NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

Saturday, May 7, 2016

VOTE FOR ME, I HAVE JOBS - IN CHINA

Vote for me because:
...I'll box you in with the best wall you've ever seen;
...I'll protect you from all the Mexican thieves, rapists and drug trafickers who assail us;
...I'll round up all the illegal aliens and send then back to where they came from;
...I'll bomb the shit out of Isis and wipe them off the face of the earth;
...I'll create more jobs than anyone else can imagine.  I am the job creating man;
...I'll tax companies who bring in goods that they manufacture off shore so highly that they will quickly return to the US;
...I'll protect you from Muslims by banning them from entering the country;
...I'm no longer self funding my campaign, so now I am like every other politician, I can be bought;
...I'm very rich;
...I'll make the world respect us;
...I'm bigger and better at the military than anybody else;
...I'll do better with women than Hillary;
...I'll make trade deals that will benefit us much more than what we have now;
...I'll cut taxes without increasing the deficit;
...I'm going to promote eminent domain to the hilt;
...I'm convinced that we have to have to have a president like me who was born in the United States;
...I'm the best at cutting deals;
...I'll absolutely apologize sometime in the future if I'm ever wrong;
...I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks;
...I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist;
...I love Hispanics;
...I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy;
...I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There's a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed punch back anymore. ... I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya"

I end my presentation of Donald Trump, republican nominee for president of the United States with this wonderfully high-minded reason why he thinks we should vote for him:  

"If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America."

This from a person who is presently in his third attempt at getting marriage right.  maybe it is the "small hands" syndrome?

Don't cry at my funeral, friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

ANOTHER FUNERAL - FATHER JOVEN JUNIO

Joven Junio MS with ceremonial lei
The vitality of the man in the center will not be forgotten. His departure from earth has been required of him by the Eternal Father.  In the final and ultimate act of obedience, Joven Junio gave up his earthly life per the Divine Will.  
It was a quiet act.  There are no surviving witnesses.  There is but a box of remains and the memories that serve to connect us with him in the hope that through this connection we will also touch a corner of some angel's wing or maybe even the hem of the Savior's glorified garment.
I do not cry at funerals.  I do not mourn for the passing of people.   I see God's hand. Death has been with me for a long time.  I was about 6 years old when my father took me to visit his sister who had died at age 25.  He was not shedding tears and he explained to me that his faith made him see his sister happy by God's side. 
I do not see Jo-Jo by God's side, but I do know for a fact that he was a powerful apostle who was able to bring some who needed to be led to the presence of God.  I do give him credit for being one of those described in Sacred Scripture:
 19
"My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (James, 5; 19 - 20)

We all know that this is not the only act that Jo-Jo completed in his 57 years of life. The fact remains that he did bring people to God (I know first hand) and I am convinced that God will not forget that.

There are readers of these lines who know me and know that diplomacy is not my forte.  Jo-Jo found that out QUICKLY.  What I found out quickly was that he had answers.  He also quickly received my respect for his intellectual honesty.  If he knew that he had been introduced to a better idea, he accepted it even though it meant a change of mind for him.  I am unafraid to say that there are precious few people who have that quality.  He had it.  I respected him for it.  

I invite you all to thank God for the good that He was able to work in us through His servant Jo-Jo.  I invite you all to join me in praying for the repose of Jo-Jo's soul.

Lastly, don't forget, at my funeral, hold the tears.


La vitalité de l'homme au centre dans la photo ne sera pas oublié. Son départ de ce monde a été exigé de lui par le Père éternel. Dans l'acte final et ultime de d'obéissance, Joven Junio ​​a renoncé à sa vie terrestre par la volonté divine.
Ce fut un acte calme. Il n'y a pas de témoins survivants. Il demeure, mais dans une boîte de restes et les souvenirs qui nous connectent avec lui dans l'espoir que, grâce à ce propos, nous allons également pouvoir toucher le bout de l'aile d'un ange ou peut-être même l'ourlet du vêtement glorifié du Sauveur.
Je ne pleure pas aux funérailles. Je ne pleure pas pour le passage de la vie terrestre. Je vois la main de Dieu. La mort m'est connue depuis très longtemps. J'avais environ 6 ans quand mon père m'a emmené visiter sa sœur qui était morte à 25 ans. Il n'a pas verse une seule larme et il m'a expliqué que sa foi lui fit voir sa sœur heureuse aux côté de Dieu.
Je ne vois pas Jo-Jo à côté de Dieu, mais je sais qu'en effet il était un apôtre 
puissant  qui était en mesure d'apporter certains qui avaient besoin d'être conduit à la présence de Dieu. Je lui donne crédit pour ce qui est décrit dans l'Ecriture Sainte:
  
