that the Lord has made!" Courageously, she would respond, "Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" So she responded with her nearly last breath. That is saintly faith; living life trusting in nothing other than God. That's the first thing that we are to be about as saints...
  • God Bless America and All of the Families of the Eart

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    In reading this week for preparation I ran across an insightful commentator speaking on the third Beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” He writes of those blessed in this third Beatitude: …they are the meek, who renounce all rights of their own for the sake of Jesus Christ. When they are berated, they are quiet. When violence is done to them, they endure it. When they are cast out, they yield. They do not sue for their rights; they do not make a scene when injustice is done them. They do not want rights of their own. They want to leave all justice to God…. What is right for their Lord should be right for them. Only that. In every word, in every gesture, it is revealed that they do not belong on this earth. Let them have heaven, the world says sympathetically, that is where they belong. But Jesus says, they will inherit the earth. The earth belongs to these who are without rights and power. Those who now possess the earth with violence and injustice will lose it, and those who renounced it here, who were meek unto the cross, will rule over the new earth. We should not think here of God’s punishing justice in this world (Calvin). Rather, when the realm of heaven will descend [Rev. 21], then the form of the earth will be renewed, and it will be the earth of the community of Jesus. God does not abandon the earth. God created it. God sent God’s Son to earth. God built a community on earth…. But Golgotha, too, is a piece of the earth. From Golgotha, where the meekest died, the earth will be made new. When the realm of God comes, then the meek will inherit the earth. (1) Any guesses about who wrote this? It was written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1936, as Hitler’s power was rising...
  • Epiphany 4A (2011)

    by Dorothy Okray
    (In order to view the text more easily, right click on your mouse and drag it across the text. It will turn white against the black background.)
  • Blessings, Not Lists

    by Andrew Prior
    ("For Matthew, Jesus is the new and greater Moses. Today is the beginning of his teaching, the first sermon we see, if you like. If Jesus is the new Moses, and he has also gone up the mountain, then these ten sayings we call The Beatitudes are Jesus' version of The Ten Commandments. How are we to hear them?...")
  • Commandments for Daily Life

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Almost thirty years ago, Daniel Berrigan wrote a little book that he entitled Ten Commandments for the Long Haul. It was, in effect, a handbook of sorts on how to be a prophet in today's world...")
  • Lamplight vs. Starlight

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("In the middle of the New Mexico desert, astronomers fume about the 'light pollution' from all the sprawling cities that are gradually snaking out across the land. Even on the darkest moonless nights, the stars that used to gleam and twinkle so brilliantly look faded and dim. We who dwell in the middle of cities and suburbs rarely glance heavenward at night anymore - at least not to see stars...")
  • Living the Life that Matters

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Miss Thompson was Teddy's teacher. You know what a lot of teachers say at the beginning of the year: "I love you all. You are all important to me. I have no favourites." Teachers lie sometimes. Of course they have favourites. Some of their students they just don't like. Teddy Stollard was one of those students that Miss Thompson did not care for...." and other quotes)

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2010

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  • Maybe Yes, Maybe No

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Many years ago a man received a magnificent horse. All his neighbors came to admire the horse. They said to him, 'you are the luckiest man in our village'. The man replied, 'Maybe yes, maybe no'...")
  • Perfect Joy

    by Phil Bloom
    ("This story is told about St. Francis: One day he and Brother Leo conversed as they went from village to village. They discussed what would consitute perfect joy. Brother Leo had walked with Francis for many monthes so he knew that perfect joy was more than a good meal and a bottle of wine. He suggested some other possibilities:..")
  • Ordinary 4A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a certain Catholic college was trying to recruit a brilliant high school quarter back from a small southern town. The coach and the president told the players on the team that the potential recruit was from the 'bible belt'...")
  • A Date with the Departed

    from the New York Times
    ("The pumpkins, penny candy and neighborly hordes of goblins and ghosts shouting 'Trick or treat!' remind us of the ancients and their belief that the souls of the dead must be appeased. But it's the days that follow Halloween that most interest me...") (You will need free passwords to access this site.)
  • Food for the World

    by Fran Ota
    ("When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor are hungry they call me a communist.' These are the words of Dom Helder Câmara, archbishop of the Brazilian diocese of Olinda and Recife who was brutally murdered on August 27, 1999...")
  • A Gathering of Spirits

    by Jan Richardson
    ("The folks who contributed artwork to the auction each had to write an artist's statement to accompany our piece. Here's how mine went: 'Before the paint, before the color-drenched layers, it began with a prayer. Penciled words across the white paper...")

