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The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
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Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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Advent Meditation on Joseph

The reading for Sunday, December 17, 2017: Matthew 1:18-25 This Sunday we read about an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. We've no...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Sunday I will be preaching on Luke 12:13-21:

"The one who dies with the most toys wins!” says one bumper sticker. "Those who die with the most toys still die,” replies another. Bumper sticker conversations, if anyone is listening, Smiling. Amused.

Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." 14But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" 15And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."

I have friends who play a game with their children called “catch the lie.” They watch commercials whose job it is, is in essence to teach us to covet. To desire that which we do not possess. Because things – the stuff that they promote - will make our life better, easier, more fun, cooler, will promote envy in our friends and neighbors, will get others to take notice of us, will get us the hot model, the guy with the six pack abs, will make us feel esteemed, look at our stuff – this stuff spells success! We fill storage units with this stuff. We hold garage sales to sell the old stuff to make room for new stuff. We buy bigger houses with bigger closets and soon those houses seem small. Where did we get all of that stuff from?

Then Jesus told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' 18Then he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'

Today marks ten years since I began my tenure at Trinity. I found myself in a reflective mood this week, swimming in memories of the years gone by and the lives that have passed from us into the Kingdom Triumphant, those saints who have gone on ahead of us. Three years ago this week, I found myself at the bedside of one of them. A dying man. A friend. A brother in Christ whose baptism the Christmas Eve prior I will treasure always.

At his bedside, we prayed the Lord's Prayer together. He knew the words by heart - this new Christian who had danced with the Holy Spirit round and round for so many years, pondering deep questions of faith. He was a man of vast treasure: Not in gold or silver or greenbacks or in plastic. He did not spend his life building new and bigger barns. No tearing down old ones, perfectly functional ones, or building bigger ones for him. No.

No renting storage units, swapping houses and cars to keep up, to get ahead, to impress, to feel important, to achieve the adulation of peers, to tell us that he has "made it," or because it was expected of him. Nope. Not him.

At his bedside I had ample time to observe the sum of his possessions - they surrounded him. They made a statement - don't they always? Photographs, memories frozen in time, his smiling daughter throughout the years growing from infant to child, from child to young adult. Picture of family, of friends. His wife, his companion and friend, the photographs catalogued a lifetime of love.

And Jesus said, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions

Sometimes this man worshipped in pain and exhaustion, his disease held in check by drugs, that ultimately failed, allowing the cancer to attack his body with impunity. He worshipped in pain and exhaustion, but always with a thirsty spirit and a big heart.

It is so easy not to take our relationship with God seriously, the practice of our faith, our discipleship, our commitment as children of God. I think of the Sundays years and years ago that I was too tired to go to worship or too distracted to go. Had no time for God, too busy living, you know. Not thirsty enough to go. Too busy building barns. Eating, drinking, being merry. I had many excuses. Don’t we all?
It doesn’t take much to convince ourselves that we have better things to do. We’ll say an extra prayer or two, we say to ourselves. We’ll catch some religious TV show to make up for it. Anything to save time for the things that we really need to do. Really want to do. Gotta fill those barns. Nothing worse than a half-empty barn.

Jesus said, “One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
So, if not possessions, then what?

With his wife at his side, sometimes at his arm, leading him, guiding him, being his strength, Larry came thirsty. God gave him the gift of healing - of medicine - that he had practiced diligently for almost as long as I had been alive. God gave him the gifts of wisdom, of patience, of humility, of generosity, and a servant's heart.

Three years ago, surrounded by photographs of some of the lives he had touched, having lived almost a year and a half longer than the doctors thought he would, he let go. Having lived long enough to experience his daughter graduate from college; having lived long enough to make the journey through the waters of baptism led by the Holy Spirit of God, he finally let go. Surrounded by friends and family who were in his eyes one and the same, he let go.

Jesus said, “One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
So, if not possessions, then what?

