Luke 3: 10-18

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!!]
  • *Illustrations for Advent

    from the Archives
  • Illustrations on Justice

    from the Archives
  • *John the Baptist Preaches

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("There's a movie out now called Pay It Forward in which a teacher asks her class to think of an idea that will change our world and then put it into action. One student, Trevor, took her seriously and explains his idea. He says, 'I do something for three people that they can't do for themselves. They don't pay me back but they pay it FORWARD, helping three other people...")
  • What Ought We to Do?

    by Sil Galvan
    There's a story I read to which some of you may be able to relate about the author's remembrances of her grandmother, Gagi. At the time of her grandfather's death, at 90 years of age, her grandparents had been married for over 50 years. Gagi felt the loss deeply. The central focus had been taken from her life, and she retreated from the world, entering into an extended period of mourning. Her grieving lasted nearly five years, and during that time, her granddaughter visited her every week or two. One day she visited Gagi expecting to find her in her usual state of quiescence. Instead, she found her sitting in her wheelchair beaming.
  • Advent 3C

    by William Loader
  • Advent's Third Step and Butterfly Joy

    by Anna Shirey
    On the news tonight I saw a 20/20 piece about Bonobos. Bonobos are peace-loving primates who stare deeply into your eyes as they bond, and settle their conflicts with sex instead of fighting. In the Bonobo culture the females are dominant, and power is decided not by size but by ability to get along with each other. The story was about how a group of women had developed an adoption center for orphaned Bonobos, in which each woman became a surrogate mother...
  • Exegetical Notes

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always excellent exegesis)

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • When in a Slump

    by Jim Chern
    ESPN magazine, a few years ago did a story on this – titled ‘A batting slump can be a scary thing’. In it, the writer talked about how going through these things can be a traumatic thing for players. Brady Anderson when he was in a horrible slump while playing for the Baltimore Orioles, was a passenger in a car driven by teammate Rene Gonzales. Gonzales was going far too fast on a dangerous road late at night in the rain, when Anderson said to Gonzales, “Gonz, if I wasn’t hitting .178, I’d ask you to slow down.” Texas Rangers outfielder George Wright was so exasperated as his batting average hit a career low that he said he wanted to change his name and move out of the country. Recently retired Mets third baseman David Wright said, “When you’re in a slump, you go to bed at night and you lie there, and your mind is racing, and you think about everything imaginable: your bat model, your bat size, your pitch selection, how you are wearing your pants.”...
  • Back to the Basics

    by Kathy Donley
    Two farmers, Bert and Harry, are deep in conversation about socialism. Bert thinks its great. Harry is not sure he understands. “Do you mean that if you have two tractors, and I have none, that you are to give me one of yours?” Bert says, “Yep, that’s what it means.” Then Harry says, “If you have two cars and I have none, you would give me the extra one?” Bert replies: “That’s right.” Harry is on a roll now, so he says “And if you have two hogs, and I don’t have any, I could have one of yours?” “Dad-gummit, Harry,” says Bert. “You know I have two hogs.”...
  • Preaching Helps (Advent 3C)(2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In one of his fine sermons some while back, I heard Tom Long tell a story about the church he joined when he moved to Atlanta a while back. At a New Members dinner, the pastor had people go around the table to introduce themselves and say a little something about why they had joined the church. Some noted the good children’s programs that gave their kids something to do after school and for a week or two in the summer—that kind of thing helps out Mom and Dad, you see. Some noted the convenience of the church’s location, the proximity to their home, the good parking. Still others appreciated the organist and the lovely music. Finally it came around to a man who told the group that for more years than he could remember he’d been a crack addict, a boozer, and a derelict but that through this church he found the power of Jesus to turn it all around and that’s why and how he became a member. As Long tells it, there all those new members sat, feeling sheepish. “We came for the good parking. He came for the salvation!”...
  • The Spirit of Christmas Present

    by Jim McCrea
    A number of years ago, Norman Cousins wrote an editorial in The Saturday Review in which he reported a conversation he had during a trip to India. He talked at length with a Hindu priest named Satis Prasad. The man said he wanted to come to our country to work as a missionary among the Americans. Cousins assumed that he meant that he wanted to convert Americans to the Hindu religion. But when he was asked about that, Satis said, “Oh no, I would like to convert them to the Christian religion. Christianity cannot survive in the abstract. It needs not membership, but believers. Not people who talk about their faith but live their faith. “The people of your country may claim they believe in Christianity; but from what I read at this distance, Christianity is more a custom than anything else. I would ask that you either accept the teachings of Jesus in your everyday life and in your affairs as a nation, or stop invoking His name as sanction for everything you do. I want to help save Christianity for the Christian.”
  • Beloved Child of God

