Wednesday, September 20, 2017


At least 500 people came together to celebrate the life of JoseMari Manahan at the church dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria in Riverside, California.  The faithful in attenance were there to support the family, true.  They were also there because a missionary has gone home and we all wanted to live a moment of spiritual connection with this zealous being who was a brother to so many of God's chosen ones.
My spouse and I knew JoseMari for but a short time.  From the first moment we knew that we were in the presence of an apostle.  So happy, so serene and at the same time, so focused and driven.  As the saying goes in California, "it was a magical moment."  
One element that caught my attention was that the passing from this life to the other was respected by the fact a full sized coffin was the final housing for God's creation.   This was fitting because the little I knew of the deceased touched me deeply and this was a great spiritual finishing touch.  It gives me pause when I see the remains being respected all the way to the grave in such a complete and continuing exercise of spirituality.  It is my wish that the same will be accorded to me.  I want to give everyone a chance to get a last burst of the relationship that developed over a lifetime.  Good, bad or indifferent, y'all come and spend one more moment with me and Our Father Creator.  Just remember that there is no crying allowed at my funeral.

Now we are going to ask Joe to accompany us and the choir to Bethlehem and Jerusalem and other places of God's Own Land.  That will be a great, great experience.  I, for one, can't wait.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


The big Greek word in the title is one that has captivated me for a long time.  I have often spent extended periods of time on long road trips turning over various trial understandings of the reality behind this word.  I have also spent time wondering what others think about the word and the concepts that it evokes.  The simplest, general expression of its meaning can be written, as above, "end times."
Actually, that is not quite enough because after all, the word 'Eschatology" is a Theological term, not a purely secular term.  The end times that it drives the mind and heart to are the times when human life ends and all that is left is spiritual, disembodied life the likes of which will last for all eternity, or in other words, beyond time.  Our Catholic understanding of this all encompassing milestone can be boiled down to some simple terms:
Human life ends - spiritual life begins.  God takes over and decides whether the spiritual life will be one of everlasting joy or one of everlasting misery.
That's it.
The challenge for us is to trust that God and we can stay joined on the same page consistently enough so that when the end comes upon us, we will be ready and His judgment of us will fall on the happy side.  Thinking about this, and talking to God about it a lot in our lives is an important habit to have.  By talking to Him often and discussing the possibilities that our present, time measured behaviors present to us and to Him can help to deepen our trust (faith) in Him and get us ready, and keep us brave enough to stay ready until the unknown moment comes upon us.

Lately, in fact now, I am experiencing a life event that is new to me.  In 8 decades I have not yet had this experience.  It is a challenge for me, not to take away the towering challenge that it has to be for others.  On August 31, 2017, ten days ago, a new friend, a strong collaborator and a builder of success for a common project that is but one-half complete was called to judgment by our Father Creator, but not in a manner that I have ever experienced.  My newly found friend was killed in what is euphemistically called an "accident" but which legally will be defined as "manslaughter."  Yes, while sitting at a traffic signal, waiting for a light change, a drunken driver in a large vehicle travelling at close to100 MPH struck the smaller vehicle in which JoeMari was sitting.  The result was the termination of Joe's earthly life.

My life has been full of death, timely and untimely, to put it in human terms.  Eschatologically, every death is timely because it is a part of God's time.  But boy, I tell you, this one is strumming my heart strings pretty close to the "untimely" bracket.  Why?  Joe and his dear wife were preparing a choir presentation to be delivered on stage in the main public square of Bethlehem, yes, that Bethehem on the occasion of the solemn lighting of the Christmas Tree on December 2, 2017.  Don't worry, we will be there.  We have to be there so that we can see what it is that our dear Father Creator has in mind for us amid all this trauma, drama!  I'm staying ready for this one.  I gotta see the power of God at work in this one.  I know how it works, I've been there, a lot.

Here today, gone tomorrow:

Cecile. aunt.
Joseph, grandfather
Eugene, father
Melina, mother
Elna, cousin
Alcide, uncle
Donald, uncle
Harley, uncle
Tom, cousin
George, cousin
Victor, cousin

No, I didn't make this up.  Not a one by violence.  Not even the four who served in Europe and one in the pacific during WWII.  Only 8 first degree relatives slid quietly into death.  Joe's death is a new one on me.

My deep relationship with the concept of eschatology is keeping my mind whirring since this event occurred.  I have been a week and a half now wondering if eschatology can be a dynamic reality.  Is it time going toward the goal or it is the goal itself?  I know that through my life this concept has been a strong force that tends to keep me on the straight and narrow.  It has served as a sign-board of the final reality in waiting.  It has sometimes seemed to be close enough to be touched and at other times far and barely visible over the horizon.  I have personally faced death a couple of times (a .45 cal is a big, black hole, believe me) but I never feared it, and still don't.  This violent episode has driven me to a different side of myself that has me wondering about the things I have escaped.  Hmmm, like driving while plastered; like even talking my way out of the "ticket" one time when I got stopped at 2:30 AM (Springfield, MA it was...good Italian Catholic cop).  I wonder about this and other events in my life and I thank God for the energy and the Grace that He gives me to think about these things.
I have been thanking Him a lot this past week because had I been the one to cause another person's death, I am quite sure that I would have died to myself at the same time.

