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have you anything here to eat?

19 Apr


A homily in back to back Masses can be the same and different.

At the 8 o’clock Mass there was a baptism. I made a reference to (mother) Marni feeding her child.

At the 9:30 a.m. Mass there was dismissal of a catechumen (or candidate, I was not and still am not sure) after the homily. Then I got carried away introducing the universal prayer and forgot the creed. Rutro!

The homily was the same – and different. God is good.

is your hope tall enough?

6 Apr

This is the question that I asked on Easter Sunday: “Is the candle tall enough?

This is the question that I ask on Easter Monday: “Is my hope tall enough?”

Keep Hope Be Hope 2015

Laetare learning

17 Mar

gas gauge

The trick is to rejoice over learning something that you think you should have known a long time ago.

Advent and Lent both have a middle Sunday on which the Mass vestments are rose-colored. Each has a “rejoice” Sunday half way through the season. The names of the Sundays are Gaudete and Laetare, I know. But which was which puzzled me every six months. When I mentioned that to a much younger priest friend, he said, “That’s easy. Lent starts with an ‘L’ and so does Laetare.” Forty years a priest and it had never dawned on me that it was that easy.

The trick is to rejoice over learning something that you think you should have known a long time ago.

I was in a rental car. Pulling into a gas station, I grumbled that I did not know what side the gas tank was on. My passenger said, “That’s easy. Look at your dashboard.” As I looked at him and then at the dashboard, “Do you see an icon, a symbol of a gas pump? Is there an arrow by the pump? Which way it is pointing?” When my thumb pointed to the left, he smirked. I had never known that.

Did I rejoice over learning something that I thought I should have known a long time ago? Not really. The first three people I asked, “Do you know how you can tell which side of the car the gas tank is one?” answered, “Yeah, there is a little gas tank on the dashboard by the gas gauge, and there is a little arrow …” I quickly learned something else – that I was not rejoicing over learning what I thought I should have known all along; I was looking to find someone who didn’t know  what I knew.

The trick is to rejoice over learning something that you think you should have known a long time ago.

A man was blind since birth. Wanting to see something that, literally, he had never seen before, he went to Jesus for the grace. Jesus gave him sight. Now seeing, he saw many things that he had never seen before, that he “should” have been able to see a long time ago. No doubt he also learned something about himself that he had never known. And he certainly learned something about Jesus who had been right in front of his eyes all along!

In  this Laetare week, if you ask God for the blessing, you might be given the grace to learn something about yourself or about God that has not dawned on you until this week.

The trick will be to rejoice over learning something that you think you should have known a long time ago.

The key is to rejoice, not to be disappointed in yourself that you never noticed it, not to be embarrassed because you think that you should have seen it or known it a long time ago. The key is to rejoice.

May God give you this Lenten week the grace of a Laetare learning.

Lord, save us!

9 Aug

But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand.

Peter sinking 03

For the Christians in Iraq, who are given the choice between being killed, converting to radical Islam, paying a penalty tax, or fleeing their homes and belongings — may the persecution stop immediately and forever, let us pray to the Lord …

Lord, save us!

For the people who share the Holy Land as their home, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians, particularly the suffering in Gaza — may the prayers and efforts of people of goodwill lead to lasting safety and justice, until peace prevails, let us pray to the Lord …

Lord, save us!

For the people of China suffering and recovering from the earthquake — may help arrive and hope be restored, let us pray to the Lord …

Lord, save us!

For those whose lives are in turmoil, and for those struggling to discern the movement of God in their lives — may their hearts be full of gratitude and trust, let us pray to the Lord …

Lord, save us!

Peter sinking 02

Lord, save us!


the agonizing mysteries in the Kidron valley

30 Jun

Our group of HOPE pilgrim-teachers did something in June that no other group has ever done. Others may have prayed the rosary in the Kidron Valley, but no one has ever prayed the “Agonizing Mysteries.” They were composed for this pilgrimage and prayed for the first time with these pilgrim-teachers. 

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The First Agonizing Mystery: Jesus is in the Upper Room.

The Second Agonizing Mystery: Jesus passes through the Kidron Valley the first time.

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The Third Agonizing Mystery: Jesus is in Gethsemane.  

The Fourth Agonizing Mystery: Jesus passes through the Kidron Valley the second time. 

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The Fifth Agonizing Mystery: Jesus is in the house of Caiaphas. 