    by Dave Russell
    For Jesus, baptism was about identity, and it is for us as well. Identity is something that can be slippery and something we may struggle with at times. And identity can be constantly changing. "I began life as the new Marshall baby my brothers’ little sister until my sister was born. Then I became one of the look-alike name-alike Marshall girls. Few could tell which was which. In high school I was one of the country kids. At a Kansas college I could at last be ME in class, in choir, on the news staff— except when I was Mary’s roommate or one of the Iowa kids....
  • Advent 3C (2018)

    by Austin Crenshaw Shelley
    As far as I know, Papa never discovered the secret my grandmother and I shared. Every Saturday she and I whisked into town in her faded blue Ford Torino. As I pushed our cart up and down the aisles of the Red & White, she carefully selected food in duplicate—two boxes of cereal, two jars of peanut butter, two bags of flour—until our cart looked like an abstract rendering of Noah’s ark with its produce and nonperishable food items arranged two by two. Then we’d check out (an achingly slow process involving a hefty stack of coupons), load the car with heavy paper grocery bags, and drive straight to the town’s food bank, where my grandmother would donate exactly half of everything she’d just purchased. She bought my silence each week with a small candy bar, which was not immune to her rule: one chocolate treat for me, one for the food bank...

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2015 to 2017

  • Movies/Scenes Representing Judgment

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • What Should We Do? Get Over Indifference for Starters.

    by Jim Chern
    A disturbing report came on talking about how police had discovered, yet another body out on Long Island, making 6 murder victims who had been identified in just a few days all in this one particular neighborhood. Investigators realized at this point that they were dealing with a serial killer. They started to put together a profile of the victims - all were women, they were all close in age, and had similar features and appearance. It also turned out that all of the victims were prostitutes...
  • I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy

    by Jim Eaton
    "Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been detained four hours, I heard an announcement: 'If anyone in the vicinity of Gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.' Well – one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly..."
  • Season of Anxiety

    by Todd Edmondson
    "One of the high-water marks of 20th century culture, an event that I revisit every year, is the 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas. The fact that it continues to air fifty years after its premiere lets me know that I'm not alone in this assessment. And while the conclusion, when Linus strides onto the stage to remind Charlie Brown and all those gathered in the school gym "What Christmas is really all about," might be the most rousing part of the short film, the opening scenes also speak in a pretty powerful way to the human condition..."
  • Baptism with Fire: Now Who Shall We Be?

    by Janet Hunt
    "For you and I who somehow hear John's words as being meant for us, when we ask 'What now?' John simply offers this: Share what you have plenty of. Don't take what is not yours. Be content with what you have been given. In a world where the challenges are so huge, one wonders how these seemingly small things could make any difference at all..."
  • John and Jesus

    by Rex Hunt
    "Storytellers and poets, both modern and biblical, have always presented him in colourful terms. It is poet and theologian John Shea who captures this 'colour' well in his poem The Man Who Was a Lamp: 'John expected an ax[e] to the root of the tree and instead he found a gardener hoeing around it. He dreamt of a man with a winnowing fan and a fire and along came a singing seed scatterer. He welcomed wrathful verdicts, then found a bridegroom on the bench'..."
  • Fire and the Seeds to Bear Fruit

    by Bryan Jaster
    "fires are good for the forest. But what does that mean? University of Minnesota forest ecologist Lee Frelich can help. He explains what the Boundary Waters Canoe Area would look like if fire were somehow completely controlled for the last century. The short answer: a sea of half-dead Christmas trees...
  • Advent 3C (2015)

    by Richard Johnson
    "a second grade class had invited their fathers to come to school on a particular day to observe how their children were being taught. It was a great idea, the teacher thought, but unfortunately very few fathers were able to come. So the teacher had the children go around the room and explain why their fathers could not be there: one father owned a grocery store, and could not get away; another was a doctor, and was too busy healing people..." and another illustration
  • God's Sense of Humor

    by Terrance Klein
    Make an adult visit to a long neglected childhood scene. Perhaps your primary school. You'll know something of the sensation recorded in William Wordsworth's poem Tintern Abbey. The rooms and hallways, which once seemed so spacious, so imposing upon your youthful self, will have shrunk in size and splendor. You'll wonder if perhaps the place diminished during your years of absence. It didn't. You grew...
  • The Two Faces of Advent

    by Nicholas Lang
    A friend of mine lost his wife a month ago today. She was 54 and died very unexpectedly. He told me that he asked God the question 'How could we possibly do Christmas under these circumstances?' The answer came to him in a dream. The messenger replied, 'During difficult times when she had every justifiable reason to keep a low flame on celebrating Christmas' she did the opposite. She blinded us with the light of Christmas so we could see...
  • The Road to Bethlehem

    by Jim McCrea
    "Sue Monk Kidd tells about one cold December day when she came out of a department store and saw an unshaven, threadbare man sitting on a bench. He had an inadequate jacket, shoes without socks, and a newspaper around his neck to try to keep out the cold. 'Such a pity,' she thought. But there was really nothing she could do. Just then a young girl who was about eleven walked by. She had a bright red scarf around her neck..." and another illustration
  • Chop Down a Tree

