Saturday, January 21, 2012


January  21, 2012

Quote for Today

"Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity."

Edward Gibbon [1737-1794]

Friday, January 20, 2012



The title of my homily for this 2nd Friday in Ordinary Time is, “Could Have, Should Have, But Didn’t.”

The Scriptures are filled with all kinds of stories and examples - that have all kinds of interpretations - and implications - and thought provokers.

Today’s first reading, from First Samuel 24: 3-21 - has a fascinating story about David and Saul - the young man and the old man - the struggle for power between these two.

The thought that hit me after reading today’s first reading was all those times in life that we didn’t do what we could have done.

So I entitled my homily, “Could Have, Should Have, But Didn’t.”


There’s David and his men hiding in a cave and Saul is chasing after him with an army of 3,000 hand picked soldiers. They are in the mountains and Saul has to go. So he goes into a cave to go.

This is a great movie scene. You can picture it. It’s the same cave that David and his men are hiding in.

Saul takes off his shoulders his cloak and I picture him moving away a distance to relieve himself. David sees his chance. He could kill Saul who is trying to kill him right then and there.

I can’t read Hebrew - but I did spot an obvious nuance - that is in today’s reading. David could not only have killed him, but he could have cut it off.

Saul relieves himself - and then leaves the cave to get back to his army. David’s men are angry at him - for not killing Saul then and there. David says to his men that Saul has been anointed king by the Lord and therefore he couldn’t do it.

Then David comes out of the cave and yells to Saul. He shows him the piece of his cloak or mantle that he had cut off in the cave - and tells Saul - I could have killed you in the cave - but I didn’t.

Saul realizes that David didn’t and turns to tears. He then realizes that David is the man to follow him as king.


The message that hit me can be summed up with the title of this homily, “Could Have, Should Have, But Didn’t.”

Father Joe Krastel and I have been watching the Republican debates on TV. What struck me is that in a political debate, a speaker can say this or that. Moreover, a debater has to choose his words well.

How many times does a politician beat himself later on - on stupid things he or she said - or things that they could have said - but didn’t.

Years later or months later or the next morning, when they are thinking about questions they were asked in the debate, I’m sure they think about what could have said and chose not to say at a specific moment.

If they are wise and if they are experienced, I’m sure it hits them that what they didn’t say - unspoken words - are much better than words spoken that were real dumb - and could be used in the future by one’s opposition in a sound bite. Hopefully, everyone knows words are like the feathers in a pillow. Once a pillow is ripped apart, if it’s windy, the feathers inside are like spoken words and you don’t know where they are going to fly.

Don’t we all find ourselves in situations where we are angry or frustrated with another - and we know what we want to say, and we’re glad we kept our mouth shut.


The title of my homily is, “Could Have, Should Have, But Didn’t.”

Today’s first reading says to me, sometimes the smarter thing to do is what David did - not to stick the sword in another to cut them down.

Hey he won the election - okay - he fought his way to become the king and got it. Amen.


Drawing on Top: © House and Home, 2012 - found on line.
January  20,  2012

Quote for the Day

"In an enemy spots are soon seen."


Question: today as you interact with friends and enemies or folks you don't enjoy being with, check out if the above quote is correct for you?

Picture from Google - just typed in "Dalmatian".

Thursday, January 19, 2012


thank you for yesterday,
thank you for today,
and together
we’ll deal with tomorrow,
but not today. Amen.

© Andy Costello, Prayers, 2012
                 PSALM 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.

In green, green pastures,
he refreshes my soul.

He leads me to peaceful waters.

He renews life within me,
and for his name’s sake
he guides me in the right path.

Even though the valley
I walk through seems
dark as death, I fear no evil,
for you are with me.

Your rod and your staff
give me courage.

You spread a table before me
in the sight of my foes.

You have anointed my head with oil,
my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness
shall follow me
all the days of my life.
And I shall live
in the house of the Lord,
for ever and ever. Amen.

© Andy Costello, Reflections, 2012
This is a tiny re-translation of Psalm 23

Lord, Jesus,
the heaviness of death
weighs down upon us.

And in these grave moments
doubt and dread can seep
into the ground of our belief.

Lord, Jesus
increase our faith
in this time of sorrow and loss.

Lord, Jesus, you are
our hope for eternal life.

Blades of green grass
always break through
hard earth or cement,
so too, because of you,
Good Shepherd,
we know that those
who have gone before us
will break through hard death
and walk with you
in the cool of the evening,
in the green, green grass
of eternity.