Illustrated Resources for All Saints Day from the Archives

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  • All Saints (A)(2005)

    by Hubert Beck
    ("In his novel Anything For Billy, Larry McMurtry describes his anti-hero Ben Sippy, who has left a good life in Philadelphia for the wild adventures of the late nineteenth century west, as suddenly being overcome with a restless longing that he found undefinable...")
  • Wanted: Saints

    Poetic Sermon by Christina Berry
    ("Close your eyes so you can see them, all of them, all of them gathered, from every land and nation, from every time and place. The crowd stretches as far as the eye can see, and even though they are all robed in white, it is plain to see that they are of every size and shape and color and that each one is an individual....")
  • All Saints (C)(1998)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was this priest who was turned off by saints. He felt that his teachers all through school had forced the saints down his throat. He was sick and tired of saints. Moreover, the saints that he had heard about were creepy people. You wouldn't want them on your parish council or your teen club committees...")
  • All Saints (A)(2008)

    by Ken Kesselus
    ("Maybe a trick-or-treater could just go dressed as a regular child, such as the boy who went to a scouting contest for homemade racing cars. It was one of those events where the contestants are supposed to do their own work but most of the fathers help too much...")
  • All Saints (A)(2008)

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("None of us can have missed the fact that this year was the bi-centenary of the death of Nelson. His story has been commemorated in drama, in literature, in ceremonies and grand gatherings. He was one of our great heroes - in a sense one of the first great celebrities. In an era long before television and film, he was nonetheless famous, feted by the masses...")
  • All Saints (B)(2003)

    by Alex McAllister
    ("A wonderful priest I know once told a story about a woman he visited in an extremely isolated area. He was having a cup of tea with her and talking generally about things when he slipped in the question, 'Are you not lonely out here all on your own?' 'Lonely?' she replied, 'Of course not.' And she nodded in the direction of the holy pictures of Our Lord and Our Lady on the wall...")
  • At Table With the Saints

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Novelist Anatole France said that when he was a little boy he read the story of Simeon Stylites, and decided that he was called to do something similar. So he went into the kitchen, climbed up on the kitchen cabinet, and stayed there all morning long. But by lunch time he got down, having had enough...")
  • Roll Call (2011)

    by Rick Miles
    A group of Christians from the United States was on a mission trip in Nicaragua. While there, a young man in this group was killed. This left the group devastated. That Sunday a memorial service was held in the local Episcopal Mission. From the altar the priest said, "The peace of the Lord be with you." The people of the congregation, Nicaraguan people, began to embrace these North Americans and say, "Paz" or "peace." These people who had suffered so much in so many ways themselves were passing the peace of Christ to this hurting mission group. During the Eucharist there was a pause. The congregation was silent for a moment. Then someone called out a name. In one voice the congregation responded, "Presente!" Another name was called out. Once again the response was, "Presente!" During the service at least twenty names were called out, and each time the same response: "Presente!" The mission trip group suddenly understood what was happening when they heard the name of the young man from their group called out. Then they realized that all the names were those of persons who had died locally. From that moment on they joined in the response "Presente!" "Presente" is used by school children to answer roll call. At the Altar the word "presente" means "in our midst" or "present with us."...
  • All Saints (B)(2006)

    by William Oldland
    ("While I was in seminary I was introduced to a story about a company. The name of the company is not important, but the story of its life and vitality are. The company began as the dream of a couple. They were developing products from natural ingredients. They made soaps, toothpastes, deodorants and other items without the use of all the chemicals and preservatives...")
  • All Saints (A)(2005)

    by William Oldland
    ("I remember a story I was told about Mother Teresa and a teacher of mine in seminary. He is a retired Episcopal Bishop and was once a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. When he was younger he went to India. He was sent to minister in the hospital where Mother Teresa worked. When he arrived she assigned him to a particular patient. This man had an advanced case of leprosy...")
  • All Saints (A)(2005)

