Tag Archives: Jesus

route 50W: receive Jesus

22 Oct

It seemed so real, but was it?

During “Morning Joe” on MSNBC early in the minutes of my day, I was on my computer, and I heard someone talking about .. I thought I did anyway. I looked up, as the last I heard was, “He died for you. He loves you.” Then on the screen was, “Receive Jesus,” and it was over. It was maybe 15 seconds. No indication of who sponsored it. My shake of the head was accompanied by, “Was that real?” Or was it a message just for me? I searched the internet to see if I could find any information about the commercial. Nothing. I guess it was real. Maybe it was just for me.

The day and drive started real slow. Maybe this trip on route 50 was not a good idea.

I thought Salem, Illinois, might be a good place for some lunch. I had never heard of M & M Courtyard Cafe and Coffeehouse, so it fit my rule about eating. I sat at the table by the window.

Day 02 01 courthouse 01

I chose to have what the woman at the counter had for lunch: grilled cheese on sourdough bread and tomato basil soup, just like she had. The cook came over to say hello. I asked him if he is one of the m’s on the window name. Mike told me that he and Maureen were the two m’s. Which one was first depended on which one you asked, he said. When I asked her, she did the same thing he did – she put her name last. Everything is homemade by Mike, who comes in at 1:30 a.m. to start the baking. That made me order a blackberry turnover.

Tried to get into the courthouse, but was not allowed with my cell phone, and was not allowed to leave it with the guard; it needed to put in my car. He was unimpressed that I was driving 50 W from Cincinnati, and went back to reading his paper.

I was finding it hard to be away from home. It is said that you can never return home again, but I was finding it almost impossible to be away from home at all. It is hard for me to leave home and to be away from what I find familiar. Ouch! Retirement might be hard. Sometimes I like being alone, but lonely always seems to be connected with alone. Sometimes in quiet moments stinkin’ thinkin’ prevails, if you know what I mean. It is easy, when there is no one present but yourself to listen to and to talk to, that both your heart and your Achilles heel are obvious.

My two sisters text me daily. They want to know where I am. That’s nice.

I parked my car somewhere I can see if from my hotel window, or so I thought. At first I couldn’t spot it. Then, “There it is. It doesn’t look like a Buick.”

Day 02 02 P1060993

Don’t you know? I was lying in bed, watching television, and that “Receive Jesus” commercial came on again. At the beginning of the day and at the end of the day! I still couldn’t find anything on the internet about it.

“starring” the prayers of others

24 Jul

Before we left on pilgrimage we gathered prayer petitions from parishioners, families, students, friends, co-workers and classmates. Yes, I said “classmates.” One of our pilgrims is a student in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program of our Archdiocese. From her classmates she collected a huge stack of prayers, many of which were written in Vietnamese.

Mary Jo, a teacher at our SASEAS School, and her daughter Bridget, just weeks away from her wedding, cut and pasted all the prayers on heavy paper and created a real work of art.

All the prayers were folded into a book that was easy to pack and carry.

0 Star 14182532790_3a72a22ec5_b

The book opened up into a star shape that could rest right on the corner of the altar whenever we prayed.

0 Star 14346001206_e531929106_b

Cathy, the lay ministry student, kept the prayers with her at all times. Here she touches the prayers to the rock of Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, joining the cries of many to the cry of Jesus to his Father.

0 Star 14388058606_87c877b65d_b

The prayers rested during Mass on the altar over the stone of the holy (and empty) tomb of Jesus.

0 Star 14251977638_9c05c872a6_b

The prayers were with us as we celebrated Mass with the local Christians in the olive grove of the Cremisan Valley near Beit Jala (Bethlehem).

0 Star 14438629705_434ffb5126_b

On the Sea of Galilee we celebrated Mass at an outdoor altar on the edge of the water near the home of Peter and Andrew in Capernaeum. We opened up the prayers to God there as well.

0 Star 14502109333_6dbfca1239_b

And the prayers were with us for the last time at Mass on the Mount of Beatitudes.

0 Star DSC_0600 1 - Copy

We left all the prayers that we brought with the Sisters who live in the convent on the Mount of Beatitudes. Cathy and I were just starting to explain to one of the Sisters what we wanted to do, when she scooped them out of Cathy’s hands, “Tell the people that the Sisters will continue to pray for their intentions.” Sister knew what we wanted – and what our parishioners, families, students, friends, co-workers and classmates wanted.









celebrating Jesus in green, red and white

23 Jul

One of the good things about “having a priest” on a pilgrimage is that you get to celebrate Mass every day. One of the good things about “being a priest” on pilgrimage is that I get to celebrate Mass every day, each time at a site that was significant in the life of Jesus or is significant to the local Catholics today, and thus are significant to us.

The color was green when I concelebrated with Father Ibrahim, the parish priest of Beit Jala (Bethlehem) and Father Faysal, the General Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools of Palestine and Israel.

0 1 Beit Jala DSC_0400 1

At Capernaum along the Sea of Galilee we celebrated in red, in honor of the Apostles Peter and Andrew.


In the olive grove of the Cremisan Valley, Father Ibrahim and I wore white vestments.

0 Cremisan DSC_0148 1

In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, if we had been on Mount Calvary, I would have worn red. But since we had Mass at the Holy Tomb, the color was Easter white.


At the Milk Grotto shrine in Bethlehem the color was, well, you can see for yourself.

0 Milk Grotto DSC_0213 1



did Jesus know/learn how to swim?

19 Jun

In our fourteen days together there were a few times when I could “steal” a few moments for myself, away from and without the teacher-pilgrims. In these not-too-frequent and much-appreciated minutes I could be a pilgrim myself rather than help them be pilgrims.

On our last morning in the Holy Land, I spent an hour alone, walking up a sweat along the Sea of Galilee. A question came from within me, probably because I thought of how pleasant it would be to take a dip that morning and probably because I did not learn how to swim until I was 35 years old.

The question about Jesus is simple enough. The answer is either satisfying or troubling, depending on whether you find  the question itself satisfying or troubling.

When I got back to our Tabgha Pilgerhaus, a German guesthouse for pilgrims, I sat down on a wobbly plastic chair as each of its four uncertain legs tried their best to wiggle into a place in the rocks of the shore, at this “beach access” which is as good as one finds into these waters.

I sat down and recorded my question. At the end there are twenty seconds of soothing water sounds that might give you time to respond to the question, however troubling or satisfying it might be for you:

Did Jesus know how to swim?




the prayer of the Lord

23 Apr

Father Elias Tabban, parish priest of Jaffa of Nazareth, Israel, visited with us in October 2013. Father prays the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, in Aramaic, the language in which Jesus prayed and taught his disciples to pray.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

Lord's prayer in Aramaic

with “Jesus” and @JamesMartinSJ – in Milford

8 Apr

Jesuit Renewal Center James Martin book

We are with “Jesus” at a “Jesuit retreat house near Cincinnati, Ohio” (page 226 of “Jesus: A Pilgrimage” by Father James Martin, S.J.) – our Milford.

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 eharmony.com.Jacob 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 eHarmony.com

he had to be burped

13 Mar

In his “Jesus: A Pilgrimage” Father James Martin, S.J., writes that there are ten things you need to know about Jesus:

1. Jesus really was human.
2. Jesus really was divine.
3. Jesus came from a tiny town.
4. Jesus learned.
5. Jesus worked hard.
6. Jesus had friends.
7. Jesus didn’t expect everyone to understand him.
8. Jesus needed time alone.
9. Jesus didn’t want to die.
10. Jesus really rose from the dead.


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

%d bloggers like this: