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Descriptive & Prescriptive not Predictive

I was thinking about this weekend's Gospel passage for Mass from Luke 21:5-19.

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, "All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Then they asked him,
"Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?"
He answered,
"See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
'I am he,’ and 'The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end."
Then he said to them,
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

TTFN

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I am about to begin a new chapter in my life.  It is nothing unusual in the life of a priest, but that does not mean that it is easy.  I have been transferred from Our Lady of Lourdes parish to St. Michael Parish.  St. Michael the Archangel Parish is about an hour away from my current location.  It is also about an hour away from the nursing home where my Grandmother has resided for the past 8 weeks. I have been her primary care giver for the last 16 years.  Dementia and a bad fall necessitated her move to a place where she would have continuous care.  It broke my heart, but I now know it was the best thing I could do for her.

So now that I no longer have charge of her day to day care, the Bishop has asked me to take this new assignment.  It will be the first time in my priesthood that I have not been associated with a church dedicated to our Lady.  I have had a strong devotion to St. Michael ever since I was around 3 years old when I learned "…

Sadducees...

The Sadducees were sad, you see
They didn't believe eternity...

A bit of a rough week for this poor sinner.  My grandmother is in congestive heart failure.  My nephew was arrested and jailed for breaking and entering, and I refused to post bail.  I am packing for the move to my new assignment.  And I am saying what seems like an endless barrage of goodbyes.  Emotionally, I am on a roller coaster.  One moment I am near tears as I comfort someone who is upset that I am leaving.  The next moment I am so excited to be going to my new parish!  Then I feel guilty that I am so excited!

What a nut!  Between those silly and sad Sadducees and my own goofiness I am sure to keep laughing!

But, unlike the Sadducees, I do believe in eternity.  "For the Christian, life is changed not ended."  So, when it comes to Granny, I know she is ready to meet the Lord.  Compared to me, her time in purgatory will be very quick.  I have had the comfort and the privilege of giving her the Sacrament…

About Today

About Today
The Holy Guardian Angels

Memorial, 1969 Calendar, celebration October 2
1955 Calendar, celebration October 2

Today is the feast day of the Guardian Angels and, as St. Bernard of Clairvaux said in his sermon: “… let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honor them as much as we can and should.”

Pope Clement X elevated the Feast of Guardian Angels to the rank of an obligatory double to be celebrated on October 2. Pope Leon XIII raised this feast to the rank of a double major in 1883.

The Church teaches that we all receive a guardian angel at birth, an angel assigned to guide and protect us, to watch over us. So let us remember in this day and all days to come, that we are not alone in the world, we have our guardian angel watching over us.

“And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge,…

St. Jerome, Priest & Doctor of The Church

Today we honor this great saint who was so instrumental in preserving and translating the Sacred Scriptures.  When I realized it was his "day" I was almost afraid to preach.  LOL.


Profile Born to a rich pagan family, he led a misspent youth. Studied in Rome. Lawyer. Converted in theory, and baptised in 365, he began his study of theology, and had a true conversion. Monk. Lived for years as a hermit in the Syrian deserts. Reported to have drawn a thorn from a lion’s paw; the animal stayed loyally at his side for years. Priest. Student of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen. Secretary to Pope Damasus I who commissioned him to revise the Latin text of the Bible. The result of his 30 years of work was the Vulgate translation, which is still in use. Friend and teacher of Saint Paula, Saint Marcella, and Saint Eustochium, an association that led to so much gossip that Jerome left Rome to return to the desert solitude. He lived his last 34 years in the Holy Land as a semi-recluse. Wrote tran…

ANGELS AND ARCHANGELS

It is a most extraordinary gift our Heavenly Father has given us in the knowledge and friendship of His holy angels.  As we celebrated Mass this morning on the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels, I was struck by the beauty of the readings.  Angels were as certainly ascending and descending on us as they were on The Son of Man (John 1:51).

