Sunday, June 25, 2017



The title of my homily for this 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time [A] is, “Hurt.”

H    U    R    T:  hurt.

Today’s readings triggered that thought - that theme - hurt.

We go to the doctor and she or he asks us, “Where does it hurt?”

I was at the dentist last Monday and he gave me the needle.

Then he took off his rubber gloves and took off  for a while. We know the feelings and the procedures that happen once we’re in a dentist chair.

Then he  came back -  put on a new pair of rubber gloves - and  asked if I was numb. 

I said, “Yes” - but when I jumped a tiny bit as he drilled - he said, “I guess you’re not completely numb….”

My mouth now had tubes and cotton in it, so I couldn’t speak or only go, “Gugg - gugg!”  I was trying to toughen it out.  So I gave a signal with my hand - flat - palms down - signaling “I’m so so -  but basically okay”. Keep drilling.

Where does it hurt? When does it hurt? 

Life has its hurts. It’s not good to be numb or dumb or anesthetized.

Hurts can help us. Hurts can tell us a lot.

We could ask  every human being, “Where does it hurt?”

Is that the background question behind the basic human greeting questions, “How are you?” “How are you doing?”  “Everything okay?”

We see little kids.  They seem to have three moods, three modes, three states they can be in: smiling, crying, and so so. [HAND GESTURE]  How about us?

Remember the psychology of Eric Bern and Thomas Harris of I’m Okay-You’re Okay fame. They simplified life into 3 general states of being for everyone. We’re either in the Parent Mode. That’s the should or should not mode. Or we’re in the Adult Mode. That’s the calm, cool, thinking mode. Or we’re in  the Child mode. The child state or mode is where we are emotional, feeling up or down, okay or not okay. The child state is the one that deals with hurt - I’m crying within - I’m screaming within. I’m not okay today. I’ve been hurt today. 

Where does it hurt?  What happened?  How did you get that boo boo?

Using hand gestures:

- the Parent Mode [Finger pointing and finger shaking]
- the Adult Mode [hand indicating calm - okay - waving with palm down]
- the Child Mode [tightened fists - or nail biting - nails scratching blackboard]


Today’s first reading is from Jeremiah  20: 10-13.

In today’s reading he’s in a hurting mode. People are whispering against him. People are watching - just watching - till he trips or falls - or traps himself.

Like every little kid he screams to  his mommy or daddy - GOD -  to be there for him - to rescue him.

Whenever we make a mistake or whenever we sense people don’t like what we’re doing - and we see them looking at us - then using their hand as a wall to whisper something to another - we get it - and we don’t like it. To quote Robert Frost in his poem, Mending Wall, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,...”  They can make us feel unwanted, like little children sent to the corner or to  our bedroom - isolated - hurt.


In today’s second reading from Romans 5: 12-15.  Paul tells us that the hurt of sin - has entered our world because of another. Sin keeps pounding our beach - wave after wave - breaking apart our sand castles - destroying our projects - taking our beach away from us.

We all know we all hurt because of  sins - the mistakes - the problems of others. We’re like every little kid who says, “It’s not fair.”

And we hear the adult inside of us say, “Who said life is fair.”

Those long lines at the airport - having to get there earlier - the cost of security - is the fault of others.

Or someone doesn’t get tires changed or tune ups and their car breaks down and we get stuck in long lines in traffic because of their neglect. Or someone was texting while driving and causes an accident….and we’re late for our very important dates and on and on and on.

But that second reading also says: the goodness and graciousness of others causes the opposite to happen. Life has its good moments - but we tend at times to not notice them.

I love the comment by Jacques Maritain, “People bring up the problem of evil all the time - and blame God for all the disasters - storms, earthquakes, etc. etc. etc. that hit our world - but they forget to bring up the Problem of Good.  Why is there so many good things happening every day around the world.”

That’s the child in us complaining when we don’t get the candy every time we go by that section of the store - and we don’t notice when out comes a neat apple pie with Breyer’s vanilla ice cream.

A full person sees the good things in life happening  - the wonderful moments at the beach seeing ourselves enjoying the neat waves of fun / water roll into our beach.

Everything effects everything. There are consequences.


And today’s gospel gets us thinking about hurts as well.

Did you stop to hear Jesus talk about the birds that he often did?

Did you hear Jesus in today’s section of the gospel  - Matthew 10: 26 to 33 - tell us that there is darkness - yes -  but there is also light?

