Saturday, June 16, 2012


June 16, 2012  Quote for the Day

"I don't have a warm personal enemy left.  They've all died off.  I miss them terribly because they helped define me."

Clare Booth Luce [1903-1987], "The Dick Cavett Show,"  July 21, 1981

1932 Photo by Carl Van Vechten


What do you know about Clare Booth Luce?

How would you define yourself in 50 words or less?

What have been your biggest discoveries about yourself? List 5 "that I's" about yourself.

          I know this about myself, that I  ______________
          I know this about myself, that I  ______________
          I know this about myself, that I  ______________
          I know this about myself, that I  ______________
          I know this about myself, that I ______________

Who are your enemies?

Who are your warm enemies?  Who are your cold enemies?

What have each by name taught and told you about yourself?

Have you ever in your life talked to an "enemy" one to one? Please describe. Have you ever talked to a friend about any of those experiences? Please describe.

Check back:

Check back into my blog and you'll find a series of self tests.

Have you ever in your life ever talked to an "enemy" one to one?

Friday, June 15, 2012



The title of my homily is, “Feast of the Sacred Heart: 3 Images of God’s Love.”

Today’s 3 readings give 3 images of God’s love for us.

For starters, there is a basic human question: “Do you love me!”

We ask it in various and many ways:

·        Does anyone love me?
·        Does she love me?
·        Does he love me?
·        Does [did] my mother love me?
·        Does [did] my father love me?
·        Do my children love me?
·        Does so and so love me?
·        Does God love me?

Today’s 3 readings for this feast of the Sacred Heart give 3 images of God’s love for us?


Today’s first reading from Hosea the Prophet gives the basic image of a parent loving a child. [Cf. Hosea 11: 3-4, 8c-9.] That’s where it all begins - being held and loved as a baby.

I’ll never forget a scary statement I heard in a lecture in a counseling course I was taking, “The bigger the problem, the earlier the problem.”

The speaker then said, “If a person has severe personality problems, sometimes it can traced back to horrible neglect of that person early, early in their childhood and babyhood.”

It gives me pause when I run into “problem people” or “strange rangers” or folks I find “difficult”.

Please God we have/had parents that love us.

All through the scriptures we hear that theme - God as a Parent - both Mother and Father - loving us. [1]

Hopefully, when we say the “Our Father” - we say it with deep feelings because we got glimpses of the love of God for us - because we had a loving father - or we experienced in our lifetime from guardians or father figures - great care and love for us.

Want to catechize your kids and grandkids?  Love them.


In today’s second reading from Ephesians we have mention of Paul’s experience of Christ. [Cf. Ephesians 3: 8-12, 14-19.] Saul, who became Paul, was trying to remove mention of Jesus, or the presence, awareness, following, or attachment to Christ from Jewish folks who were becoming Christians. In his conversion Paul discovered that Christ was aware of him.

Today’s second reading has the word “access”. Isn’t that a neat image? Christ gives us “access” to the Father. In his conversion moment on the road to Damascus, Paul  discovered that the one he was trying to kill - erase - destroy - hurt - was the one who saved him from his destructive life style. In this Christ - in this mystery of Christ - which he entered - Paul experienced the love of God for him and for all. 

Conversion stories are reversal stories.

Listen again to the powerful words from Ephesians in today’s second reading - words of access to the Father through, in, and with Christ.

For this reason 
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven 
and on earth is named,
that he may grant you 
in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power
through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell 
in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend 
with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length 
and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ 
which surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled 
with all the fullness of God.


And today’s Gospel gives us the third image of God’s love for us.[Cf. John 19: 31-37] It is a  scene from Jesus’ death on the Cross. I assume it was chosen for this feast of the Sacred Heart because the lance is thrust into Jesus’ chest - his heart area - and out flowed blood and water.

What happens to you when you stand before an image, a statue or a picture of Jesus Christ? We have this gigantic image of Christ here at St. John Neumann’s. At St. Mary’s we have a big crucifix in the back of church, a statue of the Sacred Heart in the sanctuary, and an image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd on the upper wall of the sanctuary. What is your favorite image of Jesus? What moves you?

Looking at the history of how Jesus is pictured, using broad general statements, the first key image of Jesus was that of the Good Shepherd. Then came Jesus on the Cross. Then came Jesus as the Sacred Heart. In the last century came the image of Jesus filled with Divine Mercy. These images convey caring, relating, reaching out, pouring out one’s heart, for others.

Today we celebrating the image of the  Sacred Heart.

We know the meaning of the heart - in all those “I love you’s” - all those heart images on rings and things - bumper stickers - and Valentine Day stuff. We feel it in our pump - our chest - our heart - when we are loved and when we love.


In this homily I presented from today’s 3 readings, 3 images that God loves us. Today, on this feast of the Sacred Heart,  we celebrate that reality: God loves me.

[1] Pope John Paul I, [Albino Luciani] (1912-1978) said at the Sunday Angelus blessing in St. Peter's Square on September 17, 1978, "He is Father. Even more, God is Mother, who does not want to harm us."


June 15,  2012  Quote for Today

"If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?" 

Erich Fromm [1900-1980]

Thursday, June 14, 2012


June  14, 2012   Quote for Today

"Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling."

Margaret Lee Runbeck


On a scale of 1 to 10,  10 being the highest, are you happy?

Who is the happiest person you know? Have you ever asked her or him the secret of their happiness?

Ask your closest friend: "Do you see me as a happy person?"  If they hesitate, breathe. If they say, "Yes" - ask, "For example?"  If they say, "No! and if you are really close, ask, "Have you any thoughts why you think I'm unhappy?"

What has been your best day this year so far?  What has been the best day in your life, so far?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


June  13,  2012  Quote for Today

"Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against."

W.C. Fields, in Robert Lewis Taylor, W.C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes, 1949

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


June 12, 2012  Quote for Today

"I have honestly never gone in for hating.  My temporary bitternesses toward people have all been ended by what Freud called an inferiority complex and Christ called 'Let him without sin -'  I remember the day he said it. We were just like that then;  we tossed up for who was to go through with it - and he lost."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, letter to Ernest Hemingway, June 1, 1934, in Matthew J. Bruccoli, Scott and Ernest, 1978


Have you ever put down a word (a rock) and not spoken it (thrown the rock) about another because of Jesus' words - as F. Scott Fitzgerald put it - in the above quote?

Have you ever seen hatred or gossip or attacking others as having inferiority feelings - as F. Scott Fitzgerald put it - in the above quote?

Is there anyone you hate? What does that do to you?

Read Matthew 5: 38-48.  What did Jesus figure out about hatred and retaliation and people who bother us and those we label as "enemies"?

Monday, June 11, 2012


June 11,  2012  Quote For Today

"It is never too late
to be what you
might have been."

George Eliot [1819-1880]


What is you wanted to be or to do and you're still planning to be that way or to do that thing?

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst, how would you rate yourself as procrastinator?

Do you have a story about yourself - when you finally did something - you always planned to do - and you finally did it?  A trip? A job? A cleaning? A degree? A call?

What did you want to be when you were 13?  Did you become what you wanted to become? What happened?

What did Marian Evans Cross want to be when she was a teenage girl?  Did anyone tell her, "You'll never make it as a writer?"  Was she angry at herself for going under a pseudonym?  Why did she pick George Eliot?

Is there something or someone  in your life that you want to dynamite out of your life?

Sunday, June 10, 2012



The title of my homily is, “This Is My Body, This Is My Blood. Amen.”

Today is the feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - with the old title sometimes placed with it: "Corpus Christi."

The obvious reality to be considered and preached about  today is the great act of faith we Catholics make at each Mass: the bread and the wine become the Body and Blood of Christ; and that we can receive this Body and Blood and become one in communion with Christ - and with each other. Obviously, this happens in a deep Mystery of Faith way - at Mass - and then as leave Mass and walk and work together in this journey of life. [1]

How this is possible is impossible to explain. We take it on faith. We sense it at times. People who drop out of our Church - sometimes try another faith or church experience. They might find better or different music, sermons, community, outreach, as well as well as what they sense is a better expression of Christianity at times -  but sometimes they come back because they miss communion at a Catholic Mass.

The catechisms and the theologians use different images and words to talk about how the bread and the wine become the Body and Blood of Christ - but down deep - it’s a call for a great act of ongoing  faith.