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("A number of years ago Orel Hirschheiser was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had just won the World Series, and Orel had been named 'The most valuable player of the series'. One of the television shows about the series showed him in the dugout just before the ninth inning started. He was leaning against the wall and his lips were moving. It was obvious he was saying something to himself..." and other quotes)
  • The Humility That Leads to Sainthood

    by John Pavelko
    Gayle Williams was a British South African who decided to respond to God's call and go to Afghanistan to serve. Her work focused on rehabilitation. She sought to raise awareness of the needs of the people with disabilities within the community. She tried to integrate children with disabilities into local schools. Gayle also provided rehabilitative training. She had been peacefully living in Afghanistan for over two years, but a radical Islamic group decided that she was proselytizing and they marked her for death. On October 20, two men rode up to her on a motorcycle and fired seven shots. Gayle Williams died a martyrs death serving her Lord and the people she loved...
  • All Saints (A)(2008)

    by Michael Phillips
    ("There were two brothers who inherited a construction firm from their father. They were well known around the small town in which they lived as hellions, carousers, wife beaters, dog kickers, and blue streak cursers. As it happened, one of the brothers died suddenly of a heart attack...")
  • Stewardship Through Service

    by Billy Strayhorn
    Osceola McCarty was a washer woman. She washed other peoples' clothes all of her life. And every week, she put a little aside in a savings account. Her banker told that was a wise thing to do. So, she did. After awhile, she had quite a bit of money and her banker suggested she invest it. So, she did. In the summer of 1995 she did something unheard of, she donated $150,000, most of her life savings to the University of Southern Mississippi to help students get an education and have a better life than she did...
  • All Saints: Saints and Sinners

    by J. Barry Vaughn
    ("In the early part of this century, Henry Joel Cadbury came to teach New Testament at Harvard Divinity School. Cadbury was one of the great New Testament scholars of our century and was at work on what became the Revised Standard Version of the Bible when World War I broke out. A pacifist, Cadbury would not fight in the war but instead volunteered to work with the Quakers caring for the wounded and dying on the battle fields of Europe...")
  • All Saints: Weaving Community with the Threads of Need

    by J. Barry Vaughn
    ("When I say the word 'saint', who springs to mind? I imagine that one of the first people that most of us think about its Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The late Pope John Paul II 'beatified' her, that is, declared that she may be referred to as 'Blessed' Teresa of Calcutta. A person who is declared 'blessed' generally goes on to be declared a saint...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives for Ordinary/Epiphany 4A

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  • Turning a Loss Into a Win

    by Robert Allred
    ("One of the great Christian apologists of all time, C.S. Lewis, was fond of sharing how an indefinable sense of joy had haunted him throughout his life. In the low times of his youth: the death of his mother, evil schoolmasters, early failures in friendships, he later realized that there was a hidden awareness that the divine had something better for him...")
  • The Beatitudes Are Not Platitudes

    by Mickey Anders
    ("A friend once came to Harold Kushner, author of the book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, and said to him: 'Two weeks ago, for the first time in my life I went to the funeral of a man my own age. I didn't know him well, but we worked together, talked to each other from time to time, had kids about the same age. He died suddenly over the weekend..." and other quotes)
  • The Music of Love

    by Timothy Calvert, OP
    ("The difference between someone who can play an instrument and a musician isn't to be found in the level of skill they have acquired. You can teach yourself to play an instrument, and if you practise hard you will in the end probably come to make a fairly recognisable noise. But only the musician can enter into the music. TS Eliot writes...")
  • Worrying Won't Get You Where You Want to Go

    by Dennis Clark
    ("A pastor was giving a sermon about worrying. In an effort to emphasize that worrying never achieves anything, he said, 'Ninety-nine percent of the things we worry about never happen'. 'Aha,' said a woman in the back. 'You see. It does work!'...")
  • Everyday Lives of Ordinary People

