Friday, May 4, 2012



THE  WAY

INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily for this Friday in the 4th week of Easter is, “The Way.”     W    A    Y

I was looking at today’s readings to try to come up with a homily for today. What grabbed me from today’s gospel  were the well known words of Jesus who said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” [John 14:6]

I decided on just looking at one of those 3 words of Jesus:   W A Y.

Jesus tells his disciples that he’s leaving them - but not to let their hearts be troubled. He tells them to have faith in him. He tells them that his Father has many dwelling places for them and that he is about to leave them but he’s preparing a place for them. Then he tells them -  that they know the way. Thomas jumps in and says, “We don’t know where you’re going so how can we know the way? That’s when Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

THE WAY THE WORD  “WAY” IS USED IS FASCINATING

The way that word “way” is used is rather interesting. How many times in a day do we use the word “way”?

“What’s the best way to make a Manhattan?”

“Do you know the way to get to the Safeway store?”

“Do you know a better way to get to St. John’s?”

“I don’t like the way she looked at me.”
“No way!”

“Way to go.”

“I did it my way.”

“It’s his way or the highway!”

“I wonder why Annapolis or Washington D.C. never had a Broadway.”

“Way out!”

“I like the way your hair looks. Whom do you go to?”

“Way of all flesh….”

“Ways and means….”

“Does anyone know the way to get out of this mess?”

"A good way to lose weight is to go the lunch at Subway, but walk and don’t take the Subway to get there."


CHRISTIANITY

Before we had the word “Catholic” - one of the descriptions of the followers of Jesus was, “The Way!” [Cf. Acts 9:2]

The Greek word is this gospel and all the gospels when they talk about “way”, is “ODOS’.  I can hear the sound of the word “ROAD” in “ODOS”.

I hear lately a lot of people using the phrase, “You have to have a plan!”

So this is very basic stuff. How do I do life? What’s my plan? What’s my way of doing things?

When we get hung up in the edge stuff of Church - the peripheral stuff - it’s good to remember the basics. Being a Christian is being a follower of Jesus Christ. To be a Christian is to practice his way of doing life - his way of reaching out, his way of being aware of who’s pulling at the hem of his cloak out of need - his way of feeding others - his way of bringing forgiveness into people’s life. When we have in mind his way, we will get a sense of being able to say,  “I know my way in life!” Or, “I have a plan! I am trying to do want Jesus did.”

We’ve all heard the word “TAO” - pronounced “DOW”. It too simply means, “The Way!”

If any of you are in or have been in 12 step programs, you know the plan is to follow the steps - one day at a time. That’s the way to do life.

The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu says, “A tree as great as a man’s embrace springs from a small shoot. A terrace nine stories high begins from a small shoot. A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet.”  


The Tao is take that first small beginning step. Then the second step and on and on and on.

A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.

The Christian follows in the footsteps of Jesus. Sometimes it’s the way of the cross. Sometimes it’s the way to transfiguration. Sometimes it’s the way to the desert. Sometimes it’s the banquet.

EL CAMINO DE SANTIAGO

I’m sure some of you heard about the movie with Martin Sheen in it - directed by his son, Emilio Estevez. It’s entitled, “The Way”. The movie takes place on the famous way, road, “El Camino”. It's the pilgrimage route in Spain to the famous shrine of St. James.

We find the practice of making a walking trip, a pilgrimage, a bus trip, a plane trip, to a famous shrine - as a key religious practice - whether it’s to Rome, Mecca, Lourdes, or El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain or one's local church.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Years ago I’m walking down that green mall that leads to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. I noticed in one big green rectangle of grass that there was a dirt path. The grass had been worn away. The dirt path was a perfect diagonal that cut the triangle in half into the equal triangles. It was obvious that this was the shortest way to cut across to the next street. Instead of walking down the sidewalk to where the sidewalk made a right angle, people cut across the grass.