I had a silly remembrance from my childhood.  When I would go swimming I had the habit of cupping my hands and slamming them into the water to make "bubbles".  As a little boy, I used to imagine that the bubbles were Angels in the water.  Then as the water angels would tickle my skin I really thought that the real angels were there with me.  I would do this over and over, all the while splashing and laughing.  I haven't been swimming for a long time, but you can bet that next time I go, I will revive this ancient and venerable practice of water angels while praising God with splashes and laughter.

For your inspiration

DEEDS

I’d rather see a sermon
Than hear one any day.
I’d rather once you’d walk with me
Than merely show the way.

The eye’s a better pupil
And more willing than the ear,
And counsel is confusing
But the example’s always clear.

I soon can learn to do it
If you let me see it done.
I can see your hands in action
But your tongue too fast may run.

And the lectures you deliver
May be very fine and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson
By observing what you do.

For a person must understand you
And the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
How you act and how you live.
My last blog entry was on September 17.  Then I went to our annual Priest Convocation which lasted the whole week.  Now I am back home in our beautiful little parish here in Central Pa.  I mention this previous post because it was all about forgiveness.  I even boasted that I couldn't wait to forgive.  Well guess what...

In the course of the week I saw one of my brother priests with whom I have had difficulties.  All those things I often remind people about a lack of forgiveness were made manifest in my heart and soul.  I grew angry.  I had a difficult time praying.  I was extremely judgmental. I could feel my stomach tighten and my blood pressure rise.  I don't know what went on in him, but my reaction certainly can serve as an object lesson on the results of either refusing or forgetting to forgive.

I say forgetting to forgive because I had forgotten all about the misdeeds I experienced at the hands of this priest.  I forgot, that is, until we were in the same room together.…

I can't wait to forgive...

The current wallpaper on my desktop is a picture of wizened hands holding a flower.  The inscription above the hands reads "Forgive everyone for everything."  Now that is a tall order, to be sure!

I mention this because I just witnessed a profound and simple act of forgiveness.  Apparently there was a misunderstanding between two of my dear female friends.  Something was said, something else was not communicated, and hard feelings ensued.  Today, the two ladies apologized to one another for their misstep.  I am so proud that they are my friends.  Neither one of them talked about the other behind her back.  Both took responsibility for their own part.  Neither blamed the other.  They both then affirmed each other.  There were a few tears, and a proud friend and priest.
I LOVE FORGIVENESS
Not just the idea of it... Not just the fact that Jesus forgives... And not even just the fact that it is our Christian Duty to forgive...
What I love is that when we forgive everyone for everythin…

The Prodigal Son-- A Two Sentence Homily

Image via Wikipedia
When it comes to sin, be cautious like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son.
When it comes to God and His loving forgiveness – through caution to the wind and CELEBRATE!

I'm baaaack!

Image via Wikipedia It has been a rough two weeks since my last post.  I apologize for my absence.  Posting on my blog is one of my favorite ways to share the Faith, but sometimes life intervenes.  Even though we do not have a parish school at our church, the beginning of the school year brings with it an avalanche of activities.  The crazy, hazy, lazy days of summer give way to the blustery winds of autumn and winter.  

We are being reminded of the "cold reality" that life is more than leisure.  Bears hibernate in the winter, but I hibernate when the temperature goes above 80 degrees.  I really come alive when the temperature stays below 70 or so.  So it is back in the saddle again, nose to the grindstone, fingers to the keyboard...

Stuck In My Brain

I can't seem to shake an idea that lodged in my brain from the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.  It is the parable of the 10 virgins -- 5 wise and 5 foolish -- waiting for the return of the bridegroom.  The wise were prepared for a potential delay in his return.  They brought extra provisions.  Specifically noted is the oil for their lamps.  The foolish were unprepared, ran out of oil, and ended up out in the dark.


