Lent Resources – the 40 Day Challenge

While I do not necessarily think all of these ideas have the same weight, this is a good place for some ideas about what to do for Lent.  It comes from a British site called LoveYourStreets.

Wednesday 1st March – Sunday 5th March

1st March – Engage in conversation with the people who serve you (e.g. shop keepers)
2nd March – Say thank you to someone as they work and say how much you appreciate them
3rd March – Call in on an elderly neighbour – take some cake, have a cup of tea and a chat
4th March – Shop locally and support local farmers, local veg growers and local shops
5th March – Show some love to your neighbourhood and pick up litter (please wear gloves and use a strong bag) or see if there is anything more you can recycle at home

Monday 6th March – Sunday 12th March

6th March – Hold doors open for those behind you
7th March – Smile at people
8th March – Be a nice driver – spread road-calm!
9th March – Email / write  to a local charity you think does a great work and thank them and those who volunteer
10th March – Take time to pray for your neighbours
11th March – Spread the niceness on Facebook and Twitter – compliment some of your friends
12th March – Set up a Blessing Bag – a bag of items you keep in your car that can be used to bless other people

Monday 13th March – Sunday 19th March

13th March – Write a letter to a local emergency service and thank them for the work they do
14th March – Say hello to people
15th March – Look at joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
16th March – Spot ways of helping people and do it
17th March – Go on a thankful walk – see all the positive things you can be thankful for in your neighbourhood
18th March – Buy Fairtrade where you can today
19th March – Take a single person (elderly person, single mum…) out for Sunday lunch

Monday 20th March – Sunday 26th March (Mothering Sunday)

20th March – Consider investing some time volunteering – could you give 24 hours over the next year?
21st March – Commit to collect used stamps for The Leprosy Mission
22nd March – Catch a bus (#Do1NiceThing for the environment) and say thank you to the bus driver
23rd March – Give a drink to a homeless person or take part in ‘Suspended Coffee
24th March – Email / write to your MP [i.e. representative] and say thank you for representing you and that you are praying for them
25th March – Take a prayer walk round your neighbourhood and pray for needs
Mothering Sunday 26th March – Take some flowers to mothers and grandmas on your street

Monday 27th March – Sunday 2nd April

27th March – Buy seeds ready to create a wildlife garden (or tub or window box!)
28th March – Look for ways to volunteer one hour of your time for someone else (look at StreetBank for ideas)
29th March – E-Mail your local councillors and say thank you for what they do and offer to pray for them
30th March – Take time to discover some new tourist attraction in your area (eg wildlife park, play area, etc)
31st March – Give away a book you think is worth reading
1st April – Pay for the drink of the person behind you in a coffee shop
2nd April – Write some inspirational messages on Post-It notes and randomly leave for people to find

Monday 3rd April – Sunday 9th April

3rd April – Help someone down the stairs or hold open a door for someone with a pram
4th April – Sit in a coffee shop and chat to some stranger’s or buy a ‘Suspended Coffee’ or pay for a stranger’s drink
5th April – Offer your skills to someone else for free
6th April – Write a letter to the boss of someone who has given excellent customer service to tell them so
7th April – Clear out unwanted items and give to a charity shop
8th April – Organise a free car wash for your community
Palm Sunday 9th April – Thank people for the virtues they have

Monday 10th April – Easter Sunday 16th April

10th April – Send flowers to a friend as a thank you for your friendship
11th April- Give a New Testament or inspirational book to someone you don’t know
12th April – Take a box of chocolates to work and say thank you to your colleagues
Maundy Thursday 13th April – Easter Weekend – Serve someone
Good Friday 14th April – Put spare change in a charity box
15th April – Visit a local shop you have not visited before or in a while (support locally!)
Easter Sunday 16th April – Get together with others to organise a community or church Easter Egg hunt

Homily for Monday, January 5, 2015

Readings for Today

What does God ask of us? Trying to answer this question is a quest of many human beings, indeed every human being. Once we conclude that God exists, isn’t the next logical question, “What does God want of us?” If God exists, what does God expect of us? Isn’t this the question of meaning that every serious seeker attempts to answer in their lives?

It can be easy to become confused. First, there are many different experiences around the globe. There are many different religions. Many of these religions arrive at similar conclusions. Even when we consider only Christians, there are many different answers to this question. And yet, is it indeed this difficult? Does it really take a lot of thought? Does Jesus intend for the answer to elude us? If we believe in a loving God, shouldn’t the quest to answer this question really be easy?

Think about the first reading today from Mass. God’s “commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.” What is it that God wants from us? Faith. And faith made real by the way we treat others. We are called to believe in God. In fact, many Americans when surveyed claim belief in God. It is easy to say we believe in God. But if we read the commandment carefully, belief must be made real. It must become authentic.

Continue reading

Homily for Saturday, January 3, 2015

Readings for Today

I do not know if you are a football fan, but Johnny Manziel has gotten a lot of press, not so much for his football playing, but because of what he does off the field. When accused of having a party before the last day of the season, he said this. “”It’s about action. It’s about being accountable and doing what I’m gonna say instead of looking like a [jerk].” I suspect we have all heard at least once the expression “Actions speak louder than words.”

While we do tell children to always tell the truth, we do not always do that ourselves. The successful husband is the one who knows that truth is not always what is requested. “Does this dress make me look fat?” Or, there are times when we eat a meal that maybe is not the most tasty. We clearly do not always tell the whole truth in such a situation. We do not always answer truthfully when someone asks us “How are you?” There are times when we do not want to really tell someone the honest answer to this question.

But there are many situations where we learn that actions must match the words we speak. Think of a man who tells a woman, “I love you,” but never backs up such a statement with actions, or worse yet, a man who says that to a woman and his actions are in fact hurtful. Children learn very quickly if the actions of their parents match the words they say. There are many instances where it becomes clear whether or not we really  believe what we say, demonstrated by the way we act.

Continue reading