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("Kierkegaard admitted that he was an intellectual 'aristocrat'. His father was one of the wealthiest men in Denmark, so his inheritance meant that he never worked but instead could pour his short life entirely into writing. But every day he grabbed his favorite walking stick or umbrella and took a walk in Copenhagen for what he called his 'people bath'...")
  • Ordinary 4A (2005)

    by Michael Closs
    ("A couple of weeks ago, in the Sunday edition of the Miami Herald, there was a story of Mexican migrants written from a different perspective than one normally hears. We are accustomed to hearing the stories of illegal Mexican immigration into the United States from both the American side and the Mexican side...")
  • The Blessing Way

    by Tom Cox
    ("There is no 'way to happiness'. Happiness is 'the way'. Decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination...")
  • On Riches and Poverty

    by Tom Cox
    ("At first glance, the Beatitudes seem at odds with common sense. How can mourning, being poor in spirit and persecuted be termed 'Blessed'? But if we look at modern society we have our own set of apparent contradictions. We own more and possess less, We buy more but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families...")
  • Fools Following a Foolish God

    by Barry Dawson
    ("Millard Fuller, was a successful businessman, and anything but foolish. By the time he was 29 years old, he was worth one million dollars. His life should have been absolutely wonderful. Except something was wrong. Something was missing. His marriage was on shaky ground. His faith was not as strong and vibrant as he had hoped it would be..." and another illustration)
  • Ordinary 4A (1999)

    by Mary Durkin
    "Once upon a time there was a family suffering from the strain caused by sibling rivalry. The brother and sister seemed at odds over everything. Sometimes the rivalry was overt but more often then not, it was covert and even more destructive. The parents, convinced that theirs was the only family in which this happened, were dismayed at their children’s behavior..."
  • Being Blessed

    by Frank Fisher
    ("The upside down room is supposedly located in an elaborate California mansion. All the room’s furniture, the chairs, tables, floor lamps, even the fire place hang upside down from the ceiling. The only thing left on the floor is a chandelier which is mounted pointing upwards in the middle of the room. The mansion’s owner was famous for lavish parties...")
  • True Happiness

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("George Matheson was a great preacher and hymn writer who lost his sight at an early age. He thought of his blindness as his thorn in the flesh, as his personal cross. For several years, he prayed that his sight would be restored. Like most of us, I suppose, he believed that personal happiness would come to him only after the handicap was gone..." and another illustration)
  • Broken Windows

    by Patricia Gillespie
    ("There is a story of two men who were shipwrecked on a small island. The two men were there for some time, and each determined that the other was unworthy of being saved. So they decided that their only recourse to help was prayer...")
  • Traveling Lightly

    by Leah Grace Goodwin
    ("Many years ago, a people were driven from their beautiful island home. They migrated to another island, poor and sparse by comparison to the home for which they longed. Someday, they were promised, they would be able to return to their homeland, but that day would be centuries in the coming...")
  • Ordinary 4A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    Once upon a time, Molly Whuppi and the girl’s basketball team at Mother Mary High School had a home game against Christ the King High School. CK was always a push over for MM because their players were not very good, didn’t have good coaches, and didn’t take the game seriously..."
  • Ordinary 4A (2002)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time, long, long ago in a country far, far away, there lived in the County of Kildare, a very holy woman named Brigid. She was in fact the abbess of a monastery of brothers and nuns with a few priests. Brigid was a very effective abbess. The monastery was always neat and clean, the sacred hours were sung punctually and well, the fields were well maintained...")
  • Ordinary 4A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Thirty years ago this month a group of young Chicago suburban housewives with small children were intrigued by the changes in the Church. They wanted to know more about what it all meant. However, with the demands of family they were unable to attend any of the evening lectures offered in their community...")
  • Ordinary 4A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Thirty years ago this month a group of young Chicago suburban housewives with small children were intrigued by the changes in the Church. They wanted to know more about what it all meant. However, with the demands of family they were unable to attend any of the evening lectures offered in their community...")
  • Be Happy