I stopped and looked at it. It was a parable. It was a message. It was clear that a path often is the shortest distance between two points. The Native America paths, trails, become roads, became highways - from sea to shining sea. Historians say that El Camino de Santiago was part of an ancient Roman trade route.

Knowing the best path, the best way, certainly makes life easier for the traveler.

A MAN AND HIS WIFE

A man once told me that it wasn’t till he was 56 that he learned he barking up the wrong tree, he was taking the wrong path, he was doing life the wrong way.

Till 56 he had a deep frustration with is wife. She didn’t see life his way and he tried to change her 1000 times and he failed 1000 times. Then the light went on. I realized I couldn’t change her. How stupid of me. Once I realized she had her way of doing things and I had my way of doing things. Once I realized that and stopped wanting her to change, in came peace - at the age of 56.

CONCLUSION

So Christianity is not about following the 10 commandments or rules of church etc. per se, but it’s following a person - who teaches us how to do life. Follow him and his way and we'll be putting into practice the Great Commandment which sums up all commandments, that we love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength and we love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Follow this way and we will have the way to His peace. Amen. 
RELIGION:  MUCH  ADO
ABOUT  ARGUING! 



May  4,  2012

Quote for Today

"The person who argues most about religion usually has the least of it."

Questions for Today

Is that true? Is it case by case?  How would you know that? Does anyone who argues religion [or politics or sports] with others ever change?  Is this one of those questions each of us has to answer for ourselves?  How often did Jesus answer those who questioned or argued with him?

Watercolor Painting on Top: The Pharisees and the Saducees Come to Tempt Jesus, by James Tissot [1836-1902]


Thursday, May 3, 2012

THE  PRIORITY 
OF NOT MISSING 
THE ESSENCE 



May  3,  2012

Quote for Today

"Painting the pump 
  will not purify the water."

Old saying

Painting on top: Captain Phil Cusumano, found on line.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ATHANASIUS' 
BOTTOM  LINE
ON  CHRIST!


May  2,  2012

Quote for Today - Feast of St. Athanasius

"For He was made Man that we might be made God."

St. Athanasius [c.298-373]: On the Incarnation of the Word of God, 4th Century

Ikon on top: St. Athanasius

I am not sure how to be more inclusive with this quote from St. Athanasius - because I'm assuming that the He and the Man is referring to Jesus. I could say "Human" but I don't know what the original language text. So I want to simply state a dogmatic statement from one the great teachers of our Church: Athanasius.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

WANT  HEAVEN, 
EXPECT   HELL!


May  1,  2012

Quote for Today

"A lifetime of happiness!  No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth."

George Bernard Shaw [1856-1950], Man and Superman [1903], Act 1

What's your take on George's comment?  Does happiness have to have the possibility of unhappiness within reach?  What does the Book of Genesis in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Happiness have to say about this? Does there always have to be a catch? Would marriage be marriage - if a couple didn't have temptations? Would love be as powerful as it is, if we could chose not to love?  Does there have to be the tree of the knowledge of  good and evil in the garden of our soul?  How about the cross? Does that tree have to be there as well?

Monday, April 30, 2012




RECOGNIZING HIS VOICE

INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily  for this 4th Monday of Easter is, “Recognizing His Voice.”

Last Thursday evening - give or take a day - on the evening news they showed a scene from the front lawn of some house in the United States. A soldier was just back from Afghanistan and the family is waiting for him to get out of a car. He does and the family dog breaks loose and runs towards the soldier and he gets down on his knee and the two embrace.

As I watched that I wondered how long is a dog’s memory?

I also wondered do we have voice memory - and how does that work? We get a phone call and the other doesn’t tell their name. They know whom they are calling  - but we don’t know the caller - but the voice we know from the past.

We don’t want to ask, “Is this Tricia?” or “Penelope?” or “Horatio?” Yet the voice sounds familiar and we probe our memory till we find out whom this voice belongs to.

TODAY’S GOSPEL

In today’s gospel, John 10:1-10, Jesus talks about sheep recognizing the voice of the Shepherd.  Where did Jesus learn that? 

