Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 23, 2017


          Lord, we pause in time
          to voice in prayer
          our thanks to You
          for all the many gifts
          You have given us.
          All is gift. Thank You.

          We thank you for
          food and family,
          faith and friends.

          We thank you
          for days and nights,
          workdays, holidays, seasons,
          and gray blue November skies. 

          We thank you
          for apples red deep red,
          for mashed potatoes, gravy,
          turkey - white meat and dark -
          and all sorts of pies. 

          We thank you
          for all the work of so many people,
          pulling and putting together
          all those conveniences
          that bring us together:
          cars, buses, planes,
          roads, highways, bridges,
          the result of brains, schools,
          sweat, taxes, money and time.

          All is gift. Thank you.

• Andrew Costello

Markings  Prayer for November 1991) 

November 22, 2017

Wednesday Reflections


                    Thank You, God,
               for meat and potatoes,
               pies and fresh bread,
               and all the gifts of our land.

               Thank You, God,
               for shooting stars in the night,
               followed by the morning light,
               announcing the gift of another day.

               Thank You, God,
               for the sight of babies’ hands,
               the wrinkled smile of grandma,
               memories of her chocolate chip cookies
               in the morning of our life.

               Thank You, God,
               for faith, hope and charity:
               the chance to love
               and to be loved in return.

               And thank You God,
               or this moment—
               to be able to say,
               to be able to pray,
               “Thank You!”

·       Andrew Costello

Markings  Prayer for November 1993) 
November 21, 2017

Tuesday  Reflections


Someday we’ll arrive at the November days 
of our life.
We’ll have our particular aches and pains,
walkers and canes.
We’ll have the struggles of our last days,
our hands like hanging on November 
leaves shaking in the cold wind,
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s.
And then we’ll finally move into
our December days,
to the day we’re buried in the earth.
But we shall all rise at the call of the Risen                 Christ,
“Lazarus, come forth!”
“Thomas, take your finger
and examine my hands. 
Stop your unbelief! Believe!"
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Come to the banquet.”

·      Andrew Costello

Markings  Prayer for November 2002) 
November 20, 2017

Monday Reflections


        May barking dogs be silent
        when you want to sleep.
        May you wake up to the sound of
        warm radiators and the smell of fresh bread.
        May the moon be full and the roads be dry
        on nights when you have to travel.
        May the leaves that fall from your trees
        blow away or end up in the other person’s yard.
        And may God’s smile appear on your face
        when you have to go the extra mile.

·      Andrew Costello

Markings  Prayer for November 1999)


The title of my homily for this 33 Sunday in Ordinary Time is, “I  Want One of Those.”


When I heard today’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs about the description of a wonderful wife, I thought of an Erma Bombeck column from way back.

Someone gave her a description of  an ideal wife. She keeps everything perfect, waits on her husband  hand and foot, takes care of all the meals, vacuums the car, rakes the leaves, gets the kids to hockey and dance practices, etc. etc. etc.  Hearing this Erma Bombeck says, “I want one of those.”

Listen to today’s first reading again, “When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.  Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.  She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.  She obtains wool and flax, and works with loving hands.  She puts her hand to the distaff [What’s a distaff?  Does anyone want one of those? It’s a staff that holds wool.], and fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.”

The title of my homily is, “I Want One of Those.”

Who wouldn’t?


At many weddings people pick that first reading for today. And at almost every wedding, couples pick for their second reading 1 Corinthians 12: 31 to 13: 8a. It’s the great description of what love is and what love is not.

Love is patient, kind, etc. etc. etc.

Love is not rude, ego bursting, etc. etc. etc.

Don’t we all want the good stuff and not the bad stuff from the other?

Don’t we all have that hope that we have the good stuff in us?  


We all know Clint Eastwood’s line in one of the  Dirty Harry movies, “A man has to know his limitations.”

We don’t want one of them.

We heard in today’s gospel that everyone is not a perfect 10.  Everyone doesn’t have 5 talents and then  grow an additional 5 more.


We also better know about sin and selfishness.

Some people have the skills and the know-how and the ability but they bury the talent.

