Matthew 25: 31-46

Illustrated New Resources

  • Not "Checking a Box"

    by Jim Chern
    Megyn Kelly the former television journalist recently launched her own podcast discussing political, cultural and legal issues. In one episode she shared a pretty emotional story about her 10 year old son, Yates. Back in April, at arguably the worst of the COVID pandemic, Yates’ music teacher, Mr. Don Sorel, passed away. Megyn’s husband Doug had gotten the tragic news this particular afternoon while the family was at home. She said that she and her husband went from shock to immediately trying to figure out what to do. As she tells it, – “I’m in the middle of this happy moment with Yates and [Doug] shows me the [news] and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do? Am I going to spoil this moment?” But quickly she realized that Yates had to know the truth and that they, his parents, needed to be the ones to tell him. Especially in this day and age, with the reality that all the kids from Yates class are on zoom, or group texts where they text every 2 minutes… whether parents want to or should or shouldn’t shield them from difficult news doesn’t even seem an option anymore. Understandably, Megyn Kelly explained how telling him was one of the most awful experiences she has had as a Mom. She shared that neither she nor her son are prone to tears but that as she told him and she saw his eyes, she said “I couldn’t go on without crying, and then he cried. We held ourselves.” The next day kids from Mr Sorel’s classes ranging from 4th to 9th grade had a virtual memorial service where they shared stories about this special teacher and what made him so… how he helped to make school something to look forward to, how he made them laugh, how he made them love music. Richie Sambora who is a rock superstar: a song writer, legendary guitarist, former member of Bon Jovi had learned about this painful loss and reached out to Megyn Kelly and her husband Doug...
  • The Sheep Look Up

    by Jim Eaton
    Huckleberry Finn is a novel about a boy free boy who is adopted by a widow who tries to do what he calls civilizing him. He runs away along with a slave named Jim. Now Huck has grown up with and adopted the values of the slave south. He is surprised at how human Jim is, that he misses his family, that he cares for others. At a critical moment, Huck faces a choice: he has been preparing to do what his culture tells him is right, to return Jim to his owner. He believes that not doing that is stealing and it will mean he will go to hell for breaking a commandment. But he’s come to see Jim as a human being, come to see they belong to each other so he tears up the letter informing the owner and says I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: “All right then, I’ll go to hell”—and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. Many see this as the moral crux of the book: the moment Huck understands he and Jim belong to each other and neither is owned. He’s come to see himself in Jim, to see his connection to Jim as more important. He’s put on new glasses; he sees a new world...
  • Sermon Starters (Christ the King)(A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Since the start of the holiday season is now just around the corner, it is likely that at least a few of us will soon watch some or all of the classic holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life. In the story, a man named George Bailey despairs that his life is so worthless that it would have been better had he never been born at all. In order to prove him wrong, Clarence the guardian angel lets George experience what the world would have been like had the man George Bailey never existed. As most of us know, George discovers that his seemingly humdrum life affected far more people than he could have guessed. A myriad of little, and not-so-little, things that George had done over the course of his lifetime combined to make his hometown of Bedford Falls a better place. George just never realized all the good he had done, and all the bad he had prevented, simply by being alive and by being himself. A similar point is made in Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Our Town. The play’s central character, Emily, is given a chance, following her death, to view a scene from her past. She is told that it cannot be some obviously important day but should be a fairly ordinary time from her bygone life–indeed, she is told that re-visiting even the least important day of her life would suffice to teach Emily something very important...
  • It's Not Donkeys & Elephants, It's Sheep & Goats

    by Dock Hollingsworth
    I think commentator Fred Craddock nails it, "Let me put it this way," he says. "If we know we are going to face a final exam of one question and we are told by the examiner what the question is to be, is it not reasonable to suppose that one question would gather to itself the interest and the energies and the concerns of all of us? Now here is the question. How did you respond to human need? That's it. That is the question."...
  • Christ the King (A)(2020)

    by Anne Le Bas
    There’s a story told about St Elizabeth of Hungary, who lived in the early 13th century which always comes into my mind when I hear today’s Gospel reading. Elizabeth had wanted, from an early age, to enter a convent and devote herself to God. She had been very much influenced by the Franciscan movement – she was a contemporary of St Francis- and she wanted to live the life of radical simplicity, helping the poor, that Francis did. But Elizabeth was a princess, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary, and princesses didn’t get to choose what they did with their lives. They were valuable bargaining chips in making alliances and building up power bases. Elizabeth had been promised in marriage from early childhood to Louis, the Landgrave, or Lord, of Thuringia. She was married at 14 and bore him three children in quick succession, but still held onto her Franciscan ideals. Her marriage was happy – she and Louis grew to love each other - but the same can’t be said of her mother-in-law. She was very sceptical of Elizabeth’s care for the poor and sick. Elizabeth would be more likely to be found helping a filthy beggar than mixing with the high and mighty as her mother-in-law thought she should. What infuriated her most, was Elizabeth’s habit of taking in waifs and strays, the sick and destitute. On one occasion, says the story, while Louis was away, Elizabeth and her mother in law were left behind to manage the castle. Before long Elizabeth began to fill it with the needy. The castle was overflowing with people. But just when it seemed that even she would have to call a halt, a leper turned up at the castle gates, filthy and covered in sores. What was Elizabeth to do? There was no more room, no more beds. Except, she realised, one. With Louis away, his bed was empty. Elizabeth promptly installed the leper there, washed and fed him, and left him to sleep. Her mother in law was incandescent. How dare she! She sent a message to Louis telling him that his wife had put another man in his bed, leaving him to imagine what that might mean. Louis took the bait and stormed into the castle and up to his room. He flung open the door, but whatever he expected to see, it wasn’t this. There on his bed, lay Christ himself, fast asleep. Louis shut the door quietly and went away. In the morning, when he looked again, there was the leper, healed and well, and able to go on his way rejoicing...
  • Reign of Christ (A)(2020)

    by R. Dale McAbee
    I was watching a documentary on Reconstruction narrated by Henry Louis Gates. Immediately after the end of the Civil War, freed slaves began publishing in the wanted ads of newspapers notices with this editor’s note: We receive many letters asking for information about lost friends. All such letters will be published in this column. We make no charge for publishing these letters. Pastors will please read the requests from their pulpits and report any case where friends are brought together by means of the letter in the SOUTHWESTERN. Rufus Rollins’ ad tells of a family separation that took place right before the war. He writes that he was “run to Texas”—an expression that might refer to the practice of “refugeeing” enslaved people during the war, or removing them to places far away from the reach of the Union Army. “Dear Editor—I was the last one sold out of nine in 1860. My mother and eight children were sold in Clarksville, Tenn., to Clark Cummings, a speculator. Mother was sold to Thomas Hughes, near Clarksville. The youngest one Eveline is dead. The next, Major, was sold the same day I was. I can’t tell where he was taken to. I heard he went to Alabama. I was sold to a man in Mississippi named James Pollard and he caused me to be run to Texas. I heard that mother and five children were living in Logan County., Kentucky. The boys are Lewis, Charles, and Moses; girls Louisa Ann and Shrildar. Mother’s name was Letty. Address me at Paris, Texas. – Rufus Collins...
  • You Did It to Me

    by Debie Thomas
    In early 2013, Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz unveiled “Homeless Jesus,” a bronze sculpture depicting Jesus as a homeless person, sleeping on a park bench. Schmalz installed the original sculpture at Regis College, University of Toronto, and since then, casts have been installed worldwide. The sculpture is designed in such a way that Jesus is huddled beneath a blanket, his face and hands obscured. Only the crucifixion wounds on his feet reveal his identity. A devout Catholic, Schmalz describes the sculpture as a “visual translation” of our Gospel reading for this week, in which Jesus identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner, and then tells his followers: “Whatever you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Not surprisingly, reactions to the statue vary. Some people find it offensive. Others adore it. Pope Francis has blessed it. People sit and pray beside it. In one city, a woman called the police within minutes of the sculpture’s installation, assuming that the figure beneath the blanket was a real homeless person...
  • Where Do You See God?