Larry, it must be said, never had the inclination to get into the barn business: Building them, filling them or tearing them down. Not his area of interest or expertise. He invested richly in relationships. In his quiet and gentle way - In his generosity and patience – In his graciousness - he pointed others to the One who is beyond us all, yet with us all and the Savior of us all.

Jesus said, “One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
So, if not possessions, then what?
What, indeed!

Will it consist, as it did in Larry’s and so many others who have blessed and graced my life over the past ten years, in being rich towards God and not in things? In lives touched, a generosity of spirit, in imitating Christ, in a humility that allows the grace of God to shine through wondrously radiant and perfectly glorious? Will it? Because it can and it should. Our lives can and should be rich towards God! This is not the ideal - it is exactly who we are made to be.

Then Jesus told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' 18Then he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' 20But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'

Some things are beyond the touch of rust or rain or rot or even death. Such things cannot be taken away. What things are we spending our life doing? Not the things we will do or hope to do, but are doing. Today. This week. Are we building even bigger barns or are we building relationships for the sake of the Gospel? When the barns fall prey to rot and our possessions fill the landfills of time, what will remain of our lives, remain unyielding, a witness to the ages of our great and glorious God? What shall remain of our lives?
Amen.

THANK YOU!
‎10 years ago  - August 1st 2000 - I officially began my tenure at Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines. After hundreds of baptisms, weddings and funerals; after well over 1,000 loaves of bread baked, 500 sermons preached, hundreds of gallons of chili simmered, and numerous 1st Communions and Confirmations; after countless prayers, tears, friendships and laughter - THANK YOU!

Your Pastor, Brother and Fellow Servant in Christ -
Keith

Thursday, July 29, 2010

REFLECTING ON OUR FAITH

Where have you seen God working this week?
* my family
* helped see me through stressful week at work
* blessed us with a relaxed mini vacation celebrating my birthday and anniversary
* he brought my husband home after a difficult trip
* he spared our area from "Bonnie"
* at Calvary chapel
* God kept tropical storm Bonnie from causing major destruction
* through the heart of a friend


Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* co-worker did a fantastic job supporting me
* friend for transportation
* two prayer partners
* a friend who listened in times of stress
* my daughter helped out more while my husband was away
* church family coming to visit me when I was unable to go out and play
* home
* to silently pray about something and it happened


Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* my friend during her time of breavement
* supported my sister as her daughter gets married today
* have a friend for dinner
* at the Prayer and Praise
* two granddaughters
* enlightenment to become a certified yoga teacher
* encourages and praising my daughter after she made some positive changes
* listening to others
* at church
* I was put in charge of coordinating a food drive for the animal shelter at work
* to continue our regular prayers for family and friends

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A good article by Kelly Fryer on how to be a healthier congregation. Good words for all church-going Christians to chew on and put into practice!
Pastor Keith

http://www.arenewalenterprise.com/2010/07/doing-what-matters-trumps-being-nice.html
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, August 1, 2010:

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Hosea 11:1-11

Psalm: Psalm 49:1-11 (Psalm 49:1-12 NRSV)

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 107:1-9, 43

Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-11

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

Here is another Gospel where Jesus tells us how to live, and he does it both directly ("Take heed and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions") and through the use of a parable.

In this parable we meet a common figure in Jesus' parables, the person saving up treasures on earth. Recognize yourself? We've moved away, many of us, from needing larger barns, although I've met more than one person who moved to a bigger house, just to have room to put all their stuff. In fact, the average square footage of new construction grows increasingly large, while the US family grows smaller. Barn, silo, house--it's all the same to Jesus. And it all goes back to the human need for security. We store up treasures because we're so afraid of the future.

It will be interesting to see how the recent economic downturn might change us. Will our houses grow increasingly large when fewer people can afford to buy a house? Will we trust more in God, since we've seen how much we can trust in our economic institutions? Or will the events of the Great Recession (or the Great Depression II, depending on your perspective) make us that much more graspy and scared to share?

Jesus comes to preach the radical Gospel of sharing. One aspect of his good news? We have a Creator who will provide for us. That news is supposed to free us up to give away what we have. Not just our surplus, but all of it.