So, that's me. Now that you know all that, don't forget that because I didn't die to myself yet, when they finally do put me into a box, it is absolutely forbidden to cry at my funeral.

Monday, September 4, 2017


LUKE 12;20 "This night your soul is required of you:
Hi, Joe.  How are you, Bro?
I'm fine.  You?
I'm fine too.  Thinkin' 'bout you and Ning.
Yeah.  I just noticed that you haven't reserved your seats yet.
He, he, you're almost right.  We just did that, so we're OK.
Sweeeet!! Glad to hear it.
(3:30 pm, August 31, 2017 - Phone call talk, Joe and Paul)

I started this blog about 7 years ago.  Along the way, as is very clear from the title, I have meditated and reflected on the mystery of life and death...not just mine, but others too.  I have assigned different titles to some of the various stories that I have decided to share with you.

With none of the above did I have the blessing of a high happiness exchange of love as I did with Brother JoseMari on August 31, 2017.  There, he and I were joking about the dedication and the greatness of the Bethlehem project mixed together with the sudden surprising realization that the leaders (JoeMari and Ning) had not yet set aside their tickets, never once did we think that the guy to whom I was talking was going to be the first one to cross the finish line.  If any one of you is expecting "fair" from God, forget it.  Remember, He is the inventor of the "Last shall be first" rule.

There is also a very deeply spiritual moment in all of this that I want to put before you.  The Gospel readings of the last three days of the week were from the 25th chapter of Matthew.  This is the one about the final judgement.  The three stories are about the end of earthly time and the beginning of heavenly eternity.  We are all familiar with the story of the 10 maidens and the story of the talents and then the climax with the description of the final judgement with the sheep and the goats.

The first two stories in the chapter warn us to stay ready.  Not only to stay ready but to prepare ourselves about how to be ready.  We know that God is merciful and just.  We know that He gives us everything we need, including the virtue that it takes to hold His hand as we walk to heaven.  But just as the 5 dumb maidens couldn't get extra oil and the guy with only one talent couldn't get the smarts to make it grow, they got bounced.  Why?  Because there is one thing that they could not get, not even from God -- TIME.  God Himself did not grant His own Son the grace of letting "This chalice pass from me"  God's definition of the time allocated to us is not negotiable... He doesn't make exceptions.  

One final spiritual thought about this.  It has been nearly 70 years since my grandfather died and it has been going on 60 years since my father died.  God was good to them, and to us.  No suffering.  Out like candles in a storm.  These two people are still a part of my life.  Not just in pure human memory, but in spiritual presence.  They still guide me on the way.  I still follow the advice that they give me.  
God has given me the grace to relate to them and He gives them permission to guide and move me. That is the loving power of God,  Count on it.  I promise that you will experience JoeMari's supporting and guiding presence many times along the rest of the way that leads to heaven.  Yes, my sons tell me the same thing about the grandfather whom they never even knew.  Do not doubt it.  Live it and when it comes time for me to leave for good, remember that I do not allow crying at my funeral.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


The Assumption of Mary at the threshold of the harvesting of the first fruits 
This is a homily that was delivered by Father Lauro Minimo, the vocations director of the diocese of San Diego, California on August 15, Feast of the Assumption.  He has graciously allowed its publication on my original blog.  May God bless you all with a deep appreciation of this invitation to understand one of the many facets of the spirituality of the mystery of the Assumption. 
Thanks, Father.  Don't forget, No Crying allowed at My Funeral.
August is a strange month. The summer is waning yet fall is not quite here…vacations are spent but school has yet to begin. This is also the month when we celebrate victory; we commemorate the end of World War II and so we celebrate peace. Yet August is also the month of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- perhaps the greatest symbols of the carnage of war and of the inhumanity with which people…that we sometimes inflict on each other.
In the midst of this month of opposites we celebrate the Assumption of Mary, the dogma that solemnly decrees that, at the completion of her earthly life, Mary was taken up, body and soul, into heaven. We should be clear about what is so important about this feast.  The key is found in the second reading wherein Paul calls the Resurrection of Christ the “first fruit of those who have fallen asleep.”  This “first fruit” is actually a Jewish ritual term that signifies the custom of offering the first sheaf of the harvest back to God, and this first sheaf is considered a symbol of the entire harvest. So when Paul speaks of Christ as the first fruits to rise from the dead, he is saying that the whole crop will follow.   Mary is the first of this “whole crop” to follow Christ. Each of us, in turn, is called to the same.
So from this flows one very important lesson: when God glorifies the body of Mary and allows her to share in the victory of his Son, God also teaches us how sacred and how important our own bodies are. God teaches us that the gift of life is very precious, and that life should never be taken for granted, destroyed, or wastefully used. Whether the issue is war or destruction, abortion or embryonic stem cell research, the death penalty, insensitivity to the handicapped or prejudicial behavior…our response must always be the same: Life is so very sacred that it must be respected and honored, treasured and revered no matter what the surrounding circumstances might be.
The Feast of the Assumption of Mary teaches us that life is so precious that God does not want it to decay away forever…God calls it back home. But until God does that, we can only treasure life for the great gift that it is. May we do so with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother…through her intercession, by her example, and with her love.
Join together in a loving Hail Mary…

