Saturday, December 1, 2012


Quote for Today  - December 1,  2012

"Someone said that God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."

Sir J. M. Barrie [1860-1937], Rectorial Address at St. Andrew's, May 3, 1922, in The Times, May 4, 1922


What years in a person's life are considered the December years?

Do people in their 70's on a golf cart in Florida in December spend less time with their memories than  someone sitting in a soft chair in a nursing home in New England?

If you're over 70, what are the top ten life memories planted in the soil of your soul?

Friday, November 30, 2012


Quote for Today  November 30, 2012

"There is in repentance this beautiful mystery - that we may fly fastest home on broken wing."

William L. Sullivan, Epigrams and Criticisms in Miniature, 1936


Read Luke 15: 11-32 in the light of the above quote.

Would the older brother gladly come into the house to greet his lost brother if he had been there years earlier?

Do more people leave God - and/or Church - because of their own personal sins or the sins of those in the Church - or sins [never called sins] but perceived decisions they feel God committed against them?

Is Advent - the preparation time for Christmas - seen by some people as a time to come home - to God - to Christ - to Church? The Catholic Church  promotes Advent and Lent as a good time to catch a confession in a local church.

Here in this diocese many parishes offer Reconciliation - Penance - Confession services during Advent. The theme of "Coming Home" can be found in the announcements about this practice from the pulpit. 

Check out the quote above in light of all this. Amen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Quote for Today  - November 29,  2012

"A good scare is worth more that good advice."  

Edgar Watson Howe, Country Town Sayings, 1922


Looking at your life, list 3 moments of good advice. Put the advice into a mantra - or a simple statement. Also name the person who gave the advice or the book or movie or whatever, where you heard that piece of advice:




Looking at your life, list 3 moments when you were scared.  Name the time and the place and the situation that hit you.




Now read the quote above again and ask, "Which had more power: the advice or the scare?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Quote for Today - November 28, 2012

"Among animals, one has a sense of humor. Humor saves a few steps, it saves years."

Marianne Moore [1887-1972], "The Pangolin," 1941

P.S. If you're in a bad mood, bring your kids or grandkids for ice cream quickly - and get some for yourself while you're at it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012



The title of my homily for this 34 Tuesday in Ordinary Time is, “Christ as Center.”

Last night when I read today’s readings for today my first reaction was, “Ugh!” These end of the year readings are tough stuff - because they bring in apocalyptic - end of the world - type readings. [Cf. Revelation 14:14-19 and Luke 21:5-11]

The Early Church was not sure when the end was coming. It took them time to sort things out. We’re still waiting. We’re still working.

In the meanwhile, I was looking for an idea for a short homily - to come up with a theme or a thought that might be helpful.


On second glance at the readings what hit me was the theme of centering. We humans like to be centered. If you’ve taken any workshops or programs on prayer, you’ve heard about centering prayer as well as beginning one’s pray time by being centered. Sit. Pause. Breathe. Pause. Breathe. Be centered where you are.

We know that athletes are pushed to do the same thing - to resist temptations - to avoid distractions - and be on their game and in the game. They are told to be centered. Focus. I like the saying, “Be where you is, because if you be where you ain’t, then you ain’t where you is.”


One way of understanding the gospels is to know how Jesus’ goal was to get to Jerusalem.

He set his face - his eyes - on getting to Jerusalem -and in the gospels we see him heading south - to get to the temple.

We know that Mary and Joseph took him there earlier.

We know from the Jewish scriptures - that the temple is crucial and central.

It helps to have a center - and for Judaism - it was the temple in Jerusalem.

We know about the different temples in the history of Judaism.

We heard in today’s gospel how centered the folks were on the physical aspects of their temple in Jerusalem.

We know that in the year 70 Rome comes along and destroys the temple - and the Jews are scattered.

We know that even till today - the Jewish People want to have Jerusalem and Israel as their center.

Would Judaism fall apart if Israel was destroyed?  The Nazis and others wanted them destroyed - in the Holocaust. They survived and recovered without and then with Israel.

 Jerusalem is also a central Holy City for Moslems as well.

Would different sects of Islam be destroyed if their holy places were destroyed?

We know that Jesus ends up saying he is the temple. Check out that important text in John 2: 13-25.


We know our families are central. Coming home hopefully centers us.

We see this especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas - hopefully at many more celebrations during the year - weddings, birthdays, anniversaries. A funeral can also center us as family. The sickle of death and destruction which we heard about in today’s first reading - certainly centers us - whether it’s death by storm or cancer.


We’re here in a church - in this holy center of the circle of our lives.

The parish, the church, can center us. For some it’s even the bench and area of church - where we feel at home with God especially.

One of the beauties of the Catholic Church is that we can become centered in another parish when we move or what have you. It takes time etc. However, we believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, in the Word, and in the Body and Bodies and Blood around us - hopefully - and we see each other in communion with each other as well. Amen.


Ikon top - 2nd Coming Ikon of Jesus.

Quote for Today - November 27, 2012

"Beware of the man whose god is in the skies."

Bernard Shaw

Check this out!  Just tap tap the https below!

Monday, November 26, 2012



The title of my homily for this 34 Monday in Ordinary Time is, “Putting One’s Two Cents In.”

We’ve all heard that saying down through the years. And we probably know it comes from today’s gospel when the widow puts her two coins into the treasury box. [Cf. Luke 21:1-4]

So for a homily today I thought I’d think about that principle: that of putting one’s two cents in.


For starters I would assume that we have 3 possibilities when it comes to putting our two cents in.  We can just blurt it out or we can wait for the right moment or we can say nothing.

I would also assume that it all depends on the situation and whom we’re with or whom we’re talking to and who we are.

Some people see everything as a correction and they don’t like corrections.

Some people are grateful for our advice - our two cents.

Some people say, “Thank you - but never do anything about what we’re pointing out.”

Sometimes the person who is putting their two cents in is nosey and into control - and is a busy body - and can’t deal with differences of opinion.

Sometimes it’s too late: “Okay she has that outrageous tattoo - and it would be crazy to bring this up now. So why  bring it up - if it’s going to cause upset or uproar or unlimited pay backs?”


I would assume that prudence is called for. Caution is called for. Experience is called for.  If the matter is very serious, it might be smart to bounce things off someone else first.

If it’s for the other’s benefit and not ours, and we think we need to put our two cents in, the next 3 issues are:
·        the  where,
·        the when,
·        and the how.

We’ve already determined the why. It’s for the other’s benefit not necessarily mine.

The where is the right situation. Depending on circumstances, one to one, and where others can’t hear what we’re saying to the other is often the best  scenario.

Next comes when. Timing as they say is everything. Sometimes we have to know another person’s moods.

How we say our two cents is key as well. There is a difference between honey and vinegar. We know the old saying, “One catches more flies with a spoonful of honey than a barrel of vinegar.


We learn from our experiences. When thinking about putting our two cents in - hopefully we’ve learned from experience, whom we’re dealing with.

For example, I was once sitting at lunch with 5 priests. It was not here. One guy has some mustard or mayonnaise on his face and I gesture with my hand to him - sort of sneaky - to wipe his face with his napkin. It didn’t work. He got upset and yelled at me.

With that kicked in a principle from Father Al Rush, an old Redemptorist at the time, whom I used to work with. He used to say about certain people, “I’d give that lady a wide  berth.”

I was a meeting where Governor Nelson Rockefeller was speaking and someone asked him a question and he said, “Are you crazy? I’m not going to answer that question. Next?”


From time to time, we need not only to give to the poor - but there are times when we might be able to improve a situation by putting our two cents in. Ching, ching.

Sometimes a word about another being the wrong person to date is the best advice to give a son or granddaughter. Sometimes we have to keep our two cents in our pocket.

This is my two cents today about what hit me from today’s gospel. 

Quote for Today - November 26, 2012

"Better to be a sinner than to be a hypocrite."

Danish Proverb

Painting on top: Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, c. 1691-1699, Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Sunday, November 25, 2012



The title of my homily is, “The Truth!”

“Truth" is a key word in today’s gospel from John for this feast of Christ the King.  So a sermon on truth.

My presentation will be smorgasbord. I’ll put on the table various things about truth. If one thought grabs you - chew on it - digest it - and see how it fits into your life. Obviously - some of these thoughts are already part of your life as well.


For starters, truth is necessary for life together. We trust that the labels on the meat and the jars and the fish are telling the truth - as to the date - the ingredients - and what you see is what you get.