    by Todd Weir
    A few years ago, a man spent much of the summer living on our steps. I found him passed out on the handicap ramp before a meeting. I woke him up and said he couldn’t sleep there during the day. I always wake people up in the day since the opioid crisis. We don’t know if a person has overdosed. He apologized, but it kept happening. We talked during staff meetings for a few weeks, gave him second chances, and finally decided we had to trespass him from our property. Trespassing involves going to the police station, filling out a triplicate form, then finding the man and calling the police to come and witness handing him the trespass notice. I saw him in front of Brugger’s Bagels across Main Street. I had to hand him a pink carbon copy. Yes, I had to give a homeless man a pink slip to stay off our property, standing on Main Street with everyone, including a few panhandlers, watching. He was shouting, “I don’t understand, I didn’t do anything wrong, why are you doing this to me?” It may have been the right thing to do, and Brendan Plant, who has worked with people on the street for two decades, said, “You had to do it.” But it felt horrible. I saw the man again a year later, looking much better, and I said hello. He looked confused and said, who are you? I told him my name and watched it dawn on his face. “You were the guy who trespassed me.” Yup, that’s me. “You know, that did me some good. I went to rehab, and I have a place in Amherst now. I’m three months sober.” I told him congratulations...

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. Hopefully, members will have the ability to rate all of the resources on a 5-point system soon!! FWIW!!]
  • Love of Others

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Seeing Jesus in Others

    Illustrations from the Archives
    (includes several very relevant illustrations. See especially The Rented Room.)
  • Seeing Christ in Everyday Faces

    by John Bedingfield
    ("Will Willimon tells the following story: 'One Sunday after church we stopped at a restaurant. It was crowded and our server looked tired and weary. After the meal and things were thinning out, I asked her: "You look tired – are you okay?" She told me she had been up most of the night with her little boy who was sick but that she was okay. I said: "It must be hard after being up all night, having to stand on your feet and work so hard." She just nodded. "What's the hardest day of the week to work?" She said "The hardest day of the week is Sunday..." and story about St. Francis and the leper and another illustration)
  • *The Final Judgment

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("A man Michael Christensen spent some time with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta. In his book City Streets, City People, he tells of the incredible burden of suffering that Mother Teresa witnessed each day. He reports that one day Mother Teresa rescued an abandoned baby from the gutters..." and several other illustrations)
  • *A King Who Serves

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("A man named Jeff McMullen was once placed in a situation where he had to made a decision between being a sheep or a goat. Jeff spent four years playing the character of Ronald McDonald in Arizona and Southern California for McDonald's corporation..." and other illustrations)
  • Jesus in Our Hearts

    by Sil Galvan
    The true story is told of a high school teacher who decided to honor each of her seniors. She called each of them to the front of the class, one at a time, and told each one how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted in gold letters with the words "Who I Am Makes a Difference". After the class ceremony, she decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on the community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom, and report back to the class the following week.
  • Mother Teresa, the Wino and Me

    by Sil Galvan
    I will never forget the day I met Mother Teresa. More than that, I will never forget what she taught me about loving other people, especially the poor. She wasn't nearly as famous in the late seventies as she became, but she already had hundreds of thousands of admirers around the world. I was the editor of a Catholic newspaper in Rhode Island, and when I heard she would be speaking in Boston, I decided to go.
  • Christ the King (A)

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 25:31-46)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • *Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Christ the King)(A)

    by Various Authors
    ("Floyd traveled around the country looking for work at harvest time. Floyd had no home and no place to go. A couple invited him into their home and gave him a home-cooked dinner. Floyd said very little as they ate. The wife, Nancy, offered to wash his clothes for him but Floyd declined the offer. He picked cherries in the orchard next to their home that day and slept under the trees that gave him his livelihood..." and several more)
  • The Being of the Son of Man When the Son of Man Is Not the Son of Man

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis!

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

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

    by Delmer Chilton
    When I was a young teen, my father quit full-time farming and took a job at a textile mill. My older brother, Danny, and I had been well-trained in tobacco farming, and we stayed very busy in the summer working for neighbors, especially our Uncle Andy. Andy made 14-year-old Danny his paymaster, having him keep up with all the workers’ hours, figure their weekly pay, and write the checks, which Andy then signed. After about two weeks, Danny took me into his confidence and told me that Andy was paying one of the other workers more than us. With all the righteous indignation that teen-age boys can muster when they feel they’re being cheated, we fumed for a few weeks and finally we asked Uncle Andy about it. He looked at us for a minute, with just a hint of disappointment on his weather-beaten face, then he said, “Hello here boys, I don’t pay Willie more because he earns it. I pay Willie more because he needs it.”...
  • The "Joke Only" King

    from Claretians
    Some years ago there was a fashion for "Joke Only" t-shirts. You would see someone wearing a t-shirt with the words "I am Muhammad Ali" or "I am the richest man in the world" or "I am Miss Universe," only to find, when you get closer, the words 'joke only' written there in smaller print. Today we are celebrating the Feast of Christ the King and if any title deserves the subscript 'joke only,' this one does...
  • Christ the King (A)(2017)

    by Brad Everett
    Whoever loves God, loves all that God loves Think about that Think about that Whoever loves God, loves all that God loves Think about, think about that Think about it (Steve Bell Think About That) Those are the lyrics to Canadian recording artist, Steve Bell’s song “Think About That” (from his 2014 album Pilgrimage). He said he fully intended to write verses for this song, but after playing what he had, the producer looked at him and said “It’s done. Leave it alone, there’s nothing else that needs to be said…”.
  • Reign of Christ (A)(2017)

    by Joe Gorman
    Mother Teresa’s life and ministry were also deeply impacted by this parable. She said that her own ministry was done for, with, and to Jesus: “We serve [Jesus] in the neighbor, see him in the poor, nurse him in the sick; we comfort him in the afflicted brothers and sisters.”[4] At her funeral she was eulogized for having exemplified Matthew 25:31-46 throughout her life. While not many of us will be Mother Teresas, each of us are called to engage in similar ministry as Christ-followers...
  • Christ the King (A)(2017)

    by Richard Johnson
    Francis of Assisi, the great saint of the 11th century, was born into a rich and well-placed family. He spent his life preparing to be a knight, a noble soldier; but he felt his life was empty, unsatisfying. One day he was out riding and he saw a leper, a poor man in rags whose body was ravaged by that terrible disease. On impulse, Francis dismounted and embraced the man—and there, before his eyes, the poor leper turned into a vision of Christ. From that day on, Francis gave up his wealth and devoted his life to loving and caring for the lest of these. He made his life a gift to Christ by giving his life to those in need...
  • Caught by Surprise

    by Beth Johnston
    In front of Regis College, a part of Toronto School of Theology, sits a park bench and on that bench lies a sleeping, blanket wrapped, figure, in cast bronze. The sculpture is called: “Jesus the Homeless.” Interestingly, its creator, a Canadian, had a hard time at first, to find a home for his art. It was rejected by several prominent cathedrals. he irony of this situation was not lost on him, as a sculpture that refers to Jesus as “Homeless” had no home itself! Sounds very biblical! Finally the sculpture found a home in Toronto and some time later a copy was installed at the Vatican. Apparently Pope Francis is quite moved by it. There are now copies of the statue in several other cities in the world...
  • Getting Older Isn't for the Weak

    by Terrance Klein
    This week an older parishioner repeated something, which he had heard an even older parishioner say, for herself, many years ago: “Getting old isn’t for the weak.” Indeed it isn’t. The future demands faith. Either we summon it and nurture it, or fear will rule our final days. We cannot choose which way we would like to move through time. It flows in one direction: forward, where the Son of Man is coming in glory, where he will gather his own to himself. The choice that lies before us is singular. On which side of the Son of Man, right or left, will we stand? That is the great business of the time we have left, however long or short.
  • Hopeful Kingship