How many people do we know who have the ability to paint or sing or play the guitar - but they bury their talents like one of types Jesus describes in today’s parable.


A message for this homily is this: know your talents. Use your talents. Make things easier for those around you.

Last weekend I was saying two Masses up at Our Lady of the Chesapeake in Pasadena. At the 8:30 Mass they had a drummer and I said to myself, “There’s got to be some drummers in Annapolis who would love to play at Mass.”

What I was saying to myself and thinking was, “I want one of them.”

I was giving a mission up near Rochester, NY a few years ago and the parish and the pastor had this guy who ran the parish - got rid of the snow - make everything work and the pastor said he was completely behind the scenes.  I said to myself: every parish should have one of these.

Growing up we had a family friend - especially of my Uncle Pat - a guy named Danny  Barca. He’s still alive and lives in Staten Island. He could fix anything: a toilet, a car, a boiler, a refrigerator, a stove, anything.

I’m sure everyone who knew him said, “I want one of these on phone list.”

I was giving a priest’s retreat in Richmond, Virginia years ago and every priest - on hearing I was a Redemptorist - came up to me and told me of a Redemptorist whom every priest in the diocese - went to him for confession - because the only thing he ever said was, “Don’t we all, Father, don’t we all?”  Well, don’t we  all want that kind of a priest when we go to confession?

I have heard 100 times in my life the following. I’m not bragging - here - but I have had people say to me: “I wish you were Jewish because you’d make a great Rabbi - or Protestant minister or priest in some other parish.” I take that as a compliment.  I hesitate to say that, because others might see me as the rear of a four legged racer that people bet on. I am also well aware of the principle: 1/3 like you, 1/3 don’t like you, 1/3 don’t care.


The title of my homily is, “I  Want One of Those.”


So if you are an accountant, be an accountant that when described to others, they too will say, “I want one  of them.”

So if you are a waitress, be such a good waitress that others will say of you thinking of their favorite restaurant,  “I  Want One of Those.”

So if you are a driver, and nobody gets nervous when your drive, in fact they all fall asleep, because you are such a great driver, they will think before they fall asleep, “I  Want One of Those.”

So if you are a nurse, and someone is visiting a neighbor in the hospital and they see how great you are, they will say, “If I get sick, I want a nurse like that one.

So if you are a neighbor - and someone is telling their friends about how great their next door neighbor is, they will say of you, “I  Want One of Those for a neighbor.”

So if you are at a party and someone sees how great a spouse is to a spouse, you’ll say of your spouse, “I want of someone like that for my spouse.”

And isn’t that how this sermon started - with some comments about a good spouse?
November 19,  2017



Lord, it’s November Month:
All Saints, All Souls, All People
called to be pilgrims gathering for Thanksgiving.

Lord, it’s November Month:
bright autumn leaves finally all falling down,
old age, crisp and cold, retired,
traveling across the country,
leaves swept with wind across the sidewalk,
across nursing home lawns, 
till finally we are leaves,
dead, resting snug and secure
as cemetery stones in November Month.

Lord, it’s November Month.
Aren’t we all pilgrims,
stopping this moment for prayer, with food - Eucharist,
at the family table, the family altar,
filled with Thanksgiving for it all:
the gift of family, the gift of place, the gift of time -
the journey from birth to death, one’s lifetime:
the budding leaves of spring,
the green years of our summer,
the splash of autumn life,
till death do we part and find our rest,
All Saints, All Sinners, All Souls,
All Pilgrims headed for a far country, Heaven,
the Promised Land, the place with many mansions
the place of the Great Banquet, the eternal Eucharist,
the eternal Thanksgiving dinner.

•         Andrew Costello

Markings Prayer for November 1990) 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18, 2017


There are moments 
we want to get back to 
and there are moments 
we don’t want to get back to.  

Dang it. 
Sometimes we find ourselves 
back in the moments we hated 
and they won’t go away. 

Dang it. 
Sometimes we want to return 
to a great moment, a great memory, 
but we need another for that one. 

There are moments 
we need to get to - moments in 
the future - moments that will bring 
us the bliss we really want and need. 

 © Andy Costello, Reflections  2017