Husbands and wives - as well as children - make comments to each other  - where they are and what they are doing. If that breaks down - if words are twisted - if lies are told - then marriage and family can fall apart.

Life is built on truth and on trust - in business, in family, in society. The person walks to the front of the courtroom - puts her or his hand on the Bible and says, “I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”

How good is our word - on the day of marriage - and all through a marriage - and a life together?

We’ve seen lies in the highest places - slippery words - perjury - on a regular basis - and when it hits the papers - and the TV news - when it becomes story - we realize down deep we are weakened as well. It also tells us that we expect the truth - other wise it wouldn’t be news.

So for starters, the truth is a foundation stone of society, family, life.

For starters, the truth is expected - and when the opposite is served us, we don’t like its taste.


I noticed in thinking about the truth - and in reading up on truth - for this homily, people at times say that the truth can get us angry or mad or sad.

I’m sure we all have heard the saying, “The truth will set us free, but first it will hurt.”

A Salada Tea Bag had on the tag, “The truth doesn’t hurt unless it ought to.”

The truth hurts when we have to face the music - or reality - or each other - and the music is off key. Sometimes we have to say, “I didn’t prepare.” or “I did it.” or “I’m broke.” or “I lied.” or “I’m stuck.” and/or  “I need help!”

Sometimes we haven’t budgeted our time or our money or our life well.

Sometimes those we hurt or lied to or left hanging or kept waiting get angry at us.

Communication calls for talking to each other - talking turkey - talking the  truth  to one another. So sometimes an angry conversation is necessary.

Arnold Glasow put it this way: “The truth will ouch.”

We need to say to each other up front, “Honesty is the best policy.” We need to say things like, “For the sake of transparency I’m not sure we’re going to make ends meet. I’m over my head. We’re spending too much money or time doing stupid things. Let’s be honest, we can’t fake this any longer.” This can be in big things as well as simple things, like the ability to say, “I think we’re lost.”  That can refer to while driving a car together - or while letting a marriage drift.


Sometimes the person we lie to the most is ourselves. I read a long time ago a tiny comment by some poet that said a lot. It might have been Ted Hughes. It went something like this, “Oh the lies I’ve told my energies.”  In other words, “I was lazy!” or “I was hiding!” or “I was being dishonest.”  Some people can hide out on their jobs for years.

We need to get angry at ourselves - feel the hurt we cause ourselves or others - and then get moving with the life talents and gifts we have to make life sweeter for each other. That’s the struggle. That’s the difficult part and it doesn’t get easy - if we’ve gotten into bad habits.

This flows into the issue of lying.

The best comment about not lying is that it calls for too much memory to lie - unless one is a very good liar. Eventually the truth happens.

In my first assignment as a priest, I was at Most Holy Redeemer Church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, On Wednesday evenings, I used to work BINGO with a lady named Tessie. She once said to me: “Andrew! Wherever there is money, there is trouble.”  She worked in the money collection department for The New York Daily Mirror . Money - cash - coins and bills - came across all the desks in her division. She said on a regular basis a group of suits would come in - go up to a person at a desk - tap the person on their shoulder - whisper in their ear - and they would empty out their desk - never to be seen again.

The truth is often blurred - murdered - forgotten -  when it comes to money, sex, food, booze, drugs, use of time - living life in the state of sloppiness.

That’s why it’s good to look in the mirror daily - to look into our own eyes - and tell the truth to ourselves.

I am a diabetic. I don’t cheat on desserts - but I do with carbs. Bummer. But I’ve noticed diabetics talk to each other - and we notice each other cheating. Bummer. Liar. Liar. Liar.


That message on truth is relatively clear. We get that.

It’s the challenge to be honest, to be transparent, to tell the truth to ourselves and to each other - day by day.

Let me move onto some thoughts about Jesus as the Truth. To be perfectly honest this last part about Jesus Christ as Truth - is difficult to grab and grasp - to pronounce and proclaim.

Jesus in the Gospel of John says that he is the way, the truth and the life.

In this homily I’m concentrating on truth.

Let me put where I now want to go this way: I’m noticing people - including family members - who are drifting away from the Catholic faith.  I sense we’re going to be dealing with this issue more and more big time in the next few years. Translation: with a steeper decline than the present average decline. 