    by Jim McCrea
    Laurie DeMott tells the story of training her family’s two dogs to lie down on command. They started by saying the word “down,” then forcing the dogs into the desired position and then rewarding them with a biscuit. The first dog caught on after a few demonstrations. Since she would do anything for food, she would instantly become prostrate at the “down” command and await her biscuit.
    The other dog was another story. He clearly understood what the family wanted from him; however, getting him to do it was the issue. He was not at all the submissive type. Laurie says, “We would give the command, ‘Down,’ and we could see his internal struggle as he glanced at the female lying obediently by his side then to the treat wavering above his nose. If he lay down, she might jump up and grab the treat from him which he, as the top dog in the house, couldn’t abide, but if he didn’t lie down, he knew that we would give her the treat and he would definitely lose out. He tried to resolve the conflict by pretending to lie down: he would slowly sink to the floor in a half crouch, his leg muscles tense and ready to spring at the least provocation, but we wouldn’t accept the pretense. We demanded a sincere reclining position and the poor male struggled to overcome his natural impulse to remain standing while the female lay obediently and impatiently on the floor as if to say, ‘How long do I have to wait for that idiot before you give me my reward?’”...
  • The Majesty of Christ Crucified

    by John O'Connor, OP
    Thinking of this Sunday’s gospel reading, that of the Final Judgement, and of the Gospel readings for the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King on other years, I was reminded of a scene from Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables, in which Jean Valjean, the principal character of the book, encounters the saintly bishop of Digne. The broad outline of the story will be familiar to many. Jean Valjean is a man imprisoned for four years merely for stealing bread; but because of other circumstances he ends up in prison for much longer. Released at last, he cannot get a room because his papers indicate that he has been a prisoner. But the saintly Bishop of Digne gives him food and a bed for the night. Instead of treating him with suspicion, the bishop gets his sister to take out the special silver cutlery because they have a guest. After the evening meal they all go to bed. Jean Valjean gets up early, steals the cutlery, and departs...
  • Behold the Kid of God

    by Larry Patten
    In Henri Nouwen’s always relevant The Wounded Healer (published in 1972), he imagined how and where the Messiah will be found: “sitting among the poor at the gates of the city.” Nouwen forever challenged us with the “wounded” Messiah, the One ready to tend the wounds of another. But I struggle with some verses before the “least of these.” You see, I like goats...
  • Our Need to Share Our Riches with the Poor

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    we can only be healthy if we are giving away some of our riches to others. Among other things, this should remind us that we need to give to the poor, not simply because they need it, though they do, but because unless we give to the poor we cannot be healthy ourselves. When we give to the poor both charity and justice are served, but some healthy self-interest is served as well, namely, we cannot be healthy or happy unless we share our riches, of every kind, with the poor. That truth is written inside human experience and inside every authentic ethical and faith tradition...
  • Sorting

    by Fay Rowland
    The Parable of The Sheep and The Goats is rather like Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. Really it is. Stay with me. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, then you’ll know that one of the first things that happens when you enter Hogwart’s is you get sorted. You sit on a stool in front of the whole school and a strange talking hat places you in one of four houses...
  • Through the Eyes of Love

    by David Sellery
    Not only are the poor always with us, but so are the frail, the challenged, the depressed, the aged, the troubled, the addicted...they're in our towns, our neighbourhoods… even in our families. They come afflicted with every stripe and degree of pathology. They are of every age, race and condition. But they have one single unifying characteristic. They, like each one of us, are made in the image and likeness of God. Their immortal souls reflect their maker. They are God's beloved. Jesus died for each and every one of them. No matter their condition, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must love them...
  • Here Comes the Judge!

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    At the beginning of each new semester, teachers and professors frequently distribute to their students a sheet of paper called a synopsis. One item on the list in which every student took great interest was the percentage breakdown of the various components of the synopsis. If you didn't do well in one particular area, maybe you could make up for it by excelling in something that comprised a higher percentage of your overall grade. And invariably, during the time when the instructor is discussing the synopsis with the students, someone will want to know if the professor could be expected to issue a list of sample questions when it came time to take the final exam. This list is commonly known as a "crib sheet." In this morning's passage from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives us a crib sheet for the final exam...
  • It's Not Up to Us

    by T. J. Tetzlaff
    I am not always proud of who I am or about the things I’ve done, but there are times when I’m guilty of telling myself “well, at least I’m not like him.” There are people who embody the exact opposite of the faith and grace I have come to love in Christ and I am guilty of looking down and judging them for it. When I am honest with myself, in my heart I know there are times when my only thought about someone is: “Thank heaven that’s not me,” or “I am such a better Christian than they are.” When these thoughts cross my mind I hope I am subtle about it. I hope I don’t let it show. But whether it’s seen by others or not, I know I can be self-righteous. There are times I need to remind myself I’m not the one who separates the sheep from the goats...
  • One of Us

    by Peter Thompson
    Over a decade ago, the television show Joan of Arcadia imagined God appearing in various guises in our daily lives, asking the question in its theme song, “What if God was one of us?” This morning’s parable proclaims that God was one of us—not just in the person of Jesus, but also in our fellow human beings—the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the prisoner. We feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and the prisoner not out of a rote sense of obligation but because in doing so we honor the God in one another...
  • Is There a Place This Year?

    by Gord Waldie
    Over 40 years ago Miriam Therese Winter (of the Medical Mission Sisters) wrote these lyrics: On a dark day deep in December, grinding the poverty, grey was the morn. Only the clean of heart still can remember the day and the moment when Jesus was born. On a dark day deep in the present, grinding the loneliness and plight of the poor. Only the clean of heart dare to remember, the poor were His Gospel and their hope is sure...
  • The Politics of a Love Beyond Dualism

    by Fritz Wendt
    Seven-year-old Linus van Pelt, in Charles Schulz’s cartoon “Peanuts”, watches television; his big sister Lucy comes upon him and says, “I don’t want to watch that program. I want to watch MY program.” Linus wants to be left alone and says, “Alright, I’ll go upstairs and listen to the radio.” Lucy follows him. As Linus sits down near the radio, she growls, “I don’t want to listen to that program; I want to listen to MY program.” Linus stares at her and sighs, “Fine, I’ll go to the next room and play a few records.”...
  • Reign of Christ (A)

    by Audrey West
    In his younger days, my father was something of a walking miracle. He survived a host of death-dealing events, among them a fall through the ice, a rattlesnake bite, a massive exposure to rabies, and a double diagnosis of melanoma (not all at the same time, of course!). In his fifties he came back from a stroke. At 60 something, he convinced his doctors to release him from the hospital only two and a half days after quadruple bypass surgery. At 71, just a few months after his pelvis was crushed beneath the wheels of a passenger van, he was back to work, lecturing at the veterinary school and advising local ranchers on best practices to keep their livestock healthy. He finally quit his job at age 78, but only because his employer offered an early retirement bonus. In his early eighties, however, he was stricken by a neurological illness called Lewy body dementia (the same disease that afflicted comedian Robin Williams)...