I love to picture Jesus from 12 to 30 wandering and wondering in fields and marketplaces, in synagogues and vineyards. I like to read the gospels and try to picture when Jesus observed and came up with his parables and images and pictures.

I remember hearing in a talk about a Jesuit priest who taught at Creighton University in Omaha. He went up one summer to Montana to work on a sheep ranch. Then he told his students in Scripture Classes what he learned about sheep and shepherding from his experience. He said that the image is very much part of our Scriptures.

When sheep are born they end up on the ground - unable to stand. They bleat till someone hears them and helps them to stand for the first time. He said the first voice the new born sheep hears is that of the shepherd. Later on they’ll hear the sounds of the shearers and then the sound of the ones who lead them to slaughter.

The Jesuit talked about how fragile newborn sheep legs are. The  shepherd has to be very careful in standing them aright. One little sheep’s leg broke and the shepherd took him in the front seat of his truck to the vet to set it right. He didn’t mention if he used a seat belt. But then the Jesuit teacher said he noticed that sheep always came running right towards the voice of the shepherd they knew. They would rub up against his lets with affection for his shepherd.

CONCLUSION: THE VOICE OF JESUS

Obviously, we who come to church - when we’re playful or when we are broken - we get to know Jesus and his voice. That’s prayer.

Beginning prayer is talking prayer - saying prayers.

Deeper prayer is quiet prayer - listening prayer.

Those of you who come here to this 12:10 Noon Mass might come early because it’s nice and quiet in here. You might feel blessed - because nobody has pushed to say the rosary before or after Mass. We all need to be aware that some people want talking prayers and some people want quiet prayers.

May our “baa’s” be authentic - and from the heart - and not just baaaaaaaable from our lips.

May we know the Master’s Voice - may we learn to hear his calls.
IDENTIFYING 
MYSELF 




April 30,  2012

Quote for Today

"Without a shepherd sheep are not a flock."

Russian Proverb

Questions: Do I identify with any particular or specific leader, philosopher, writer, speaker, religious leader?  Do I identify with any groups? Have I grown out of any group? Please explain.



SUMMER  NIGHTS 
AND  ICE  CREAM  CONES


On a summer night, everyone loves to go for ice cream.

Two boys, one seven, the other nine, stood there that hot summer night eating their ice cream cones. The ice cream was leaking fast. They were experiencing a melt down. The boys were finally “grown up”: mom and dad gave them total control over the choice of what flavors their two scoops of ice cream could be.

Dad always chose two scoops of vanilla.  Cone in hand, he loved to step back to observe the scene. “Great ice cream. Great wife. Great kids. Could anyone be  in a better place, on a clear summer night, than the parking lot of ‘Ice Cream Delight’?” He was at peace. Ice cream can do that. Inwardly he was also thinking, “These last four months at work have been too stressful. Thank God, the project is finally over. The orders are all filled. Things will slow down now -- at least till September.”

Mom was more flamboyant. Maybe that’s why they married each other. They were “order” and “disorder”, vanilla and thirty-seven different flavors. She stood their enjoying the taste of chocolate-chocolate chip. And that was just the top scoop. Underneath was her second scoop: raspberry sherbet-twirl with raisins! The kids loved this about their mom: she ordered different flavors every time. And she always ordered last. She loved surprises, last minute, spur of the moment choices She knew her sons stood there waiting to hear her choices at the sliding window.

Mom was smiling “big time”. She was enjoying the summer night sky. Summer. Vacation. Her boys. Her husband. But she also loved September when the house returned to quiet with the boys back in school. She had  a computer and was back to writing while the boys were at school and her husband was at work.

Back to the boys.

One stood there delighting in his pistachio and peach cone. He too enjoyed the night sky. And after each twirling lick of his ice cream, he would close his eyes. He loved to feel the cold ice cream against his teeth and tongue and then to feel it slide down his throat heading for his tummy.