«Mes frères, si quelqu'un parmi vous s'écarte de la vérité et quelqu'un le ramène, il faut dire que celui qui ramène un pécheur de l'égarement de son chemin sauvera son âme de la mort et sera tenu a l’abri d'une multitude de péchés." (James, 5; 19 - 20)

Nous savons tous que ce n'est pas le seul acte que Jo-Jo a accompli dans ses 57 années de vie. Le fait est qu'il a amené des gens à Dieu (je le sais par expérience directe) et je suis convaincu que Dieu ne l'oublie pas.

Il y a des lecteurs de ces lignes qui me connaissent et savent que la diplomatie est pas mon fort. Jo-Jo l'a constaté RAPIDEMENT. Ce que j'ai trouve rapidement de ma part était qu'il avait des réponses. Il a également gagne rapidement mon respect pour son honnêteté intellectuelle. S'il savait qu'il avait été présenté avec une meilleure idée, il n'avait pas peur de l'accepté même si cela signifiait un changement d'esprit pour lui. Je n'ai pas peur de dire qu'il y a peu de gens qui ont cette qualité. Il l'avait. Je le respectais pour elle.

Je vous invite tous à remercier Dieu pour le bien qu'il était capable de travailler en nous par Son serviteur Jo-Jo. Je vous invite tous à vous joindre à moi pour prier pour le repos de l'âme de Jo-Jo.

Enfin, ne pas oublier, à mon enterrement, gardez vos larmes.

No será olvidada la vitalidad del hombre en el centro de la foto. Se ha requerido de él por el Padre Eterno. En el acto final y definitivo de obediencia, Joven Junio ​​renunció a su vida terrenal por la voluntad divina.
Fue un acto tranquilo. No hay testigos sobrevivientes. No hay más que una caja de restos y los recuerdos que sirven para conectarnos con él con la esperanza de que a través de esta conexión también vamos a tocar una esquina del ala de un ángel o tal vez incluso el borde del manto glorificado del Salvador.
No lloro en los funerales. No lloro por la muerte de las personas. Veo la mano de Dios. La muerte ha estado conmigo durante mucho tiempo. Yo tenia aproximadamente 6 años cuando mi padre me llevó a visitar a su hermana que había muerto a los 25 años. El no estaba derramando lágrimas y me explicó que su fe le hizo ver a su hermana feliz al lado de Dios.
No veo Jo-Jo por el lado de Dios, pero sí, sé que es un hecho que él era un poderoso apóstol que fue capaz de llevar a algunos que necesitaban ser llevado a la presencia de Dios. Hago que darle crédito por ser uno de los descritos en la Sagrada Escritura:
 
"Mis hermanos, si alguno de entre vosotros esta desviado de la verdad, y alguno le hace volver, que deben saber que el que haga volver al pecador del error de su camino, salvará de muerte un alma, y ​​cubrirá multitud de pecados." (Santiago, 5; 19 - 20)

Todos sabemos que este no es el único acto que Jo-Jo completó en sus 57 años de vida. El hecho es que el llevo gente a Dios (Sé de primera mano) y estoy convencido de que Dios no olvidará eso.

Hay lectores de estas líneas que me conocen y saben que la diplomacia no es mi calidad mas evidente. De eso, Jo-Jo se dio cuenta rápidamente. Lo que descubrí rápidamente era que el tenía respuestas. También recibió rápidamente mi respeto por su honestidad intelectual. Si sabía que había sido introducido a una mejor idea, lo aceptaba a pesar de que significaba un cambio de mente para él. No tengo miedo de decir que hay muy pocas personas que tienen esa calidad. Él la tenía. Yo lo respetaba por eso.