La Asunción de María en el umbral de la cosecha de las primicias
Esta es una homilía que fue pronunciada por el padre Lauro Minimo, director de vocaciones de la diócesis de San Diego, California, el 15 de agosto, Fiesta de la Asunción. Él ha permitido graciosamente su publicación en mi blog original. Que Dios les bendiga a todos con una profunda apreciación de esta invitación a entender una de las muchas facetas de la espiritualidad del misterio de la Asunción.
Gracias, padre. No te olvides, No es permitido Llorar en Mis Funerales
Agosto es un mes extraño. El verano está menguando pero el otoño no está totalmente presente ... las vacaciones se acercan al vencimiento, pero la escuela todavía no ha comenzado. Este es también el mes en que celebramos la victoria; Conmemoramos el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y así celebramos la paz. Sin embargo, agosto es también el mes del bombardeo de Hiroshima y Nagasaki - quizás los símbolos más grandes de la carnicería de la guerra y de la inhumanidad con la que la gente ... que a veces nosotros mismos infligimos unos a otros.
En medio de este mes de contrariedades celebramos la Asunción de María, el dogma que decreta solemnemente que, al completar su vida terrenal, María fue llevada, cuerpo y alma, al cielo. Debemos tener claro lo que es tan importante en esta fiesta. La clave se encuentra en la segunda lectura en la que Pablo llama a la Resurrección de Cristo "el primer fruto de los que han dormido". Este "primer fruto" es en realidad un término ritual judío que significa la costumbre de ofrecer el primer haz de la cosecha de vuelta a Dios, y esta primera gavilla se considera un símbolo de toda la cosecha. Así que cuando Pablo habla de Cristo como los primeros frutos para resucitar de los muertos, está diciendo que toda la cosecha seguirá. María es la primera de esta "cosecha entera" para seguir a Cristo. Cada uno de nosotros, a su vez, es llamado a la misma.
Así, de esto fluye una lección muy importante: cuando Dios glorifica el cuerpo de María y le permite participar en la victoria de su Hijo, Dios también nos enseña lo sagrado y lo importante que son nuestros cuerpos. Dios nos enseña que el don de la vida es muy valioso, y que la vida nunca debe darse por adquirida, destruida o usada inútilmente. Si la cuestión es la guerra o la destrucción, el aborto o la investigación con células madre embrionarias, la pena de muerte, la insensibilidad a los discapacitados o el comportamiento perjudicial ... nuestra respuesta debe ser siempre la misma: la vida es tan sagrada que debe ser respetada y honrada, Reverenciada sin importar las circunstancias ambientales.
La Fiesta de la Asunción de María nos enseña que la vida es tan preciosa que Dios no quiere que se desintegre para siempre ... Dios la llama a casa. Pero hasta que Dios haga eso, solo podemos atesorar la vida por el gran don que es. Podemos hacerlo con la ayuda de la Santísima Virgen María, nuestra Madre ... por su intercesión, por su ejemplo y por su amor.
Únete en un amoroso Ave María ...

Monday, August 7, 2017


Christine Jorgensen 1954.jpg
Christine Jorgensen - 1954
I was 17 when this hit the front pages
This is a reflection about the topic of human beings who are in this world because God has put them here. Because they are His creatures, they are the objects of His everlasting love.

I start here:    I know what sex is - Male and female
                      I know what gender is - Masculine and feminine
Where I get lost is when people, human beings, start asserting that they have "gender" as though that noun makes them other than male or female.

I have been trying to get my head and my heart wrapped around the reality that is being described when I hear that someone cannot identify with the physical configuration of the body into which the individual has been "poured."  I often wonder if the difficulty that I have in understanding that discomfort is a shadow of the puzzlement that the "gender misunderstanding" of the ambivalent individual has to endure.  I do wonder about that.  I have to admit that when it comes to sex, I am a rather earthy individual.  From age 11 on I was comfortable with my identity as a male.  There was never any doubt, not even when I had some homosexual dalliances at one short period of my "coming of age."  So, that's who I am.  Dyed in the wool male.