Most of us don't even do a good job of giving away part of what we have. We're not good at sharing. We're good at hoarding, although if you look at the US savings rate, you might argue we're not even good at that. Most of us fill our longing for security by buying more and more and more--and wondering why we feel so empty.

We live in spiritually dangerous times, and the Gospel speaks to that. But most people, if they think about this concept, would tell us that the spiritual danger lies in a different place than Jesus tells us. Ask most people about spiritual danger and they'll talk about a toxic popular culture (video games, movies, song lyrics), public violence, private violence, wanton sexuality, moribund government, fundamentalists of all stripes, liberals, conservatives--the list could go on and on.

But again and again Jesus tells us to look to how we treat the poor and oppressed, that we will be judged based on how we treated the marginalized. Jesus rarely preaches about the family (he never mentions homosexuality), and when he does, he sounds downright anti-family. Again and again, Jesus tells us to pay attention to how we think about our money and how we use it.

I have often said that I think that money is spiritually dangerous, and most people think I'm insane when I say this. But I know that the more wealth people accrue, the more likely they are to trust themselves (and their wealth) and to turn away from God. I've rarely met the person who says, "I have enough money. I'm not concerned about money at all." I've met one or two people who have that attitude, and guess what? They don't have much money. They live simply, they pay attention to things that truly matter, they know that they are wealthy in terms of friends and community connections.

Usually, as we get more money, we want more money. We turn our attention to building our wealth and securing our wealth--and it takes a lot of time and attention. That process takes time and attention away from what matters: our relationship with God and our care for God's Kingdom.

Those of us who are younger know that we can't rely on the government to take care of us in our old age; the Baby Boomers will wipe out the Social Security system. Many people have decided that if they can't rely on the government, they'll rely on themselves. But again and again, Jesus calls us to turn away from that kind of thinking.

Does that mean we shouldn't save our money? More and more, I've come to think that if we save more than we give to charity, we're on shaky spiritual ground.

Let me be the first to admit. I DO save more than I give to the poor. I'm working towards getting to the point where I give equal amounts to the poor and to my savings account. But I truly think that I'd be better off if I gave MORE to the poor and less to my savings. I agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said that the unequal distribution of wealth across the globe is the greatest moral crisis of our time. I'd like to be a one-woman redistributor of wealth. But I'm not there yet.

Again and again, Jesus calls us to recalibrate our values. Again and again, Jesus reminds us to turn to God. Even if we're not ready to embrace the vision that Christ has for us, even if we're not ready for full throttle Kingdom living, we can move that way. We can boost our charitable contributions. We can leave bigger tips. We can give change to panhandlers. We can invite the lonely over for a meal. We can speak up in support of the poor (advocate for affordable housing? tell our senators and representatives to fund the food stamp program? there are so many possibilities). If we're not ready to let go of our assets, we could think about how our investments could be used to support our values. Instead of giving each other stuff for every holiday, we could think about what it is we really want: maybe we want charitable contributions, or maybe we want to agree to go on a spiritual retreat or a pilgrimage, or maybe we want a prayer partner.

As with all movement, it's amazing how a small change in direction changes our trajectory over the course of a lifetime. At the very least, we can meditate on passages like these, and pray for the strength and courage to trust God and not our money.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PRAYER AND PRAISE SERVICE On Wednesdays at 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Come enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise and join us as we gather together as "two or more" in Jesus' name to lift the needs of our church, families, health, city, country and more, up in prayer.

This is an exciting time of praise, worship and prayer. Everyone is welcome. Come join us!

May God bless you always,

Jacob Smitter, Music Minister for Praise

Friday, July 23, 2010

BUTTERFLY GARDEN TOUR
Seniors from the Douglas Gardens North garden group toured the Trinity Memorial Butterfly Garden this week . The hour long tour led by pastor Keith featured conversation about gardening in South Florida , the basics of establishing a butterfly garden, and plant selection. Monarch and Black Swallowtail caterpillars added some excitement as wells as experiencing the scents of the various potted herbs.