Los invito a todos a dar gracias a Dios por el bien que él fue capaz de trabajar en nosotros por medio de su siervo Jo-Jo. Los invito a todos a unirse a mí en la oración por el descanso del alma de Jo-Jo.

Por último, no se olviden, en mi funeral, nadie llora.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

CANA, IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE WATER - IL S'AGIT DE PLUS QUE L'EAU -- HAY MAS QUE AGUA



I venture to say that just about 90% of Christians know the story of the miracle at the wedding of Cana in Galilee.  Every one who knows the story knows that upon the request of His Mother, Mary, Jesus had the waiters fill six stone jars with water.  The description of the jars includes the clarification that their contents were used for ritual purifications.  These jars then had a religious meaning.  They were recognized as part and parcel of the religious rituals followed by those faithful to the Law of Moses.  In short, these were not just ANY stone jars.
The water though, was just ordinary water.  What other kind of water was there?  None.
No matter how ordinary the water, it was nevertheless required in order for the jars to fully reach their useful existence of providing the needed substance for the ritualistic washing.  When Jesus got involved with them they were at a low level of their being.  First, they were empty.  Then, there were but six of them, not seven which would have pointed to their completeness.  But the story is careful in pointing out that they were the imperfect number, six, not seven.

Now Jesus enters the scene.  Under His orders, the servants fill the jars with water.  The water becomes wine and that's what we all admire.  We forget that the jars are no longer containers for ritualistic washing.  They are dispensers of the best wine served at the wedding.  Jesus did not want these jars to be mere water carriers.  He wanted them to be admired as the containers of the spirit of His productive action.  He wanted to show that ordinary water in ordinary jars under the action of the Messiah become more than what they appear to the purely human eye.  The six jars came to their perfection by the initial sign that points to the Resurrection.  The jars don't contain water any more, they become the shell for the transformation from water to wine.  Just as the grave could not contain the body of Jesus, but provided the container within which the change could take place and blossom.

Consider all the "signs" of God and of Jesus and don't stop at the Bible's edge.  Keep coming this way and reflect on the many times that we are the containers in which the blossoming of God's work in this world takes place.  Don't forget the two children standing before the Beautiful Lady on a peaceful day at La Salette in the French Alps.  These two containers of "ordinary water" certainly are good examples of containers who were changed forever after Mary poured her Heart out into them and left them with the command to "make this known to all my people."

Fast forward to 2016, Holy Year of Mercy.  We must stay ready. We never know when it will be our turn to be an urn.
Don't spill your God-given water needlessly by crying at my funeral.






Je me permets de dire qu’environ 90% de chrétiens connaissent l'histoire du miracle qui eut lieu aux noces de Cana en Galilée. Quiconque connaît l'histoire sait que, à la demande de sa mère, Marie, Jésus fit remplir six jarres de pierre avec de l'eau. La description des bocaux comprend la clarification que leur contenu était habituellement utilisé pour les purifications rituelles. Par ce fait significatif ces pots ont ensuite prit une signification religieuse. Ils ont été reconnus comme faisant partie intégrante des rituels religieux suivis par les gens fidèles à la loi de Moïse. En bref, ce ne sont pas seulement enfin de tout, rien que des jarres de pierre.
L'eau cependant, était tout simplement de l'eau ordinaire. Quel autre type d'eau y aurait-il? Aucun.
Peu importe que l’eau était ordinaire, elle était un élément nécessaire pour que les pots puissent atteindre pleinement leur raison d’être,  de contenir et fournir la substance nécessaire pour le lavage rituel. Quand Jésus fut impliqué avec eux, ils se trouvèrent au un niveau le plus faible de leur être. D'abord, ils étaient vides. Ensuite, ils ne furent que six, pas sept, ce qui aurait contribué à leur plénitude. Mais l'histoire est prudente en soulignant qu'ils étaient du nombre imparfait, six.
Or, Jésus entre en scène. Sous ses ordres, les serviteurs remplissent les pots avec de l'eau. L'eau devient vin, un événement que nous admirons tous. Nous oublions que les pots ne sont plus des réservoirs pour le lavage rituel. Ils sont des distributeurs du meilleur vin servi au mariage. Jésus ne voulait pas que ces bocaux ne demeurent que des simples porteurs d'eau. Il voulait qu'ils soient admirés comme les conteneurs de l'esprit de son Action productive. Il voulait montrer que l'eau ordinaire dans des pots ordinaires sous l'action du Messie peuvent devenir plus que ce qu'ils apparaissent à l'œil purement humain. Les six bocaux sont venus à leur perfection en jouant un rôle important pour le premier signe qui pointe vers la Résurrection. Les pots ne contiennent que de l'eau, pas plus.  Ils deviennent la coquille pour la transformation de l'eau au vin tout comme la tombe n’était que la coquille qui ne pouvait pas contenir le corps de Jésus.
Pensez à tous les «signes» de Dieu et de Jésus et ne vous arrêtez pas au bord de la Bible. Tenez le regard à l’avenir de cette façon et réfléchissez sur les nombreuses fois que nous sommes les récipients dans lesquels l'épanouissement de l'œuvre de Dieu dans ce monde a lieu. Ne pas oublier les deux enfants qui se tiennent devant la Belle Dame une belle journée paisible dans les Alpes françaises. Ces deux conteneurs « d’eau ordinaire » sont certainement de bons exemples de conteneurs qui ont été changées à jamais après que Mary avait versé son cœur en eux et leur a laissé le commandement de le «faire savoir à tout mon peuple. »