As a child in I learned a little ditty in CCD: "Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light,
Like a little candle, burning in the night.
In this world of darkness, so we must shine.
You in your small corner, and I in mine. "
I get the details.  I understand the application.  What haunts me is that all 10 fell asleep.  The foolish and the wise were not able to stay awake until the bridegroom's return.  Of course, the parable is not referencing the natural sleep that the human body requires.  If the bridegroom was long delayed (days? weeks? longer?) ther…

Systematic Discrimination Against the Catholic Church

I have been warning my parishioners and friends about this eventuality for decades.  Some thought I was a bit nuts, especially early on.  "It could never happen in America" was their gut reaction.  Alas, it is already beginning.  Please take time to read these excerpts from a speech given by Archbishop Chaput.
(personal editorial comment:  Please note that the archbishop refers to ISLAMISTS not people of the Muslim faith. )
"Systematic Discrimination Against Church Now Seems Inevitable" Thursday, August 26, 2010 By Archbishop Charles Chaput  - LifeSiteNews.com Excerpts from Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's address to the 15th symposium for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia on Tuesday:
Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several deca…

An Extraordinary Experience

I had a really profound experience during this morning's Mass at the consecration. When I pronounced the words over the chalice an image appeared in the precious blood. I looked closely and at first it was our Lord in His traditional garb. Then the face changed, which caught me a bit by surprise when I noticed the "movement". To my great surprise it was my face! 


I was wearing the Lord's garments, which then changed into the very chasuble I was wearing at that Mass. I would have thought it was a reflection in the liquid accident of the wine, except it was my full vested body. The Chalice was positioned so that only my face should have been reflected.
Then I received an interior locution telling me that the Lord is giving me a "special share in His Priesthood of Sacrifice".

This all happened so quickly that I'm sure the only thing noticeable to the congregation was that I was moving a bit more slowly. I lingered only a second or two after the locution and t…

Sponge Bob needs to pray the Rosary! --or-- It Is Time to Face Our Fears!

Image via Wikipedia I was watching Sponge Bob on TV today.  Yes!  It's my day off and it is raining.  I couldn't cut the grass even though it is almost as tall as a cornstalk.  Well, maybe not that tall, but my dog won't even try to go to the "potty" out there.  Haha!  So I just relaxed in my living room, caught up on some correspondence, and watched Sponge Bob.
I learned alot today.  First of all I learned that I do not really like most modern cartoons. They are way too noisy, violent and nonsensical for me.   From the vantage point of a rapidly aging middle-ager they don't even come close to the quality of "my" cartoons:  Bugs Bunny and company, Aesop's Fables, The Road Runner, Yogi, Ouick Draw McDraw, Underdog, Popeye, Pepe LePew, Tweety Bird, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Bullwinkle... I could go on and on.  There have been a few animated feature films that were very good.
I watched cartoons well into my college years and even wrote a paper for o…

Pleasantries: Radishes and the Angelus

I had a most enjoyable dinner this evening at the home of my parishioners, Bob and Mary.  The conversation was relaxed and casual.  The food was divine (and healthy!).  We had vegetable lasagna and salad. Yummy.  The salad had radishes in it.  I really enjoy radishes, but I seldom if ever cut them up in my salads at home.  Why?  Who knows.  Perhaps because I am too lazy, or perhaps because I never think to buy them.  Regardless of the reason, having radishes at Bob and Mary's is one of those pleasantries to which I always look forward. 


My mom loved radishes.  She stopped eating them when she died.  My granny loves radishes but had to stop eating them when she lost all her teeth.  She won't let me buy her dentures. "A 94's year old lady doesn't need to waste money on teeth," she tells me.  She also told me that she quit her job today.  Too cute.  She is feisty, but she has dementia.