Guided tours for groups and individuals are available by appointment and volunteers to help maintain the garden are always welcome!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

REFLECTING ON OUR FAITH


Where have you seen God working this week?
* taking care of me and my family during my business trip
* on the bus
* traveling to work and back home - I-95 drivers are not so courteous
* being able to connect with a family whose child was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor
* my work - offered an offer to consider
* friend helping me pick up relatives from the airport
* I fell on the floor and only had a mild concussion
* in my family
* in my daughter's laughter
* a visit from a long time friend

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* when I was in the hospital
* a friend who did not hesitate when I asked for help taking care of my daughter at the last minute
* church
* I am a new employee so I am learning and they are so patient and helpful in making sure I am getting it!
* my husband who supports me in everything I do
* friend helping me to study
* Friday group insisted I let ambulance crew check me out
* while at the Prayer and Praise session
* my husband
* he gave me a wonderful husband and daughter
* at my home
* suggestions from a friend

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* hospital
* spending quality time with my children
* sharing God with daughter like my dad did
* remember to be full of praise
* provided comfort for a friend
* my Godmother needed some words of encouragement
* helping my friend
* he allowed me to serve as assistant minister
SUNDAY JULY 25th
8AM and 10:45AM
Healing Sunday
Our Lord Jesus healed many as a sign of the reign of God come near and sent the disciples to continue this work of healing—with prayer, the laying on of hands, and anointing. In the name of Christ, the great healer and reconciler of the world, we now entrust to God all who are in need of healing.


Following the sermon, folks are invited up to the altar for laying on hands, prayers and anointing with oil. Our healing service takes place during worship on the last Sunday of each month.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

First Reading: Genesis 18:20-32

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Hosea 1:2-10

Psalm: Psalm 138

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 85

Second Reading: Colossians 2:6-15 [16-19]

Gospel: Luke 11:1-13

When I was younger, I hated the fact that so much of the church service remained the same, week after week. My attitude only got worse, as I got older and went to youth retreats. I couldn't understand why the grown ups in charge didn't do something new and fresh with the liturgy. Didn't they understand how boring it was to do the same thing again and again?

I also chafed against the parental imagery used when we spoke of God. Didn't the people in charge of church know how damaging that could be? I knew that I was lucky; I was one of the few in my high school who still had my original parents who were still married to each other and stranger yet, still loved each other and their children. But I had friends who had neglectful parents or worse, downright abusive. How could this language of a heavenly father speak to them?

Now I am older, and I hope wiser. Now I understand the yearning for parental love that we all feel--and those who weren't so lucky in our relationships with our earthly parents probably feel that yearning most keenly. Now I've seen passages (and they're not usually read from the pulpit, alas) that use maternal images for God too; the Bible, while not as inclusive as I might wish, is not the tool of male chauvinism that I always assumed it was, although it's often been used that way by women haters. The image of God as womb speaks to me in the same way that the image of God as Father giving us bread speaks to me.

Jesus knew what he was doing when he gave us this prayer. Anyone who knows humans knows that we do better when we don't have to make everything up as we go along. Most of us have memorized this prayer as children. In fact, I know grown up children of non-religious parents who were taught this prayer--perhaps as a sort of spiritual immunization? I imagine parents saying, as mine did, "Learn this prayer--you never know when you might need it."

It surprises me how often we probably need this prayer. It's good to have prayers pre-written for us. There are times when we try to pray, and we can't come up with what to say. This prayer that Jesus teaches us covers many of the concerns that we would bring to God, if we didn't feel so muted.

We pray for our daily sustenance. We pray for forgiveness. Some translations interpret this passage as a kind of debt relief ("forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"). Marcus Borg notes that these two aspects--food and debt--would have spoken to Jesus' followers in the first century, who often found themselves short of bread and currency. Many Jews found themselves in a downwards spiral as they leveraged their land, and eventually lost their land, to pay an increasingly heavy tax burden imposed on them from Rome.