Faisons un saut rapide jusqu'en 2016, Année Sainte de la Miséricorde. Nous devons rester prêts. Nous ne savons jamais quand ce sera notre tour d'être une urne.

Ne versez pas votre eau donnée par Dieu inutilement en pleures à mon décès.


Me atrevo a decir que casi el 90% de los cristianos conoce la historia del milagro en las bodas de Caná de Galilea. Todos los que conocen la historia saben que, a petición de su Madre, María, Jesús dijo a los camareros que llenen seis tinajas de piedra con agua. La descripción de los frascos incluye la aclaración de que su contenido se utilizaron para purificaciones rituales. Estos frascos entonces tenían un significado religioso. Ellos fueron reconocidos como parte integrante de los rituales religiosos, seguido de los fieles a la Ley de Moisés. En resumen, no se trataba de cualquier tinajas de piedra.
El agua, sin embargo, era sólo agua ordinaria. ¿Qué otro tipo de agua estaba allí? Ninguna.
No importa cómo el agua ordinaria, que fue, sin embargo, necesaria para que los frascos de alcanzar plenamente su existencia útil de proporcionar la sustancia necesaria para el lavado ritual. Cuando Jesús se involucró con ellos estaban en un bajo nivel de su ser. En primer lugar, estaban vacíos. Entonces, no había más que seis de ellos, no siete que habría señalado a su integridad. Pero la historia es cuidadosa en señalar que eran el número imperfecto, seis, no siete.

Ahora Jesús entra en escena. Bajo sus órdenes, los criados llenar de agua las tinajas. El agua se convierte en vino y eso es lo que todos admiramos. Nos olvidamos de que los frascos hay contenidos más importates que para el lavado ritual. Son dispensadores del mejor vino servido en la boda. Jesús no quería que estos frascos sean meros portadores de agua. Quería que sean admirado como los contenedores del espíritu de su acción productiva. Quería demostrar que el agua ordinaria en frascos ordinarios bajo la acción del Mesías puede ser más de lo que parece a simple puramente humano. Las seis tinajas llegaron a su perfección por la señal inicial que apunta a la resurrección. Los frascos no contienen agua más, se convierten en la cáscara para la transformación del agua en vino. Al igual que la tumba no podía contener el cuerpo de Jesús, pero siempre que el contenedor en el que el cambio podría tener lugar y florecer.

Tenga en cuenta todos los "signos" de Dios y de Jesús y no se detenga en el borde de la Biblia. Sigue viniendo de un lado a reflexionar sobre las muchas veces que somos los recipientes en los que el florecimiento de la obra de Dios en este mundo tiene lugar. No se olvide de los dos niños de pie ante la señora hermosa en un día tranquilo en La Salette en los Alpes franceses. Estas dos contenedores de "agua corriente" sin duda son buenos ejemplos de los contenedores que se han cambiado para siempre después de que María derramó su corazón en ellos y los dejó con el comando de "hacer saber a todo mi pueblo."

