Мишоловка

     The church school was getting ready for the annual Easter pageant and all the children were asked to choose which part they wanted to play. One child chose to play Mary Magdalene, other children chose to play Saint Peter, or Joseph of Arimathea, and so forth. But, when it came time for Johnny's turn to choose, he happily wanted to be the angel who rolls away the stone that sealed the tomb of Our Lord.

     After the pageant was over and Johnny was going home with his parents, his mother expressed how disappointed they were that he didn't choose a larger, more prominent role in the play. Johnny, however, was bouncing excitedly all over the back seat, obviously thrilled with his performance in the pageant. Finally, his mother turned to him and asked, "Tell me, Johnny, why are you happy about just being the angel who rolls away the  stone from the tomb? Wouldn't you have liked to have had a bigger part to play?" Johnny replied quite innocently, "Oh, no, mom, just think! I'm the one who gets to let Jesus jout! What role could be better than that?"

     "The myrrh-bearing women arrived just before the dawn at the tomb of the Giver of Life and found an angel seated on the stone whgo spoke these words to them: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why do you mourn the Incorruptible among those subject to decay? Go announce the good news to His disciples!" Let us continue to announce the good news and hoyfully sing out "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!"

   Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

   One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

   "How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

   "I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

   Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?"' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

   Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has some who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

   Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

Who Packed Your Parachute?

Healing the Heart

   A monk, well known for his holiness, once went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He had the great fortune of visiting many of the places where Jesus lived and taught. One of his great privilge was to visit the Jordan River, where he immersed himself in the very water in which Jesus had been baptized. He was very eager to take some of this Jordan River water back to the monastery.
   As he was journeying back to the monastery, however, he encountered a beggar. The beggar wanted nothing more than a sip of water. The monk refused the request, explaining that the only water he had left was very special water from the Jordan River, and it was not for drinking or sharing. The beggar persisted, and the monk grew angry and cursed the beggar. At that moment the monk heard the words, "My son, you have washed your body in the Jordan River, but you have not washed your heart." With that, the beggar vanished from his sight.
   In the Gospel reading today, we hear of Jesus cure of a paralyzed man near the pool of Bethesda. It was believed that anyone who washed in that pool, during the stirring of the water, would be cured. How wonderful it would be, we might say to ourselves, to have such a pool of healing today. Let us remember that we do not need a pool or any other means of miracles when we have Christ Himself. Our Risen Lord, Who has power over death, certainly has dominion over illness and our bodies as well. Sometimes, however, He desires for us a healing of the heart, before a healing of the body.
   A story is told about a little boy who was sent to the school principal for misbehaving. After the little boy told him what he had done wrong, the principal took out a piece of paper and wrote the boy's name upon it, as well as the date and the reason for which the boy had been sent to him.
   Then, the principal told the boy, "Timmy, I know that you are a good boy and you've never before been sent to me for misbehaving. Therefore, if you are not sent to me again this year for misbehaving, I will tear up this piece of paper and no one will ever know anything about it." The little boy remembered this as the most powerful lesson in mercy that he had ever learned.
   The most powerful example of mercy that we, as Christians, have ever witnessed is our Lord's resurrection, which we still continue to gloriously celebrate. However, earlier this week, on Wednesday, we also celebrated the Feast of Mid-Pentecost. Mid-Pentecost begins to set our sights on the reception of another of God's great gifts of mercy - the Gift of the Holy Spirit, Who will descent upon us on Pentecost Sunday.
   Through the resurrection, we know of God's mercy in that He has given us the gift of eternal life. Through the Descent of the Holy Spirit, we know of God's mercy in that He has not abandoned us. Rather, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell among us, to dwell among us, and to nourish us, bless us and heal us - especially through the Holy Mysteries.

The Gift of Mercy