Saturday, November 30, 2013


Quote for Today - November 30, 2013 - Saturday

"The path of duty lies in what is near at hand, but people seek for it in what is far away."

Japanese Proverb

Quote for Today - November 29, 2013 - Friday

"Better to be kind in one's home than to burn incense in a temple."

Chinese Proverb

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Quote for Today - Thanksgiving Day - November 28,  2013

The world is full 
of enormous lights 
and mysteries, 
and we shut them out 
from ourselves
with one small hand!"

Baal Shem Tov

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Quote for  Today - Wednesday - November 27, 2013

               "Two daiquiris
withdrew into a corner of a gorgeous room
and one told the other a lie."

John Berryman [1914-1972], 77 Dream Songs [1964], poem  no.16

Quote for Today - Tuesday - November 26, 2013

"Solitude lies at the lowest depth of the human condition. Man is the only being who feels himself to be alone and the only one who is searching for the Other."

Octavio Paz [1914-1998]  The Labyrinth of Solitude [El Labrinto de la Soledad] [1950], Appendix

Painting: Walk Alone Painting by Kim Peto

Quote for Today - Monday - November 25, 2013

"There was so much handwriting on the wall
That even the wall fell down."

Christopher Morley [ 1890-1957], Around the Clock, [1943]

Sunday, November 24, 2013



The title of my homily is, “Circles.”

When was the last time you drew a circle? 

Was it when you saw steam in a mirror or frost on a window - or you were at Macaroni Grill and there on the paper table cloth - was a box of crayons?

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.


The title of my homily is, “Circles.”

Since this feast is trying to get at something - and since the idea of king and kingdom - have sort of slipped away from our political realities  and imaginings - I began wondering where to go with this feast for Christ as King.

I’ve heard people talk about protecting one’s turf - or someone guarding  their territory - so as I began exploring the idea of having one’s territory - space - area - fiefdom - and trying to protect the who and the what within our circles - as well as to keep people out of our space or stuff - or what have you. 

Thinking about all that triggered the idea of reflecting upon circles.

We might not talk about kings and kingdoms - in the year 2013 - except in the UK - the United Kingdom - but we still talk about circles.

Inner circle - outer circle - family circle - political circles.... Do they still have sewing circles? I know they had quilting parties - but are they called “quilting circles” anywhere?

For the sake of a sermon, let me present 3 considerations about circles.


The first consideration would be to list our circles - our spheres - the circles we spend our time in and life in and with.

In a given week - where are we - where do we spend our time?

Get a piece of paper and draw 5 or 7 circles.

Put a single name in each circle for the 5 or 7 key people in your life. Someone said if you have 5 friends in one’s life, you’re a lucky person.

Get another piece of paper and draw 5 or 7 circles - and list your circles: home, work, organizations, bridge friends or poker buddies, [Is that like the difference between power boat people and sail boat people?] - walking or running or exercise groups - church - book clubs or what have you.

What would happen if someone realized they were the only circle in their life - and they won’t let anyone into their inner circle. Remember the old saying: “A person wrapped up in themselves makes a pretty small package.”

What would happen if someone realized in doing this that we are one big circle - and we're one with everyone on this big round circle called our world?


The second consideration would be to evaluate our circles. 

Which circles give me life? Which circles drain me?

Am a problem or am I a solution in the circles I spin around in.

Some circles are beautiful - life giving - and some circles are vicious circles.

Some of the circles I live and move in give me growth - and some cause me decay and death.

In evaluating our circles we might grab another piece of paper and draw some more circles. We begin thinking outside the box - oops - outside the circles we’ve been focusing on. We realize this image of circle is not flat - just one line - just one dimension like a crayon drawing of a circle  - but we see a ball. We realize the image of a circle - bounces around our brain - and we see that life itself has other types of circles.

There are circles everywhere. We have seen the human cell in drawings. We've seen basketballs and ping pong balls. We see tires and the sun, the moon and the stars. We see necklaces and ear rings with cricles. And we've see those gold circles on fingers - called rings.

We begin thinking about that circle called a wedding ring. If married, how is my marriage going? Are other circles swallowing up my primary relationships? 

When looking up quotes on circles I found the following quote from a 1797 play entitled, The Double Callant  - Act 1, scene ii.- by Colley Cibber [1671-1757]. One of the actors says, “Oh, how many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding ring.” 

One of my favorite singers was Harry Chapin - and I’ve listened to his CD’s while driving many, many a time. I love his song, “All my Life’s A Circle.”  It brings out the over and over and over again we are a circle as we experience in life cycle. “Sunrise and sundown, Moon rolls through the night-time till daybreak comes around.” “Seasons spinning round again, the years keep rolling by.” The song brings out: “Seems like I’ve been here before.” 

Life is déjà vu all over again.

We’re ending this church year this week. We’re heading for one more Family Thanksgiving - and Advent and Christmas - and Christmas shopping - and winter and the return again of snow and cold in the forecast.

Harry Chapin sings that there are no straight lines - “all my roads are bends”.  “There’s no clear-cut beginning and so far no dead ends.”

Harry Chapin died on the road - in a horrible car accident - and his circle ended - yet his songs sing on.

We reflect - that we are continuing the cycle of life of our parents and their parents - and we hope our legacy - our goodness will roll on.

For years I’ve been interested in Native American Spirituality.

Their art work…. their dancing …. their religion …. their lives are very much based on circles.

Black Elk [1863-1950] -  a famous Native American said, “Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.  In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken the people flourished.”  From Black Elk Speaks, Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala.

That quote  has triggered for me the question why they didn’t come up with the wheel - instead of long tent poles being dragged along the ground pulled by horses.

So my second consideration is to evaluate - wonder - ask questions about our circles. Are they giving me life or draining me?


We were taught in Theology and Bible Studies early on - that Judaism and Christianity - broke the circle - and became linear.

Christ came to change the world!

For doing so he was killed - murdered - as we heard in today’s gospel.

A message for us is where do I have to change and grow. Where do I have to die to self - so that I can rise to newness of life.

For example - relevant to what I’m trying to say here is the famous little poem called, “Outwitted” by Edwin Markham 1852-1940]

“He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.”

That is basic Christ. Here he is in today’s gospel with two men - one shutting him out and the other bringing Christ in - and Christ brings him into paradise.

Jesus formed his small circle - and he broke the cycle Judaism was going in -  and his small circle now includes well over a billion people called Christian.

We have the choice to close in on ourselves - or to expand.

I have always understood the word Catholic to mean “All” or “Universal” “the whole catalogue of people” Kata Holos in Greek.

I don’t know about you - but so far I am enthused - celebrating - that our new Pope seems to be opening up the edges of some of the closed circles in Catholicism - and I hear about people wanting back into the circle called the Body of Christ. Amen.

Quote for Today - Sunday - November 24, 2013

"Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism."

Remark by Hubert Horatio Humphrey [1911-1978]