    by Patricia Harris
    ("When Sister Mary Corita was asked to submit a piece of her artwork for consideration in the Vatican exhibit at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair, she chose to do a piece on the Beatitudes. Although it was not finally selected for the exhibit, the 4' by 40' banner is a dynamic, vibrant testament to Christ's message. Splashed with vivid color and dense with text, Corita's work pulses with the power of blessing...")
  • Ordinary 4A (2002)

    from Homilies Alive
    "Testimony of Hope is a beautiful book written by then Archbishop, now Cardinal, Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. Cardinal Nguyen was imprisoned for 16 years and for 9 of those years was in solitary confinement. The pectoral cross that he wears is one that he made from scraps of barb wire from his days in prison. In his conferences the Cardinal related much of his own experience of imprisonment and the spiritual growth that it fostered in his soul..."
  • The Seeds of Word and Imagination Becoming...

    by Rex Hunt
    A woman went into a marketplace, looked around, and saw a sign that read: ‘God’s Fruit Stand.’ “Thank goodness. It’s about time,” she said to herself. She went inside and she said, “I would like a perfect banana, a perfect cantaloupe, a perfect peach and six perfect strawberries.” God, who was behind the counter, shrugged and said, “I’m sorry. I sell only seeds”
  • Discovering What We Were Meant To Be

    by John Jewell
    ("If you've ever seen the television show Walker: Texas Ranger starring Chuck Norris, you've seen 'silent strength' when Walker stands silently as the bad guys berate him. As he stands silently, you and I who are watching know that black belt champion Chuck Norris can lay them flat in three seconds...")
  • Things Aren't Always What They Seem

    by Beth Johnston
    When I was in Junior High I watched a movie called The Hiding Place which told the story of a family from Holland who were eventually sent to concentration camps because they helped to hide Jews from the Nazis. The TenBoom family were watchmakers and committed Christians. Their home was always an open house for anyone in need...
  • Following Your Game Plan

    by Fred Kane
    ("Epiphany concludes next Sunday on the Feast of Bowls in the Season of the Playoffs. The Season of the Playoffs is a season of preparation and anticipation which reaches its end on the high holy day called 'Super Bowl Sunday'. Today we are in the 'off week' as the players and teams and fans rest. They all take a Sabbath week to prepare for the Feast of Bowls...")
  • So These Are Blessings?

    by John Manzo
    ("I never thought, in a sermon, I would be quoting from the comedian, George Carlin. He became famous for his routine The Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television. Lest you worry, this is not a list of seven words you can’t say in church. Instead, George Carlin has come up with a list of imponderables. Here are some of them...")
  • True Joy versus Temporary Happiness

    by Edward Markquart
    ("There was a young man who wanted to discover the way to truth, goodness and salvation. The young man came to Buddha and asked him to show him the way to salvation. Buddha took the young man down to the river and out into the middle of the river where it was waist deep. Buddha took the young man by the back of the neck and put his head under water..." and other illustrations)
  • Being Blest

    by David Martyn
    Last week a Kelowna teenager, Glenn Edwards, was killed in a police shootout. Catherine Green, whom he had taken as a hostage, was shown on television immediately after the incident asking "Is he going to be alright." It wasn’t an idle remark, it came from genuine concern. It may not surprize you that some in our community were horrified at her remark. She simply should have been grateful that the streets were rid of a repeat offender. One less person that would mark them as a target for home invasion. Please don’t judge those whose fear has stripped them of compassion. The fear is real. It is as real as the poverty that has stripped kids on the street of hope. Wednesday’s paper had a headline "Nice guy or violent thug?" It quoted a friend of Glenn Edwards as saying "He was a nice guy…everyone around here liked him. If you didn’t have a place to go or food in your stomach, he’d always help you out." I read the words and then looked at the picture of his friend. It was Thomas. Thomas had moved to Kelowna two years ago, lived just up the street, went to KSS, the high school two blocks away, first semester he had a B report card, then C, then D, then he dropped out, came to our Youth Group, helped with morning coffee, a Weaver had visited the home. He came asking if there was something to do to help, a very likeable, lost looking kid. We haven’t seen Thomas lately, he is no longer at his family home, he is just another kid of the street...
  • Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

