Tag Archives: Sunday sermon

Sunday Sermon and Some Special Friends

2 Dec

“A mirror cannot reflect your spirit as well as the eye of a friend.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A very chilly morning. My personal Google Assistant told me it was 42 degrees, but with the wind chill, it feels like 34. Normally, I would spurt out some expletive, but today I said, “All right. I get to wear my sock monkey hat today.”

From my vantage point, I get to see when the bus from the Chateau rounds the corner, then I can scoot through the long hallway and run over to the side door and greet the bus as the lovely ladies get off the bus. They all get a big hug, and I get the biggest smiles.

Today’s Gospel was from Matthew, telling us that just like in the days of Noah, we will not know when the Son of Man comes. There will be no warning.

44 Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

My take on it… Gosh, nobody really knows when their last day will be, or even when the end of the world will be, or even if there is a heaven or hell. So what? Just do the best you can, be the best you can. If you are happy with yourself and happy with your life, that’s all that matters.

After Mass, Helene and I held the doors for the exiting congregation. Those doors are huge and heavy, and there are so many elderly folks and families with babies. So, it is really appreciated. See! Little things like that are what makes you smile inside. We stopped at McDonald’s afterwards for hot chocolate and tea, then over to the grocery store. I needed to get some fixin’s for the dinner I was preparing. It was so cold, I decided potato soup and salad would be perfect.

While the soup was simmering, I got to FaceTime with the granddaughters. They are just so cute. The baby was busy biting her toes, and the three year old was eating a waffle and working with some play dough.

At 6 o’clock, the TOTS were coming over for our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange. (TOTS- Table Of Talent Sisters.) They wanted to get together before I leave for Chicago. I am so lucky that they agree to come to my house because I really don’t have any family here to celebrate holidays with. So, when they come to visit, my house feels like a home.

I spent several hours making the potato soup with all kinds of vegetables and even a pound of sautéed bacon and onions. Combined with a big salad and Snicker peanut butter pie for dessert, it was the perfect dinner. There was plenty for leftovers and doggie bags.

We sat and talked and ate and talked and laughed and exchanged beautiful gifts. These are the girls who have seen me through some pretty tough times, and I know they’ll always be around, through good times and bad. True friends. (True friends stay and wash all the dishes and clean up even when told not to.)

As the Gospel said, you never know when your last day will be, but I can’t help but think, isn’t it wonderful to have a day like today?

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

25 Nov

“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”

― Ted Chiang

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A beautiful Sunday morning. Always the highlight of my week. It was a little chilly, but not cold enough to wear my sock monkey hat. Darn! A lot of hugs and handshakes greeting before 9 o’clock Mass.

One of my little friends sporting his new haircut, and thanking me for his Matchbox car.

Then, a big surprise hug from my friend Gil, who I haven’t seen in months. It was especially great to congratulate him on his upcoming wedding next month. Congratulations Gil!

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus hanging on the cross, along with horrible criminals. He was mocked and jeered at, and people telling Him to save himself if he really was Christ. One criminal hanging next to Him said Jesus should save Himself and the others in a mocking way. Only one criminal defended Jesus saying that he and the others were justly punished, but Jesus did nothing wrong.

And indeed, we have been condemned justly,

for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,

but this man has done nothing criminal.”

Then he said,

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He replied to him,

“Amen, I say to you,

today you will be with me in Paradise.”

My take on it… it’s never too late to repent and see the errors of your ways, but you truly must make atonement and change those evil ways. I’ve had this discussion with others who have said God forgives everyone, so we must forgive everyone. I truly believe that even God will not forgive certain people. Like the quote states, “There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness.” The key words are repentance and atonement. Without those, forgiveness should not be expected, even from God.

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After Mass, Helene and I stopped for coffee at McDonald’s, and I stopped at the grocery store afterwards. I had to laugh. I was over in the dairy aisle picking up eggs when a stranger came up to me and asked, “Do you have any idea where the Cool Whip is?” I told her that I was pretty sure it was right down this aisle with the frozen pies and stuff. She turned around, and there it was. She laughed and said, “My goodness. It’s right behind me.”