If someone has doubts, instead of pushing someone to read the catechism - I would stress reading the 6th Chapter of John’s gospel - because catechisms and words come and go - but the Gospel of John - will be one of the 4 key pillars of our Catholic Faith for the future as they have been for the past 1900 plus years.  [2]

Today after the 12:30 Mass there will be the Corpus Christi Procession at St. Mary’s. Priest and parishioners in procession will march out of church after Mass and proceed down Duke of Gloucester Street a bit - go in through the ugly tan brown wooden gates there - past the blue garbage bins - into the garden - and then proceed around the Carroll house past the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and back into the church. What will people in cars think  and wonder when they notice the pilgrims and then see the priest in heavy robes carrying the big golden monstrance with Christ the Bread of life inside the glass center?

And here in this parish we have lots of Masses and we have 24/7 adoration - and hopefully Christ nourishes all his people with his Body and Blood. So that’s one reality to think about today - on this feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi.

Where are we with Christ in our lives: center or periphery - or are we an empty monstrance or tabernacle or chalice of blessing at times?


The title of my homily is, “This Is My Body, This Is My Blood. Amen.”

We say “Amen” to Christ the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Blood when we come up to receive communion at Mass.

Yesterday as I was preparing this homily it hit me to look at two other bodies and blood - my body and blood and everybody else's body and blood.


Can I say “Amen!” to my body?

This is my body for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do we part. Amen.

People who sit in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel or here in church or in St. Mary’s or in any Catholic Church, reflect upon the presence of the Body of Christ in the tabernacle or monstrance on the altar or in their own person after communion.

It struck me: can I say “Amen” to my body?

Newspapers - magazines - and news reports are featuring more and more the problem of obesity in the United States - now in China - and all around the world.

Food! Glorious food. Food and drink are part of our lives. Obviously.

What’s our take on food and drink?

What's my take on the human body?

What's our take on cosmetics, clothes, exercising, diets, diets, diets, mirrors, eating disorders, tummy tucks, the battle of the bulge, 6 packs, love handles, teenage male athletes taking steroids to look more muscular, teenage girls taking less and less and less and we have problems like bulimia and anorexia? It's on and on and on. It's stuff of articles in those magazines on the coffee or end tables in doctors’ waiting rooms.  I read recently that the Diet Industry is a 40 billion dollar per year business. I don’t remember if that was just the United States or the world.

Can I say “Amen!” to my body.  [Pointing to my body in the pulpit] "Body of Andrew. Amen." This is me.

Right now I have a tooth ache. It's a nasty - throbbing in my right jaw. It's from a root canal job from last  Wednesday. It triggered for me the question: "In pain, whom do we think about?" Answer:  "Self. Self. Self."

I have Diabetes #2. Thank God I didn’t get this till 8 years ago - because I loved Storm Brothers Ice Cream - as well as cakes and pies. Bummer. I only have to take 2 glucophage pills every day and watch my diet and exercise. To monitor my blood, every morning I jab the fingers on my left hand with a tiny needle. It gives me a little dab of blood. I put a strip into a meter - and then put the tip of that into my blood. It tells me what the blood sugar count is. At times I wish it didn’t indicate what it does, but I have to say, “This is my blood!”

So the first Body and Blood to reflect upon is my body and my blood. Can we say, “Amen” to ourselves?


The best story I heard about body image and all  this is from a wonderful speaker from Florida, Pat Livingston.

In a talk I attended,  she said she was once at a pool party in Florida

She was just sitting there with a group of friends having a wonderful time. 

Across on the other side of the pool was a big, enormous lady laying on a big towel. She was laughing and laughing. She was having the time of her life. Pat said it looked like she had a good supply of  hot dogs and hamburgers and chips and what have you on paper or plastic plates next to her. She was in a bikini and a lot of her was hanging out - but she was laughing and obviously happy. 

Next came this thin, thin, thin, lady walking by. She was wearing a robe over her perfect body. 

Pat said if you had a measuring instrument, you could not find an ounce of fat on her perfect figure. 

She walked by Pat and her friends - and one said after she was out of ear range, “Watch this.”  

The lady had walked to the other end where the ladder going down into the pool was. She got on the ladder and as she was descending into the pool, off came the robe inch by inch. She had a full bathing suit on. 

She swam up and down the pool a bunch of times - and then ascended up the ladder out of the pool - slowly putting on her cover as she went up the steps.  Her face was quiet and serious the whole time. 

Then  afterwards Pat said as she thought about all this, she realized she rather be the big girl. Pat isn’t.


Next can we say, “Amen!” to everybody else?