So I chew radishes for my mom and my grandmother.  The red reminds me of the Pr…

Rosary Meditation

Rosary Meditation
As I prayed the third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, I experienced a series of consolations that flickered through my mind’s eye.As a candle casts its glow, consuming the shadow that attempts to overcome, these graces came to me.Each flicker expressed an attribute of God’s revealed nature.It was like a warm summer night when fireflies briefly illuminate their surroundings.
There was a flicker in which I viewed the Lord breathing on a young man who was being baptized.Another nearby flicker revealed our Lady standing over a grieving little girl.There was a series of flickers which filled the screen of my imagination, each one showing me the face of a saint:S. Jean Vianney,S. Faustina, S. Peter, S. Augustine, S. Aquinas, S. Francis, S. Joseph, S. Philomena, S. Michael, S. Gabriel, S. Miguel Pro, S. Therese, S. Jerome, and many others whose faces I know from holy cards, but their names escape me now.
When this series of flashes subsided, I felt their abiding presence.Lonli…

Knock, Knock. Who's there?

Last weekend our Pastor, Fr. Oz, wrote beautifully about Mary being the Working Mother.  I had never thought of it in those exact terms, but it blessed the socks off this theology encrusted priest.  All week it was like a fresh air was blowing, and each task became a participation in our Working Mother's Apostolate.  Thanks Fr. Oz!
So... when I read this weeks Gospel from Luke 22, I had to laugh when I came to verse 25, "You will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door."  The story concludes with the person gaining access because he or she kept on knocking.  What working mother or father has not had the experience of their persistent little angle finally wearing them down?  Or how many times have we working uncles, aunts, siblings and family friends tried to ignore the apple of our eyes when they start out with, "Knock, knock"?  Of course, I am a big kid, so I am ever hopeful that I will hear a new one, so I always bite.  Who's there...a kid with a m…
Scripture says: The angel was sent to a virgin. For she was truly virgin in body, virgin in mind, a virgin by her special calling, sanctified, as the Apostle reminds us, in both mind and body. This came about by no unforeseen or accidental occurrence; she was chosen from eternity, foreknown and prepared by the Most High for himself, guarded by the angels, prefigured by the patriarchs, and promised by the prophets.These are the words of St. Bernard.  He expresses what the earliest Church understood about Mary.  I challenge you to read the Old Testament with an eye to the New Testament.  Some Scripture scholars will tell you that you should read the OT as a separate body of literature without reference to the New Testament.  The Church Fathers and Saints throughout history have always illustrated how the Old is fulfilled in the New.

From the standpoint of literature, they can be read separately, of course.  Form the viewpoint of Revelation, they must be read as an organic whole.  The ol…

Sacramental Goodies

I just had a great phone call from one of my friends.  He was calling to make an appointment for confession.  Of course first, we had to discuss all the issues that challenge us as a church these days.  He had a ton of questions about the new Roman Missal.  He brought me up to date about the latest family news.  We even talked about how beautiful Maureen O'Hara was.  She is still living in Ireland according to my friend.  I wanted to watch NCIS, but people are always more important and entertaining than television.

So all the problems solved, we got around to the appointment for confession.  My friend introduced the issue by saying, "Father, we have to set a time for a beer and the Sacrament."
Of course I about spit out my teeth, laughing (and I don't wear dentures)!  Beer and the Sacrament is like having Doritos with Shrimp Cocktail and Campaign.  You could do it, but... Yuck!

But maybe I could start offering ice cream sundaes, gourmet coffee or Belgium chocolates …

Lots For Sale

I had Mass this weekend in a neighboring parish so the Pastor could fulfill his duty in the National Guard.  As I was driving home I saw painted on a plywood sign "Lots for Sale".

Lots of what?  There's lots of stuff for sale.  I often buy stuff I don't need.  If it's for sale, somebody must want it.  I guess I better buy one.

It is not just the stuff that is the problem.  The real problem is what many people think "lots" of stuff might bring them:
prestigelove securitypowerfriendssuccessattractivenessintelligence All this and more can be had if you only have the the right toothpaste, stocks, collectibles. Lots of stuff promise the good life: insurance, electronics, cable tv, your car, your house.

Now, I don't think any of these things are necessarily bad.  Lots for sale is just lots of stuff.  Security, love, success, etc., are basic human desires.  However, there is a catch with the "purchase" of these "lots".  The fulfillmen…