Of course, I had to tell her about my no bake Snicker peanut butter pie that I made yesterday and proceeded to tell her the quick recipe and ingredients. Another lady standing right there said, “Wow! That sounds really good and easy to make.” I showed them a picture of the pies on my phone. I think I made a couple of pie converts.

When I was checking out, I was telling the young cashier my pie story, and he said that it sounded cool. I showed him the picture, too. He stopped what he was doing and grabbed a scrap of paper and started writing down, 1 Cool whip, 1 cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, etc. I had to laugh. He said he was going to ask his mom to make one for Thanksgiving.

It’s the little things in life that are special to me. If I can brighten someone’s day or give them a new idea or a new recipe, that makes me smile.

When I got home, I changed and went for a nice long walk. Then, I hopped in my car so I could take my Snicker pie over to my friends at Fire Station 9 so they could have it for dessert after dinner.

Later, my absolute favorite part of my Sunday. I get to FaceTime with my little granddaughters. I am so blessed. I hope your Sunday was just as wonderful.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

18 Nov

“Interesting that we are so worried about the fate of the universe, which is something we will not live to witness.”

― Rajesh

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Another beautiful Sunday morning. I woke before the 7am alarm, thinking o myself how funny it was that I jump out of bed cheerily, looking forward to going to church. When I was a kid, like most kids, I didn’t look forward to getting up early on Sunday to go to church, or those early mornings going to school or catching that early morning bus in the cold. I’m sure you all know that dreaded alarm that wakes you before dawn for work.

Today, I smiled as I got dressed and scurried off to church. I always look forward to every Sunday, greeting before Mass, hugging friends, shaking hands, trying to sing along with the wonderful choir, and especially the quiet solemnity of the rituals of the Catholic Mass.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus being asked about the end of the world.

He answered,

“See that you not be deceived,

for many will come in my name, saying,

‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’

Do not follow them!

When you hear of wars and insurrections,

do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,

but it will not immediately be the end.”

Then he said to them,

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues

from place to place;

and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky……

perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Wow! Some of that sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? My take on it….We may not know when the end of the world is coming. So, it’s a good idea just to live your life to the best of your ability every day. Love God, love your neighbor. That covers it all. You never know if today is your last day.

After church, I stopped for coffee with Helene and Mary. Then, a trip to the store, Walgreens, and home to change. A beautiful day called for a nice long walk. I even had a chance to stop for a beer at Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy’s Garage.

During my walk, I contemplated what to make for dinner. I had some leftover chicken fajitas, so I decided to try something different. A makeshift chicken enchilada casserole. I used a box of Jiffy cornbread mix with a can of creamed corn, an egg and some yogurt. (I don’t measure) I baked the cornbread mixture till almost done, then topped with the leftover fajitas mixed in with a can of chicken cheese enchilada soup, and topped with Monterey Jack cheese. Yum!

Then, the other favorite part of my Sunday. I got to FaceTime with my family and see the grandchildren. They seem to be growing by the week.

I am blessed. Happy Sunday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

4 Nov

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

~John F. Kennedy

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Today, the clocks moved back for Daylight Saving Time, and we got an extra hour of sleep. Well, some did. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up around 6:30 this morning. I told myself if I woke up before 7 that I would go to 8 o’clock Mass instead of 10. I’m so glad I did.

When I arrived at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Elgin, it felt warm and inviting and special. This was Mom’s parish, and the church and people she loved so much.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus traveling through Jericho. A wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus was curious and wanted to see Jesus. Being a very short man, he climbed a tree to see better. Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly for today I must stay in your house,” The crowd was upset that Jesus was going to stay with a sinner. Zacchaeus declared to Jesus that he would give half of his possessions to the poor, and repay anyone he cheated four times the amount.

“Today salvation has come to this house

because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.

For the Son of Man has come to seek

and to save what was lost.”

My take on it… It’s never too late to change. Some change is good. Some change is bad. It’s up to us to decide what path we follow. Sometimes we are given a second chance in life. Like Zacchaeus, we can see the error of our ways and decide to share our blessings and mend our evil ways.