© Andy Costello, Reflections, 2012


Remember me
when you drive by cemeteries
or when you touch my favorite chair.

Remember we were young once.

Remember our good moments
together, especially when you feel all alone.

Remember the times we forgave each other.

Remember the times we laughed,
especially when tears are tearing you up.

Remember how thankful I am
for the glue of your love when it seems
I was coming apart at the seams.

Remember the times you saw me praying.

Remember the signals and signs
we sent across so many rooms and we
were the only ones who knew them.

Remember Jesus rose from the dead.

Remember Jesus’ promise at the banquet
of every Mass that that we’ll all meet again
at the Eternal Banquet of Heaven.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2012

January  19,  2012

Quote for Today

"Don't use the word 'rope' in the house where someone hung him or herself."


Question for the day: What are the words that cause uproar or inner roar in your house or heart?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Quote for Today  January  18,  2012

"Some people's life is built on a proverb."

German Proverb

What proverb or  2 or 3 key proverbs is your life built upon?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



The title of my homily for this 2nd Tuesday in Ordinary Time is, “If You Can’t Pray, Breathe.”

From time to time I’ve noticed in surveys about what Catholics are looking for from their Church, they are looking for teachings and methods about how to pray - or how to pray better.

A key quote in the scriptures on this for me has always been, Luke 11: 2. “Lord, teach us how to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus' disciples had seen John the Baptist’s disciples praying. They saw Jesus praying in a certain place, so here was their chance to ask him that question. So Jesus taught them the Our Father. Then he gave them a few more teachings about prayer: to bother God - to keep knocking on God’s door, seeking, and asking God for what we want. [1]

The most basic prayer that Jesus is teaching there is the so called, “Prayer of Petition” - “Bidding Prayers” - “Asking Prayers”.

St. Alphonsus, founder of the Redemptorists was a great teacher of prayer. You can see his statue up here in our sanctuary - as part of the old high altar - and across from St. Teresa of Avila - another great teacher on prayer. Alphonsus wrote a whole book on prayer - entitling it, Prayer: The Great Means of Salvation. His basic teaching is: “If you want to be saved, pray. If you don’t, you’re going to be lost.”

I love it that he says in the Introduction to his book on prayer: “I have published several spiritual works but I judge that none of them is as useful as this little work, in which I speak on prayer, the necessary and surest means of obtaining salvation and all the graces necessary to attain that goal.”

Then he makes a great promotional pitch for his book. He says, “While I do not have means to do so, if I were able I would have as many copies of this book printed as there are faithful in the world. I would give each one a copy so that everyone might know how necessary prayer is in order to be saved.”

His publisher for 26 years, Remondini of Venice, must have loved that. He helped Alphonsus in getting out many of his 111 published works. Alphonsus knew that a lot of the publishers in Italy were sloppy - not Remondini, who had branches in Bologna, Ferrara and Rome - and agents in all the other major cities of Italy as well as on the other side of the Alps.


So being a Redemptorist, if someone asked me where to begin on how to pray, I would suggest reading books on prayer - and St. Alphonsus would be a good place to start. [2]

Having said all that, one teaching in Alphonsus that I don’t see in his writings about prayer, that I would push is the following: “If You Can’t Pray, Breathe.”

I’ve read much of Alphonsus and he certainly teaches and pushes prayer - jumping from writing about prayer - to jumping into prayer in his writings. For example, he might be talking about Jesus and Mary - and then start praying to Jesus and Mary in print.

Still people have trouble praying. So I would teach people to commit themselves to a time for prayer - whether it’s before Mass - during Mass - in the car - doing what I see as “Sitting Back Prayer” or "Sitting Down Prayer".

I would teach a person to just sit there for a moment - saying to God - “I’m here to pray.” Then I would suggest, pausing. Then I would suggest breathing. Catch your breath. Realize your breath. Breathe in and out - in and out - in and out. Realize that’s what God did when he created the first human. God formed us out of the clay of the earth and breathed life into that clay and we became human - making us in God's own image and likeness. If we’re breathing - if we have breath, we are alive. When a baby is born, they get that baby breathing. When someone drowns, they give that person artificial respiration - to try to get them breathing again.When we pray, we need inspiration.

So I would suggest that the first steps in prayer would simply to be in the presence of God our Creator and let God breathe life into us once again - to form us - to inform us.