Now, that dyed in the wool being is also one who has no trouble respecting and consorting with homosexual and "Q" people as well as those who have decided to transition to a sexual identity other than that into which they were born.  I have never experienced any discomfort around such people.  I once worked in a Catholic parish where the pastor was a nice old guy.  When he discovered that I was friendly with a homosexual young man and the man's mother, he forbade me to ever visit them again and to end the friendly relationship.  I told him "No."
He was not happy with that, but he did not fire me.  Good thing that he did not know that  I was counseling a female who was in the process of gender transition from female to male.
I think of these two individuals a lot, but because I left the service of the church in that jurisdiction, I have never had further contact with these two friends (and others).

I know that we are all God's creatures.  I am convinced that if I respect and love humans of every description, I stand a chance of being loved and accepted as well.  I am also convinced that the Father Creator of us all expects us to respect and love our fellow humans as He does.  To fall short of that is to fall short of what the Father Creator expects of us.  This expectation was declared to us by His Only Begotten Son.  That is our call.  What our answer is will be evaluated at the Pearly Gates.

When I leave you for the Pearly Gates, remember that I have forbidden you from crying at my funeral.  I know that my LGBTQ friends won't.

Friday, July 21, 2017


H.R. (Bob) Haldeman
4th White House Chief of Staff
January 1969 through April 30, 1973
President:  Richard Nixon
"In looking back on it, there were all kinds of red flags. And had I been wiser, I certainly would have crept out when my instincts told me that this was a moral dilemma in which I was finding myself.  I went and lied; and I'm paying the price for that lack of will power... in effect, I abdicated my moral judgments and turned them over to somebody else. If I had any advice for my kids, it would be Never, ever, defer your moral judgments to anybody—your parents, your wife, anybody.  That's something that's very personal. And it's what a man has to hang on to.”  (H.R. Haldeman, Chief of Staff in the Richard Nixon White House, after 1.5 years in prison)
I add, that's what a man (woman) has that keeps a person close to God.  
No one should wait to be captive behind bars to learn to live by this advice.

As I try my best to grow up in relationhip to growing older, I find myself shaking my head and wondering why there are so many human beings who place themselves in situations that are clearly feeding gounds filled with gaping crocodiles.  It is beyond me that there are people who actually crave the public exposure that comes with being part of well known and blatantly immoral environments.  It is beyond me that there are great numbers of people who prefer to dedicate themselves to the interests of splinter groups rather than to the core, universal welfare of the global community.  

It is beyond me to reason why it is that some humans find it so hard to live by universal ethical and moral standards and so easy to pledge fidelity and grand allegiance to a smaller, weaker entity.  In practical terms, I ask myself 
- What is so hard about saying "no" to your boss? (Yes, I did that, more than once)
- What is so hard about compromise in favor of a commonly accepted value?
- What is so hard about joining forces around the lasting central treasure of evident good rather than to struggle alone to maintain personal, time delimited "recognition?"

Every day we all live in a world where these questions swirl all around and above us.  Every day we face the challenge of defining our personal treasure of what Haldeman calls the treasure of our "moral judgments."  Catholics call what he is defining as "conscience."  Catholics believe that it is immoral to "defer our moral judgment" to anyone else.  We are morally bound to act in line with our personal conscience.  
Yes, that brings us to act outside the dictates of civil law every now and then.  
Yes, that brings us to challenge our employer now and then
Yes, it can even bring us to challenge our parents and/or children now and then
and yes, it can bring us to refuse to take employment (or leave employment) in a publicly flashy entity because we are very sure that our conscience and the greater good will be challenged to the point of violation for the benefit of a personal desire dependent on unethical and/or immoral directives.

I have not written these words in a vacuum.  I have never had the opportunity to work in and for the civil government but I have had to confront "power" in my career; I have had the opportunity to enforce morally demanding civil laws, often in contradiction to the desires of company senior/executive management; I have had the opportunity to ensure that employees were treated fairly by company management...and yes, I suffered the consequences of my actions...and I'm still alive to talk about it.

Plus, on two separate occasions, years apart, there was recognition and conversion and I can still talk about that too.  

My reasons for writing this are rooted in behavior that surrounds us every day.  Good and bad and indifferent.  I want to signal that life requires courage.  In Gospel terms, "Pick up your cross every day and follow me."  We can be ethically and morally courageous but not without God's support.  So, go for it.  Say you heard it here if you want, but be sure that whatever you, and your friends, get from here holds you to the promise that you'll not cry at my funeral.

Friday, July 7, 2017


A classic scene, teeming with a rich abundance of gossip topics.  The onlookers in the shade of the sycamore trees are floating around in the body language of the haughty finger pointers while those under the tax collector's (Matthew) roof are busy having a spirited back and forth with the "teacher" who had just recruited the despicable tax collector.  He compounded the affrontery when He joined this sinful coterie and was comfortable in their presence.

Here's how the Gospel describes the event of the day:

"As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.  

While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.  The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,  "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  

He heard this and said,  "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,  I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."  (Matt. 13; 6-9)

When you finish smiling and shaking your head and "tsk, tsk-ing" at the Pharisees, continue sitting quietly where you are and review who your guests were over the last month or so.

Do you sit comfortably at the same table with a cheating auto mechanic?  A loose pharmacist?  A divorced and remarried Catholic who is gaming the Church because of a rebellious conscience?  Do you have the neighborhood same-sex "married" couple over for cocktails now and then?  Maybe you've decided not to have your unmarried child and grandchildren come to your house any more because of their sin.  Do you patronize corporations who are blatantly immoral in their behavior regarding employees?  Are you one of those who willingly accept pirated software from your relative who has the good fortune to work for Google?  Are you one of those who refuses to consort with Christians who have Muslim friends?  
Are you one of those who seek out only the WELL because the SICK are repugnant?  And, Jesus might ask:  How do you decide who is WELL and who is SiCK?

I guess I could go on, but I won't because you, dear reader know whom it is that you accept into your life and whom it is that you exclude from your life.  I am writing this, and I know that I am one of us all...But Jesus is the one who reminds us today that we have to rise above this kind of behavior, just as He did.

Yes, don't exclude people from your life; don't kill your enemy, pray for him(her).  Remember, Jesus did not send us out to cull the wheat from the chaff; He did not commission us to sort His children out.  He sent us to love them and  baptize them.  

Remember, you heard it here from the one who forbids you to cry at his funeral.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


It has been more than a month now since I and the small family that we are were granted the time and ressources to visit the land of my birth for what could be one last time.  It turned out to be more than what I thought it would be and less than what I had dreamt.  
Ever since I have been back home in San Diego I have been living in the shadows of the experience as connected with the experience of the great Patriarch, Moses.  Specifically, I cannot shake the recurring picture of Moses standing by the right hand of God for the last time, looking out over the gorgeous expanse of the Promised Land.  I keep visiting the vision day after day, each time with a deeper appreciation for the way that God was letting Moses know that this vision was the key to his passing through the Pearly Gates for having done God's bidding for so many years and through so many harrowing moments.  There is a great measure of merciful justice in the picture that we see when we visit and bask in the simple language of Exodus:                                                                                               
Related image
The VIEW, North over the Land of Milk and Honey

1  Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah which faces Jericho, and the LORD showed him all the land 2 Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, the plain (the valley of Jericho, the City of Palms), and as far as Zoar. The LORD then said to him, "This is the land about which I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross over."  So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD, died as the LORDhad said; and he was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; to this day no one knows the place of his burial. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated. (Emphasis mine) The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days, till they had completed the period of grief and mourning for Moses. Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands upon him; and so the Israelites gave him their obedience, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
10  Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 in all the signs and wonders the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land,         12 and all the great might and the awesome power that Moses displayed in the sight of all Israel.  (Deuteronomy, chapter 34)
The story says that Moses himself brought himself there and that while He was there, he and God had their final recorded encounter.  When God announced that Moses would not cross over, I just know that Moses did not let that bother him.  He had it in hs sight, in his mind and in the depths of his being.  He knew that he was seeing more than any single other leader of God's people would ever see of this gorgeous land.  Moses knew right then and there that he had delivered what God had ordered and he would take the memory of it all with him as he was seeing it in the very presence of the One who had saved him from Pharaoh and the current of the Nile.  Here they were together, celebrating their victory together before the servant would reach the maximum of the divinely decreed human life span (120 years) and the Father Creator would go on preparing the way for His Son's mandate.

I have deciphered the eulogy found at the foot of the monument
"To this lad in rime, who e're thou art draw near.
Here lies the Friend most loved, the Son most dear
Who never knew joy but Friendship might divide
Or gave his Father Grief but when he died."
Believe it or not, I am sure that there is a connection between Moses and the tombstone just above.  It is a headstone that can be found in one of the many historically important graveyards of the city of Boston, Massachusetts.  I tried to make the contrast clearer, but was not very successful. This is the grave of John Hurd, Jr. Officer in the Massachusetts Regiment in the Continental Army.  He gave his life in 1784 for what was yet to become the United States of America.  He was all of 24 years old. 
This young man is one of the hundreds, if not thousands of young people who died for what we have today.  While I was standing there I was thinking of Moses.  God actually rewarded Moses by showing him that the goal had been reached.  John Hurd was never able to bask in the sight of the goal for which he fought.  

I went back to Massachusetts on the occasion of my 80th birthday.  I was there with my beloved spouse, the one whom you know as the "Voice from the Kitchen." (Isabel by name)   We had our two loving sons with us, Marc and Jo-El.  We spent a good part of two days with near family and two days in Boston.  Yes, I felt like Moses.  Now all I need are 40 more years to fill out the divine quota.  Especially the part that says that Moses was still spry at his age.  (Verse 7) 

One way or the other, I announce and decree once again, in the names of John Hurd, Moses and our loving Father Creator, there is to be No Crying at my Funeral.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Once, to people gathered on the southern flank of a gentle slope rising from the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was teaching those who had followed Him from Capernaum...