Illustrated Resources from 2014 to 2016

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Solidarity (Week 4)

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Copernicus knew the correct relationship of the earth to the sun. He also knew something much more important - the correct relationship of man to God. By all we know about Copernicus, he was a devout Christian. As a young man he came to Rome in order to participate in the Holy Year of 1500...")
  • The Reign of Christ

    by Brendan Byrne
    On Monday night, the Four Corners program[2] followed a Syrian family as they struggled to survive amid the destruction and the horror of that country’s civil war. And the program demonstrated how these children were being robbed, not just of things like education, but of their very childhood – to the extent where even their games, and how they expressed themselves as children, mimicked the grim realities of the fighting by which they were surrounded. They weren’t simply “playing at war” the way children do; they were acting out the vicious and daily reality into which their lives had descended.
  • Your Letter of Reference to the Last Judgment

    by Dan Clendenin
    ("Gustavo Gutiérrez is a Dominican priest and theologian who splits his time between his parish in Lima, Peru, where for fifty years he has lived and worked among the poor, and teaching at Notre Dame University. In 1971 he published a game-changer of a book called A Theology of Liberation, which established his reputation as the father of liberation theology and made famous the notion of a 'preferential option for the poor'...")
  • Christ the King

    by Owen Griffiths
    ("Mary Glover was a poor woman who volunteered at a food cupboard in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Glover relied on the cupboard for food assistance herself, but joyfully gave of her time to hand out groceries to hundreds of disadvantaged people living in the capital of the wealthiest nation on Earth. Each Saturday before the cupboard opened, Mrs. Glover led the volunteers in prayer, a prayer which always ended, 'Lord, we know that you'll be comin' through this line today; so, Lord, help us to treat you well.'...")
  • The Face of Christ

    by Janet Hunt
    ("Yesterday morning, my instant messenger 'pinged' on my cell phone long before dawn. Now I had watched in fascinated horror the evening before as the husband of an acquaintance spilled his pain all over the screen. The story was hard to piece together, though, and I closed my IPad not long after as my alarm was set to go off early the next morning. At 4 a.m. I read in sleepy surprise what sounded like a suicide threat by the same man..." and another story)
  • Christ the King: Duty and Delight

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Soldiers often possess a strong spirituality, one marked by a clear and vivid sense of mission. That's certainly true of Thomas J. Jackson. On the morning July 21, 1861, at Bull Run, in the first major confrontation of the Civil War, green Confederate troops began to fall back before equally green, but numerically superior, union forces. The Union commander, General Irvin McDowell, had already telegraphed Washington of a Northern victory, but Confederate Brigadier General Barnard Elliott Bee exhorted his rattled soldiers to re-form their lines around late-deploying troops...")
  • Sheep or Goats? Or Both?

    by Nicholas Lang
    ("One day Bill decided to go to a very conservative church across the street from his college campus. He walked in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill started down the aisle looking for a seat. The church was completely packed. Bill got closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realized there were no seats, he just squatted down right on the floor...")
  • Hopeful Kingship

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("I am reminded of the extraordinarily brave words of the parents of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, the US hostage recently murdered by ISIS. 'Our hearts are battered,' said his mother, 'but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end. And good will prevail as the One God of many names will prevail.' 'Rather than letting the darkness overwhelm him,' his father went on 'he has chosen to believe in the good – in himself and in others...")
  • What's It All About?

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Raymond Knudsen, author of the book, Developing Dynamic Stewardship, tells the story of a time when he happened to overhear his three young sons discussing what they would most like to inherit when he died. He says, 'Raymond, the oldest son, was the first to place his requisition. He wanted my watch. With it, of course, was the chain, the watch fob, and my fraternity key that hung from it...")
  • With Grateful Hearts

    by Jim McCrea
    During one of my college literature classes, we were required to read Voltaire’s novel Candide. In essence, Candide is a dark comedy that satirizes those who try to always look at the world through rose-colored glasses regardless of what their circumstances may be. It is Voltaire’s attempt to demonstrate what he felt was the foolishness of advice like Paul’s. The character Candide is the illegitimate nephew of a German baron who grows up in the baron’s castle under the guidance of a philosopher named Dr. Pangloss. Dr. Pangloss is an eternal optimist who teaches Candide that this is “the best of all possible worlds.” Then the novelist Voltaire proceeds to guide Candide and his friends through a series of horrific adventures designed to show both the range of injustices in the world of his day and to crush the possibility of such unthinking optimism. Ultimately Voltaire’s recommendation is for everyone to adopt an attitude of stoic endurance.
  • Will the Sheep Plead for the Goats?

    by Nathan Nettleton
    when the sheep and the goats were divided and the goats were being sent off to eternal punishment, the sheep cried out in protest. They cried out in protest because they saw in the goats exactly the same kinds of outcast victims they had been reaching out to in love and mercy and compassion. And because their love and mercy and compassion were real, they were heartbroken to see them being lost and damned, and they cried out to God and said ‘No!’. And they reminded God of those images we heard in the reading from the prophet Ezekiel, images of the good shepherd who never gives up on his lost sheep but who seeks them out and “rescues them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”...
  • A Carburetor for Christ

    by Larry Patten
    ("Once upon a time a kid arrived at my church office seeking help. Skinny, skittish, and scruffy, he looked in his late teens or early twenties. He didn't want food. Didn't want clothing. He had no open wounds in need of healing. Instead, he sought a rebuilt carburetor for his wheels. Without it, he wouldn't continue on to Seattle, a thousand miles away. $150 was what this stranger needed. He'd pay it all back...")
  • The Lamb at the Stockyards

    by Andrew Prior
    ("A great silence settled over the stockyards. Many among the sheep had expected to go to the other place. They had, after all, not lived well. But some small mercy on their part had them standing here kingdom bound. A few shifted uneasily. Some of that charity had only been to shut up and get rid of beggars on the street. In the other yard, people who had worked long and hard, and sacrificed much for God gazed dully at the ground...")
  • The Great Sorting

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("In J.K. Rowling's world of Harry Potter, where the aim of education was to learn the extent of your spiritual powers and how to control them, first year students were assigned by The Sorting Hat to one of four houses, each defined by a paramount virtue: bravery; hard work; cleverness; or ambition. So the sorting, by which they had already been chosen to attend school, continued within the school, affecting everything from coursework to sport to alumni battles for direction of the school, to cosmic contention over good and evil....")
  • Last Judgment (B)(2015)

    by Stanley Saunders
  • Learning to Live Like Sheep

    by Brian Volck
    ("Which reminds me of a recent conversation with Mark Charles, the son of a Navajo father and American mother of Dutch heritage, and whose website reflections on race, faith, and reconciliation I highly recommend. We were talking about his efforts to bring Native voices into discussions of US immigration reform, since, as he points out, Native peoples might have some interesting things to say about their experiences with uninvited immigrants...")
  • Grateful and Gracious

    by Keith Wagner
    ("A man named Jeff McMullen was once placed in a situation where he had to make a decision between being a sheep or a goat. Jeff spent four years playing the character of Ronald McDonald in Arizona and Southern California for the McDonald's corporation. On 'Ronald Day' once a month, Ronald McDonald visited as many of the community hospitals as possible, bringing a little happiness into a place where no one ever looked forward to going...")
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Judgment

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2011 to 2013

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

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Mother Teresa shows the spirit with which we undertake these corporal works. When she opened a house to care for men living with AIDS, a reporter asked if her sisters talked to the patients about God. 'Of course,' she said, 'We pray with them and teach them to pray. We take them to confession to be reconciled with God.'...")
  • Christ the King (A)(2011)

    by Brendan Byrne
    ("In 1969, the British art historian, Kenneth Clark, produced a remarkable television series called Civilisation. In it, he traced the evolution of European culture from the end of the Dark Ages to the present, exploring and explaining how the Western world we know today came into being...")
  • *Baa Baa

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher, Obl. OSB
  • If Christ Is King, What Does That Mean?

    by Greg Garrett
    ("Like me, like his older brother Jake, my son Chandler is a huge fan of the late Douglas Adams' The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Universe, a comic science fiction novel about the end of the world, other intelligent life in the universe, and ultimate answers, and a few weeks ago we were listening to Stephen Fry read the chapters...")
  • You Did It for Me

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ["A story is told of a little boy who had learnt about God from his Sunday School teacher and was so impressed by what he had heard that he decided he wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived so he packed his backpack with cupcakes and his water bottle with two cups (a spare one in case God was thirsty when he met him)..."]
  • Christ the King (A)(2011)

    by Denis Hanly, MM
    Romano Guardini was a very fine theologian, an Italian German. And when they asked him, “How could this happen, that God would allow His Son, who He sent to save us and redeem us, allow this to happen to him?” and he would shrug his shoulders and he’d say, “Love does such things. Only love does such things.” And Simone Weil, a very famous little mystical girl who died in the Second World War who fell in love with Jesus, her comment was: “When I look up onto the bloody cross and see him bleeding and dying for me, I say to myself, ‘Now he understands.’”...
  • New Year's Day (A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    "Since the start of the holiday season is now just around the corner, it is likely that at least a few of us will soon watch some or all of the classic holiday movie It's a Wonderful Life. In the story, a man named George Bailey despairs that his life is so worthless that it would have been better had he never been born at all. In order to prove him wrong..."
  • Reign of Christ