Lately, I have been hearing the words, “The New Evangelization!” I’ve been hearing that word “evangelization” for the past 35 years - starting with Pope Paul VI’s December 8th, 1975 encyclical, Evangelii Nuntiandi - the call of all Catholics to spread the Gospel to all. I never thought the word “evangelization” was a grabber.

The grabber is: Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is: Jesus Christ.

The Godspell - or Good News is: Jesus Christ.

I want to scream out that Catholics are Christians and we base our life on the truth that Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus is the reason for all the seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer, fall. Jesus is the reason for all the seasons of life: childhood, school years, teenage years, dating years, marriage or single years, middle age, retirement, what have you years.

Jesus - being in communion with him this Sunday - this moment - is the reason why we are here right now - in this church. We’re here to  be a we in communion with Jesus Christ.

Today we’re celebrating the feast of Christ the King.

I think the words “Christ as King” has a lot more grab than the word, “evangelization”.

Whatever words are used - I want the name of Jesus as our proclamation - as our scream - as our shout-out.

Jesus is our truth. Jesus is the one we follow. Jesus is the Shepherd, King, Rock, center, Foundation, reason, season, connection.

I love Martin Buber’s words, “I-Thou”.  They have energy. He said that we have a basic choice in life to treat each other in “I-It” or “I-Thou” relationships.

As I read the gospels, I see Jesus seeing and experiencing each person as a “Thou” and never as an “It”.

Jesus came to bring us into an “I-Thou” experience with God and with each other.

The call is to have a personal experience - a one to one relationship with Jesus  - an  I-Thou relationship with Jesus - who then brings us into communion with all people - as persons - not as a bunch of “its” or an impersonal crowd.

That's the truth I want to preach about.

So I don’t know how to put all this together - but I’ll keep working on it.


Let me go this way: I once heard a priest talk about what happened to him when he went to Rome for further studies. It hit him when Catholics came to Rome they came to see the Pope. “Fine,” he thought. But in time it dawned on him that Catholics can sometimes put the pope in the center of their faith - then make him the center of their faith -  and Jesus Christ is put in the back seat or back burner or back stage or background.

The pope he realized is an office - and it’s his office, his job to do what John the Baptist did, point people to Jesus.

In the history of the Church there have been great popes and not so great popes, saints and sinner popes.

Whatever he is like, he is still the pope. He is still the chosen leader.

Now, let me try to make a point here. Popes and bishops, priests and police, mayors and presidents, are all in offices and jobs - with titles. Hopefully, they serve us. But we’re not here to serve them - or center on them. Of course, if they come to town, we'll be there to wave to them - as part of the crowd. 

However, we are not following the person in these positions. We're following Jesus Christ. 

All of us have positions. We’re working together in the positions and offices we’re in: mom, dad, mechanic, doctor, lawyer, accountant, priest, waiter, waitress - with the hopes and expectations of the job or role we’re in.

Christ is called today: King of Kings - but preachers will stress he’s the king on the donkey who comes to town to challenge and change the town - whether it’s Annapolis or Rome - to serve one another - to love one another - to reach out to each other. He is a king who washed feet and reached out to the unwashed and unnoticed.

Christ is called: the Suffering Servant - coming out of that rich term in the Jewish Scriptures. The Pope is called the servant of the servants of God.

When all of us serve, great.

Jesus did that, great. We follow him. We go about doing what he did: being on the level with each other.

When we follow Jesus, expect the cross - expect rejection - not for the sake of rejection - but because people know more is expected of them - and we shoot down those expectations - by shooting down the messenger.

Of course we make mistakes. We lie at times. We’re lazy at times. We don’t face or tell the truth at times. We fail at times. We are not God. Even the neatest person in the world has that bottom drawer with the junk and the mess. It might be in the bedroom or it might be in our soul. What I love about Jesus is that he knows us - and loves us the sinner and dines with us - eats with us - has communion with us.


Jesus comes into our life like he comes into Pilate’s life in today’s gospel - Jesus the Alpha and the Omega - the beginning and the end - as we heard in today’s second reading - and asks us about the truth of our life. If it’s great good. If it’s a mess or has messy closets - great. He’s here for us. Amen.


Quote for Today - November 25, 2012

"Sin has many tools,  but a lie is the handle which fits them all."

Oliver Wendell Holmes [1841-1935], The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table, 1858