Sunday, February 24, 2008


Third Sunday of Lent, February 24, 2008, Life Teen Mass:

One day a cat died and went to Heaven. When he got there, God said to him, "Well, you made it. Now that you are in Heaven, is there anything special that you would like?" The cat said, "All my life I lived a hard life. I was a farm cat, constantly on the prowl to keep the mice away, forced to sleep on the dirt floor of the barn. More than anything, I would like a nice, soft, fluffy pillow to spend my days sleeping on." God said, "Consider it done."

The next day six mice died and went to Heaven. God asked the same question of them, "Now that you're in Heaven is there anything special you would like?" The mice said, "We have lived hard lives constantly on the run, trying to keep one step ahead of that cat. After all of our running around, we'd like to take it easy. Could you give us all roller skates?" God said, "Consider it done."

A few days later, God went to check in on the cat and see how he was doing. When God approached the cat, he let out a long, slow stretch. "How's everything working out here?" God asked. "It is great," said the cat. "The pillow is wonderful, and those meals on wheels you keep sending by are fantastic!"

What I like abou this joke is that when I first heard it, I wasn't expecting that ending. It got me thinking about how often things turn out in a way different than we expect. Think in your own mind for a moment: have you ever met someone who surprised you by not being what you expected?

We've all probably had similiar situations. We can be surprised when we're wrong about someone, or they are wrong about us - people can often turn out to be so much more than we ever expected.

And if that is true with people, it can be that much more profound when we make the same kind of discovery about God. Every now and then, we can be surprised when we encounter the love of Jesus in unexpected ways.

So, I want to ask our teens: have you ever been surprised to feel the presence of Jesus love for you?

[Elicit responses from teens.]

Well, this is what is going on in our Gospel today. The Samaritan woman thought she knew exactly what to expect from Jesus at the well. Samaritans and Jews traditionally did not like each other and typically did not speak to each other. She expected to have no encounter with this man, or at worst to have a bad encounter.

Jesus, of course, turns things on their head by not being what she expected. He encounters her with love and instead of rejecting her offers her living water and eternal life. The meeting drastically changed the woman and so excited did she become that she went off to tell everyone she knew about Jesus - to the point of converting her whole village!

Jesus gives each of us the same challenge. He wants to encounter us in a way that perhaps we didn't expect. Maybe we come to this Mass not expecting much. Seeing some friends, listening to some great music, fulfilling an obligation of our faith. But, Jesus wants to offer us so much more.

[hold up candy] I have here a nice chocolate candy bar. I'm guessing some of you might have given up sweets for Lent? Who would like to have this delicious candy bar? And, now I want to offer you something different - living water and eternal life. Who would like that?

We are all like the Samaritan woman. We come here and maybe we have some very ordinary thirsts and hungers - we want some candy, we want to spend time playing video games, we want to hang out with our friends. But, if we open our eyes, Jesus wants to offer us something that could potentially change our lives.

The Samaritan woman was open to what Jesus offered - to the point where she no longer desired a simple glass of water - she completely desired what Christ had to offer. Jesus wants the same of us - and He wants us to share that excitement with others.

The challenge that He gives us tonight is to be the surpise in someone else's life. Do the unexpected in our relationships. Surprise someone in your circle of friends, at your school, in your family by sharing the love that Jesus has for you with them. Be the same kind of loving and kind presence to someone unexpected in your life this week.

The question is simple: do you desire what Jesus has to offer you? Or would you prefer the pale imitation of things that can never really satisfy?

Let Jesus offer you the things that will satisfy you for ever.

May God give you peace


  1. Thank you, Fr.
    I found your writing as a result of my search for comfort after the horrific death of my beloved cat.

    Your funny story was unexpected indeed!

    Do pets really go to heaven?

  2. Here's a question for "Ask Fr. Tom": if a cat eats a mouse in Heaven, where does the mouse's soul go? Back to Heaven? So can the cat have unlimited meals on wheels? Like they just keep coming back around? Hmmmm. That's an interesting thing to think about. But Fr. Phil says animals don't go to Heaven. Party pooper...

  3. LOL, great joke Father! I like how the whole post came together, Wish I could write like that! BTW, ILove the blog, Ive bookmarked and linked you (hope you dont mind).

  4. Thanks - and please feel free to link me!