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Two images. Same subject (John the Baptist). Same setting (as we see him in the gospel lesson for Advent 3C...Luke 3:7-18). Same artist (Jacopo del Sallaio of Florence, Italy). Same pose. Same setting (a landscape). Same colors of garments. But what a difference five years makes...
  • In the Spirit

    by Andrew Prior
    And even apart from the moments of crisis, we are dis-spirited and tired. 'We go to church on Sunday 'cause we want to go to heaven Me and my family, ain't that how you're supposed to do? But I'm tired, Lord I'm tired Life is wearin' me smooth down to the bone No rest for the weary, ya just move on And I'm tired' (Toby Keith and Chuck Cannon as sung by Willie Nelson). Listen to Willie Nelson sing this and hear all the pain of life that has lost its meaning. Who wouldn't want to go down to the singing at Victory Hall?...
  • The Startling Babies of Christmas

    by Nancy Rockwell
    Last week baby news came at warp speed: Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook and a multi-billionaire, had a baby daughter, Max. In honor of her birth he and his wife established a non-profit fund of 45 billion dollars, to advance human potential and promote equality. Two days later, San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik intentionally orphaned their baby daughter, who is now in child protective custody without a penny to her unpublished name...
  • Chaos for Christmas

    by David Sellery
    For over fifty-years mathematicians and physicists have been developing a perspective to sort out random, inexplicable events… their causes, their results, their interactions. They call it Chaos Theory. Their hypothesis is that chaos exists only from moment to moment. Balance and harmony are the natural order. But they can only be seen from a requisite distance of time and space. As creatures with fallible, finite perspective we look for God's hand in the immediate, forgetting that his dimension is infinite. And it is seen only through the eyes of faith...
  • Rejoice and Seek

    by Jemonde Taylor
    "The African American artist Jonathan Green is one of American's great painters. He has ties to the community near Mepkin Abbey. The head of the monastery commissioned Jonathan Green in 2006 to create a work of art honoring a newly discovered burial ground on the monastery's property, holding the graves of Africans and African Americans from the time during and after slavery..."
  • Advent 3C (2015)

    by David Zersen
    I was reminded of another John the Baptist in my re-reading of Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gilead. The grandfather, in a line of three generations of preachers, was a wild, gun-toting abolitionist in Kansas where he did everything to try to prevent Kansas from becoming a slave-owning state. When he preached law, sporting unwashed clothes, wind-blown hair and a six-gun, hearers were terrified...

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2009 to 2014

  • Getting There

    by Robert Baggott
    ("A number of years ago Norman Cousins wrote an editorial in The Saturday Review in which he reported a conversation he had on a trip to India. He talked at length with a Hindu priest named Satis Prasad. The man said he wanted to come to our country to work as a missionary among the Americans. Cousins assumed that he meant that he wanted to convert Americans to the Hindu religion. But when asked, Satis Prasad said, 'Oh no, I would like to convert them to the Christian religion..." and another illustration)
  • Joy, the Color of Grace

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("Once a parishioner was painting a small chapel. It was one of those small white picturesque chapels. As he began to get to the windows he noticed that there was a great deal of church left and not much paint. So he added some paint thinner to the bucket and proceeded on. As he reached the eaves of the church, he again noticed that the paint was running out. So once again he added some thinner...")
  • Advent 3C (2012)

    by Delmer Chilton
    "A few years ago I found myself in a huge shopping mall in Nashville a few weeks before Christmas. I was on the second floor, heading for the elevator. In front of me was a young family; man pushing a stroller and baby with one hand, carrying gift boxes with the other, woman balancing presents on one arm and holding onto a four year old boy with the other. The boy was almost out of control..."
  • Advent's "Why"

    by Thomas Daniel
    ("Simon Sinek has a wonderful TED talk where he examines the importance of 'why'. He examines how great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers inspired others because they first answered the question 'why' before moving on to questions of 'what' and 'how'...")
  • *See For Yourself: Joy

    by Jim Eaton
    ("Little Women is a wonderful book about a Massachusetts family in the early 1800's, focusing on the three girls in the family. They don't have much money and their food is plain and in small portions except on Christmas. Then, they have a wonderful breakfast with buckwheats and syrup and special pastries...")
  • *Embracing the Flame

    Poetic Sermon by Frank Fisher
  • Complex Darkness

    by Rob Gieselmann
    ("This is the same light neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander observed and described in his new book, Proof of Heaven. During his very real, near-death experience, Dr. Alexander was ushered into a pitch-black void, a darkness that Alexander described as paradoxically and simultaneously brimming with light. Complete darkness containing absolute light...")
  • Advent 3C (2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("William Willimon has written that when he was a young pastor in rural Georgia, a dear uncle of one of his congregation's members died suddenly, and though this uncle was not a member of Willimon's church, he and his wife decided to attend the funeral. So Willimon and his wife drove to a back-woods, off-brand Baptist church for the funeral one sunny afternoon...")
  • Look Forward