Did you hear him tell us, that there is death yes, but there is also life.

Or take birds, they are easier to spot. Jesus in other sections of the gospel of Matthew [6:26 - 8:20 -13: 4 and 13: 32] talks about  birds. Take  the beauty of birds in flight. We’re driving down the road past a corn field. We’ve seen that at times - a whole flock of  birds - doing tricks the Blue Angel planes  can’t do. We see hundreds and hundreds of sparrows doing there tricks together. Well, here in today’s gospel we have a sad scene we’ve all see from time to time. We’re walking along and we see a dead sparrow on the ground. Ooooh! That scene hits us and causes us a primordial hurt.

Oooh! Woo. What happened?

I remember driving along in the night - somewhere, sometime. It was on some street in Ohio and I hit a dog and I heard “thump!” and I saw something head off into the bushes. Woo. That hurt. I stopped and parked and went back - but didn’t see or hear anything or anyone where their dog was.

From time to time I thought about that moment.



So today’s three readings trigger for me the theme of hurt.

What do they trigger for you?  Hopefully, some of these words and images trigger some things inside the sky of your mind to ponder - otherwise my homily is a flop - a dead bird.

That would hurt.

I wonder how many people I have hurt like I might have hurt that dog or whatever it was in the night.

I wonder how many people I whispered about behind their back and I put graffiti on their reputation.

I wonder how many people were given bad example - by my laziness.  I hope my hard work at other times helped people.

I wonder about how many people didn’t get a challenge or a prophesy from God or the prophets because I wimped out.  Maybe I only whispered God’s name in a conversation - whereas I could have screamed his name and his love and his mercy from the rooftops or pulpit microphone.

Today’s readings trigger these thoughts.


How about you?

Where do you hurt?

Those of you who are married - when was the last time you had a good together about the state of your union?

What helps? What hurts?

When was the last time you had a great conversation together?

When was the last time you went to Holy Communion to each other?
June 25, 2017


Sometime there in his 40’s he got stuck.
Till then he took staircases when it came to
understanding and figuring out the more of life.

Then he was hit by an invisible paralysis.
Now it was escalators.  He could move -
outwardly. Inwardly he was  stuck.

He remained in that mind set for about
15 years - same job, same car pool, and
same chatter on the way to and from work.

Then - around 60 - he became all eyes.
He  climbed on inner elevators - silently -
gradually seeing all - God, others, life, himself.

© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 24, 2017


Walking down the street
on a hot summer day,
I spotted - in front of me -
a gal wearing a blue 
summer dress with a
round hole in the back.
Neat! Some designer’s trick.
Couldn’t help but think:
“Next time I wear socks
with holes in them -  
when someone stops 
to tell me, 'Hey, you got
got holes in your socks.'
I'm going to say, 'Hey, 
I’m wearing designer socks!’"

© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017


Some people are catchy.
They bedazzle the crowd
upon every entrance.

Some people are ugly.
They pit-bull the crowd
if allowed to come near.

Some people are sweet.
They smile the crowd
into liking them immediately.

Some people are you and me.
By the way, what do people do
when we come into a room?

© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017


There are seven ways,
and only seven ways
to enjoy an ice cream cone.
First:  top down lick, consuming the first cold
          sucks of a just bought ice cream cone;       
second: sideways licks around the sides
          but above the cone’s edge;
next: when outside on the summer sidewalk
         quick licks of melting drips
   and leaking ice cream;
next: bites - good teeth grabbing bites
         of small slabs of cold ice cream;
five:  slow, very slow, sucking and pulling
         into one’s mouth of mostly liquid
   ice cream - but with at least
   two paper napkins in hand;
sixth: sharing the same cone - but with
          two scoops to begin - with one’s beloved;
and seventh: sharing part two of one’s cone
          with one’s little kids. Ooooh good!

© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


It’s not smart to become numb -
to become inoculated by self -
so as to not notice the person
right next to us - who is hurting,
who is hungry, who is poor, who
is reaching out to us, who wants 
to say something - because when 
we become numb to others, we are 
not receiving holy communion 
with the rest of the body - and 
Christ remains  - just is in the dark -
not being eaten up - just stuck in too
many metal or wooden tabernacles.
Christ no longer walks our streets.
Christ no longer talks at our tables.

© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017
June 21, 2017

One never knows

who and what's out there -

that is, till we launch

out into the deep for a catch.

[Now read Luke 5: 1-11.]