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After Mass, I stopped to shake hands and chat with Father. I noticed a couple of familiar faces in the vestibule. (I always liked that word- vestibule) I didn’t remember their names, but they were Eucharistic ministers who went to the Greens of Elgin where Mom lived, and officiated a service and brought communion on Sundays. I gave each one a big hug and thanked them for the many years of kindness to my mom and the other residents. They both said they missed Trini and her beautiful smile.

I went back into the nearly empty sanctuary to take a couple of pictures of the beautiful altar and stained glass windows.

As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed another familiar face sitting alone in the front pew praying the rosary. What are the chances? I scooted right next to her in the pew and smiled. Her eyes lit up and Miss Ilene gave me a big hug and said she was just thinking about me. Ilene was a dear friend of Mom’s. She used to pick Mom up every Sunday for Mass, when Mom was more mobile, and they would stop for breakfast and visit often. We sat and talked a good half hour. I didn’t want to disrupt her prayers too long, so I gave her my address and phone number, and took a quick selfie. Sweet lady and great friend to Mom.

I drove back to my sister’s with a wonderful happy heart. My early morning Mass turned into a celebration of life.

Talk about friends, my dear friend Debbie was coming all the way from the south side of Chicago to visit this afternoon. Debbie and I go way back from our teaching days in the late 70’s. She also was kind enough to scout out and score a dozen boxes of blank frosted ornaments from Hobby Lobby for me. I’ve had an awful time finding them. I need to paint them for gifts when I come back in December. Yay!

When she arrived, we discussed where we would go to lunch. I’ve been very good with vegetarian meals and eating healthy while I was at my son’s house and here with my sister. They are very inspirational with their vegetarian lifestyle. In my almost two weeks here, I haven’t had any deep dish Chicago pizza or my favorite Maxwell street Polish sausage from Portillo’s. My sister decided not to join us for lunch because she had a dinner meeting planned already. So, Debbie and I talked about a little cafe not too far, where they served healthy nutritional lunches. I even asked for directions.

When we got in Debbie’s car, she asked which way to Sweet Berry Cafe, and if that was where I wanted to go. BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED….

Oh my gosh… I’ve been dreaming about this for almost a year. I’ll go to confession next week. For today, I am one happy Catholic Chicago girl.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

13 Oct

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

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An absolutely perfect Sunday morning. I couldn’t have asked for nicer weather, in he 60’s and the sky a crystal clear blue. That’s why this Psalm and song popped into my head.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus entering a village where ten lepers asked, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” He cleansed them, but only one returned, fell at the feet of his healer and thanked Him. He was a Samaritan, a foreigner.

Jesus said in reply,

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?

Where are the other nine?

Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;

your faith has saved you.”

My take on it… sometimes we ask for God’s help, but we forget to thank Him when our prayers are answered. But also, how many times do friends and family do something special for us, and we often take it for granted. It’s funny, I was thinking about that e other day. I thought, I need to make some special hand painted cards and send to people that have been so kind and generous to me, and just say “Thank you for all the times I forgot to say thank you.” This Gospel reading spoke to me.

After Mass, Mr. Jerry, Helene and I stopped for coffee and conversation, then I stopped at the grocery store to buy more stuff that I really don’t need, but… it was on sale.

Another walk around the neighborhood with Bella. She loves the cooler weather. So do I. Then, I decided to work outside a couple of hours. It’s been too hot for weeks, but… this is the day the Lord has made… for working outside.

I had a nice chat with my friend Debbie, from back home in Chicago. She texted me a cool shadow picture of her Halloween decorations and I did an Artisto application to it. My friend Debbie is awesome. We’ve been friends since BC… before children. I think about 1977. Thanks Deb, for all the friendship and kindness all these years. (Your other best friend is kinda skinny there.)

Now, I have to walk the dog again and think about getting something to eat. Yikes! It’s almost 7 and I haven’t eaten anything but a handful of Bugles and nuts. Crazy!

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Our Parish Picnic

7 Oct

“Life is like a picnic. You make preparations, spread out the blanket, open the basket, and assemble the guests. Then, the ants invade and it pours down rain. Grab your stuff and run like crazy!”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Today was a special day at St. Gabriel. Not only were we going to have our Parish Picnic at noon, but Bishop Kelly, our former Pastor, was officiating at 9 am Mass. He was there for the dedication of the Bishop Kelly Center, formerly our old sanctuary and offices.

