NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

Monday, July 27, 2020

WHO MOVED?

There are some events that present themselves and can't go without comment.  This is one of them.  It marks the fact that my brother, Denis, (Note the French orthography) has written a book and more than that, it is on the bookshelves.  It is a deeply spiritual invitation to one and all to assess the moment in the life of the reader and, following the assessment, resolve to follow the inspiration that resulted.
I present you with the introduction that is on the website

"When a person drops out of the protective hands of God and begins to feel distant from Him, that person might ask, "Who moved?" It certainly isn't God.

'One night, as the author thought about that, he was kept awake as the Holy Spirit kept showing him one scripture passage after another about individuals, even entire generations, who fell out of God's grace, repented, and eventually returned to His loving embrace. The author shares his own personal experience with the intent of inspiring others to depend on and trust in God's grace as this process repeats itself throughout a lifetime.

'Dion hopes this little book will fill you with hope and trust in the Lord's abundant grace. Even when deep in despair, he believes we can always turn to God, for He never moves away and never abandons us!"

May God bless us all.  
These are difficult times, times when it is not safe to mover away from God.  These are times when it is so much better to take off whatever mask we wear before God and show Him our soul just as He made it and maintains it.  It's true that he knows us anyway.  Let it be true that we don't think that we are fooling Him behind a mask.

No matter what, don't cry at this guy's funeral.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

MASS ON THE GRASS

This the Sunday when the Gospel is the story of the farmer who sows good seed and gets attacked by his enemy who comes along and sows fennel tares on top of the good stuff.  Today, God fought back.  We, in San Diego had Mass on the Grass.
One consoling part was that not a soul was carrying a bag of tares.
Next consoling part was that the two babies in attendance made their opinions known, but without an echo chamber, all anyone did was  to smile.
Next consoling part was that the "early morning cloud" phenomenon of San Diego was a comfort assuring element for the hour (9:00 - 10:00) and the post Mass fraternal exchange of peaceful support. 

Next consoling part was that the two young people who participated in the complete Eucharist for the first time have something to retell for the rest of their lives.

Finally, Belle and I want to assure you that these are trying times.
Remember that the 400 years in Egypt were trying times too.
Remember that the Roman occupation was a time of misery.
Remember that Leprosy was a mark of opprobrium for centuries.
Remember the times when Polio claimed lives
Remember that HIV/AIDS remains a mark of approbrium.
Remember the times when our country had "Bozos" in charge.
Remember the times when the USA was respected around the world.

Let me suggest that we all must stay close to God...How?
Patience is the answer:
The servants of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His servants said to him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Patience is the virtue that brings us to the point of solution.
Hey, maybe "Mass on the Grass" is the direction that will bring us to the harvest.

I forgot to implore you all not to cry at my funeral.  Given that, I must say that some of the feedback that I have from you shows me that there was no need for the reminder.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

MY FIRST CHRISTMASES


How many "first Christmases" have you had?  Count them and you'll be surprised how many of these occasions qualify as your first time.  I was thinking about it over this past week.  Don't ask me why.  After all, It's only July.  I don't have an explanation, just descriptions.  Even some of the dates may be erroneous, but they will all be in the ballpark - like 315' down the left field line in Fenway. See, I remember that.  Do you remember how high the wall is?  (If you don't remember, look it up😊)

1. First Christmas at Midnight Mass.- 1945.  Some of you will remember that it was only the French and the Polish communities who had permission to celebrate Mass at midnight for Christmas.  At the Immaculate Conception church children were not allowed at Midnight Mass because they would take seats way from adults. This was not a foolish policy.  There were only three churches in the entire city with Midnight Mass.  It required a paid ticket to be admitted. OK, tell me that my being there was not a big deal.  OK, I confess:  a) I had a connection; b) I had to stand in line to buy the tickets; c) My connection gave me my dollar needed to get the extra ticket; I was already 12 years old.
It was such a big deal because it was Midnight Mass I even got to wear regular cut trousers and a quasi adult shirt for the occasion.  It was such a big deal because I wasn't sent to bed at the regular bedtime and allowed to stay up all night.  All I had to do was to help prepare the post-Mass Christmas party that always took place at our house. 
I think that this is the occasion of my social puberty line because that same week my parents trusted me to go help my maternal grandmother and her coterie of elders to prepare the all-day New Years Day event at her apartment.  That too turned into a "tradition" in my life until the #2 first Christmas intruded on me.
2.First Christmas away from home. (1958)
3.First Christmas in a foreign country (Rome, Italy, 1961)
4.First Christmas in a foreign mission (San Mateo, Isabela, Philippines - (1967)
5.First Christmas with a wife and not much else (San Diego, CA - 1977)
6. First Christmas with a wife, a son at the breast, another in the womb and a secular job (1978)
7. First "Early Christmas" in Bethlehem (Yes, that Bethlehem!) (12/8/2009)