We have not walked in everybody’s else’s flip flops or 500 dollar shoes or bathing suit - and as I like to add, “We haven’t walked in each others sins and moccasins”.   That tidbit is at the heart of my thinking as priest. I think it’s central to Jesus’ message, “Stop judging!” “Stop throwing rocks!”

We've all heard preachers when they get into this topic, quoting the famous line Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch tells Scout, in Harper Lee’s book, To Kill to Mocking Bird. The quote “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his [or her] point of view…until you climb in his [or her] skin and walk around in it.” 

Unfortunately, we don't. I know I don't. I just was making fun of the thin lady at the pool.  Instead we mock and kill birds of a different feather.

Can we say “Amen” to everybody else?  

This means people with different color skin than us - people with flabby upper arms or wrinkled or wrinkledless face, or people with missing teeth or an accent we don’t get - whether in the pulpit or on the phone.

Do we think the doctor or the brain surgeon with the 18 letter last name is not as good as the doctor who has a so called, “American” last name”?

When was the last time you went to Toronto or Vancouver or you were in the subway in New York City or London - and you looked around at the population. This is a technicolor world. This is everybody.

When was the last time you went to Rome and you were in St.  Peter’s Square for the Pope’s audience and you looked around and spotted the bodies of sisters and brothers in the Catholic Church. We’re every size, shape, age, color and slant of life. We’re losing some Church going Catholics folks in this country and we’re growing in Africa and Asia.

I am proud to be Catholic - especially when we practice the welcome  in its meaning. As you know “Kata” - the first part of the word "Catholic"  - is a  prefix which means “with.” We know the word “holos” means "whole". We are a world wide religion. I don’t hear it too often, but there were days when folks said that it was, “Latin” that united us. It’s our common language. I’m not going to go there. It can still be divisive. The language that unites us is  love. It’s welcoming. It’s a handshake and a sign of peace. It’s a smile - all of which can be understood in every language by  everybody everywhere. 

People ask us priests here at St. Mary’s, we’re in the Redemptorist Congregation, if we’re getting any vocations. We say, “Not that many in this country - but in Vietnam and South America and Africa and India and Korea, we’re growing."


The title of my homily is, "This Is My Body. This Is My Blood. Amen."

In this sermon I said, at every Mass we can go down the aisles here and receive the Body of Christ and the Chalice of the Blood of Christ. Our response is, “Amen." [3]

In this sermon I then added that during Mass there is one other body we can say “Amen” to: ourselves. 

And lastly, I said, then there are all those around us - whom we can give the sign of peace to - and pray with - and look in each other’s eye and say, “Amen” to. Then we can leave this church and be one with everybody during the week - and make this a better world - because we are the Body and Blood of Christ in this world. Amen. [4]



[1]  Mysterium Fidei, the Mystery of Faith encyclical on the Eucharist by Pope Paul VI, September 1965.

[2] I would push my own book on the Mass, if .... It's 303 pages long. I sent it to three publishers - but each rejected it. If you are a publisher and if you are interested in reading a great book on the Mass, please contact me. Smile. Still waiting............

[3] It is the practice here in St. Mary's Parish to offer in communion both the bread and the cup - at all weekday Masses - and all Sunday Masses here at St. John Neumann. We don't do that on Sunday at St. Mary's because of lack of aisle space. 

[4] Read St. Paul's great learning from his conversion moment on the Road to Damascus. [Check Acts 9:1-22; Acts 22:3-16; Acts 26:2-18.] In his letter to the Corinthians he talks about the Lord's Supper and the division he experienced in the meals together.  [Cf. 1 Corinthians 11: 17-22.] However, when he talked about the Body of Christ, it wasn't a referring to the Bread of the Eucharist. When he talked about the Body of Christ, it was the community as a body - the Body of Christ - the 3rd Point in this long homily. [Cf. 1 Corinthians 12-31.] Mother Teresa put these 2 together very strongly in her spirituality. If you don't experience Christ in the Eucharist, you won't experience Christ in the body of the poor person you are visiting or feeding. If you don't experience Christ in the presence of the poor and the little dying baby, you won't experience Christ in the Eucharist.


June 10,  2012  Quote for Today

"The New Testament, and to a very large extent the Old, is the soul of man. You cannot criticize it. It criticizes you."

John Jay Chapman [1862-1933] in a Letter dated March 26, 1898


What text in the Bible challenges you the most?

What does that say to you about you?