His brother wasn’t happy. He usually wasn’t. He was hardly tasting his ice cream. Once more he felt that he made the wrong choices. Seeing the delight on his brother’s face, he was wishing he too had gotten pistachio and peach. And it dug deeper into his pain, especially when his Dad said to his brother, “You really seem to be enjoying that!”

“Yeah, dad, I really am. U-m-m-m good!”

And that’s the way the four of them were for the rest of their lives.

© Andy Costello, Down to Earth But Looking Up, p. 61



EARTHS  COLORS


As black as an all season blackbird on the first snow ....

As black as the lettering on a yellow school bus ....

As blue as Caribbean water and Caribbean sky almost all the time ....

As blue as coolness, calmness, peace and tranquillity ...

As blue as the Los Angeles Dodgers lettering on their home white uniforms ....

As blue as the top of a Bic Pen -- 10 for 89 cents in a pre-school August special ....

As brown as cocoa or coffee to start the day ....

As brown as Hershey kisses after taking off the silver wrapper ....

As brown as the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the early morning light ....

As brown as Mother Earth ready for the Spring seeding ....

As dark brown as Coca Cola bubbling in a tall glass with plenty of ice on a hot summer day ....

As gray as the sky on the first day of winter ....

As orange-red as an October sun through the autumn leaves ....

As green as pine trees all year long ....

As green as late spring, all summer and early September ....

As green as Vermont or Ireland or Oregon or northern Brazil during the rainy season ....

As yellow-green as light green grapes ....

As light blue as the lettering on a baby boy’s birthday cake ....

As orange as an orange ....

As orange as a crossing guard’s vest ....

As purple as Ash Wednesday vestments ....

As purple as solemnity, seriousness, pausing ....

As light red as the inside of a watermelon on a hot summer day ....

As red as the delicacy, richness, fragility, of a rose ....

As red as fire, passion, love, excitement, freedom ....

As red as the red of a STOP sign ....

As rust-red as Arizona earth and Utah rock most of the year ....

As almost lobster-red as a sunburned back on a summer beach ....

As speckled red as a just-boiled lobster ....

As sudden-red as a person’s face caught gossiping about someone and seeing them walk into the room ....

As tan as sand, old army uniforms, paper in a diary from long ago ...

As white as a cloth napkin in an Italian restaurant, -- but before the spaghetti ....

As white as new, just before, not yet, almost now ....

As yellow as a banana ....

As yellow as a lemon ....

As yellow as a school bus ....

As yellow as mustard on a hot dog in a ball park on a bright summer day ....

© Andrew Costello - Reflections, 1999

THE BIG TABLE

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       all the food
       is on one side

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       people have problems
       passing things.

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       people have difficulties
       stomaching each other.

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       the first are first
       and the last are last.

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       people don’t like
       the seating arrangements.

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       people seem to want
       separate tables.

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       nobody realizes
       the table is round.

The whole world is seated
       at one big table,
       but the trouble is
       the next generation
       is waiting for the leftovers.

© Andrew Costello, Listenings, p. 64 



CREATION ACCOUNT

In  the beginning
all was God.

In the beginning
all else was silence,
all else was darkness.

And God burst
through the dam
of silence and darkness
with his word,
“Let there be light!”

And God’s power,
and God’s spirit
exploded into creation.

Molten lava,
red rivers of fire,
huge stones and planets
rolled down the dark hills
of space, down the empty
halls of the universe,
crashing, splashing,
noise and sound.

Creation had begun ,
bursting, splattering seed
into the empty holes
of barren time.

“Let there be life!”

And the fertile egg
of earth began.

And in time
the naked baby
came forth
crawling towards
the Father,
standing, falling
rising, trying
again and again
to stand up to the Father.

And gradually
it too learned
the words,
“Let there be light!”

© Andrew Costello, From Cries …. But Silent, p. 168

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DOES GOD MICROMANAGE?

INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily for this Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B, is, “Does God Micromanage?”

VOCATIONS

We are supposed to preach today on Vocations? What to say?