Monday, June 29, 2020

BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT YOU THROW OUT

Today is the commenmoration of Sts. Peter and Paul.  The Holy Scriptures that are read on this day relate the story of Peter being released from prison by the angel of God.  Today, Pope Francis told the assembly in St. Peter's Square that Peter did not become a  hero becuse he escaped, but because he remained bound to the story of Salvation that he lived in the presence of God.  Paul also had experiences of capture and release, sone in the Promised Land and some in other places.  He, like Peter is revered not because he was smart enough to escape, but because he never ceased carrying the Story of Salvation to the People of God.
                                           Pope Francis and I are the same age

Interestingly enough, Pope Francis took this opportunity to make this exhortation to the world:

Pope Francis encouraged people to cherish the time they have with elderly family members, during Monday’s Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square.

 The pope told the crowd not to toss out older family members like “waste material.” Rather, he said to “make a gift of one’s life.”

 “And this applies to everyone, to parents towards their children and children towards their elderly parents.”

 He said many elderly people are “abandoned by their families as if they were waste material.  This is a drama of our times: the solitude of the elderly, when children and grandchildren do not make their lives a gift for the elderly.”

This isn't the first time the pope has pushed for better treatment of the elderly. He did so in a 2015 general audience address.

In his address, he called a society that doesn’t help and reach out to its elderly “perverse.”

 “In a civilization in which there is no place for the elderly or they are discarded because they create problems,” Francis said, “this society carries the virus of death.”

 He said young people should not be taught to ignore the old “as if it were a disease to be avoided.”

 Pope Francis also pointed to what scholars call “the century of aging,” where there are more elderly people than children.

 “This imbalance challenges us,” he said, adding that the old are seen as a “burden, as dead weight.”

 “We are used to discarding people, we want to remove our growing fear of weakness and vulnerability; but in doing so we increase the elderly’s anguish over being barely tolerated and abandoned.”

 “God wants to help us grow in the gift; only in this way do we become great,” he said. “We grow if we give ourselves to others.”

I must admit that I have heard similar sentiments expressed time and again across the many decades of my life.  We grow old but the topic of the relationship between old and young is ever fresh.




Monday, June 22, 2020

TRUTH TO EVERYONE - FROM START TO FINISH

June 24 - John the Baptist



I don't know about you, but one of my first degree heroes who live between the covers of the Holy Bible is John the Baptist.  He is the picture of what it looks like to have the ramrod strength of the convictions that you form along the road of life.  
It doesn't take long to study all that there is to absorb about this powerful prophet.  By the time the Gospels spill out into the mid first year of  Jesus' ministry,  this tough precursor of the Son of God has shown the world what lays in wait of the truly honest son of God.  I often wonder if the martyrdom of John the Baptist ever served as a warning to the apostles.  We do believe that eleven of them were martyred.  
Think of this.  So many of the heroes of the story of Salvation find their lives ended at the hands of the non-believers.  It is a serious topic of reflection presented to us:  What is the price of honesty?  What is the price of truth?  What is the price of Faith?  We all know the answer.  How often do we consider the state of our readiness to confront the ultimate question at the final instant?  
There are two key passages of the Sacred Scripture that are essential to my personal preparation for the final instant:

Psalm 15:  "Who can live in your tent Lord?
                  "Who can dwell on your Holy Mountain?"  
       I dare you to read the answer without swallowing hard.

Luke 3; 10 - 14 - 
                   "10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”


       Both of these exhortations challenge us way before Jesus throws down the gauntlet of Matthew 22; 34 - 40

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


As we consider these truths at this moment of our history we must ask ourselves what point of the honesty line do we occupy.  We must ask ourselves how much inner strength that we have to proclaim the truth to those who need to see it and hear it.  

May God bless us all with the courage that is needed to deserve to live with Him for all eternity.