In the Book of Genesis when this is described very imaginatively, the breath is called in Hebrew, the “Ruah” - the Breath of God. [3]

I’m not making this up. Breathing is the basic instinct in the opening prayer of many people who pray, “Come Holy Spirit!” “Come Breath of God.” Breathe new life into this clay called “me” again.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

That’s the first step - realizing the gift of the Breath of Life, the breath of God in us.

I began thinking about this last night when I read today’s first reading when Samuel, the Seer, the See-er, the Prophet. He goes looking for the next king amongst Jesse’s sons. Not seeing him there amongst Jesse's 7 sons, he asks if there area any other sons. Jesse says, “Well, there is one more, the youngest, who is out there shepherding.” Samuel says, “Send for him!” And when he saw David, he knew this is the one. And Samuel said, “Anoint him. This is the one!” [4]


And then we hear the great line in today’s first reading, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed up him.”

When I spotted the word “rushed” - I was intrigued. So I looked up the Hebrew word last night that one English translator translated as “rushed”. The Hebrew root word is “t-saw-lakh”. The Jewish Study Bible translates it, “The spirit of the Lord gripped David from that day on.” The Hebrew word “t-saw-lakh” means to break out, to come out mightily, to push from or forward, to cause to, to tear into him, to rush upon, to grip.”

I’ve noticed that teachers about prayer from around the world often begin by telling folks to begin by breathing - then becoming aware of their breathing. I’ve noticed Catholic teachers of prayer, sometimes begin by teaching people to begin praying by saying, “Come Holy Spirit.” I noticed that when Jesus began his public ministry he took the text from Isaiah that said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” [5]


The title of this homily was, “If you can’t pray, breathe.”

In reading and reflecting upon how to pray, I learned that prayer is taking time to catch one’s breath. I learned that taking time to catch one’s breath, one finds oneself - and one finds God - and one finds one's neighbor. We all share the air we breathe. I learned that making time for prayer, a good place to begin is to begin by breathing - by becoming aware of one’s breath. I learned by doing that one starts to sense the Spirit of the Lord coming upon one - sometimes in a rush - sometimes as a still small wind. [6]

So if you want to learn how to pray, whether it’s here at Mass, before, during of after, of if one prays better at home or in the Eucharistic Chapel - or when driving, sense your breath, catch yourself breathing - and allow the Spirit grip us, impulse us, push us, rush upon us, to go forth from prayer to love and to serve. Amen.


[1] Luke  11:1-15

[2] A helpful book would be Alphonsus de Liguori, The Classics of Western Spirituality, Selected Writings, Paulist Press, 1999. This book has prayers and how to pray - taught by a saint - who has been described by some as, "The Doctor of Prayer."

[3] Genesis 2: 4-7

[4] Confer 1 Samuel 16: 1-13

[5] Luke 4: 16-21; Isaiah 61: 1-3

[6] 1 Kings 19: 11-12; John 3:7-9

January  17,  2012

Quote for Today

"We are always the same age inside."

Gertrude Stein

Okay, let's hear it. How old do you see yourself?

Monday, January 16, 2012


Someone just sent me by e-mail the following YouTube. Check it out!


January  16,  2012

Quote for Today

"The life of every one is a diary in which they mean to write one story, and write another, and their humblest hour is when they compare the volume as it is with what they vowed to make it."

James M. Barrie (1860-1937)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


[This is a story I wrote yesterday for this Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B. It was for the Saturday Adult 4:30 in the Afternoon Mass - and I'm going to try it out on our Teenage Mass for this Sunday evening. Please note that Samuel is the main character in today's first reading and Andrew is the main character in today's gospel.]

The plane was stuck on the tarmac - after its arrival at O’Hare Airport, Chicago.

A snow storm to the west - a snow storm to the north - caused delays in landings and take offs.

Then the plane just sat there - a decent distance from the terminal.

The pilot announced at least 3 times, “We’re trying to get an arrival spot - but planes came in here ahead of us - because they couldn’t land where they were going - because of the weather. Sorry ---- they are ahead of us - but they are promising we’ll get a spot ------- soon.

The “soon” sound didn’t sound too convincing.

The pilot who made the announcement was just a voice - and not a face - as he made the announcement. He was rather happy about that.

The person in 17C just sat there patiently - sat there very calmly - in an aisle seat.

Time ticked and ticked and ticked.

When that same announcement was made a fourth time, someone was really ticked off. Someone in the back of the plane screamed: “Come on. Stop lying. This isn’t fair. We have people waiting for us at the curb.”

Cell phones are convenient - but they come with a price.