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Awaken to What Is Already Among Us

    by Rex Hunt
    God’s realm is not a place or an object or a noun. It is a verb... ‘among you, in your midst,’ Jesus says. “Amongness, not withinness, is the key to the kingdom”, suggests Matthew Fox. “And the messianic age, the age of salvation for all, is now here. Compassion is at hand”...
  • Christ the King (A)(2011)

    by Robert Morrison
    ("last week, I was walking past one of the tree-dotted areas near Willamette University and the State Capitol. From the inside edge of the sidewalk near the grass a man came out towards me, walking slowly. I'm used to this happening and he didn't look menacing in the least, so I wasn't bothered. It was obvious he wanted to say something and our eyes met...")
  • *Christ the King (A)(2011)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("But, as I prayed over this passage and examined my own conscience on this question, there came to my mind the image of the most miserable place I have ever been. It was the AIDS ward at the public hospital in a country in South America ; a ward specially set aside for the care of people who were dying of AIDS...")
  • Christ the King (A)(2009)

    by Dorothy Okray
    ("The year 2009 may well be remembered for its scandal-ridden headlines, from admissions of extramarital affairs by governors and senators, to corporate executives flying private jets while cutting employee benefits, and most recently, to a mysterious early morning car crash in Florida. ...") (Use your mouse to scroll over the text to highlight it.)
  • One of the Least of These

    by Fran Ota
    ("There's an old southern spiritual called 'Judgment Day's a- Rollin' Around': 'Judgment, Judgment day is a-rollin' around, Judgment, Judgment, Oh, how I long to go. I've a good ole mudder in de heaven, my Lord, Oh, how I long to go there too. I've a good ole fadder in de heaven, my Lord, Oh, how I long to go there too...")
  • Say Cheese

    by Larry Patten
    ("Aren't some people as gutless as a mid-1980's Yugo automobile and others as powerful as the newest Dodge Ram 2500 pickup? Some folks are blander than pre-sliced, processed American cheese compared to ones possessing the elegance and complexity of Humboldt fog...")
  • You Who Bless

    by Jan Richardson
    ("You who are yourselves a blessing who know that to feed the hungering is to bless and to give drink to those who thirst is to bless who know the blessing in welcoming the stranger and giving clothes to those who have none who know to care for the sick is blessing and blessing to visit the prisoner...")
  • Take Home Final

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("There are two types of students. There are those students who jump for joy when they hear the words 'take home final'. And there are those students who are not thrilled with joy but filled with dread when they hear the words 'take home final'. At first blush it seems a no-brainer. Who wouldn't prefer a take home exam? There is no time crunch...")
  • King in Rags

    by David Wadkins
    Dostoevsky (in Brothers K.) relates the story of a woman who was almost saved by an onion. She had been a person of absolute selfishness and so, when she died, she went to hell. After all, she had chosen hell every day of her life. Even after her death, her guardian angel wanted to save her and so approached the Savior, saying a mistake had been made. “Don’t you remember? Olga once gave an onion to a beggar.” It was left unsaid that the onion had started to rot, and also that it wasn’t so much given as thrown at the beggar. The Savior said, “You are right. I bless you to pull her out of hell with an onion.” So the angel flew into the twilight of hell — all those people at once so close to each other and so far apart — and there was the selfish woman, glaring at her neighbors. The angel offered her the onion and began to lift her out of hell with it. Others around her saw what was happening, saw the angel’s strength, and saw their chance. They grabbed hold of the woman’s legs and so were being lifted with her, a ribbon of people being rescued by one onion. Only the woman had never wanted company. She began kicking with her legs, yelling at her uninvited guests, “Only for me! Only for me!” These three words are hell itself. The onion became rotten and the woman and all the others attached to her fell back into the disconnection of hell.”...
  • Christ the King (A)(2011)

    by Martin Warner
    ("In the mid-16th century, a lace-making trader in Bruges built himself a smart house on the northern edge of the city. He was a devout man, and into the fine brick facade he inserted three plaster bas-reliefs that were a statement of his Catholic faith. They represented the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity...")
  • Who Wants to Be a Goat?

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("A Christian woman wanted a parrot that could talk. She looked in several shops before finding one. The owner told her, however, that the parrot had been previously owned by a bartender and though he could say anything, he also on occasion used profanity. She told him she would buy him anyway and teach him to say good things...")

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2010

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

    by Hubert Beck
    ("Those are divisions of time that we humans have made up, however. Before ever there were clocks to measure time, it existed. The "time of day" and years were measured differently, but they existed as surely as they do today...")
  • Seeing Christ in Everyday Faces

    by John Bedingfield
    Anne Lamott tells about her Presbyterian Church outside San Francisco. This is the place where, not that long ago, Anne became a Christian. She says that “Ken” started coming to her church right after his partner died of AIDS. Ken had the disease as well and Anne Lamott describes him as an emaciated scarecrow of a man, with a lopsided face that lit up when he smiled. Ken told the congregation that when his long-time partner died, Jesus entered into the place in his heart that was broken, and Jesus had never left. Over the year that Ken attended the church, he had won almost everyone over. But there was a woman in the choir, Rinola – a huge, black woman from a Southern, evangelical background, who had always been taught that Ken’s way of life, indeed Ken himself, was an abomination. To her, Ken was not just suspect, but was someone to be avoided. One day, during the hymn singing, the congregation got to its feet, except Ken, who was too frail and weak to stand alone, and they all started singing, His Eye Is On The Sparrow. When they began to sing, “Why do I feel discouraged, why do the shadows fall,” Rinola began to cry. She left the choir and walked over to Ken. Rinola lifted him out of the pew and held him like a small ragdoll. The two of them sang together, cried together, … WERE children of God together. Anne Lamott says that she doesn’t know if this episode constitutes a full-fledged, no kidding miracle or not. But it’s close enough for her.

    and other illustrations

  • Christ the King (A)(2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("A new boy moved into the neighborhood just before he football season began. He was a little guy, thin and scrawny and clumsy. He went out for the football team and made a fool out of himself against the big kids. The coach, who had a kind heart, did not cut him from the team...")
  • Christ, Our King

    by Denis Hanly, MM
    Here is what Mother Teresa says: “Many today are starving for ordinary bread. But there is another kind of hunger – the hunger to be wanted, the hunger to be loved, the hunger to be recognised. Nakedness too is not just the want of clothes, but also about loss of dignity, purity, and self-respect. And homelessness is not just want of a house; there is the homelessness of being rejected, of being unwanted in a throwaway society. The biggest disease in the world today is the feeling of being unwanted and uncared for. The greatest evil in the world is lack of love, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbour.”’ Lord, warm our cold hearts with your grace, so that we your disciples may produce the fruits of love as you have taught us and with this love we shall overcome the world.”
  • The Selfless Gene

    by Olivia Hudson
    ("At 2 a.m. on February 26, 1852, the Royal Navy troopship Birkenhead, which was carrying more than 600 people, including seven women and 13 children, struck a rock near Danger Point, two miles off the coast of South Africa. Almost immediately, the ship began to break up...")
  • Surprise!