We pray to the Holy Spirit as today’s first reading begins that we all do good deeds to others. 


We pray for parents to be good parents - to impart and be examples of love and giving - aware that kids pick up everything they see - except their toys. Kids learn by imitation. So to pray and then try to practice the good stuff. 


We pray that teachers and nurses and doctors and accountants and engineers - and all workers - be wide awake servants - working for others - giving a good day's work for a good day's salary. 


We pray that there be priests and nuns and brothers - for the service of the church - the people of God - teaching people how to get to know God as today’s second reading proclaims - as well as knowing the voice of the Shepherd as today’s gospel proclaims. 


In other words - that all be Good Shepherds with an eye on people as the focus - rather than be the hired man - as Jesus says in today’s gospel - with an eye on the pay check.

DOES GOD HAVE A PLAN?


As I thought about vocations, I asked myself a few questions: Does God have a plan for every person?  Does every person have a vocation - a calling in life?  If we don’t discover and then do that vocation, that calling, will we be basically unhappy, incomplete, unfulfilled - always have a spiritual and a human itch for more - for that something that is missing? 

Obviously, as priest, I hear mention of “God” a lot - but what about “God having a plan” - or what about “God’s will” for us?

Big questions. I think we all think about God’s plan, God’s idea, God’s Will,  from time to time.  Does God have blueprints or scripts?

Is it God’s will or in God’s plans that Charlie die while on vacation in Italy - at the age of 66 - just after he retired -  and he and his wife Cassandra never had a real trip like this since their honeymoon - and that was in the Poconos a long time ago?  Does God send snow in April and the flowers and trees and animals are all faked out? How does weather and a deer running into a car work?

How does God work? What are we praying for when we say in the Our Father, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?”

If God has plan, a will, how specific is it? Or in other words the title and question of my homily for today is, “Does God Micromanage”?

FIRST OF ALL: WHAT DOES MICROMANAGE MEAN?

Those who use the word, usually mean it to complain about a boss or a someone above them - who is picky, picky, picky.

Those who use the word “micromanage” use it to describe someone who is a “control freak” or shriek. They delegate a job to us - but they keep checking up on us - keep looking at the small details of a job. They are at the door looking in or over our shoulder and they are breathing down our neck. They keep telling us how to do a job they gave us to do. And they  keep feeding us with tiny, tiny ways they want us to do a job.

SECONDLY: WHY WOULD SOMEONE MICROMANAGE?

I assume there are two kinds of people who micromanage. The first type would be those who are neat, very neat by nature. They see everything. They want the job done and done rightly.  


I’m definitely not that type. Show me your room or the trunk of your car and I’ll tell you who you are. 


However,  I’ve met those who are that way and it doesn’t seem to take much effort to be that way. “Just doing what comes naturally.”

Years ago I was preaching at all the Masses in a parish where we were going to preach a parish mission that coming week.

I’m standing in the back of church on a Saturday evening - all ready for the 5 PM Mass.  It’s about 10 to 5.

An usher standing back there introduces himself and spots a Cheerio on the floor. He picks up that one tiny Cheerio and pockets it.  I’ve seen parents come with those little zip lock see through plastic bags with Cheerios in them for their kids at Mass. A kid must have dropped a Cheerio on the way in or out of church.

The usher then spots the pastor coming in the vestibule door and he’s talking to some parishioners. He asks me if I met the pastor yet. I say, “Yes!” The usher says, “He’s very neat - very, very neat.”

Then while the pastor is still out there in the vestibule,  the usher says to me with a smile on his face, “Come with me and watch this.”  I follow him. The usher then reaches into his pocket and takes out  the Cheerio that he picked up on the floor. He places it on the flat edge of the back bench about 20 yards away. We are out of the view of the pastor. Then he tells me, “Come back to the center" - we're still in the back - "and watch what happens when the pastor comes in. He’ll spot that Cheerio in about 1 second and a half.”