Image result for sermon on the mount

43) You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44) But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45) that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46) For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47) And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48) So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5; 43 - 48)

This teaching is the central reflection for this day around the Catholic world.  We Catholics have heard this so often that we don't think twice about it when we hear it again.  This morning was different.  When the young priest finally closed the book, he was chuckling to himself for all to see.  I can't quote him, but the equivalent of what he said is, "You gotta be kidding me!  That's just not natural.  Hey, a person can only take so much.  Enough already.  After all, human nature has its limits."

Then, short pause.  The young and inspired homilist resumes with great conviction, "Jesus came to lift us up above nature to offer us supernatural life."  Nature is not enough.  The Law is not enough.  When Jesus said that He had come to perfect the Law not to abolish it He announced the supernaturalization of the Law.  He announced that His coming was to change our way of life from obedience to the Law to the supernatural power of Virtue.  This supernatural nature that He came to plant in us makes it possible for us to love our neighbor (who is not yet our enemy), to pray for those who persecute us, and our neighbor too.  

As if all of that is already a bit much, Jesus nails it with the command that we "...Be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect."  Whoaa, there, Big Fella...are you serious?

Yes, He is serious.  The secret is in the striving.  The honest hard driving, dynamic focus on the Divine Presence in every minute of our natural lives.  The striving is the focus on the goal--Eternal Life in the Bosom of Abraham.  Everything that we do has to be done in the shadow and glimmer of the Pearly Gates.  We do that by centering on the fire of the Burning Bush, the fire of the Tongue of Pentecost and the weight of the Cross that we pick up every single morning as we walk through life with the sound of that command pounding in the depths of our soul, "Be perfect..." 
followed by the order, "Go forth, baptizing all people...."

We all rise to the invitation to lead loving, supernatural lives side by side with Him.  If we do it well, no one will cry at our funeral...Least of all, MINE.

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43) "Vous avez entendu dire qu'il a été dit:" Tu aimeras ton prochain et déteste ton ennemi ". 44) Mais je te dis, aime tes ennemis, et prie pour ceux qui te persécutent, 45) afin que tu sois enfant de ton Père céleste, car il fait monter le soleil sur le mauvais et le bon, et fait tomber la pluie sur le juste et l'injuste. 46) Car si vous aimez ceux qui vous aiment, quelle récompense avez-vous? Les percepteurs ne font-ils pas la même chose? 47) Et si vous saluez seulement vos frères, qu'est-ce qui est si admirable à ce sujet? Les païens ne font-ils pas la même chose? 48) Soyez donc parfaits, tout comme votre Père céleste est parfait. (Matthieu 5; 43 à 48)

Cet enseignement est la réflexion centrale de ce jour autour du monde catholique. Nous, les catholiques, avons entendu cela si souvent que nous ne pensons pas deux fois quand nous l'entendons de nouveau. Ce matin était différent. Quand le jeune prêtre a finalement fermé le livre, il se mit à se rigoler devant tout le monde. Je ne peux pas le citer, mais l'équivalent de ce qu'il a dit est:  Ce n'est simplement pas naturel. Hé, une personne ne peut qu'en endurer jusqu’à un certain point, apres tout!  Assez déjà. Après tout, la nature humaine a ses limites. "

Ensuite, petite pause. L'homiliste, jeune et inspiré reprend avec grande conviction: "Jésus est venu nous élever au-dessus de la nature pour nous offrir une vie surnaturelle". La nature n'est pas suffisante. La loi ne suffit pas. Quand Jésus a dit qu'il était venu pour perfectionner la loi et non pas pour l'abolir, il a annoncé la "surnaturalisation" de la loi. Il a annoncé que sa venue devait changer notre mode de vie de l'obéissance à la loi au pouvoir surnaturel de la vertu. Cette nature surnaturelle qu'il est venu à planter en nous nous permet d'aimer notre prochain (qui n'est pas encore notre ennemi), de prier pour ceux qui nous persécutent et notre prochain.

Comme si tout cela était déjà une lourde charge, Jésus ajouta le dernier clou -- le commandement "... Soyez parfait comme notre Père céleste est parfait". Whoaa, là, Mon Pot ... est-ce que tu es sérieux?

Oui, il est sérieux. Le secret est dans l'effort. La conduite honnête et dure, le penchant dynamique sur la Présence Divine à chaque minute de notre vie naturelle. L'effort est l'astuce qui mène direct au but - La vie éternelle dans le sein d'Abraham. Tout ce que nous faisons doit être fait dans l'ombre et la lueur des Portes Celestes. Nous le faisons en nous concentrant sur le feu du Buisson Ardent, le feu de la Langue de Pentecôte et le poids de la Croix que nous ramassons chaque matinée et portons allègrement pendant que nous traversons la vie avec le son de cette commande battant au plus profond de notre Âme "Soyez parfait ..." qui est toujours suivi par "
Sortez, baptiser toutes les personnes ..."

Nous sommes inviter a mener une vie amoureuse et surnaturelle côte à côte avec Lui. Si nous le faisons bien, personne ne pleurera à nos funérailles ... et aux miennes, moins qu'a tous. 


43) "Oísteis que fue dicho." Ama a tu prójimo y odiarás a tu enemigo "44) Pero yo les digo: Amen a sus enemigos y oren por quienes los persiguen, 45) para que seas hijos de su Padre celestial, que hace salir el sol sobre malos y buenos, y hace caer la lluvia sobre justos e injustos. 46) porque si amáis a los que os aman, ¿qué recompensa recibirán? el colectores qué no hacen lo mismo? 47) Y si saludan solamente a sus hermanos, lo que es tan maravilloso al respecto? paganos qué no hacen lo mismo? 48) Sed, pues, vosotros perfectos, así como su Padre celestial es perfecto (Mateo 5; 43 a 48).

Esta enseñanza es la idea central de este día en todo el mundo católico. Nosotros, los católicos, hemos oído esta directiva tan a menudo que no pensamos dos veces cuando oimos le enesima repeticion.  Esta mañana era diferente. Cuando el cura joven finalmente cerró el libro, se echó a reír delante de todos. No puedo citar, pero el equivalente a lo que dijo es: Seguir este consejo no es en la naturaleza humana. Oye, una persona sólo puede soportar hasta cierto punto, después de todo! Ya es suficiente. Después de todo, la naturaleza humana tiene sus límites. "

Luego se debe romper las cadenas de la naturaleza humana.  "Jesús vino para levantar encima de la naturaleza para darnos una vida sobrenatural." La naturaleza no es suficiente. La ley no es suficiente. Cuando Jesús dijo que vino a perfeccionar la ley y no a abolirla, anunció la "supernaturalizacion" de la ley. Anunció que su llegada era para cambiar nuestro estilo de vida de obediencia a la ley en el poder sobrenatural de la virtud. Esta naturaleza sobrenatural que se trataba de sembrar en nosotros nos permite amar a nuestro prójimo (que no es nuestro enemigo), orar por los que nos persiguen y nuestros vecinos.

Como si todo esto ya era una carga, Jesús añadió la final de uñas - el ordeno "... Sed perfectos como nuestro Padre celestial es perfecto." Whoaa allí, mi cuate ... lo dices en serio?

Sí, es grave. El secreto está en el esfuerzo. El manejo honesto y duro, la dinámica, a la Presencia Divina cada minuto de nuestra vida natural. El esfuerzo es el chiste que conduce directamente a la meta - la vida eterna en el seno de Abraham. Todo lo que hacemos debe ser hecho en la sombra y la luz de las puertas Celestes. Hacemos esto por nosotros centrándose en el fuego de la zarza ardiente, el fuego de la lengua Pentecostal y el peso de la cruz que recogemos cada mañana y alegremente llevamos a medida que avanzamos por la vida con el sonido de este comando superando la obscuridad de nuestra alma "Sed perfectos ..." que siempre es seguido por "Ir, bautizar a todas las personas ..."

Te invitamos a vivir una vida sobrenatural y amorosa al lado de él. Si lo hacemos bien, nadie va a llorar en tus obsequios ... y a los míos, tanto menos.

Friday, June 16, 2017


There is a lot to ponder here
You are invited to pause and pray
I will be back

Friday, June 9, 2017


The hour of Truth has arrived. 

Yesterday we attended the ordination of a new bishop for the Diocese of San Diego. It was a touching and moving ceremony.  The church abounded with people of Good Will.  
After the ceremony while waiting outside the church as we prepared to leave the parking lot we spied some of the seminarians who are preparing to go home for the summer. These are seminarians who are at the college level of their educational stage. We spoke to one of them when we recognized him from our daily mass attendance. We wished him the best of everything. He announced to us  that he was leaving the program. I wished him the best of everything and assured him of our prayers. I encouraged him to remember that all is not lost and that his life had been made better and would continue to improve in the spiritual Arena as well as the human one because of the way the godhead protected him during his Seminary days.  I am writing this to you because I am inviting all of you to pray in a very special way for the seminarians like him and like those who are continuing towards the day of ordination.  All of must know that they are being supported in Prayer by the community in which they live. Former seminarians are essential collaborators in the Church's mission.  These people who are leaving are going to be very important to our Christian Community.  Dare I say, "As important as those who will stay?   It will be a different importance. It will be a different element but it will be something that God and the church need very very much. Please join us and pray for all seminarians so that they will persevere in the service of God and the church, ordained or not.