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • A Winnowing Fork in Jesus' Hand: Good News for Today

    by Janet Hunt
    ("When I was in college I had a summer job working at Del Monte in my home town. Pea Pack would start mid-June and run deep into July. From 5 p.m. until the second shift ended, I tested peas. My work had some bearing on what label wound up on the cans of peas which were processed that night...")
  • Advent 3

    by Greg Kandra
    ("On the five-year anniversary of 9/11, the great Presbyterian minister Timothy Keller spoke about the Incarnation. 'One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures," he said, "is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless...")
  • Preaching Joy

    by Terrance Klein
    ("They were a middle class family, with middle-sized dreams and cares. And of course their own holiday traditions. One Christmas custom, enjoyed by all six of the Martin daughters in their childhoods, was leaving out their shoes to be filled with holiday treats. The world has come to know the youngest of the Martin daughters, Thérèse, as the Little Flower, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux...")
  • *Advent 3C

    by Linda Kraft
    ("Pastor Karzak had just about had it with Mr. Thompson. No matter how many quiet personal conversations pastor had had with him, Mr. Thompson was resolute. He continued to be a bully in the congregation. He was loud and inconsiderate and never seemed to take anyone else's feelings into consideration....")
  • You Make My Heart Dance, Lord

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Christian poet and novelist Ruth Harnden has written eloquently about the joys and trials of her mother's later years. She wrote that her mom had maintained a relationship with Hilda, the elderly Scandinavian woman who had served as the family cook for many years. Then, late in life, Hilda married and moved away to Oregon...")
  • Wrath or Generosity

    by Nathan Nettleton
    You might remember six years ago when there was another school shooting in the USA, in a small Amish school in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Many Americans were shocked and some even critical of the immediate talk of forgiveness and reconciliation that came from the Amish community. Even on the day of the shooting, the grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls warned some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, “We must not think evil of this man.” Another said of the community, “I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts.” Amish community members visited and comforted the gunman’s widow and relatives, and they later set up a charitable fund for his family...
  • Advent Cougar

    by Larry Patten
    ("I know Christmas warnings. As a little tyke—knee high to a grasshopper my grandmother would've said—I awoke one early Christmas and decided to sneak a peak at the presents. My older sister joined me. Was it her idea or mine? Who cares? With my parents slumbering, and the tree loaded with presents, we skulked into the living room and spied the bounty...")
  • Expectations

    by Larry Patten
    ("On my most memorable birthday, I so desperately wanted a party. I'd been to the birthdays of fellow classmates and Cub Scout buddies. They all had kids galore, endless cake and ice cream and scores of presents. One brave family even handed out water pistols and told everyone to have fun: indoors, outdoors, everywhere!...")
  • Does Scrooge Still Live?

    by John Pavelko
    Dickens wrote the book from first hand experience. His own father was arrested and imprisoned in 1824 for an outstanding debt. The family actually moved into prison with his father. At the age of 12 the budding author was forced to sell his collection of books, leave school and work in a factory. During this period the impoverished areas of London and the social injustices suffered by the working class were indelibly etched into his memory. The secular redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge is one of the most well known Christmas stories of English literature. What is not well known is Dickens' purpose for writing the book. He was not writing a religious novel. Dickens' was actually trying to steer his readers away from church-centered and austere religious traditions and toward a family-centered observance marked by the spirit of generosity and merriment. The novel was written also, as a prophetic warning to the rich and powerful in British society. Dickens believed that the affluent had become excessively absorbed with making money at the expense of the health, well being and betterment of the everyday person...
  • Our Struggle to Celebrate

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("It's hard to celebrate properly. We want to, but we don't know how. Mostly we celebrate badly because our idea of celebration is to overdo things. We try to celebrate by taking ordinary things like eating, drinking, singing, telling stories, playing, to excess...God has given us permission to enjoy life and its pleasures. That truth too needs to be a central part of our religious teaching. Pleasure is God's gift, not the forbidden fruit...")
  • Advent 3C (2018)

    by P. Del Staigers
    one incident in Merton’s life can be noted as an experience to which many of us can relate. In his famous epiphany on the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets in Louisville, Kentucky, Merton found himself marveling at his place in the throng of humanity. When he wrote about his awakening in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Merton reflects: “I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream.”...
  • Repent, Ye Saints

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns in the Cost of Discipleship of cheap grace. In Bonhoeffer's words, 'Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, and grace without Jesus Christ.' On the other hand, Bonhoeffer would suggest that costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field...")
  • *Every Kiss Begins with K

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("But there is one well known carol that defies all categories. We Three Kings of Orient Are is cast in a minor key. Its message is not very perky. It sounds different from all the other Christmas music....")
  • *Turning Potholes into Mud Puddles on the Bethlehem Road

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("NASA is already testing prototypes of space suits for the first astronauts who will walk on the surface of Mars. Right now the space suit design weighs about one hundred pounds and completely encases whoever wears the suit within a separate, sealed environment...")

