Monday, June 29, 2020


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


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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020



Andrew Cuomo, Governor
New York State
March 23, 2020

This is the way we have been brought up in the culture if the northeastern corner of
the United States. The exhortation of the Governor of New York is not a new way of
being for us. When I heard it on Monday morning, March 23, it brought me to the
scenes in Luke's Gospel about the story of the Annunciation. How could I not think
of the Joseph and Mary situation? How could I not wonder what happened after
Joseph's dream? How could I not wonder about their family life through the years?
How could I avoid reflecting on the many physical separations that I now experience
after so many years of life? How could I avoid the flood of spiritual connections that
fill my soul and nourish my conversations with Our Lord and His Mother every night
in the moment between pulling the covers over myself and the embrace of sister sleep?

We of the northeastern corner of the United States are not "chatty" by nature. We go
about our lives quietly and privately, all the while accepting that our social contract is
that when the neighbor is in need, that moment of need is our moment of need as well.
We grow up appreciating the truth that a quiet, almost silent neighbor is a good
neighbor. We grow up physically "distant" while maintaining a "spiritual" connection.

That is also why we have a deep appreciation for the Angel Gabriel's comforting words,
"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found Grace before the Lord."
(Luke 1, 30) By his demeanor the angel gave proof that Mary had a significant
spiritual connection with God. Put it all together and the miracle of the spiritual
connection beween us and God, is also a reality that strengthens our spiritual
connection with one another.

When we think of this in connection with the miracle of La Salette it opens our soul
to a deepeer undertanding of the opening words of the Beautiful Lady's greeting,
"Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I have come to tell you great news."

Happy Annunciation.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


WARNING:  This photo is posed.  Here is why.

The other day the Voice from the Kitchen and I were on our way to the market intent on buying the provisions for the week.  I was wearing a comfortable pair of sweatsuit pants that do not have pockets. I was carrying my cell phone and my wallet and the car keys in my hands.  I also had other items that I had to place on the back seat.  To do that, I placed my wallet in the position that you see here. I did all that I had to do, almost, went around to the driver's side, got in, started the car, assured myself that the lady was comfortable and left.

It is nearly seven miles over city streets to the market and traffic was fair to middling on a cloudy and light rain MLK Day.  At a traffic signal six miles into the travel, we were stopped in a line waiting for the light when all of a sudden we heard banging on the passenger side window.  We both looked and there was the smiling face of a handsome teenager who was waving what I immediately recognized as my wallet.  We were shocked and confused and fighting the complexity of our emotions and the fact that we were in traffic, the boy waving the wallet was in the street, of course, the windows were up and the light had changed.  I finally lowered the window, Spouse took the wallet and the boy ran back to the vehicle from which he had come.  

The Voice from the Kitchen got into gear and the babble was a torrent of prayerful gratitude and deprecatory invective trying to describe the foolishness that ruled my life.  Let the generalizations suffice.  You don't need the details.  After about a half mile there was a pause in the noise level, so I asked if she had any plans to inspect the contents for completeness.  "Oh, my!" says she, "I forgot."  To confess, I must say that my thought process had been short-circuited and I was just beginning to rewire the cervical synapses.
She opened the wallet and it was still home to all that it contained when we left our driveway.  
We still talk about it in hushed terms.  We remind ourselves of the bright eyes and the 200 watt smile of the honest young man blazing through the window.  We constantly sigh sincere prayers of gratitude to the Lord above who nudged our guardian angels into protective action to assure the stability of the wallet laying in such a precarious place.

PS  Because of the head protector and the stuffed animal, my view was totally blocked.

When I die, remember stuff like this and it will keep you from crying at my funeral.