Un avance rápido hasta 2016, Año Santo de la Misericordia. Debemos permanecer listo. Nunca sabemos cuando será nuestro turno de ser una urna.
No derrame el agua dada por Dios innecesariamente llorando en mi funeral.


Friday, January 8, 2016

IS MY PAST FAIR GAME? YES and NO.

Once you've read this, you will not have to be reminded not to cry at my funeral.

Welcome to the 21st century.  It's a fun place to be if morality is not one of your basic preoccupations.  The world of politics has always been fodder for the feedbag of those who like to have inane conversations over at the Ol' Waterin' Hole corner of Main and Dwight.

People running for public office have made a career of making promises that they know they can't fulfill; they have forever been inventing facts to suit their present needs and in countries with a free press they are fond of reviling those who make them spend what it takes to buy the morning paper after listening to a bit of news on the car radio on the way to work.

It used to be that we the people wanted to hear the inflated false promises and the stories from out of the conjured environment of the past which produced five star results for each of the stump-masters.  Yes, we would hear the occasional insult or false judgment aimed at a rival, but we took some and left some and moved on.

This year is different.  The personal insult is the stump speech du jour.  The reviving of the bankruptcy, the inept first degree relative, the sexual fun and games of the spouse and the worst government appointee EVER x 2!  Now there is something that I want to mention here that has become a part of our lives when it should not.  Like, making the rival's past "fair game" in exchange for the stated recognitiion that, of course my past is fair game too.
Fair enough, right?  You voted for x,y and z and I didn't.  Black and white.  Done.
Ok, fact for fact.  Done and done.

Fine so far.  But that is not where it stops.  Now we hear the repititious reminder of immoralities past that are intended to make the speaker appear to be more competent for the office sought than for the one sullied by past sins.  These reminders, once again, are in fact reminders of historical facts.  We have the idea that if the speaker is not lying, then it must be all right to maintain this line of attack.  After all, the beneficiary of the practice of fellatio and the wife of such a predator cannot in any way be competent to be the "Leader of the free world."  Really?  Hmmm.  

You think that's bad.  What about being the brother of the guy who lied about WMD's and took us to war in Iraq.  Wow, that's really a sign of your egregious incompetence to be the Commander-in-chief of the US military.
Not only is that kind of talk devoid of any logic, in Catholic speak, it is sinful.  It is the little named sin called "contumely."  This is the sin of the one who wilfully intends to harm the well being of another by publicly talking about the sin(s) of the other.  In this case, the sins of the one rain down upon you because, you know, blood is thicker than water.

Yes, this is a serious sin.  It is in fact a serious lack of respect for the life of the person being attacked by historically ascertainable immorality.  People who practice this form of speech show a lack of respect, a lack of compassion, a lack of mercy and a lack of a need to live in the peaceful and loving company of fellow human beings.  To continually abuse people with this kind of abuse is far, far from being pro-life.  It is the style to be protective of the life in the womb but the minute you're in the light of day, watch out!  To treat people this way is to act opposite to the law of love that we all know and that we are all very fond of quoting in season and out.  

So, you Catholics, other Christians and every other human being, keep yourselves attuned to what you hear in this world.  Instead of looking for the comfort of something being "Fair Game," look for Love, Mercy, Piety, Gentleness, Justice, Patience, etc.  Do it.  I dare you.
So did Jesus, don't forget.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

THE HOLY LAND IN WORDS - BY POPULAR DEMAND

Let me start by apologizing for the map.  I am working on a better presentation, but let me start with this one.

Some of you are aware that my spouse and I go to the Holy Land more often than most people.  At this point we have just returned from the Holy Land and I have been asked to talk about it for those who have never been and have no thought of ever being able to make it.
So, here goes, bad map and all.

We leave from Los Angeles airport (LAX) and fly for 14 hours straight until we touch ground again in Tel Aviv-Yafo.  This map shows the option of heading south to Jerusalem before turning north to Nazareth.  We prefer to go north first because that is where Jesus grew up and recruited his favored disciples.  It is also where He spent at least 80% of His life.  Then we head down the road that is on the western shoulder of the Jordan River until we get to Jericho.  From Nazareth to Jericho is a nearly 2 hour bus ride.  We spend sometime in Jericho (one of my favorite places) before heading up the hill to Jerusalem.  It is 16 miles and about 3,000 feet of elevation.  Jericho is 850 feet below sea level.  Jerusalem is at 2,500 feet above sea level.  Both cities are at about 31 degrees north of the equator.  For reference San Diego where we live is at about sea level and sits at about the same latitude (32 degrees north).