The person in 17C didn’t get upset.

He was surprised he didn’t get upset.

As he sat there he wondered where and when he got this gift of patience. He certainly didn’t have it 10 years ago. He certainly didn’t get it from his mom and dad - both of whom were time conscious - and neatnics - and wanted their kids to never be late - to on time always - and never to keep people waiting.

He sat there in the plane - on the tarmac - as if in prayer and meditation in a quiet afternoon church.

It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon - and they were supposed to get off the plane at 3:25.

As the person in 17C sat there, hearing comments from around him - as he heard the level of frustration rising - he started thinking about two people whom he had met in his life - both of whom probably contributed to his receiving the gift of serenity.

The first was a Rabbi - the Rabbi - in his life. He began thinking about this person with great gratitude.
He met the Rabbi in the hospital when the 2 of them were in the same hospital - in the same room - about 7 years ago. Both were there for the same heart problem. Both were getting the same heart operation - a quadruple-by-pass. Both had the same heart specialist and surgeon.

The person in 17C knew this guy in the other bed was Jewish. It was Saturday morning. He was in a hospital gown - with his yarmulke on. He also had a prayer shawl around his shoulders - and the man was praying.

With that the person in 17C asked the man, “By any chance, are you a Rabbi or something?”

The man answered, “Actually I am.”

17C introduced himself. Then the Rabbi introduced himself as, “Sam.”

They talked about their families and where they were from - standard conversation starters. Then their visitors came in for the day. When they left the two men continued their conversation.

17C said he was quite nervous about the upcoming operation.

Sam, the Rabbi, was quite calm before the operation.

17C noticed that Sam was very calm after the operation as well - and he was still nervous. “Now what?” he thought.

Alone 17C asked his roommate, “Rabbi Sam, what’s your secret?”

Sam, the Rabbi, said, “What secret? The secret for what?”

17C said, “That’s 2 questions.”

Sam, the Rabbi, said, “Haven’t you ever noticed that Jews like the ask questions?”

17C said, “I’m asking you about the secret of your serenity? What’s the secret of your serenity?”

Sam answered, “Did you just noticed you asked 2 questions? Are you Jewish by any chance?”

17C laughed and said, “No, I’m Catholic - well Catholic, but I don’t practice being Catholic.”

Sam said, “Why not?”


Then Sam said, “I’m easy going. And it’s no secret why I’m easy going. I see God is in on everything. I simply say to God, “Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.”

17C said, “Well what does God say to you?”

Sam said, “God is saying, ‘Sam you’re getting older. You got to cut down on the fats. You gotta get more exercise. More walking Sam. More walking. And one more thing, Sam. You’re mortal.”

A pause ….

Sam then said, “I said to God at that one, ‘God, what’s that supposed to mean? ‘You’re mortal, Sam, you’re mortal.’”

“And God said, “Sam you got term limits.”

17C said, “Oh….”

Another pause - some silence.

Then 17C said, “It sounds like you’re doing it.”

“Doing what?”

“You’re listening to God.”


Then the Rabbi said, “I learned all this from my Rabbi when I made my Bar Mitzvah when I was a kid. I had to pick a Bible text. So I picked a story about Samuel - my namesake. I read the story about the time when Samuel was in the temple and Eli was the priest. Samuel heard someone calling. He thought it was Eli so he ran to him. Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep.” This happened three times before he realized that the Lord was calling this kid named Samuel. Eli told Samuel, “If the Lord calls you again, say, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’”

Then Sam said, “I didn’t know it then, but that was to be the secret of my life. In fact, that’s why I became a Rabbi - to teach people to listen to God. Didn’t you notice that I already told you that when we first began to speak?”

Sam then said, “Every moment of life is loaded with all kinds of messages from God. Once you wake up to that, you start to hear God always speaking to you. In fact, sometimes you feel like you’re in a traffic jam with God’s messages. There are so many of them.”


Then Sam said, “I listen for God’s messages when I’m in a traffic jam or when I’m at the doctors or here in the hospital. It might be one of my kids needing attention. It might be the stars at night or a sunrise. It certainly was this heart operation.” Then Sam concluded, “Once you start listening - God starts talking.”


As 17C sat there in seat 17C he thought about what Sam the Rabbi taught him. Then the second person in his life who taught him so much came to mind. This man’s name was “Andy.”

Andy was a guy he worked with - but they never really talked. He was just one more background person in his life. But 17C was aware that Andy was there at times.