We pray not to be led astray. I like the language "save us from the time of trial," but all the variations speak to me. I often pray an expanded version of the Lord's Prayer and include them all, praying not to be led into temptation, to be delivered from evil, and to be saved from the time of trial. Sometimes I meditate on the fact that I expand and focus on this part of the prayer, while I tend to assume the regularity of my daily bread. I suspect that people in other countries would focus on other aspects of the Lord's prayer.

Notice that Jesus doesn't tell us we have to be in a certain mood to pray. We don't have to wait for the right time. We don't even need to come up with the language for ourselves. Christ provides it.

And notice that Jesus once again reminds us that our God is a loving God. We are to ask for what we need. We should not be afraid to yearn. God has not abandoned us to our own devices. We have chosen to partner with a powerful force when we pray--and yet, it's not a distant force. God loves us, the way a parent loves a child. Even people who haven't had children understand the metaphor. It's the rare grown up who doesn't yearn for that unconditional love and protection. We often seek it in less than effective ways: we fall in love with fellow humans, we have babies of our own, we go shopping, we drink, we do charity work. Some of those ways lead us back to God, the source of the love we seek. Some lead us down wrong paths, and we find ourselves yearning for love again and wondering what went wrong.

Jesus gives us a simple prayer. Most of us have already memorized it. But how many of us pray it outside of church?

Maybe it's time for a mid-year resolution, something simple. Try praying the Lord's Prayer daily. Maybe twice a day. Pray when you wake up, and say a quick prayer, asking God to help you become your best self throughout the day. Pray before you fall asleep, and say a quick prayer of thankfulness for your many blessings. You'll be amazed at the change in your attitude by Christmas.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, July 18, 2010:

First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10a

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Amos 8:1-12

Psalm: Psalm 15

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 52

Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-28

Gospel: Luke 10:38-42

Ah, the Mary and Martha story, another story that's familiar to many of us who have been going to church through the years. It's one of those stories that provokes howls of rage from people. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, it may trip our "That's not FAIR!!!" switch. It's easy to see how the Good Samaritan is the model for our behavior. The Mary and Martha story prickles us more.

Many of us were probably raised to be the Martha. I have a friend who won't let herself even exercise until her household chores are done, so engrained is the idea of "work first, play later" into her psyche--unlike some of us, who see exercise as one of the daily chores that must be done before we can play.

Think about the last time that someone visited you. If you're like many of us, you spent the days and weeks before the visit getting ready: cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, restoring order. By the time your guests arrived, you may have been too exhausted from getting ready for them to be fully present.

That's the story we see in this week's Gospel. Martha scurries around so much that she can't be present for Jesus. How often are our current lives similar? We often get so consumed by the chores of our daily life that we neglect to notice the Sacred in our midst.

Keep in mind that even though the story revolves around women, men are not exempt from this paradigm. All humans must wrestle with the question of how to balance the chores that are necessary to sustain life with the spiritual nourishment that we need so desperately. Unfortunately, often the chores win.

I can hear some of us shrieking by now: "Yes, but those chores must be done!" Really? Are you sure? What would happen if you didn't vacuum this week? What would happen if you wore your clothes an extra time or two before laundering them? What would happen if you surrendered to the dust?

Jesus chastises Martha for her busyness. It's a story many of us, with our increasingly hectic lives, need to hear again--maybe every day.

We need to be reminded to stay alert. Busyness is the drug that many of us use to dull our senses. But in our busyness, we forget what's really important. We forget to focus on Christ and living the way he commanded us.

Give up one chore this week, and return to the Gospel. Notice that Jesus never--NEVER--focuses on the household chores. Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are those who keep a clean house, for those have already possessed the Kingdom of God." You may think that Jesus said, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." Jesus did not.