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

  • Snake Handling Religion

    by Martin Singley
    ("I was reading a book a little while ago entitled A New Kind Of Christian. What a great title! I think we need a new kind of Christian in our world today, don’t you? Well, one of the many great points that Brian McLaren raises in the book is that this new kind of Christian that the world so desperately needs is a person who understands that when the Bible calls us to be righteous, it does not mean to be 'right'...")
  • Hospitality from the Margins

    by Heather Entrekin
    ("Michael McIntyre wrote a book describing his trip across America with no money, entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers. He writes, "I walk on, wondering how it is that the people who have the least to give are often the ones who give the most...")
  • Find a Need and Fill It

    by Charles Hoffacker
    ("Consider some miracles, people of conspicuous fruitfulness. One of them is William Chandler Vatavuk from Durham, North Carolina. William began volunteering when he was ten years old. He has contributed thousands of hours to 21 agencies, boards, and committees to help hundreds of disadvantaged youth..." and other short illustrations)
  • Good News, Bad News

    by Steven Molin
    ("In every one of these good news/bad news jokes, the common thread is that in many events that happen in this life, there is an upside and a downside. Freezing temperatures ruin the citrus crop in Florida; that's bad news for the Florida growers, but it's good news for citrus farmers in California...")
  • Great Expectations

    by Robert Allred
    ("Charles Dickens had more influence in the way we celebrate Christmas than any other person, except one. His 1843 masterpiece A Christmas Carol, more than any other factor at the beginning of the Victorian revival of romanticism and beauty, re-visioned our customs and created many new traditions in Britain and America...")
  • Profile in Courage

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Back in the mid fifties, John Kennedy put out a little book about men of principle. He titled it Profiles in Courage. The book describes eight senators – from John Quincy Adams to Robert Taft – who stood by their moral convictions, even though it cost them greatly...")
  • I Won't Be Around Forever to Tell You What to Do

    by L. Gregory Bloomquist
    ("It may be difficult for you to imagine, but in school I was the kid that was always getting into trouble! We used to have a mark on our report cards for 'Deportment'. Now, you may find it hard to believe that I was a difficult student. But, where I got As in most of my classes, I regularly got D's in 'Deportment'...")
  • Advent 3

    by Clyde Bonar
    ("Harry’s a university student. Home for Christmas break, Harry challenged his family with dormitory wisdom. Harry asks: Who needs Jesus? The student says, We can live a good life without going to church so much. His father listens, then begins to ask Harry a few questions of his own...")
  • Advent 3C (2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("It all starts here out in the hot sands of repentance. The gospel begins here, if it starts up in your life at all, that is. The gospel begins not with the cry of a baby in a manger, not when shepherds hear the angels sing, and certainly not when the stockings are hung by the fireplace with care or any other such cozy holiday image as we usually think of them. The gospel begins, the gospels say, with John...")
  • *The Divinity Code

    by Tom Cox
    ("It’s been a good year for lovers of theological conspiracy theories with Dan Brown’s 'Da Vinci Code'. But every Advent, there is another hidden puzzle that escapes notice, right under people’s noses. They’re called the 'O' Antiphons which are prayed every Advent from about the 7th Century onwards...")
  • *What Must We Do?

    by Tom Cox
    ("‘Tis the season to be joyful on this Gaudete Sunday. Joyful mind you, not jolly. The joy of this season comes from a ready heart. Change is never easy and often painful, but it’s always worthwhile...")
  • *A Venomous Advent

    by Robert Elder
    ("In the house in which I grew up in Oklahoma City, there was a perfectly serviceable front door. Outside the front door were nice shrubs — nothing spectacular, but nicely trimmed and cared for. The door itself was solid, and the entry way in our home was attractive. The problem was, the driveway for our home was located around the side...")
  • Hospitality from the Margins

    by Heather Entrekin
    "Michael McIntyre wrote a book describing his trip across America with no money, entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers. He writes, "I walk on, wondering how it is that the people who have the least to give are often the ones who give the most..."
  • What Then Must We Do

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Two men, Charlie and Roger, got together and opened a butcher shop. The business did quite well and they prospered. One day a preacher came to town, and Charlie gave his life to Christ. He tried to persuade Roger to accept Christ also, but to no avail...")
  • The Wolf of Gubbio

    by Richard Fairchild
    How St. Francis Taught The People of Gubbio To Feed Their Wolf is a strangely humorous story with layer upon layer of meaning. In a nutshell, the people of Gubbio have a problem. The bloody remains of some of their townsfolk start showing up on the streets of their beautiful city when people awake in the morning...
  • Rejoice Always!

