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Even God Made the Clouds

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The recent cloudy days remind me of an encounter I had with a homeless man four years ago. I had just completed three years of college seminary and was helping at the Milwaukee Cathedral's Outdoor Café. The Café serves lunch to the city's homeless. Having returned from college seminary, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and contracted the contagious graduate "know-it-all" disease. I was ready to go out to the world and evangelize with the vast knowledge I had acquired.

After serving the food at the Café, I sat with one of the men. I made small talk with him while seeking for an opening when I could impart the theology I learned. The opening never came and I began to get frustrated and lose interest. As the man continued to eat, I absently said, "I wish it was a sunnier day." The man paused in between eating and replied simply, "Even God made the clouds."

Even God made the clouds. In one short sentence I learned more lessons from this homeless man than a theology class could have taught me and I was humbled. One of the lessons I learned was what it meant to be grateful. Here was a man who found what true gratitude looks like. That no matter the circumstances, there was always something to be grateful for, especially when things do not go out way. Whether it be a sandwich on a hungry day, an opening for theology not appearing, or clouds in the sky, there is always something to be grateful to God for. Sometimes that means even being grateful for the things we wish were different.

I think about that homeless man every time the sky is dark with clouds. Yes, even God makes the clouds.

God Sightings

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Fall in Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful things to encounter, in my opinion. There are so many great outdoor activities to do by yourself or as a family that remind us of how great God truly is. We have the opportunity to pick apples, get lost in a field of corn, witness the sunflowers in their glorious peak, take a hike, find the perfect pumpkin in the patch, and sit around a bonfire and enjoy the warmth of the flame. I am grateful to be able to do these things and so much more with my family and adore and appreciate what He has given to me.

During Vacation Bible School we talk to the kids about God Sightings. We ask the participants (adults and children alike) to keep their eyes open for ways God is present in their lives. We make a conscious effort to acknowledge that God has placed people and things in our lives that bring joy, beauty, and comfort. Sometimes there is pain or anger as well. We look to God in and through all things. Keep your eyes open for your God Sightings. Who or what has God placed in your life this week to help you grow closer to him?

The Need to See Some Skin

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There is this delightful story about a four year old child who awoke one night frightened by a dream. She could not fall back asleep, and her mind convinced her that there in the darkness of her room, lay in waiting, an assortment of monsters and ghosts.

Alone, she ran to her parent’s bedroom. Her mother calmed her down and taking her by the hand, led her back to her own room. Her mother put on the light to dispel the demons and reassured her child with these words, “You needn’t be afraid, you are not alone here. God is in the room with you.”

The girl replied “I know that God is here, but I need someone in this room who has some skin!”

This is what the apostle Thomas is, in essence, asking of the resurrected Jesus. He’s saying,” I need to see some skin.” This is the best explanation for our whole experience with Jesus, since his announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel - until this moment.

This Easter is unlike any I have ever had. How about you? I long to celebrate with someone who has some skin. Maybe this Easter we can celebrate knowing Jesus came in the flesh, died, and then rose again. He sits at the right hand of the Father and is with us here on earth. We have been accustomed to our relationship with Jesus without some skin, and today, I ask you to unite with our entire St. Dominic Catholic Parish family…unite in love. Unite in the power of God’s love.

I ask you to close your eyes and think about being with people you enjoy, family, friends…Now open your eyes. How do you feel when you think about spending time with them? Now close your eyes again and think about stuff you have. Now think about spending time with the stuff…How does that make you feel? Which of the two feelings would you like to experience more often? That’s the power of God’s love.

This Lenten season, you were to tame your desires for stuff, to strengthen your will against things you thought you needed. This at-home experience is showing us what we really need, and to see the power of God’s love, the same love which raised Jesus from the dead…for us. To see again with new eyes. To see with the eyes of Jesus. His eyes see the value in relationships.

Have a blessed Easter. Until we can see each other in the flesh.

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