All those chores keep you away from your earthly relationships. Jesus called on us to care for the poor and the dispossessed, not the dusty objects that clutter our houses. All of our busyness takes our focus away from God. God will not appear with white gloves to assess our spiritual progress by way of household upkeep. The assessment of our spiritual progress will focus on much more serious issues than those.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

REFLECTIONS ON OUR FAITH
Where have you seen God working this week?
* Kristen really related to the kids at Kids Time - it made the lesson come alive
* at the VDC Men's weekend
* in my family and the love we have for one another

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* one of our sisters helped me understand how you sometimes need to be patient and let God do his work when He's ready
* I have a great new boss this week
* being with others who are fired up for the Lord
* a kind neighbor helped build my daughter's confidence
* friend took me grocery shopping

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* made dinner for friend
* doing small acts of kindness
* sponsoring someone for the weekend
* I provided lunch for co-workers on Thursday
* my mother enjoys visiting each time she comes here
* visited someone new

Thursday, July 08, 2010

TRINITY OFFICE

TRINITY OFFICE
REFECTING ON OUR FAITH
Where have you seen God working this week?
* transportation by friends
* people prayed for more candidates for the men's VDC weekend since there were only 2 and now there are 15
* answering my prayers with my son

Where did God use someone else to bless you this week?
* friends came to visit
* people praying immediately for mom to be healed
* Jose helping with mom
*

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
* dinner for a friend
* brother-in-law being more patient than me with mom shows me patience
* getting the information to the right person
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:9-14

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Amos 7:7-17

Psalm: Psalm 25:1-9 (Psalm 25:1-10 NRSV)

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 82

Second Reading: Colossians 1:1-14

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

This week's Gospel presents one of the stories that even non-Christians are likely to have heard before: the story of the Good Samaritan. Those of us who go to church have heard it so regularly that we may have lost sight of the message. The fact that we hear it so regularly should tell us how important the message is.

We could focus on the fact that it's the lowly Samaritan (a foreigner!) who helps the victim, not the priest and the Levite, who hold high status in the Jewish society. We could focus on the victim, who, after all, invited trouble by traveling alone. In the details of how the Samaritan doctors the victim, binding his wounds with oil and wine, we see the foreshadowings of Christ's crucifixion.

But go back to the story again. Note the first few verses of the Gospel; in many ways, these verses sum up the whole Bible: Love God and love each other more than you love yourself. Most of us, when hearing those commands, say, "Great. I'm on target. Love God--check. Love other people--yup, most of the time." The story of the Good Samaritan is told to demonstrate what Jesus means when he gives us the Great Commandments. And here we see the size of the task that Christ gives us.

Many of us think of Love as an emotion, something that we feel. Here Jesus shows that that kind of emotional love is cheap, and not at all what he has in mind. We show our love by action, what we do for those who need us. It's not enough to see our fellow humans and think about how much we love them. Frankly, many of us can't even do that. Monitor your thoughts and feelings as you drive around town, and be honest. Are you really feeling love? Most of us are lucky if we can pull off feeling benign neglect. Many of us go through our days feeling murderous rage. Many of us go through our lives numbed by depression and pain, and trying desperately not to feel anything.

There's a way out of this pit. We must go through life behaving as if we love each other. We can behave ourselves into love. We don't have to start out by stopping for every crime victim we see. We don't have to start out by giving away our money. Although these are worthy goals, we can start where we are. When someone cuts you off in traffic, offer up a prayer for them. Smile at your snarling comrades at work. When someone wants some sympathy, offer it. Leave the waitstaff a more generous tip. Help out, even when you don't have to. Stop keeping track of who has done what, and you must stop right now, if keeping that list makes you feel aggrieved, because you've done so much more than everyone else. Instead of keeping track of your losses, keep track of gratitude. Share what you have, and it's especially important to share what you have with people who haven't had the lucky breaks that you have had.

In this Gospel, it's easy to see the Good Samaritan as a Christ figure: the outsider who stops to help, who takes charge of the victimized who have been left to bleed to death by the side of the road, the one who finds care for the victim and pays for it. We often lose sight of the fact that we are called to be Good Samaritans to the world. Once you start looking for opportunities to bind the wounds of the world, you'll find it easy to do that task daily. And then you'll fulfill the greatest commandment. God makes it clear that we show our love for God by loving each other.