    by James Farfaglia
    ("A few years ago, a young, attractive, successful woman noticed a small lump behind her ear as she was brushing her hair. As the days went on, she noticed that the lump was getting larger, so she decided to see her doctor. Her worst fears were confirmed. The doctor told her that the lump was a large tumor that would require immediate surgery....")
  • Advent 3

    by Grant Gallup
    ("So over many years the black Church, the only institution in the United States which was owned and controlled by black people, became both the main sphere of survival strategies and the context within which visions of liberation were nourished and expressed...")
  • Advent 3 (2006)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a little girl named Jeanne Marie who was afraid of the dark. She wouldn’t go to sleep at night unless all the lights in her room were on. You couldn’t never tell, she argued, who’d sneak into her room at night if it were dark. She absolutely refused to go into her closet because, like the boy in comics several years ago, she thought monsters might lurk in the closet especially at night...")
  • Advent 3 (2003)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was this grammar school class, sixth grad I think because it is the kind of thing that is mostly likely to happen in sixth grade, that was in open revolt. They had a new teacher at the beginning of the year who was mean and nasty, though she was very young (maybe she was scared). Well, some of the goofy boys in class made her cry every day, not because they meant to drive her out but because it seemed like fun...")
  • The Symptoms of Inner Peace

    Bruce Green
    (Submitted by Bruce Green.)
  • *Time

    by George Griffin
    ("Jimmy Webb wrote a song during the 1970's called DIDN'T WE that has attained classical status in the field of pop music: 'This time, we almost made the pieces fit / Didn't we / This time, we almost made some sense of it / Didn't we...")
  • *Advent 3C

    by Roger Haugen
    ("Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in the midst of racial turmoil in the United States. Speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963 he spoke of a hope in the face of violent racial tension. He said, 'I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood...")
  • Advent 1C (2006)

    by Ben Helmer
    ("Not long ago a couple went to a church, a large and prosperous one, for the first time. As they walked down a corridor they smiled at a number of people, but no one greeted them. Everyone was preoccupied with herding the choir and acolytes, getting business attended to about the coming bazaar, and depositing their children in Sunday school...")
  • Find a Need and Fill It

    by Charles Hoffacker
    "Consider some miracles, people of conspicuous fruitfulness. One of them is William Chandler Vatavuk from Durham, North Carolina. William began volunteering when he was ten years old. He has contributed thousands of hours to 21 agencies, boards, and committees to help hundreds of disadvantaged youth..." and other short illustrations
  • *Follow the Star

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("An early name for Christians, mentioned in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts, is people who belong to The Road. We are expected to be on the move, traveling on The Way, on a pilgrimage. Some of our best Bible images are of Abraham, told by God to leave home and look for a new place..." and another illustration)
  • *How to Prepare for Christ to Come

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("Danny worked for a large communications company, and would always talk about his ruthless, uncaring boss. She was a real workaholic. She worked too much herself, and she demanded it of her underlings too. She had no outside interests besides work, and no family in town to speak of...")
  • Advent 3

    from Homilies Alive
    ("The film Pay It Forward has a premise that underlies the source of the joy and happiness celebrated in today's liturgy. It is a story of a seventh grade teacher and an eleven-year-old boy. On the first day of class the teacher puts this challenge on the blackboard: 'Think of something new that will change the world and then act on what you have thought'...")
  • Between Memory and Hope

    by Beth Johnston
    "Young Harold and young Peter did not like each other very much. But they were both in the Christmas Pageant at their church. One was cast as Joseph, husband of Mary and the other, as the innkeeper. The boy playing Joseph dreaded the night of the pageant because he knew that the boy playing the innkeeper would try to ruin the play if he could..."
  • The Fruits of Transformation

    by Beth Johnston
    ("In the book Life in the Spirit Mother Teresa says: 'At Christmas Christ comes to us like a little child, small and helpless, so much in need of all that love can give. Are we ready to receive him? Before the birth of Jesus his parents asked for a simple dwelling place, but there was none. If Mary and Joseph were looking for a home for Jesus, would they choose your house and all that it holds?...")
  • *Advent 3

    by Cesar Marin, SJ
    ("The Chinese word for 'crisis' is made up of two characters side by side. The first is 'danger' and the other is 'opportunity'. We all know that every crisis in our lives, be it in the family, in our business, in our nation or in the environment contains both these elements...")
  • What Can I Do?

    by Edward Markquart
    ("My wife, Jan, and I went to see a film entitled HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI. It wasn’t the kind of film where you normally settle in on Friday night, relax in front of the fireplace, eat a bag of popcorn and drink a coke. It wasn’t that kind of film at all. Rather, these were actual film clips of Nagasaki and Hiroshima immediately after these two cities had been bombed with the first atomic weapons..." and other illustrations)
  • Rejoice, If You Have the Time

    by Robert Martin
    ("Let me offer this scenario. Imagine you are a contestant on the TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? You are asked the question; what is the most powerful force in the world? The possible answers are; (a) the weather; (b) gravity; (c) time; (d) all the lawyers in Washington DC...")
  • With Joy