    by David Martyn
    The Monty Python movie “The Life of Brian” formally begins with Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount, but the focus is on the people on the fringe of the crowd—we listen in on their conversation. “What was that?” “I don’t know. I was too busy talking … I think it was ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’” “Ahh, what’s so special about the cheesemakers?” “Well, obviously, this is not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.” “See? If you hadn’t been going on, we’d have heard that… Oh, come on. Let’s go to the stoning. …Well, blessed is just about everyone with a vested interest in the status quo, as far as I can tell” … Yeah. Well, what Jesus blatantly fails to appreciate is that it’s the meek who are the problem. Yes, yes. Absolutely. Yes, I see.” And at that point a fight breaks out and the message of Jesus isn’t heard...
  • If I Had Only Known

    by David Martyn
    ("Harold Kushner tells an old Hassidic story of the rabbi who hired a horse and carriage to take him to a neighbouring village. The carriage was making its way along a road with fruit trees and orchards on either side. At one point, the coachman stopped by the side of the road and told his passenger, 'I'm going to climb over the fence and steal some of that fruit...")
  • It's Not Your Fault

    by David Martyn
    ("Mark Twain once wrote a piece that might help us get back on track. Actually he came up with a new translation for our modern culture. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit; for they shall be poor in purse. Blessed are they that mourn; for none shall come near to disturb them. Blessed are the meek; for everyone shall give them an opportunity for the display of their meekness...")
  • The World Turned Upside Down

    by James McCrea
    ("In the 1600's, Rene Descartes undertook a difficult experiment in philosophy. In essence, he wondered what a human being could truly know if they weren't certain if they could trust the evidence of their own senses. What is left if almost everything is torn away?...")
  • The Happiness Machine

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    ("Once upon a time there was a kingdom of people who pursued happiness. Nothing was more important to them than being happy. The pursuit of happiness was written into their charter. And the happier they became, the happier they wanted to be. The source of the people's happiness was a magic Happiness Machine...")
  • What Does It Mean to Be Blessed?

    by Clare Oatney
    ("Nancy Asbury suggests that the conditions listed in the Beatitudes—being poor in spirit or persecuted, mourning, hungering and thirsting for righteousness—can be seen as indicators. They are behaviors that show we are willing to engage in the kind of life that offers blessings. Those who mourn feel that pain because they have lived in relationship, open to love and growth and pain and loss...")
  • Epiphany 4A (2002)

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("Bless us, Dear Lord, and extend our boundaries. Amen. This simple prayer I just said is the essence of the best selling book The Prayer of Jabez, which has sold over nine million copies to date. It is based on a prayer of an Old Testament person called 'Jabez' from 1 Chronicles 4:10. The idea of asking God for a blessing may perhaps be offensive to some...")
  • The Super Bowl Beatitudes

    by Michael Phillips
    ("Some of you might be asking yourselves at this point what football has to do with the Beatitudes, and that's a darn good question! First, you need to recognize that the Super Bowl isn't just about football. It's about competition; it's about economics; it's about the politics of ownership, and it's actually a religion for some...")
  • The Paradox of Poverty