Sure enough the pastor comes in: black suit. French cuffs. Hair perfect like mine always is. Shoes shinned bright. He says to me, “Nice crowd!” and while saying that he spots something and walks the 20 or so yards, picks the Cheerio up and pockets it. Then he comes back and says that he’ll go up front now and introduce me. He made no comment about the Cheerio. He did the Cheerio removal move while on  remote.

That coming week I experienced a very neat and very detailed pastor in action. Being a slob, I was a bit nervous at time - but I knew, come Friday morning I’d be on the road again.

WILLIE NELSON

Speaking of Willie Nelson, myself and another priest, named John, who was my boss, and about  86% neat, were watching the 10 o’clock news one night. On came a story about Willie Nelson and marijuana. Willie was wearing his jeans and faded T-shirt - his red bandana around his head, which had long braids as well as a scraggily beard. John says to me, “Who is this guy?” I say, “That’s Willie Nelson!” And he says, “That’s Willie Nelson! Oh my God no. I liked his songs till now.”

I always liked Willie Nelson’s songs before and after that incident, - especially, “On the Road Again” - “Can’t wait to get back on the road again!”  That song hits me at times when I have to deal with rigid, my way or the highway, micromanaging,  type of person on the road of life - someone who gets me to want to be on the road again.

Then there are a second type that micromanage. This type we like. These are the ones who spot viruses - and terrorists - and hair in the French Fries - before they get to a customer's tray.

BACK TO GOD

Now is God a micromanager?

That to me is a great question - and it sounds to me that I'm hesitating to get to it.

Don’t you love it when you are at the Q. and A. session - after a talk? Or are you the type that wants to run. Gentlemen start your engines. I love it when someone asks a question and the speaker says, “Now that’s a good question.” You figure it’s giving the speaker  time to figure out where to go with what the speaker thinks the person is asking or really asking.

I like Q. and A. situations - because they can provide “Ah ha” moments - sometimes better than a whole speech. 


A significant learning moment in my life took place way back in the late 1960’s - in the Hilton Hotel in New York City - where well over a thousand people met for a power breakfast on the Drug problem in New York. The main speaker was Governor Nelson Rockefeller and someone asked a question. I don’t remember the question, but I remember the answer. Rockefeller didn’t say, “Now that’s a good question.”  He said, “Are you crazy? I wouldn’t answer that. Next!”

For the past 45 years I’ve sort of used Nelson Rockefeller's approach. When someone asked certain questions, I would say, “I can’t answer that!” Or, “I wouldn’t know how to answer that.” “Are you crazy? That’s a set up question.” Sometimes I add, “I don’t think that’s a question. I think you already have an answer to your question.”

Now back to the question: “Does God micromanage?”

Answer: “I don’t know!”

That would be my primary answer.

I don’t know. I don’t know God.
 
In fact I get scared when people say,  “This is what God wants!” or “This is God’s will.”  I don’t know if it’s true in that situation - other than to say, “God wants us to love one another and care for his stuff!” 


I noticed in the paper the other day that some priest in that trial that’s going on in Philadelphia was said to have said to some kid that it was God’s will that the kid do what the priest wanted him to do. Now that’s a horror show. And when fanatics of any religion think they have God’s will and then do other horrible things, uh oh.

Think about your life and your experiences. Have you ever winced or squeezed you face muscles in disbelieve when someone pulled the, “This is God’s will” statement on you one to one or from the pulpit or what have you?

We have a whole generation of Redemptorists in our province who went through the seminary with a priest in charge who thought that whatever he decided when it came to telling a seminarian that he didn’t have a vocation - and he would have to leave - that his decision was God’s will. I think many of us who reflected upon that experience, hesitate when anyone says, “This is God’s will.”

It took me a while, but that experience taught me experientially that I think that’s crazy. 


Years later, I ended up having a similar job for 9 years and I had to make decisions on future priests and brothers. If I cut someone even though it was not their choice, I inwardly prayed deeply to God. I would say to them, “Sorry, I don’t know if this is God’s will or not, but this is my decision.” And I made it with advice from an assistant and I forced myself to put my reasoning into writing and I’d give the seminarian a copy and gave him time to challenge me - if he wanted to. Then I had to send my recommendation to those above me for a decision.