One day both were in Burger King two streets away from where they worked. They were grabbing lunch. Andy was behind him in line - and they began talking.

They sat together and 17C asked Andy, Andy’s secret of life.”

Andy said, “What do you mean? What secret of life?

17C said, “Well, I don’t know really know you, but you always seem so easy going - so at peace.”

17C didn’t realize it at that moment as he was thinking about all this on the tarmac - but he asked Andy the same question he asked the Rabbi.

And Andy said, “Do you really want to know?”

17C said, “Yes!”

“Well,” Andy said, “I’m a Catholic and Christ is the center of my life.”

"Ooops!" - a feeling of  "Ooops!" plopped onto their table at  Burger King with that comment.

Then Andy continued, “In my church there was this big, blank brick wall. They didn’t know what to put there in that empty space.

“Well they put up there this big, big enormous cross - with Jesus on it.

“Some liked it. Some didn’t.

“I didn’t know at first what to think.

“Then I realized that Christ is the center of life. Once someone gets that - they got it all. Next I realized that people get this especially when they are feeling the cross in their life. Then they can discover that’s what the cross is all about. Jesus on the cross is like a big plane and we can get on him and fly through space on him - especially when the ride is bumpy.”

Then without knowing why, 17C said to Andy, there in that Burger King that day, “I’m a Catholic - but I haven’t gone to church in years.”

And Andy said, “That’s okay - well that’s sort of okay - but don’t look at the church - it can be crazy at times - just look at Christ. He’s the center. And Jesus had to deal with the crazies. He had to deal with the men he chose - even though they didn’t get it till after he was killed and one of them betrayed him.”

“Oh,” said 17C.

Quiet. That was a lot to digest - in Burger King.

And that was a few years back when he had those 2 experiences - the moments with the Rabbi and the moments with Andy.

17C sitting there on that tarmac was thanking God that Sam the Rabbi taught him that God is always speaking and he learned from Andy that God’s big word - big message to us - was Jesus - especially Jesus on the cross.

He realized it was Andy who got him back to church

Just then the pilot announced. “We just got clearance.”

Everyone - except 17C clapped.

The plane started heading for the terminal.

Just then 17B, who was right next to him, elbow to elbow, said to 17C, “Mister what’s your secret. I noticed you’ve been sitting here so, so calm, while everyone else is antsy and grumbling and yelling. What’s your secret?”

17C said, “Do you really want to know?”

17B said, “Yes.”

Well, 17C said, “God is speaking to us in moments like this and Jesus Christ helps us in moments like this.”

At that 17B’s jaw dropped - thinking to himself, “Who is this guy sitting here next to me? Tim Tebow?”

[The following is a story I wrote for today's Kids' Mass - the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B. A mysterious line in today's gospel is, "It was about four in the afternoon." So I weaved that into this imaginary story.]

Once upon a time there was a 3rd grade kid named Andrew.

Now Andrew had an older brother named Peter - who was in the 5th grade.

Now Peter rubbed it in at times that he was the older, the smarter, the stronger, the bigger and the better brother.

Andrew remained quiet - knowing - he was really the smarter brother. He also thought he had the better name. Okay, Andrew wasn’t the bigger or stronger or older brother - but Andrew had a quiet, healthy, funny confidence in himself. Moreover, who wouldn’t want to have the great name of “Andrew” - a much better name that “Peter”?

Their mom and dad went to church every Sunday with their two boys. And their 2 boys, not being in Catholic School - went to the Faith Formation - Religious Education classes - in their parish that took place for their age - after Mass every Sunday morning.

Now Andrew had a buddy - named Eli - his parents were Giant’s Fans. One day Andrew asked Eli if he ever went to church. Eli said, “I think we’re Catholics - but mom and dad don’t go to church.” And Eli added, “And they have never taken my sister and I to church. Wait a minute”, Eli said, “I think we went to Christmas Mass two ago. I think it was two years ago - when I was little.”

Now Eli and Andrew were the best of friends - playing Wii, lacrosse, basketball and chess together.

Well, one Sunday afternoon, it was about 4 in the afternoon, Andrew was telling his buddy Eli about the neat thing that happened in their religious education class that morning. Eli said, “I’d love to go with you to church and religion class some Sunday.”

Andrew told his dad that Sunday evening - at the halftime of the football game - what Eli had said. His dad said, “Well, we could take him next Sunday - but I better ask Eli’s dad first.”