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("During the Christmas season the parties of the rich were very good but the parties of the poor were just fantastic. At the parties of the rich people stood around sipping expensive drinks and eating expensive food and eyeing one another self-consciously. 'Am I in the right company? am I appropriately dressed? do people notice me?...")
  • God Cares About Money

    by John Purdy
    ("A classic movie It's a Wonderful Life is about a man who runs a Savings and Loan. George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is the town's favorite son; he gives up his dreams of adventure to stay home and take over the family bank. One Christmas season a large deposit of cash is mislaid; there is a run on the bank, and George faces ruin..." and discussion of several popular titles like How to Make Friends and Influence People)
  • The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached

    by William Quick
    ("A perceptive visitor to the Rockefeller Center in New York City is surely reminded of the impact the Greatest Sermon Ever Preached has had on the world. On the first floor of the building one finds an extensive series of murals depicting man's technological progress in the mastery of nature. Amid these many representations of mankind's glorious achievements stands one mural which at first glance seems out of place. It is a representation of Christ teaching on the Mount..." and other quotes)
  • God's Psychiatry

    by John Ewing Roberts
    ("Frederick William IV of Prussia once visited a school and asked the children some questions. Pointing to the stone on his ring, a flower in his button-hole, and a bird that flew past the window, he asked to what kingdom each of them belonged. The children gave him the right answers: the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal kingdom..." and several other illustrations and quotes - recommended!!)
  • All of God's Blessings

    by Gary Roth
    ("Once upon a time, there was a company who had two junior executives. One did everything by the book, was diligent and trustworthy, always made sure he was covered and, since he always went by the book, rarely made mistakes. The other also was a hard and diligent worker, but he often tested the rules, sometimes received some criticism, and sometimes made mistakes...")
  • Upside Down

    by Jeeva Sam
    ("If Jesus had said: Blessed are the rich, for they will always be catered to. Blessed are those who laugh, for they have a good time at the expense of others. Blessed are those who are strong, for they will be able to fight their way out of most difficult situations. Blessed are those who have it made, for they will never be hungry or thirsty...")
  • You Are More Than You Know

    by John Shea, SJ
    ("Bryce Courtenay, in his autobiographical novel The Power of One, begins with a chilling and yet wonderful episode. It begins with a six year old boy. He is an English little boy. His father has been killed by a rogue elephant and his mother has gone into a sanitarium after the killing of his father...")
  • What Makes My Life Matter?

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Tony Campolo wrote a book a few years ago Who Switched the Price Tags? In his introduction he says: 'When I was a boy in Philadelphia, October 30 had special significance. The night before Halloween was designated as Mischief Night. On that night, the adults of our neighborhood braced themselves against all sorts of petty 'crimes' at the hands of the younger generation..." and another quote)
  • Illustrations (Epiphany 4A)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Two young men in a village in India were close friends. although one had wealthy parents, while the other was the son of a poor widow. One day the rich young man persuaded his friend to join him in a criminal activity, they were caught, brought before the magistrate, and found guilty they were sentenced to pay a fine or go to prison. The rich boy paid the fine and was released at once. The one who had no money had to serve a prison term..." and several others)
  • Upside Down

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Philip Yancey points out in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, 'Any Greek scholar will tell you the word "blessed" is far too sedate and beatific to carry the percussive force Jesus intended. The Greek word conveys something like a short cry of joy, 'Oh, you lucky person!'…'How lucky are the unlucky!' Jesus said in effect..." and other illustrations)
  • Epiphany 4A (2005)

    by Samuel D. Zumwalt
    ("In October 1998, Mitch, a category 5 hurricane, struck Honduras with such devastation that thousands of lives were lost and one-third of the population became homeless. Just over five months later I went there as the guest of a philanthropist parishioner. It turned out to be the first of nine trips. My heart was broken and then stolen by what I saw and heard...")

Other Resources from Ordinary/Epiphany 4A (2020)

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Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

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Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

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Other Resources from All Saints 2011 to 2013

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Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

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Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

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Other Resources from 2003 and 2004

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Other Resources from 1999

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Resources from the Bookstore

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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Recursos en Español

Second Beatitude (Those Who Mourn)(Matthew 5:4)

Third Beatitude (The Meek)(Matthew 5:5)

Fifth Beatitude (The Merciful)(Matthew 5:7)

Seventh Beatitude (The Peacemakers)(Matthew 5:9)

Currently Unavailable