With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.  

-Mark 4:34

Have you noticed how often people talk about television shows, movies or other entertainment when they talk together these days?  "Did you see the latest Star Wars movie?  Wasn't it wonderful?"  "Did you watch what happened at the end of the season on This Is Us?  Didn't you cry?"  "Did you read All The Light We Cannot See?  I LOVED that novel, didn't you?" 

I've noticed that people have very animated and engaged conversations about stories they've watched or read - and love to share that with others.  in fact, sometimes when I sit with a group of people I notice that people are talking and sharing more about these things than they share about themselves or their own lives.  I think we live in such a diverse and fast moving world, people are really hungry for a common story. 

But people have always been hungry for stories. We thrive on stories.  Even a dry, boring lecture (or a rambling sermon) can bring listeners back when the speaker starts to tell a story.  From the dawn of time, we've gathered around campfires to share stories with each other.  Religion, a basic human instinct, is also based in stories - in sharing a common story.  We tell and listen to stories and that is how we know who we are. In the same way we need water, and water becomes part of our very cells, we need stories, and stories become part of who we are.

There are some pretty degrading, upsetting and hateful stories about the worst of human nature being told in our country lately - stories about fear and prejudice and greed and cruelty - the news is full of such stories. Even though we don't want them to, these stories shape us, too.  They can turn our very flesh sour.  This makes it all the more important to choose the stories you absorb wisely.  Limit the amount of gossip and noise you take in and find some tried and true stories that have sustained people's souls for generations, and chew on them - kind of like vitamins in an empty calorie world. Classic literature, philosophy, the writing of the mystics, Scripture.  And I invite you to come and hear more stories about the people of God this Sunday at St. James.

Our stories for this Sunday are HERE.  Note that during Ordinary Time, we are using "Track 2"