Andrew’s dad saw Eli’s dad the following Saturday at their sons’ basketball game. He mentioned that his son Andrew mentioned that Eli would like to go to church with Andrew. Then Andrew’s dad said, “We could take him, but I wanted to ask you first.”

Eli’s dad became very, very, very, very silent when he heard this.

“Uh oh,” Andrew’s dad said to himself. “I just hit some kind of a memory button in Eli’s dad.”

Then Eli’s dad said, “Well, I’ll ask Eli and if you want to take him, no problem. It can’t do any harm.”

Andrew’s dad made a sort of silent, “Phew!” at that.

Andrew’s dad didn’t hear anything from Eli’s dad for that Sunday.

However, Eli’s dad must have asked Eli about this - because Andrew’s dad got a call that following Saturday afternoon around 4 o’clock - saying Eli could go to Mass with Andrew’s family the next day - Sunday morning.

Andrew felt good at Mass - being there with his best friend - that Sunday morning. And the religious education class great that day. Andrew went up to his teacher before class and told his teacher that he had brought his best friend with him. The teacher welcomed Eli. Then the whole class welcomed him. Third graders can be really friendly.

The same thing happened the next Sunday - and the Sunday after that - and the Sunday after that.

Now the story changes a bit….

Without knowing it, something happened to Eli’s mom and dad. They were sort of embarrassed a bit - or some feeling like that - because someone else’s parents were taking their son to Mass and Faith Formation or Religious Education.

At a basketball game - not a practice - the following Saturday - about 4 PM in the afternoon a surprise happened.

Eli’s dad was sitting with Andrew’s dad watching their sons playing together in a basketball game. It was half way through the second half and the score was 14 to 6. Their two sons’ team was winning.

Eli’s dad said, “I been thinking. I was baptized a Catholic many years ago - but my parents rarely went to church and we are just like them - my wife and I. We really have never gone to church. We were thinking the other night - seeing how this made Eli sad that we didn’t go to church like you and your wife. Maybe we should look into this.”

Andy’s dad felt joyful at this news - but he also felt a bit nervous about what to say next. He was happy that his son Andrew started all this - but what now? He wondered if he was over his head here.

Then he said, “Why not come to church tomorrow - the same time as us - and surprise your son?”

Then during the Mass watch the priest. See if he’s someone you could talk to. If not, try another priest. We have several priests at our parish. They are all old and a bit overweight - but they are nice guys - and each one of them is different.

“Okay,” said Eli’s dad.

The next day - Sunday - they came to church - stood in the back - and searched for where Andrew’s parents were sitting. Finally, they spotted Andrew’s mom and dad and two sons, Peter and Andrew - as well as their son Eli.

Surprise. Wow was Eli surprised when his mom and dad and his sister got into the bench next to Andrew. It was a tight fit, but they filled a whole bench.

It was a powerful moment - not just for Eli - but for both sets of parents. Eli’s sister and Andrew’s brother - being out of the loop - didn’t understand why their parents were crying - several times during the Mass. They were mixed feelings tears - feelings of joy and feelings of something else.

This doesn’t happen - most of the time - but the First Reading that Sunday told the story about a priest named Eli and the Sunday Gospel that Sunday morning told the story of Andrew going to his brother and telling him that he had found Jesus. Eli and Andrew both elbowed each other - first when Eli's name was mentioned and next when Andrew's name was mentioned on the same day. "How about that!" they thought. Andrew had the added delight that his name was being mentioned in church. It’s usually Peter - but today his name was mentioned. Once more he felt more important that his brother Peter.

It was about 4 o’clock that Sunday afternoon that Andrew began to realize a tiny bit about what he had done - getting Eli and his sister and their parents to go to church - and he gave a pump fist in the air to Jesus. He had seen football players do that - when they get a touchdown. Now he knew just what that meant.

And better good news, that Sunday morning after Mass - while Eli and Andrew were in Religion Class, Eli’s parents and their daughter went up to the priest and introduced themselves. They asked if they could make an appointment to see him.

Bottom line: Eli’s sister began going to faith formation in the 2nd grade and Eli’s parents attended the RCIA program in the parish. They found out this program wasn’t just for non-Catholics who were thinking of becoming Catholics - but also for Catholics who never really got any religious education in the Catholic Faith in the first place.

Peter - Andrew’s brother - didn’t catch any of this story - and this was fine for Andrew. He liked being the hero of the story. Amen.

January  15,  2012

Quote for Today

Maturity: "The day you have your first real laugh at yourself."

Ethel Barrymore [1879-1959]