I had a little trouble comprehending today’s Gospel. Hmm? You tell your servants to prepare your meal while you eat and drink after they’ve tended the fields? Do you thank the servant for doing what was commanded? Hmmm…? I probably would say, come on in and have supper with me after they worked the fields and tended the sheep. That’s just me.

Lk 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the servant for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless servants; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

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My take on it… long and short… God expects us to do much more than just the minimal amount of what is expected. If you are a good and faithful servant, you will honor your master above and beyond the call of duty. Go the extra mile.

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After Mass and the dedication, Helene and I went over to the parish hall where they were setting up for the picnic and ministry fair. We didn’t sign up for a special duty, we were “gophers.” The gym was lined up with tables of all the different ministries available, and members had info and sign up sheets. I’m already part of the Welcome ministry, but I signed up for the 60+ group. I guess the only criteria is you have to be over 60. Well covered there. They just meet once a month for fellowship. I can do that.

The Knights and men’s groups cooked the hamburgers and hot dogs out back, and the rest of the food was a pot luck. The women’s club set up and other volunteers helped out wherever they could. There was a ton of food. Catholics like to cook! Almost as much as we like to eat and socialize. There were all kinds of fun things for the kids to do, with bounce houses, slides, games etc. oh, and face painting was a big hit.

It was a fun and informative afternoon. My friend Lynn asked Father Don how he came about to becoming a priest after he had graduated with a degree in electrical

engineering. He felt the call after realizing that engineering was not his true calling. We are very fortunate that he answered that call.

A great day at St. Gabe’s. Happy Sunday my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

30 Sep

“An arrogant rich and a humble poor both need help! The former needs help to be human; the latter needs help to live humanely!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

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Another delightful Sunday. I was happy because Mr. Jerry was feeling strong enough to go to Mass this morning, so I picked him up a little after 8. He maneuvered like a champ with his cane and back brace, but those hard wooden pews and an extra long service paid their toll. But, he was delighted to be able to get back to Mass and receive the sacraments this morning after several weeks of convalescing after back surgery.

Today’s Gospel: Jesus told the Pharisees the story of the rich man who dined like a king every day, yet never gave a single scrap to poor Lazarus lying outside his door, sick and starving.

When the poor man died,

he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.

The rich man also died and was buried,

and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,

he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off

and Lazarus at his side.

And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.

Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,

for I am suffering torment in these flames.’

Abraham replied,

‘My child, remember that you received

what was good during your lifetime

while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;

but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.

My take on it… You can have all the money and possessions in the world, but if you are selfish, never helping those in need, then you are a very poor sad excuse of a human being.

Even in death, the selfish rich man asked for pity, begging Abraham to send Lazarus to quench his thirst. Did he have any pity on Lazarus while he was alive? No! You can’t take it with you, so why don’t you share a little while you’re alive? When you’re dead, you can’t help anyone.

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After Mass, Jerry needed a few things from the store, so we stopped at Tom Thumb, then back home. I’m sure he was exhausted. I got home by 11:30 and called Zelda, as we had made plans to go to the movies this afternoon. We decide to check out “AD ASTRA.”

I didn’t know anything about the movie, but I like sci-fi type movies, and I like Brad Pitt. Win-win.

We sat in the comfy reclining leather seats at the new McKinney North Cinemark. With the dark screen, eerie soft music, feet up and all relaxed, and quiet dialogue, I’ll have to admit, I think I nodded off about 27 times. Zelda said she enjoyed the movie, and I think I did too, from what I saw of it. Oops! I think I was tired after getting up early for church and maybe about six hours of sleep. I have trouble sleeping at night. Maybe I should go to the movies every now and then, and get in a good nap. Sorry Brad Pitt. It’s me, not you.

After the movie, Zelda and I had a nice lunch at Panera. When I got home, I was able to FaceTime with my little girls. I have the most adorable grand daughters.

Someone was painting with watercolors bequeathed from her great-Grandma and namesake. Someone up in heaven is smiling.

And, she loves to play piano like her great-grandma, too.

And this little angel has the most delightful smile and giggles. The highlight of my Sunday.

Happy Sunday, my friends.