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The complete set of reflections for the “Agonizing Mysteries” is found in a previous post: “12 to 11 to 3 to 0

        • 12 to 11 to 3 to 0

stay at the table

21 Apr

Road to Emmaus 01

even on this day after Easter Sunday, there  can be dashed hopes. We wonder what God has in mind sometimes, if indeed he is thinking about us at all. We discuss the distress of our days and argue about how today can be fixed and about what tomorrow might be like, if either we or God don’t do something real fast. Among us believers there is conversation today, just as …

Road to Emmaus 02

back then on the very day the disciples received word that others had said that the tomb of Jesus was empty. 

As then, so now, in the midst of disappointments and wonderings, Jesus joins us “on the way” as we debate. Little by little, if we stay with the conversation, he turns our debate into a question and answer session, reminding us about what the plan has been all along and showing us that there is evidence even on this day, incomplete as it is, that the plan is moving ahead and is on schedule. 

Showing himself to us in the breaking of the bread, he simply asks us to “stay at the table.”

Road to Emmaus 03


keep hope and be hope

19 Apr

Keep hope within yourself.

Be hope for someone else.

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Be hope for someone else.

Keep hope within yourself.


it’s like I’m married to them

23 Mar

The well was the biblical meeting place, where one often met a future spouse. Many a couple still meet at a watering hole, but, of course, where the drink of preference is not water.  A well was the Old Testament version of well 02

Jacob met his wife Rachel when she came to the well at noon. He did not win her immediately. It took some doing.

 Jacob well 01

Jesus sat at Jacob’s well at about noon, when a woman arrived. It is no wonder that the disciples were a bit surprised and stressed to see the two of them together at the well. It is also no wonder that the conversation turned towards marriage. But the conversation is about marriage of a different kind.

Jesus had come through Samaria on purpose and for a purpose: to woo the people of Samaria into a right relationship, to win them over. As we hear the conversation about, “Get your husband … I have no husband … you are correct, you have had five … and the one you are with now is not your husband,” we imagine Jesus fighting  the inclination to end, “not yet!” We know what he has in mind. And we know who she is with right now, who is not her husband, yet: Jesus. 

Rather than thinking of a woman walking down the aisle five times, each time to meet her man in a wedding ceremony, and five times being disappointed, think: marriage between God and his people, Christ wedded to the Church, the community of believers being the Bride of Christ, who is the Spouse of the Church. 

Jesus had come through Samaria to win the Samaritans into a “marriage” that would be life-giving and eternally lasting, not like the five “marriages” that they entered into with the gods and the cultures of the conquering people, which always led to a disappointing life foreign to their Jewish faith. 

Jesus had come to Samaria to win the whole people of Samaria over from their five bad marriages into the one good one – with him! He started with her, and she helped him pull it off. She left the well and went to her home and her town to bring the announcement that there was going to be wedding, not with a dead beat husband, but with the Savior of the world. 


As I went to the well this morning at Mass, it dawned on me that I often speak  to God the same five faults, failings, missteps, habits and sins. I confess the same handful of sins to the priest. It seems like I am married to this handful – these five things – that get me nowhere and keep me from being free and happy.

I must return to the well of Sunday Mass every week to be wooed from my bad five marriages.

Today’s homily is at minute 21:50 of our parish’s “On-Demand Archives” under the titled,Bible

control: who has it?

8 Mar

control 1

There are control issues in the Mass readings today. The issue is who has it and who wants it. 

In Genesis we have the man and the woman and the serpent. In Matthew we have Jesus and the devil.  

Who has control? Who wants it? 

It seems that, whenever there is turmoil in us, whenever there is discomfort in our relationships, and wherever there is disarray in our world, there is someone who is trying to take control. Somebody wants to be in control.  

In Genesis, the man and the woman and the serpent all want to be in control. We know how that turned out. 

In Matthew the devil wants to be in control. We know how that works.  

It seems that the only one who didn’t have a control issue is Jesus. He let the word of God and the will of God  be in control! 

Jesus is the only one who didn’t need to be in control.

control 2

Get on your mark. Get set. Go!

5 Mar

Ash Wednesday 01

Get on your mark. Get set. Go!

Get on your mark (the ashes and the cross). Get set (your mind and your heart on Lent). Go (with the flow of God’s grace for 40 days).

The ashes are a unspoken and obvious statement about who you are and to whom you belong.

Get on your mark. Get set. Go!