    by David Martyn
    The great spiritual writer, Anthony de Mello, tells a “What are we to do” story: A man comes to the Master saying, “I am in desperate need of help or I’ll go crazy. We’re living in a single room — my wife, my children and my in-laws. Our nerves are on edge, we yell and scream at one another. The room is a living hell.” “I can tell you what to do. But, do you promise to do whatever I tell you?” asked the Master gravely. “I swear I shall do anything.” “Very well. How many animals do you have?” “A cow, a goat and six chickens.” “Take them all into the room with you. Then, come back after a week.” The man was appalled. But he had promised to obey! So, he took the animals in. A week later he came back, a pitiable figure, moaning, “I’m a nervous wreck. The dirt! The stench! The noise! We’re all on the verge of madness!” “Go back,” said the Master, “and put the animals out.” The man ran all the way home. And he came back the following day, his eyes sparkling with joy. “How sweet life is! The animals are out. The home is a paradise so quiet and clean and there is so much room!”
  • *The Coming of the Prince of Peace

    by James McCrea
    ("These complex images are hardly the understanding most of us have of how to have a Merry Christmas. But they fit perfectly with the words of Madeleine L'Engle, who writes: 'God did not wait till the world was ready, till...the nations were at peace, God came when the heavens were unsteady, and prisoners cried out for release...")
  • What Shall We Do?

    by Philip McLarty
    Years ago, a minister attended a Face-to-Face meeting in Dallas. That’s where ministers who are looking for a call meet with Pastor Nominating Committees (PNCs) looking for a pastor. Like the others, he was hoping to receive a call from a church with a vacant pulpit. The problem was he indicated on his Personal Information Form that he’d been charged with sexual misconduct. When it came to his interview, everyone wanted to know what that was all about. He explained humbly, but candidly, that he had had an extra-marital relationship several years back and that it had cost him his job, his good name in the community, and very nearly, his marriage. He said he regretted his mistake, that he’d received counseling, and that it would never happen again. When the day was over, three of the five PNCs who interviewed him voted in favor of considering him for a call. One PNC member put it this way: “That man knows more about the grace of God than anyone else we’ve met. Others talk about forgiveness; he’s experienced it first-hand.”.
  • Advent: The Winds of Change

    by Harold McNabb
    ("Just after 4:00 am, April 29, 1903, a mountain fell upon an unsuspecting town in the Alberta Rockies. The town of Frank, Alberta was buried under about 100 million tons of limestone that day. There were a few survivors and around seventy dead. Growing up not far from Frank, I have often driven the highway through the middle of the slide...." and other illustrations)
  • Good News, Bad News

    by Steven Molin
    "In every one of these good news/bad news jokes, the common thread is that in many events that happen in this life, there is an upside and a downside. Freezing temperatures ruin the citrus crop in Florida; that's bad news for the Florida growers, but it's good news for citrus farmers in California..."
  • *Advent 3

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("It is said that there was once a group of professors from a big English University who went to stay for a week with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. They were amazed and overwhelmed by the love, the kindness and the gentleness they found there. At the end of their time, the leader of the group went to see Mother Teresa to ask what way she thought they ­ professors at a big, powerful American University, could best contribute to building Christ’s kingdom on earth...")
  • *Advent 2

    by Joe Parrish
    ("A local United Way office realized that it had never received a donation from the town's most successful miser. So the person in charge of contributions called on him to persuade him to contribute. He said to the miser, 'Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least half a million dollars you give nothing to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to the community in some way?..." and another illustration)
  • The Gift of Doing

    by John Pavelko
    ("The Award is named in honor of his universal standing and symbol of the struggle for equity and democracy in South Africa. It is is usually given annually in recognition of extraordinary dedication and achievement in improving the health of the disadvantaged populations. The Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights was instituted in 1993 by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation..." and other illustrations)
  • To Know Who You Are

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("The story of the boy with the permanent smile touched me and taught me a lot. During a communication class, the lecturer was telling his students that everyone had a story in them. 'Pick any person off the street" he said, "and interview them well and you will hear a wonderful and touching human story...")
  • In a Rapture of Distress

    by Barry Robinson
    ("W. H. Auden once wrote: 'Follow, poet, follow right To the bottom of the night, With your unconstraining voice Still persuade us to rejoice...")
  • *Advent 3

    by T. Matthew Rowgh
    ("The story is told that one Christmas, William Booth wished to send a cable to the Salvation Army posts all over the world. A long cable was out of the question—it would have cost too much money. So he chose to cable one word. That Christmas, Booth greeted his coworkers around the world with this cable: Others!...")
  • *Advent 3

    by T. Matthew Rowgh
    ("The hut on the southern slope of the Apennines was built of the same stone as the rock on which it stood. It appeared a part of nature, not a work of human beings. The inside looked wretched, even though Brother Angelo was trying to clean and decorate the hermitage for Christmas. At last the dirty red of the rough brick floor became visible, and the young Franciscan put the broom in the corner...")
  • Sandal Straps