These are among the material things that strike anyone going to the Holy Land.
There are three categories of observation that the pilgrim to the Holy Land lives:
* Material - visual, touchable
* Traditional - landmarked up to several centuries ago
* Faith - Seen, accepted and believed, whether material or traditional
--Material - The locations named in the Bible...Nazareth, Cana, Nain, Capharnaum, Magdala, The Sea of Galilee, Samaria, Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, The Dead Sea and of course, the Jordan River.  Just seeing those signs is enough to get your heart racing.  You come to the immediate experience that this is real in more ways than one.  The one thing that always gets me is the sight of the remaining portions of the Synagogue in Capharnaum where Jesus and His earliest disciples worshiped.  It's real.

Other material realities and one that is very powerful is the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is the home of many traditional sites.  This is true because of the fact that Jerusalem was completely levelled by the Romans in 70 AD.  There are material remnants that point to the material facts, but there are also many buildings that commemorate the location of the material, historical facts. These are impressive and they strike the person of faith with great spiritual power.  The Way of the Cross, Calvary, the Holy Sepuchre, the pool of Bethesda, the remains of the Temple (Wetern Wall), the place of Peter's denial of Jesus, etc.  When you are there, you believe!  You do not doubt!  You know that this is the place.  After all centuries of faithful have been placing their faith here,why not me?

Bethlehem is the sweetheart of many pilgrims.  Why?  This is a happy place.  Jesus was born here.  David was born here.  The mother of Jacob and Esau was born and died here.  St. Jerome translated the Scriptures into Latin here.  This year, we were blessed with the priviledge of celebrating our daily Mass in a cave similar to the one in which Jesus more than likely was born.  This is the first time that I ever had this priviledge.  I'll never forget it.  The likely place where Jesus was actually born is covered over by a large church, one of the oldest Christian Churches still in existence in the world.  The spot is still marked but is not attainable by the ordinary person because it is beneath the floor of the church.

This year was special for us in two other ways.
1. The mayor of Bethlehem is a Catholic woman.  Since her election she has decreed that a Christmas tree would be erected in the central square of Bethlehem and a special lighting ceremony would be held every 1st Saturday of December.  We made it a point to be there this year.  Tens of thousands were there, in the territory of the West Bank.  There were no metal detectors at the entrance points of the square.  The military security personnel were apologizing for asking us to open our bags for them.  All the surrounding businesses, eateries and sundries stores were open and thriving.  The exceptional nature of this lies in the fact that 3% of Bethlehem is Christian and only 1% is Catholic.  

2. We were able to go to Nablus a hot bed in the West Bank.  There we were able to visit Jacob's well where Jesus had his famous conversation with the Samaritan Woman.  Of course, we drank of the water.  While there we stopped the bus in front of a local bakery and befriended the baker and his crew and of course bought some munchies for ourselves (42 of us).

I finish by saying that pilgrimages are one of the oldest forms of prayer known. They are not as solemn and somber as some people imagine them to be.  Every pilgrimage has its solemn moments and its wild moments.  Sometimes they happen together.  People take thousands of photos; they buy large quantities of souvenirs, they try to entice the "natives" into conversations; they get more adventurous with food than they ever thought they were capable of doing, and of course, they pray, they feel and they believe.
A pilgrimage is a hodge-podge of feelings that is difficult to sort out quickly.  A pilgrimage to the Holy Land doesn't just last for 8 or 10 days.  It starts long before a person puts the down payment on the table to reserve the ticket.  It slowly grows and mounts in intensity and doesn't ever wane into oblivion - never.  No person goes to the Holy Land and then gets over it.  It is a life changing experience.  It gives meaning to the Jewish saying, "See God and die."
The person who goes to the Holy Land dies to whom he/she was and is never the same.  

I pray that these few words have meant something to you all.

Peace and joy to you.  May you all have a very happy Leap Year.
And don't forget, there's no crying at my funeral.