Hier, nous avons assisté à l'ordination d'un nouvel évêque pour le diocèse de San Diego. C'était une cérémonie touchante et émouvante. L'église abondait avec des gens de bonne volonté.
Après la cérémonie en attendant a l'extérieur de l'église alors que nous nous préparions à quitter le parking, nous avons rencontre certains séminaristes qui se préparent à la maison pour l'été. Ce sont des séminaristes qui sont au niveau collégial de leur stage éducatif. Nous avons parlé à l'un d'eux lorsque nous l'avons reconnu lors de notre participation a la messe quotidienne. Nous lui souhaitâmes le meilleur de tout.  En ce moment il nous annonça qu'il quittait le programme. Je lui souhaitai le meilleur de tout et je l'ai assuré de nos prières. Je l'ai encouragé de se rappeler que tout n'est pas perdu et que sa vie a été améliorée et qu'elle continuera à s'améliorer dans l'arène spirituelle aussi bien que dans la vie seculiere en raison de la manière dont la divinité l'a protégé pendant ses jours au Séminaire. Je vous écris parce que je vous invite tous à prier de manière très spéciale pour les séminaristes comme lui et comme ceux qui continuent vers le jour de l'ordination. Tous doivent savoir qu'ils sont soutenus dans la prière par la communauté dans laquelle ils vivent. Les anciens séminaristes sont des collaborateurs essentiels dans la mission de l'Église. Ces gens qui partent seront très importants pour notre communauté chrétienne. J'ose dire: «Aussi important que ceux qui resteront,"  Cela aura une importance différente. Ce sera un élément différent, mais ce sera quelque chose que Dieu et l'Église auront beaucoup besoin. Merci de vous joindre à nous et de prier pour tous les séminaristes. Qu'ils persévéreront dans le service de Dieu et de l'église, ordonnés ou non.


Ayer asistimos a la ordenación de un nuevo obispo para la Diócesis de San Diego. Fue una ceremonia conmovedora. La iglesia abundaba en gente de Buena Voluntad.
Después de la ceremonia mientras esperábamos fuera de la iglesia mientras nos preparábamos para dejar el estacionamiento, vimos a algunos de los seminaristas que se preparaban para irse a casa para el verano. Estos son los seminaristas que están en el nivel universitario de su etapa educativa. Hablamos con uno de ellos cuando lo reconocimos basado en nuestra asistencia diaria a las misas. Le deseamos lo mejor de todo. Nos anunció que se iba del programa. Le deseé lo mejor de todo y le aseguré nuestras oraciones. Lo animé a recordar que no todo está perdido y que su vida se había mejorado y seguiría mejorando tanto en el area espiritual como en el humana debido al modo en que la divinidad lo protegía durante sus días de Seminario. 
Les estoy escribiendo esto porque les invito a todos a orar de una manera muy especial para los seminaristas como él y como aquellos que continúan hacia el día de la ordenación. Todos deben saber que están siendo apoyados en la oración por la comunidad en la que viven. Los antiguos seminaristas son colaboradores esenciales en la misión de la Iglesia. Estas personas que están saliendo van a ser muy importantes para nuestra comunidad cristiana. Me atrevería a decir: "Tan importante como los que se quedarán.  Será de una importancia diferente, será un elemento diverso, pero será algo que Dios y la iglesia necesitan mucho. Que perseverarán en el servicio de Dios y de la iglesia, ordenados o no.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


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Bethlehem Manger Square Christmas Tree Lighting Festivities
We are getting ready to go celebrate early Christmas in Bethlehem, the place were Jesus Himself was born. (Nov. 29 though Dec. 9) The red rectangle on the right of the Christmas tree is the stage where choirs perform for the large gathering in the Square. This year, one of those choirs will be composed of singers from Southern California (Inland Empire area, mostly) led by Joemari and Ning Manahan.

The choir is but a part of the group that is being organized to visit the Holy Land for a few days of pilgrimage in other holy places in the Holy Land after the Christmas Tree lighting celebration.  There are many non singers who are joining the group many of them attracted by the $150.00 discount granted to those who make an early reservation.  
(Down payment of $350.00 made by May 31.)

The special nature of this pilgrimage is marked by the fact that the participation of a choir from this area is due to the fact that the mayor of Bethlehem herself invited people from this area to participate.  She came to know of us because we have been there several times.  She wants the people of Bethlehem to know that Christians from around the world care about them and respect their privilege of living in such a holy place.  This attitude is important for us and drives us to encourage people to accompany us to the Sacred Land of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

This, therefore is an invitation to you to join us. You can save $150 per person if you join by May 31, 2017.  There is a document with complete information awaiting your click on the picture of the olive tree in the right margin.  Or, you can just click here

By the way, for those of you who are not familiar with this blog, let me announce that once you have read this you are committed to not shed tears at my funeral.  If you want to know why I require that, join me in Bethlehem in December. ($2,699-$150.= $2,549)