To say something is God’s will can be a form of idolatry - just as it is to say or think that my image and likeness of God is God.


What is your image of God? Have you ever checked it out with God in prayer and study and reflection with others?

So does God micromanage?

I think God is aware of everything in the universe as well as a billion, trillion, gazillion other things, all the time. He’s keeping in existence the tiniest little algae at the deepest part of the ocean as well as germs on the head of pin as well as a door knob as well as a sore left back foot on an old elephant in Kenya right this second.

I think God gave us humans free will - choice - selection - and we can choose what we choose - within our limitations - so if we decide to fly up to the ceiling in this church to change a light bulb if it was out - we can’t. But we can choose to change a light bulb that is out with whatever gadget or machine they have to change light bulbs in a place like this.

Then there is grace, nudges, notices, angels, experiences, messengers, messages from God to help us - but these are mysterious and I am not scared to say out loud, “These have me baffled!” They always have and always will.

I see that we are what we eat - we are what we choose - what we buy - what we say. Just as there is a law of gravity, if I drop a book, it will fall to the ground and make a noise on certain floors, so too there is the law of consequences.


People do what they do in life - and when they make bad choices - the consequences can be harmful.


Much of what happens to us - health problems - this or that - is often what happens as the consequence of our decisions and actions. Sometimes when things go bad, people then blame God for what happened.

We become our habits. Our habits become us.

If they are good, we become better. If they are bad, we become worse. Good habits are called virtues; bad habits are called vices.

So does God micromanage? Does God rain on Cassandra’s parade and not rain on Charlie’s parade? I don’t know. I know if it’s raining, and there is a parade scheduled for that time and place, it’s going to rain on our parade.

There is an Earth Day thing today up near Target Center. It was cancelled last Sunday because of rain.  I was told, if it rains, it will be called off again. And there will be no third chance. I won’t pray for either. I do pray for rain, but I have to admit I don’t know how that works. That will be one of my questions for God, after I die, if God has a personal Q. and A. session.

CONCLUSION

So what do I know about how God manages people and things?

I know by faith that God sent his Son Jesus into our world and we have a choice to say “Yes” to him or “No” to him - that I be a wise builder - building my house on rock and not sand - asking Christ to be the cornerstone of my life. [1]

I know by reflection and luck and blessings and grace that I got that gift of faith from my mom and dad. They had it and I got it. And I thank those way back before them who made faith and life choices that came down as gifts to our family.

I know by reflection - especially on experiences - that God is fascinating.

I also know from experience that when I keep the Great Commandments - the consequences are inner peace.

I know from experience, that if we didn’t have freedom of choice, life would be rather boring. What makes life fascinating is that a human being can choose his or her life in the way he or she chooses to live it - as well as deal with what happens to us by nature or others actions. So if someone chooses to want to marry us - then what makes marriage so great is precisely that. And what kills us is when another stops choosing to love for whatever number of reasons.  I’ve seen divorces and I’ve seen disasters and I’ve seen classmates and friends leave the priesthood - as well as see people I know get divorced - and sometimes when I hear this kind of bad news, I want to run - and get on the road again.

So I don’t think God micromanages the choice to love - except to send his Son - the great lover. Amen. 




NOTES


[1] Matthew 7: 24-27; today's First Reading Acts 4: 11; today's Responsorial Psalm 118: 22.
GOD'S WILL?


April 29,  2012

Quote for Today

"Many pray, not to find God's will, but to get God's approval or their own."

Anonymous

Questions:

Whoever wrote that, how do they know that? Did they take a scientific poll or professional survey? Or did some preacher just make that up, figuring it sounds right? Based on my reflections - which are rather superficial - as can be gleaned from my homily for today, "Does God Micromanage?" - I would think without any scientific survey, that most just do their own will without any consideration of the God question What would be your take on all this?