    by James Schmitmeyer
    ("'I’m not worthy,' cries John the Baptist, that desert prophet dressed in camel skin. 'I’m not worthy to touch his sandal straps!' Let’s think about that line a minute. Unworthiness is not a notion that plays well in our heads at this time of year. In the midst of Christmas shopping and gift wrapping and all the parties we go to, the closest anybody gets to feeling unworthy might be a five-year-old who refuses to eat his or her vegetables and gets threatened with the words, 'Santa’s watching'...")
  • Advent's Social Gospel

    by Byron Shafer
    ("The philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote, some 200 years ago, that there are two focuses for human thought that produce wonder—the starry heavens above and the moral law within. Well, if Christmas is a time for focusing on the starry heavens above, then Advent is a time for focusing on the moral law within..." and another illustration)
  • Some Assembly Required

    by James Standiford
    Ted Loder is the senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He tells of walking one December night down a street that was lined on both sides with row houses. He came to one particular house that obviously had enlarged its front window; it covered almost the whole area except for the front door...
  • What Should We Do?

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("I heard a story about a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, she was exhausted and frustrated. All of that was made worse by the fact that both of her children kept asking for everything they saw on the shelves. She finally made it to the elevator with her two kids...")
  • Advent 3

    by John Stubbs
    ("Tom Wright in his commentary on St. Luke tells the following story 'a cartoon shows a sceptic shouting to heavens “God, if you are up there, tell us what we should do” Back comes a voice “Feed the hungry, house the homeless, establish justice...")
  • *Advent 3

    by Michael Suden
    ("The pastor received a letter marked, "Please give this to Harry, the usher". The letter read: "Dear Harry, I'm sorry that I don't know your last name, but then again, you don't know mine either. I'm Helen, Helen at the 10:00 o'clock Mass every Sunday. I'm writing to ask you a favor. I don't know the priests here very well and, well somehow, I feel close to you...")
  • Silence Can Wake You Up

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Robert Fulgrum, in his book Words I Wish I Wrote tells a Buddhist teaching story in which a monk encounters a man who has spent his life looking for beauty and truth.. 'Have you found what you are looking for?' he asks. 'No' replies the man. 'Wonderful,' the monk responds...")
  • What Brings You Joy

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Frederick Buechner says in his book Sacred Journey that a phrase in a sermon made a profound difference in his life. He was listening to George Buttrick's sermon when Butterick said that Jesus Christ is king because again and again he is crowed in the heart of people who believe in him...")
  • Are You Ready for Christmas?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In the book The Grip of Grace by Max Lucado, there is a story about a man who changed. This particular man was a true slob. He didn't believe in being neat. He saw no need to make his bed since he would sleep in it the next night. He saw no need to put the lid back on the tube of toothpaste. He even admitted to being compulsive about being messy...")
  • 'Tis the Season

    by Keith Wagner
    ("The movie and television actor, Andy Griffith, once suffered from Guillian-Barre. At the time the disease was untreatable with surgery or drugs. Guillian-Barre is an inflammation of the nerves which sends scrambled messages to the brain. The symptoms are severe pain and periodic paralysis..." and another illustration)
  • Small and Great

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("In the British writer-physician A.J. Cronin’s autobiography, he describes being a doctor in the North of England when there was an outbreak of diphtheria. A little boy was brought in hardly able to breathe. As the Irish would say, “he had the dip,” and in those days that often meant the patient would die..." and another illustration)
  • What Would Jesus Give?

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("However we celebrate the holiday, it’s a pretty fair bet that just about everyone here has been faced, sometime in this season of Advent, with the question, 'What should I give?' It’s a question the retailers love to hear us ask, because a large portion of their sales, each year, come during the months of November and December...")
  • Signs of God in Our World

    by Timothy Zingale
    ("The mall was full of shoppers. It seemed they were racing every which way in the halls and stores. Cashiers struggled to stay ahead of the growing lines of impatient customers. Amid the havoc, nobody noticed that an elderly woman had dropped her packages near an exit door and was having a rough time getting them together....")

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  • Advent 3

    by Greg Kandra
  • El Mundo Interior

    por Joseph Madera, MSpS
  • Advent 3

    by Alex McAllister, SDS
  • Keep Pointing to the Lord

    (Poetic Sermon by John Thornton)
  • Illustrations

    by Timothy Zingale
  • Sandal Straps

    by James Schmitmeyer
    ("'I’m not worthy,' cries John the Baptist, that desert prophet dressed in camel skin. 'I’m not worthy to touch his sandal straps!' Let’s think about that line a minute. Unworthiness is not a notion that plays well in our heads at this time of year. In the midst of Christmas shopping and gift wrapping and all the parties we go to, the closest anybody gets to feeling unworthy might be a five-year-old who refuses to eat his or her vegetables and gets threatened with the words, 'Santa’s watching'...")
  • Activities for Families

    from Loyola Press