    by Beth Johnston
    I love the television series "er". For those of you who don't watch it, it's an American hospital based drama that is in its final season. In a world of "for profit" medicine, County treats the homeless on Chicago's mean streets, the mentally ill, the victims and perpetrators of gang violence and a host of other folks who happen to wander through the doors...
  • The Gift of Chesed

    by Philip McLarty
    ["There's a wonderful tradition in the Jewish faith called 'chesed' (pronounced heh-sed). Chesed is a Hebrew word that's roughly translated as 'acts of kindness'. It's where the Hasidic Jews get their name. They believe faith is best known by what you do, not by what you say. So, they bear witness to the love of God by practicing acts of kindness..."]
  • Imagining Christ

    by Kathleen Norris
    ("The exercise of our imaginations is vital if we are to find Christ in others. But it is also necessary that we utterly reject the temptation to sloth, that perversion of imagination which gives us, in the words of Fred Craddock, 'the ability to look at a starving child . . . with a swollen stomach and say, "Well, it's not my kid"....")
  • It's a Kingdom, Not a Democracy

    by John Pavelko
    In Port-au-Prince, Haiti there is a woman named Ruth serving the children who live on the street. The people of Haiti are desperately poor. The average life span is just over 40 years. Unemployment is over 80% and the land is terribly depleted from over farming. Ruth left her native Wisconsin to work as a nurse among the poor in Haiti. She changed careers when she saw the need of physically and mentally handicapped children in this poverty stricken land. They are abandoned and left to wander the streets. Ruth and her fellow workers collect them off the street and give them a home until they die. Ruth has arranged for some to fly to the states for surgery. Each day Ruth takes time to hug every child and praises them. She calls each one by name, even those who cannot feed themselves and lie in bed all day. She minimizes her work. She says that she just saw a need and tried to fill it. She prevents getting discouraged by focusing on one child at a time. She does not worry about how effective she is at solving the poverty of Haiti. All she sees is the faces of the children...
  • The Least of These

    from Preacher's Magazine
    ("Bob Parr didn't live an ordainary life. Sure he worked in a cubical at a big insurance corporation. He had a wife and three kids. He lived in a nice home in the suburbs. He had a bowling-buddy friend. Things were normal. Bob Parr, however, didn't live an ordinary life ...")
  • Christ Among the Scraps

    by Jan Richardson
    ("So I spent last night at the drafting table, pushing pieces of painted papers around. I had made a few sketches as I reflected on this week's gospel lection, Matthew 25.31-46. I sat down at the drafting table with those sketches in hand...")
  • *Beautiful

    by Stephen Schuette
    ("Mother Teresa was known for the way that she saw beauty everywhere, in everybody. She saw the dying of Calcutta, India, not as burden people, but as beautiful people, given to the world by God, and returning to God...")
  • Heaven's Audit of One's Soul

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("A hungry man was walking down the street in a village of medieval Turkey. He had only a piece of bread in his hand. He came to a restaurant where some meatballs were being grilled...")
  • Thoughts About Judging and Pleading

    by David Zersen
    ("Whether we read it again or viewed a film version of it again this year, Dickens' classic Christmas Carol is so much a part of our Western understanding of the meaning of our annual Christmas celebration. At the heart of the story is what happens to Ebenezer Scrooge...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

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

    by John Auer
    ("Ken Burns calls Elizabeth Cady Stanton, so barely mentioned in history books 'the mother of us all. He calls her "the author, in essence, of the largest social transformation that has ever taken place in the United States....")
  • The Cobbler and His Guest

    Author unknown (Leo Tolstoy?? See below)
    A cobbler waits for a visit from Christ. Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul, pp. 94-96, copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Aubery and Nancy Mitchell. Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.
  • Dear God, Where Are You?

    by Thomas Lane Butts, Jr.
    ("Recently I read a newspaper reporter's account of an experience he had as he watched a distribution of food at a mission. These are his words. 'The line was long but moving briskly and in that line, at the very end, stood a young girl about twelve years of age...")
  • The Light Never Turns Green

    by Thomas Lane Butts, Jr.
    ("There is an interesting story of two battleships that were on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. One evening as night fell on the foggy sea the Captain decided to stay on the bridge to keep an eye on things. The lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, 'Light, bearing on the starboard bow.'...")
  • The Kin-dom of God

    by Felix Carrion
    ("In one of Walt Whitman's poems there are words that have reached me deeply, and I want to share these with you: 'Each of us is inevitable, Each of us limitless, Each of us with his or her right upon the earth, Each of us allowed the eternal purport of the earth, Each of us here as divinely as any is here'...")
  • Our Spiritual Bottom Line

    by Kenneth Carter
    ("A member of our congregation was involved in the local homeless ministry. He was recognized one year for his volunteer work there. He is a quiet man who would not draw attention to himself, but it is good for ministries to tell these kinds of stories...")
  • Preaching Helps (Christ the King)(A)(2005)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("in Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Our Town, the play's central character, Emily, is given a chance, following her death, to view a scene from her past...")
  • Vocation, Vocation, Vocation: Your Pathway to Immortality

    by Delle Chatman
    ("I am putting all of my talents at the Lord's disposal these days, all of them. It is something I realized I must do after a brush with death a couple of years ago...")
  • They Are Us!

    by Dennis Clark
    ("There was a brand new president at the local university and he was known as a brilliant scholar and intellectual. When he started appearing at one of the local churches on Sundays, the pastor was anxious to impress him in hopes that he'd join the parish...")
  • *Excuses, Excuses

    by Tom Cox
    ("We've all had that uncomfortable feeling, haven't we? Seeing someone needy, another requiring a lift on a wet day. You're unsure what to do, stop and help or just move on? Hovering between anger - our routine being disrupted and guilt - that somehow we must help...")
  • *The Winner Takes Nothing

    by Tom Cox
    ["If it were nowadays, the Caprine (Goat) federation would probably take a case against Jesus for stereotypical profiling (discrimination) in this Sunday's Gospel. Why should they be compared unfavourably to their Ovine (Sheep) counterparts. A baaaaad mistake?..."]
  • Justice as Staple Diet

    by Rowland Croucher
    I vividly remember Pedro, a day-labourer who with his wife Isabella lived in one of the 400 favellas/slums around Fortaleza, in north-east Brazil. They had five children (of nine live births) – all malnourished. Pedro could only get work about every third day; Isabella made clothes on a basic sewing-machine lent by World Vision. But sometimes they had no food at night, and to stop their starving kids crying from hunger Isabella would feed them little balls of rolled-up moistened newspaper, sprinkled with sugar. These had almost no nutritional value, but at least they wouldn’t cry so much and Pedro could get some sleep. They’d owned a black bean farm, inherited from Pedro’s father and grandfather, and one day the police, bribed by a wealthy neighbouring landowner, drove them off their farm. They had no legal redress – the authorities were in the pockets of the rich...
  • Finding Jesus in the Midst of Joy

    by George Cushman
    ("One of my favorite youth group stories is one from when I first entered the ministry. It has influenced not only how I approach youth ministry, but all ministry in general. The youth group was in a small church in a very small community. The leaders of the group believed that the youth needed to have a broad base of experiences...")
  • *My Name Is Not "Those People"

    by Julia Dinsmore
    ("I am a loving woman, a mother in pain, giving birth to the future, where my babies have the same chance to thrive as anyone. My name is not 'Inadequate'. I did not make my husband leave - he chose to, and chooses not to pay child support....")
  • When, Lord, Did We See You?

    by Richard Fairchild
    The story is told that some years ago, an American soldier on a bus in Sweden told the man sitting next to him, 'America is the most democratic country in the world. Ordinary citizens may go to the White House to see the President and discuss things with him'...
  • If Only We Had Known

    by Deborah Fortel
    ("Martie is another story. An off-again, on-again drunk since she was seventeen, by the time she was forty, she looked sixty and had the health problems of eighty. A consummate con artist, she has worn out her family with her demands...")
  • Jesus: Judge and Advocate

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("You may recall the TV program Judge Judy. The voice over at the beginning of the show told us that what the viewer was about to see are real cases in a real courtroom. The judge presiding over these cases is Judge Judy. She is tough. She doesn’t stand for any nonsense. She is decisive...")
  • You Did It To Me...

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Conrad, the old cobbler, dreamed one night that the Master would come to be his guest. He was up as the sun was rising and set about decorating his little shop with bright flowers and greenery. He set the table with milk and honey and bread, and waited...")
  • Christ the King (A)(2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a new boy moved into the parish and entered the school as a seventh grader. He was a quiet, studious little kid who didn’t say much and seemed not to do much either. He did his homework and answered questions in class but never volunteered anything...")
  • Christ the King (A)(1999)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a woman who spent much of her life and energy pursuing good causes. She defended endangered species, especially the whales. She crusaded for the environment...")
  • Christ the King (A)(1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("A Jewish folk tale tells the story of a town miser and a poor shoemaker. The miser, a wealthy man, always refused to help anyone in need. As a result he was looked on with disdain by all. Only beggars who were not from the town would go to his door...")
  • *Christ the King (A)

    by Roger Haugen
    ("The West Wing is a popular television program that documents the life in the White House. All of the intrigue and events of the day are reflected in the weekly episode. This past week begins with the president faced with another of many situations. He is wisked off to the situation room in the basement of the White House, a room that is entered only after your palm print is read by a plate on the wall...")
  • *We Would See Jesus

    by Mark Haverland
    ("I visited an adult day care center in Cedar Rapids this past week. Milestones was created with the conviction that it is always possible to optimize someone’s life. Even the very old and infirm, even the demented patient can be encouraged to respond in some small yet human way...")
  • The Stewardship of Our Relationships

    by Peter Haynes
    ("It was the end of a long, frustrating day, as a social worker among the homeless, a woman and her family aet a meal out. Tired and hungry this mother sank her teeth into a submarine sandwich, only to be reprimanded by her young daughter: 'Mom, you forgot to pray!' Rather than argue, she quickly mumbled a grace: 'Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blest,' and then, proceeded to eat...")
  • Wholesale or Retail?

    by Charles Hoffacker
    ("Back in the 1940s, it was Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers who broke the color barrier in the major leagues. One day, during a game in Cincinnati, Robinson at second base committed an error, and even his fans began to threaten and heckle him. He must have felt very much alone as ugly shouts rang out against him from all over the stadium. It was then that his teammate, Pee Wee Reese, walked over to Robinson from his shortstop position and put his arm around him. The two men stood together facing the crowd. The jeering stopped...")
  • *A Wonderful Life

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("This is the lesson the audience gets when they watch the movie It's a Wonderful Life. If you do good things for your neighbors all your life, someday, when you need them, all those favors will be repaid...")
  • Unto the Least of These

    by Florien S. Hollenbeck
    Christmas had always been a happy season in the Kingsley home. But not this year. Tragedy had robbed it of its brightest ornament - the Kingsley's only child, a strikingly attractive girl of 18. Her life had been suddenly snuffed out in an automobile accident six months before...
  • The Scavenger Hunt

    by Randy Hyde
    ("Fred Craddock once attended a conference on hunger. Near the end of the conference, Fred says, a young, willowy woman got up to speak. She carried a legal pad to the podium and began reading. At first, Craddock says, he couldn't follow what she was saying. Eventually, it dawned on him, as it did all the other listeners, that she was reading the same sentence over and over, each time in a different language. Finally, at the very end, she spoke the sentence in English. All the time she was saying, 'Mommy, I'm hungry.'...")
  • Whatsoever You Do

    by Willard Jabusch
    (scroll down to this text)
  • Be Compassionate

    by John Jewell
    ("One of my favorite cartoons of all time is one from the Peanuts comic strip. In this particular one, Snoopy is sitting in the doorway of his dog house shivering violently during a winter storm. You can see that it is near Christmas time by the decorations on the dog house...")
  • Servant Success

    by Beth Johnston
    This sermon has extensive quotes from The Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke.
  • When Are We Going to Stop Crucifying Christ?

    by Frederic Jones
    ("I heard a news story on TV the morning following it premiere of Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. A fundamentalist pastor was interviewed. Among other things, he said: 'It just was amazing what he suffered for our sake. How powerful his sacrifice was for us'...")
  • Justice for "the Least of These," Salvation for All

    by Karen Keely
    ("In his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, he tells the story of his Baltimore slave mistress, Mrs. Sophia Auld, a woman who had earned her own living until she married and who had never had a slave until young Frederick came to live in her household...")
  • With Thanks to the King

    by Linda Kraft
    ("It was a typical Thanksgiving dinner for this busy family. The oldest child was home from college. The youngest was running noisily through the kitchen just as the turkey was coming out of the oven. Grandparents and several aunts and uncles, cousins, in-laws and guests were visiting in the family room where a fire had been laid in the large fireplace...")
  • The Star Thrower

    by Kirk Kubicek
    ("There is an interesting story told about the scientist and writer, Loren Eisely. Eisely was in the south of France, on the coast, attending a scientific symposium. He woke early one morning and went for a walk on the beach before sunrise. As he moved through the misty dawn he focused on a faint, far away figure...")
  • *Christ in One Another

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("A long time ago in the Middle Ages in Hungary there was a princess called Elizabeth. She didn’t really want to be a princess at all, though. She wanted to be a nun. She wanted to serve the sick and help the poor, but that wasn't really an option for a princess in her day...")
  • *Images of Christ

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("I’d like to finish with a passage from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Dream of the Rood, written in a time of hero-kings – when kingship was costly, as perhaps true kingship always is...")
  • Going Incognito

    by Edward Markquart
    ("There was only once, perhaps twice, that I really went incognito, and it wasn’t at a masquerade party. I was a junior in college and full of pranks. I had finished working as a canoe guide up in northern Minnesota; and after the summer, my beard and hair were long and bushy...")
  • Our Final Day in Court or Here Comes Da Judge!

    by Edward Markquart
    ("I am now sitting in the courtroom and sizing up all the people in that courtroom. These seem to be a great number of people. The judge comes in, and I try to size the judge up...")
  • Sheep and Goats

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Years ago, I remember an associate pastor by the name of David Cox telling a story about his visit to Israel. He was out in some remote hills of Israel and he came upon a band of Bedouin tents. At a distance from his car, he could see that there was a herd of sheep or goats around those Bedouin tents...")
  • Jesus, The Judge

    by David Martyn
    Dennis, Matthew, & Sheila Fabricant Linn, in their book "Good Goats" write: "If anyone is in hell, it is not because God sent that person there, but because he or she chose it. C.S. Lewis used the image of hell as a room with the door closed from the inside, our side." The Linn's in preparing to write their book, shared some of the ideas in it with a group of Catholic nuns. They wrote: "A few years ago, we presented some of the ideas in this book to a group of elderly retired Roman Catholic nuns. One sister raised her hand and said, ‘But what about the story of the sheep and the goats? It says right there that the sheep go to heaven and the goats go to hell.’ Dennis responded by asking the whole group, ‘How many of you, even once in your life, have done what Jesus asks at the beginning of that passage and fed a hungry person, clothed a naked person or visited a person in prison?’ All the sisters raised their hands. Dennis said, ‘That’s wonderful! You’re all sheep.’ Then Dennis asked, ‘How many of you, even once in your life, have walked by a hungry person, failed to clothe a naked person, or not visited someone in prison?’ Slowly, all the sisters raised their hands. Dennis said, ‘Too bad. You’re all goats.’ The sisters looked worried and perplexed. Then suddenly on very old sister’s hand shot up. She blurted out, ‘I get it! We’re all good goats!’...
  • What About the Goats?

    by David Martyn
    "This past week's Dilbert cartoon strip is about a company's marketing department that wants the engineer Dilbert to build a device that turns customers into sheep. Dilbert asks 'Why?' So they'll buy whatever we tell them to buy?'"...
  • What the Saints Do

    by Steven Molin
    ("As the worshipers arrived on a late November morning at the Lutheran Church in White Lake, North Dakota, they were met by a rather disturbing sight. An apparently homeless beggar sat on the front steps of the church, wearing tattered clothing, a wool cap pulled down over his eyes, and clutching a bottle in fingerless gloves. They had never seen anything quite like this in White Lake..." turns out to be the pastor)
  • *What You Did for the Least of These

    by Rob Nedbalek
    ("It was a cloudy, warm spring morning as the members of the church began to gather and enter the small, Lutheran church in a rural Kansas town. They were met with a distrubing sight. There, next to the steps that went up to the narthex lay a man. At least they assumed that it was a man. He wore a Vietnam era boonie hat, and his long, scraggly, dark hair hung matted from it...")
  • When Did We Minister to You, Lord?

    by William Oldland
    The man standing at the microphone was the mullah, the priest in our vernacular, of the Muslim group in the prison. He had just attended a three day Christian weekend in the institution. He was invited to attend by the prison chaplain. He is a big African-American man with a sharp intellectual mind. He also has gifts of leadership. During the past year the tension between the Christians and Muslims in the prison was growing. The chaplain invited the mullah to the event to help create some common ground. Now, at the end of the three day program where a group of fifty men and a support team of another forty men and women from outside the prison were involved, this man goes to the microphone to speak. He grabs the podium in his large hands. He leans toward the microphone. He begins his story: "I was raised in Chicago near the Italian side of town. My first experience of the Christian church was the mafia. They were involved in the drug and racketeering business. They did all kinds of things on Friday and Saturday nights. Then they went to church on Sunday, received absolution, and then went back on the streets to do the same bad things all over again. To escape this life my family moved. I spent my teenage and early adult years in Alabama. Here I got introduced to the KKK, another organization professing Christian ties. They beat and killed people over the color of their skin. With these two examples I thought if this is the Christian Church I don't want any part of it. So, I became a Muslim. I have studied and I lead the prayer services here in the prison. I just want you to know. If I had experienced Christianity in my earlier years the way I have experienced it over the last three days, my life may have been different...
  • *Christ the King

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("In 1982 Mayor Ed Koch challenged all 3,500 religious institutions in the city to allocate shelter space for ten homeless persons per congregation. An investigative journalist for the New York Times wrote the following assessment of the Mayor's plea: A Protestant minister said to the Times reporter, 'The Mayor never mentioned this to me. Nobody in his office apprised me of this.'...")
  • Get On With It, You Old Goat!

    by John Pavelko
    ("Peter has always been known for having a robust energetic personality. He is a successful businessman and an active support of his church and community. He always projects confidence and optimism. He is 43 years old, has a good marriage and three children...")
  • It's a Kingdom, Not a Democracy

    by John Pavelko
    In Port-au-Prince, Haiti there is a woman named Ruth serving the children who live on the street. The people of Haiti are desperately poor. The average life span is just over 40 years. Unemployment is over 80% and the land is terribly depleted from over farming. Ruth left her native Wisconsin to work as a nurse among the poor in Haiti. She changed careers when she saw the need of physically and mentally handicapped children in this poverty stricken land. They are abandoned and left to wander the streets. Ruth and her fellow workers collect them off the street and give them a home until they die. Ruth has arranged for some to fly to the states for surgery. Each day Ruth takes time to hug every child and praises them. She calls each one by name, even those who cannot feed themselves and lie in bed all day. She minimizes her work. She says that she just saw a need and tried to fill it. She prevents getting discouraged by focusing on one child at a time. She does not worry about how effective she is at solving the poverty of Haiti. All she sees is the faces of the children. I wonder if the goats ever recognized their King because they never looked long enough into the face of those in need. The faces of hungry children are not easy to look at. The face of a father dying of AIDS does not present an appealing portrait. The look of desperation in the eyes of a homeless woman is tough to consider. But King Jesus is saying that we will see his face in the faces of others.. I also wonder if the sheep were too busy caring for the many needs to recognize the face of their King...
  • *Muddy Waters

    by Michael Phillips
    (includes several quotes)
  • The Son of Man

    by Bruce Prewer
    The son of man has come not for power or money, but as a true servant and give my life for many...
  • You Call Me King?

    by Bruce Prewer
    I am the hungry crowd weary and underfed, I am the willing boy sharing five rolls of bread...
  • Christ, Our Hero

    by Paul Rooney
    ("When I was a boy, my 'heroes' were Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, and Enos Country Slaughter. If you are not old enough to remember those names, they were stars for the baseball St. Louis Cardinals back in the 1940's...")
  • Royalty Stoops

    by Fleming Rutledge
    ("Not long before the onset of the cancer that finally killed him, King Hussein of Jordan undertook a small mission. He paid a personal visit to the families of some Israelis who had been killed in an Arab terrorist bombing...")
  • Oh, You Can't Get to Heaven...

    by Byron Shafer
    ("Now, about that book, God's Politics. The Reverend Jim Wallis is one of the foremost religious social activists and organizers of our time. And in his book, he tells us that it was his encounter with Jesus's radical concern for the poor, in Matthew 25, that brought him back to the Christian faith after a considerable time away...")
  • A Cup of Thanksgiving

    by Martin Singley
    "When I was a kid, I belonged to a church that had a gym and some of us would go to play basketball. But our Catholic friends couldn’t go. They were convinced they’d be struck by lightning if they went into a Protestant church. Eventually, we Protestants wore down the Catholics..."
  • Blessed to Be a Blessing

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("Once there was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it would be a long trip to where God lived, so he packed a suitcase full of Twinkies and cans of root beer - his two favorite foods - and set off on his journey. He had only gone a few blocks when he passed an older woman, sitting on a park bench and just staring at some pigeons...")
  • RSVP: Personal Participation

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("During stewardship campaign in a former Church, one of the young men by the name of Andy gave a wonderful stewardship testimony. During his testimony he had the ushers, give everyone a dollar bill. Andy and his wife had gone through and highlighted the phrase In God we trust on every one of those dollars ...")
  • Papa Panov's Special Visitor

    Retold by Leo Tolstoy
    ("Long ago and far, far away, in a small Russian village, there lived an old shoemaker called Panov. He was known as Papa Panov and everyone loved him. Papa Panov was poor; he lived and worked in one small room over-looking the village street...")
  • Where Love Is, There God Is Also

    by Leo Tolstoy
    An old cobbler dreams that Jesus will visit him and how that dream comes true.
  • Seeing God in Others

    by Jean Vanier
    ("What I discover today is every time I see a man or a woman with a severe mental handicap - the incredible cry that is coming from them - what I would call the primal cry - which is, 'Do you love me?' - a very deep cry...")
  • The Kingdom of Love

    by J. Barry Vaughn
    ("British journalist Katharine Whitehorn attributes our fascination with kings to the popularity of fairy tales. 'Whoever heard,' she asked, 'of someone kissing a frog and it turning into a handsome senator?'...")
  • Meeting Christ in Our Neighbors

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In my first pastorate I had three rural churches. Each one originated with a few families. The three churches had been served by the same pastor for decades but they rarely worshipped or worked together. Descendants of the charter members of each church still remained. Just about everyone in those churches was related in some way...")
  • Senseless Kindness

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In the November-December 1997 issue of Sojourners there is an interesting article about Dorothy Day. She was an uncanonized saint of the homeless. She complained a lot because she wasn't satisfied with the ways things should be. She said it would be a far less cruel world if those who go to church cared for the poor as well as they cared for their bibles...")
  • Let Justice Roll

    by Jim Wallis & Ken Medema
    ("I'll never forget a day when I came back to Washington, D.C., my hometown. There were the headlines in the newspaper saying that Ed Meese, the highest-ranking legal officer in my country, had just had a press conference and proclaimed from the White House pulpit that there were no hungry people in America...")
  • Christ the King (A)(2002)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Once there were two monks, each living in their own little homes a few miles apart, right along a busy road. Both monks delighted in welcoming the stranger-travellers on that road. They would invite them into their humble homes, give the strangers their best food, and provide them with their best bed...")
  • The King of Kings

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Dr. Richard Hoefler says in his book The Divine Trap, 'In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Christ issues a warning in love. It is not a prescription but a description. A prescription is something that we must do if we are to achieve a desired end...")

Other Resources from 2019

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Other Resources from 2017 and 2018

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Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

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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 2002 to 2004

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable