Saturday, December 28, 2013


Quote for Today - December 28, 2013 - Saturday

"The poem ... is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful.  And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see - it is, rather, a light by which we may see - and what we see is life."

Robert Penn Warren, Saturday Review, March 22, 1958

Friday, December 27, 2013



The title of my homily is, “The Invisible Poet.”

Years ago there was a saying to put on refrigerator doors, “Inside every fat person, there is a thin person trying to get out.”

Could we say, “Inside every person, there is a poet trying to get out.”


I remember visiting a nursing home in Pennsylvania. It was part of a parish mission we were giving in a parish there.

I’m talking to this one lady, For some reason, I blurted out, “You’re a poet!” 

She smiled and pointed to a chair on the other side of her room. I headed towards her point [POINT]. Then she signaled to go behind the big cushioned chair.  I spotted a loose leaf filler and picked it up. She signaled with her smile. “Good!”

She then spoke, “Turn to page 16 or so.” 

The binder  was filled with poems. As I was looking at page 16,  she recited the poem from memory.

I said, “These are your poems?”

She said, “Yes!”

Then she recited a few more of her poems.

She was good.


Could we say, “Inside every person, there is a poet trying to get out”?

Does everyone have their loose-leaf binder of poems - or at least one poem somewhere?

I would think that all of us in our lifetime wrote a poem at some time.

Then there are those who try their hand at a poem at a wedding or with a Christmas greeting - or somewhere along the time line of their life.


Today is the feast of St. John the Evangelist - the writer of the 4th Gospel.

If there is one thing, you can say of the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, John captures the poetry of Jesus - the most.

John’s symbol is that of the eagle - high above it all. Soaring way up above the earth with ox and lion below.

Jesus was a poet of sorts.

John was a poet of sorts.

It takes a poet to spot a poet.

A poet spots the invisible in the visible.

A poet lets us fly - make leaps - see poetry on the other side of a broken branch or a flower petal caught on a metal fence or in a loose-leaf binder - behind a chair - on the other side of a room.

John was a poet - and a poet sees the invisible.

John has preserved for us many of the great images of Jesus - images that give us insight into the hand behind the bread - or the mind behind the creation - the who and the why behind whatever we’re seeing: light, doors, water, shepherd,  wine, wind, walls, birth, tomb, stone, eyes, word, healing, night, gates, oil …..

See Jesus walking on the water; see Jesus in every body of water we see.  See rocks in the field; see the hands of rock throwers who have walked away. See Jesus in every piece of bread and cup of wine. Feel Jesus’ spirit shaking in the wind and the washing of feet.  Feel Jesus’ presence with Mary at every wedding. Stand in any cemetery and make acts of faith in resurrection and hope for new life.

I love to say there is a invisible difference between a postcard on a metal rack in the airport gift shop and a postcard in a book - with or without writing on it - and it’s been sitting there as a book mark for 27 years. So too there is a difference between a wedding ring on someone’s hand and that same ring years ago in a jewelry store. The one on the ring finger has mystery and history going around and around the music in its band.

This earth is filled with energies, jumping out of birds, flowers, cemeteries, churches, rings and dates.

For example, on the top of Main and Duke of Gloucester Streets here in 
Annapolis, stands the Maryland Inn. I go by it at least a dozen times a week - and each time I whisper a prayer for my niece Margie and her husband Jerry. That’s where Jerry proposed to her. And every time I’m at St. Andrew by the Bay, I remember doing their wedding there.

I’m asking you the question: what are you seeing, sensing, every day?

Today is December 27, 2013. For many it’s just December 27, 2013.

For others today is an anniversary of a loved one who died on this date or it’s a wedding anniversary. In fact, just this morning I did a marriage renewal of vows for a couple - Jose and Jamie - who were married right here in this church - exactly 10 years ago today. Today they stood with their two little boys. Jamie told me - pointing to her tiny son, “In the car, he asked, ‘Why didn’t you invite me to your wedding?’  ‘In a way,’ she said, ‘I did.’”


The title of my homily is, “The Invisible Poet.”

Inside every person, there is a poet, a Fourth Gospel, waiting to come out.

Don’t forget the last line in today’s gospel: “... the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.”

The invisible…. The poet in us sees all and believes. Amen.


Quote for Today - December 27, 2013

"This is the saddest story I have ever heard."

Ford Madox Ford [1873-1939] - First line in The Good Soldier [1915].

Comment: I spotted this quote when I was looking for a quote for today. Wouldn't that want one to get into the book to find out what that story was?  Then I asked: What's the saddest story I ever heard?  I came up with 5 - and how does one then judge which was the saddest?

Thursday, December 26, 2013


December 26, 2013 - Quote for Today - Thursday

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."


Comment: Forgiveness is the message of December 26th, the feast of St. Stephen the Forgiver. Can't find something: pray to St. Anthony or St. Gertrude. Can't forgive: pray to St. Stephen.  [Cf. Acts of the Apostles 7:54-60 and Jesus' words from the cross: Luke 23:34.]

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


May a small piece of straw stick
to your coat as you bring your kids
to the Christmas crib this Christmas.

May the sent of bread and wine
from the Body and Blood of Christ
at the Christ Mass be ever
on your breath and in your words.

And may you be the best Christmas
gift you give to your families and your
friends this Christmas - you being
the Real Presence of Christ - the Way,
the Truth and the Life - to each other.*

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2013

*This is a fifth Irish Blessing which I just  put in my Book of Irish Blessings. It's a book  I’ve been working on for years. The word “sent” is a mistake on purpose. Irish prayers and blessings often have some humor  and some word play in them. This one is based  on the Old Latin command at the end of Mass: “Ite Missa est.” “Go you are sent!” Missa - becomes the English word “Mass” - which means  we come to Mass to be sent into the week with his love and power and grace. Amen.


[For the past 20 Christmases,  I have written a Christmas story of some sort in memory of a priest I was stationed with: Father John Duffy. He was a funny and unique English professor. - whom  had taught us in the seminary. Every year he used to write a new Christmas story and send it to his niece up near Boston.  I got to type out a few of those stories for him - so when he died on Christmas Eve - 1993 -   I thought -  writing a Christmas story  would be a fitting memorial for Duff.   I’ve been doing that  in place of a homily for  each Christmas ever since. So this is Number 20:  a story entitled, “Grandfather Clause.”] 

GrandPop Ralph died 5 years ago.

At family gatherings from time to time - the name of Ralph, Pop, Dad, GrandPop,  Uncle Ralphie, Grandfather Puff - that name came from one grandkid who had trouble pronouncing Ralph - so Ralph  was “Puff “- for him - and it became a cute family nickname always said with a smile. And the jokesters would add,  “Ralphie - you always were a puff over!”

“GrandPop,” that was how his grandson Frank began his thoughts about Ralph while driving along - alone - heading for a business meeting - some 150 miles away - just a week before Christmas.

 He was listening to his car radio and a correspondent was talking about the “Francis Bounce” - the so called Pope Francis effect on so many Catholics who had dropped out of Church years ago - and came to Church at Easter or Christmas or the First Communion of a grandkid or what have you or when have you.

Frank turned off the radio when that report was finished and he began thinking about his grandfather,  Ralph - whom he always called “GrandPop!” - all through the years.

“The ‘Francis Bounce’ - the ‘Pope Francis Effect’” - Frank said out loud in his car. “What about my GrandPop - what about the ‘Ralph Bounce’?  What about the bounce towardsd goodness we’re all supposed to be giving each other?”

“Yeah,” he reiterated to himself, out loud in his car. “What about the ‘Ralph Bounce’ - how my GrandPop had such a great impact on so many people? - way before anyone ever heard of this new fellow on the world stage: Pope Francis?”

He thought about how his GrandPop - after he retired - loved playing Santa Claus all through the Christmas season: in nursing homes, schools, and at the hospital. It was one of his many volunteer jobs - that he loved to do.

“Ho, ho, ho!” He loved giving out gifts to kids of all sorts - old ones in nursing homes - and new ones in kindergartens.  He didn’t have that much of a mid-life belly - so as Santa Claus  he loved to tap his tummy and say to other adults: “It’s a pillow!” - or to a few of the guys: “It’s silicone!”

After he retired - after his hair turned whitish gray - he grew a great, real Santa Claus beard.

As he drove along Frank thought about the half dozen or so folks  who came up to him at his grandfather’s wake - saying, “Your grandfather got me back to my church and I’m not a Catholic. He didn’t nag me with words. He pulled me back by good example. He was extremely generous. Many times,  I saw him with his twenty dollar bills. He’d slip them into the hands or side pockets of guys who were stuck.”

Frank knew it was his GrandPop who got him back to Church - after he dropped out a bit during college and those first years of his marriage. His grandfather never said anything - but once during a summer family reunion at a big rented beach house, he overheard his mom talking and crying and complaining to her dad - his grandfather - as well as God -  on an outside porch - just outside an open window to a room - where he, Frank,  was taking a summer nap. They didn’t know Frank was in there. Or if they did, his Grandfather was quite clever.

His mom was complaining about her kids losing their faith - after all the effort - we put in - getting them religious education - and getting them to Church every Sunday - growing up.

Frank noticed that his GrandPop said little. He just listened and listened and listened some more.

He didn’t join in the pity party with his daughter  - but just said, “Give them time. Give them time. Sometimes people have to arrive at that first station of the cross - before they discover there are at least 13 more. Ha. Ha. Surprise! Surprise! Give them time. Wait till some of their walls come crumbling down. That’s how God gets inside some people’s castles.”

His mom became quite quiet after that. 

Frank remained even quieter in the room he was trying to sneak that summer nap in.

In the car - still driving along -  Frank said a prayer to God our Father and added, “Thanks GrandPop. Thanks Mom and Dad - for giving us the gift of faith - even though we blew it at times. Thanks.”

As he drove along - those highway roads - Frank was very silent - and he realized how often he loved these long quiet trips - these long moments of silence - no noise, no music, no nothing in the car - nothing but good think time.

Then he laughed and said out loud to himself, “And where did I get that attitude  from?”

He answered his own question with his own answer, “Thanks mom. Thanks dad. Thanks grandmas. And especially, thanks GrandPop. Thanks!”

His GrandPop, Ralph, could be the life to the party. He could also be a great ear at a meal together - when he, Frank, needed advice, about whether to take another job or how to deal with a boss who was a disaster.

And then there was the time his GrandPop gave him great advice when he Frank hit a blah boredom uggy lonely stage in his marriage to Judith. His GrandPop  said, “Frank give your grandma and me a weekend and we’ll take your kids for you and you take Judith for a honeymoon and tell her what you’re feeling - and listen, listen to where she’s at - and hear her boredom with you or the kids or what have you.”

Frank smiled at that - remembering how that was the ticket to a new beginning  - to a whole new phase in his marriage with Judith.

He remembered giving that same advice to a buddy - who was in the same boat that he had been in. He told this fellow he worked with how he talked to his GrandPop and what his GrandPop told him.

His buddy said at first, “You talk to your grandfather? And your dad?  I’ve never done that since I was a kid. That stopped when I got into high school.”

Frank heard that - and called his Grandfather up and took him out to Olive Gardens - for another great meal - just the two of them. And he told his grandfather how he gave his buddy the advice that you gave me and it’s also working for him as well.

And he told his GrandPop that  the guy said, “You talk to your grandfather?”

His grandfather said, “Haven’t you ever heard of the Grandfather Clause?”

Frank hesitated when his grandfather threw him that question. He never liked to not be in the know. So he deflected his grandfather’s question with a: “Refresh my memory.”

So his grandfather said, “A grandfather clause simply means - the old rules always continue to apply - whether we know it or not. I got my ideas from my father and he got his ideas from his father and back and back and back - fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, whoever. The big stuff.  The big life stuff.”

“Oh,” said Frank.

Well, once more, he thanked his GrandPop.

And he thought while driving, way before this pope came along, he remembers saying something like this to him: “GrandPop, you know what, you’re my Pope - more than the pope is my pope.”

And he thought his grandfather said - stroking his long white beard, “Ho, Ho, Ho. I rather be your Santa Claus than your pope.”

Well, when Frank arrived at the meeting that week before Christmas - those 150 miles felt like 15 miles. He felt refreshed - ready for the meeting and ready for Christmas this year. And he had a great smile on his face - and he thanked his GrandPop in prayer for being the cause of so much joy in his life and teaching him all about the grandfather clause: There are some old rules in life - that never run out of life. Use them and we’ll all be giving each other a great  bounce effect on how to live life to the full. Amen.


Quote for Today - December 25, 2013 - Christmas Day

"I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,
I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas Day in the morning,

And what was in those ships all three?
Our Savior Christ and his Lady."

Anonymous, I Saw Three Ships (16th Century)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



The title of my reflections or thoughts for this morning Mass on Christmas Eve  is, “On Building Churches.”

I really can’t call this a homily - because I’m just going to babble a bit about buildings called churches.


As I read today’s first reading I smiled because it sounds like a great promo for starting a building campaign for a temple in Jerusalem. [Confer 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b - 12, 14a, 16.]

It uses guilt big time. And it has God using the guilt trip trap on David. God tells Nathan to tell David, “Hey you’re living in a palace and I’m in a tent.”

Then he uses more guilt as a motive for trying to get David to move it.  Tell David, “Hey after all I did for you, moving you from being a shepherd boy to a commander. Wherever you went, I destroyed all your enemies. I have made you famous, so David, what are going to do for me?”

Translation:  “I want a house. Moreover, I will make sure you have ancestors who will come after you and your kingdom will have no end.”

Well David fails. Excuses are made - for his procrastination. Hey David is a fighter - a warrior - a man of blood. Check out the rationalization in 1 Chronicles 28:3.

So the task falls to Solomon his son - and Solomon does it - in 7 years. [Cf. below - artists rendition of Solomon's temple.]


If we travel this earth we’ll spot lots of bars and restaurants, hospitals and cemeteries, churches, cathedrals and temples.

I’m sure most of these houses for God that are still working have a brochure sitting there somewhere telling their origins and history - who had the idea of building here - and why.

I grew up in a parish with a gigantic church - but it had no steeples [above] - and now I'm in a much smaller church with a gigantic steepl. [below].

You can find our brochure in the back of this church - and I’ve seen various folks checking us out.


I could end here, but I would like to take a moment with a few more comments - so as to trigger in your minds and memories your church stories. So a question: you’ve been in many different churches in your life, which ones have a lingering memory?

To prime the pump, here is a short  list I came up with last night as I was working on this reflection. Talk to each other after this Mass and ask each other your specific church stories.

Years ago I heard a recording by Charles Laughton about his experiences in Chartres Cathedral [Picture above]. It’s about 50 miles southeast of Paris. It was THE Mary church and shrine in Europe. Sometime in one’s life time, one had to make a pilgrimage to Chartres. Hearing that recording made a trip to Chartres a lifetime dream of mine.   I finally made it there in 1996. It was even more than I expected. It triggered the stuff I read about all the work that goes into building these mighty big medieval cathedrals. While there I met a pilgrim who had her list of about 15 European cathedrals she had to visit in her lifetime. It gave me the idea of making my own list.

In 2011 I was going to Spain. About 6 people said I have to see Sagrada Familia in Barcelona [above].  I saw it. I saw why it is a must see. That gigantic church began in 1882 won’t be finished till 2026 - if then.

I always wanted to see Sancta Sofia in Istanbul [above]. It’s now a mosque - but it still retains some of the ancient Greek images of Mary and Christ [below].

Of course I’ve been to St. Peter’s in Rome and St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major - Lourdes, as well as the National Shrine of our Lady in Washington D.C. - as well as the famous Crystal Cathedral in Orange, California - which is now a Catholic Cathedral.[Below]

I wonder about all these churches that are closing in the United States. What about the people who love to pray in them? What about the donors? What about the stuff being taken down and taken away? What about statues and altars and stained glass windows donated in memory of?

I think about interesting churches. There was a church near Mansfield Ohio that had a balcony that extended down into at least the middle of the church. Instead of extensions, some pastor decided to extend within.  I was warned: “Preach from the sanctuary  - and don’t go down into aisle because folks up in the balcony won’t see you.” Now that was an interesting experience.

There was a church in Continental, Ohio that had about 12 benches. That was it. Then there was an alcove of about 6 benches over to the left. Then there was a door in that alcove that led to another building back off the alcove - where folks could watch the Mass on small TV sets. That was very interesting.

I loved the story about Sacred Heart Church in New Bavaria, Ohio [See 1975 picture above]. A group of people wanted a church, so the priest invited the bishop of the diocese to a church. Then they drove in a wagon down this road - and then way down this road, then back down this other  road and said, “See how far it is from the other church. We need a church here.” So the bishop said, “Okay.”  After it was all built, the diocese found out it was only a short distance from the other church.

Then there are those holy places on the planet. I remember standing at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem [above] and said a prayer. I felt that here was a holy place - that had been a holy place for the longest time. It’s base  was part of the base of an earlier temple. Then off to the right of the Western or Wailing Wall, there was a walking ramp up above everything. There were two mosques. I knew then and there I was standing on Holy Ground [below].


Sometime today go through your travels in your brain and memory and come up with your list of church building stories. See where that takes you. Amen.


Quote for Today - December 24, 2013 Christmas Eve

"What Christ 
brought to light 
in the unfolding 
of the Eternal Gospel 
is the Face, 
the personal aspect,
the revelation of the Heart,
the Love, the Grace,
the Character-Nature of God.
We see Him at last.

Rufus Jones, The Eternal Gospel, 1938

Monday, December 23, 2013


Quote for Today - December 23, 2013

"I am I plus my circumstances."

Jose Ortega Y Gasset, Time Magazine, Oct. 31,1955

Sunday, December 22, 2013



The title of my homily for this 4th Sunday of Advent - Year A -  is, “This Is How the Birth of Jesus Christ Came About.”

That’s the opening sentence in today’s gospel. [Cf. Matthew 1:18-24]

It’s part of the Christmas story according to Matthew.

The thought that hit me - and the theme that hit me - is how did the birth of Jesus Christ come about for me? For each of us? How? When? Where? Why? and Who was in on it?


As you know the four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are quite different - especially John.

All 4 introduce us to Jesus Christ - in different ways - coming out of different traditions, circles, early Christian communities - and what have you.

It’s like an interview I recently read in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. It was with  the actor Bryan Cranston. He had played the part of LBJ - Lyndon Baines Johnson - in a play that is headed for Broadway, "All the Way."  In the interview he was asked about the best book he read this year. That’s one of those regular interview questions.  He answered,"Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. He added that he had read 3 other books on LBJ by others. Then he said,  "And I must admit being curious about the new book, Roger Stone’s 'The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ,' but I think I’ll save that for after the run of the play." [1]

I’m sure each reading will give him a different take - perspective - insights - understandings -  like I’ve read at least five biographies of St. Alphonsus Liguori - the founder of us Redemptorists and three on St. John Neumann - plus his diary.  Each read gave me different perspectives on the person being talked about - by the person or persons painting the portrait of another - as well as their research.

As you know Matthew and Luke are the two gospels that contain the Infancy Narratives of Jesus. 

For starters Matthew gives us Jesus’ genealogy, the virgin birth, Bethlehem, the arrival of the Wise Men or Magi, the Slaughter of the Innocents, and the escape and then return from Egypt

Luke tells us about Mary, Joseph, the miraculous pregnancy,  the Census from Rome, the birth in Bethlehem, the shepherds, the presentation in the temple and the return to Nazareth.

Mark starts us off with Christ as an adult - starting to preach - after John the Baptist announces his coming and arrival. We know Mark is the earliest of the 4 gospels - and so some think - the so called Infancy Narratives, the Christmas stories, were developed to answer various questions about Jesus Christ as his life and message began to be told throughout the Mediterranean Basin cities.

John, the latest of the 4 gospels, from around 100 or so - begins before the very beginning - beginning his gospel with the same words the book of Genesis - the first book of the Jewish scriptures -  begins: “In the beginning.” He presents Jesus as the Word  - being the Word with God - being the Word who was God - through whom all things came to be -  being the Word of God made flesh - light from light - shining in the darkness for all to see.

John is the poet - flighty - pictured as an eagle - giving us the big sky picture. 

John’s Good News - the Fourth Gospel of Jesus - is quite different from the other 3 Gospels. They are sometimes called the “Synoptics” - “syn” the Greek prefix for “with” and “optics” from the Greek word for “eyes.” If you look at those 3, one notices that they come from seeing some of the same sources. John is very different.

For those who have time - like in your retirement - one smart book to read is Raymond Brown’s great book on the infancy narratives of Jesus, The Birth of the Messiah. We can be very grateful as Catholics for having some really great biblical scholars like Ray Brown - whom Biblical Scholars of many Christian denominations have benefited from.


So we have Jesus according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

So we have Matthew beginning his Gospel with these words, the title of my homily for today: “This Is How the Birth of Jesus Christ Came About.”

Question: How has Christ been born in us?  Better, how has Christ been born and reborn in us - again and again and again for many?

I have always been in favor of people writing their autobiography. 

What would it be like if 4 different people wrote our life? What would they see and say? Now that would be a page turner for one person: ourselves. But like little kids who are supposed to be in bed with the lights out, we would read others takes on us - with a flashlight - under the covers - wondering what someone else is going to say next about us.

I also think everyone - more or less - is composing, figuring, talking to themselves about their roots - their foundations - their biography - their stories - all through their lives - especially after 50. 

I also think there is a lot of revisionist history going on - when it comes to ourselves.  

That’s why I think Thanksgiving and family get togethers are important - when people are talking about old times - early times - and surprise they are saying to themselves, “I didn’t know that about mom or dad or sis or bro and me. 

That’s been my experience - especially because of being the youngest of 4.”

People - when they find out - that the gospel stories were revised and recalculated - developed - as time went on - till they were finally closed by the early 100’s or so - so as to deal with early Church preaching and teaching - go “Uh oh! Then what can you believe?” 

If someone is a fundamentalist when it comes to interpreting the scriptures, the Catholic Church basically says, “Think again!” [2]

As you might know the really weird stories about the baby Jesus that we find in some of the Gnostic Gospels were rejected because they are off the charts - like Jesus making baby birds out of mud and “poof” he sends them flying.

But once one starts  grasping the beauty of the scriptures - as they have evolved and developed - riches are there big time. Comparing texts - attending workshops on the Scriptures - understanding possible reasons why we have the stories we have in the scriptures - can deepen one's spiritual life.


I love the No Smoking Sign Principle when it comes to reading the Bible.  If one sees a No Smoking sign - one knows people are smoking in this area.

The whole bible is loaded with thousands and thousands of No this and Yes that signs. It’s loaded with Exit signs and “Dead End” signs. Evidently in early Christian communities people were not forgiving 70 times 7 times - maybe not even 1 time. Evidently prodigal sons and daughters came home from disasters with their lives - having hit bottom in some "pig sloppy" elsewhere - and then some family members wouldn’t shake their hands and hug them and welcome them home. Evidently people refused to go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, give the shirt off their back. Evidently people were passing by people on the road - etc. etc. etc.

I am convinced - once people grasp this way of digging the scriptures Christ will be born in them in newer and newer, richer and richer ways.

Hey - life is discovery - vision - revision - editing - and re-editing - changing - growing - being born again - and again and again.


My first answer for that question that has always been: Mom and Dad, my family, the parish and school in Brooklyn I grew up in.

Then there are so many other stories.

As priest I have heard lots and lots and lots of tales of people like Paul who fell on their face - discovered their blindness - and crawled their way to sight and insight in Christ Jesus.

For 14 years of my life I worked in two different retreat houses. Sometimes when people retreat - when they are far from home - somewhat anonymous - they get to tell their stories - their twists and turns, their ups and downs, their better and their worse, their doubts and their faith.

For 8 ½ years I was a road preacher - giving parish missions and retreats all over the country - and once more I discovered that various people look for strangers - to open up their story to.


And on and on and on.  The key thing I want to trigger in this homily is to ask you to listen to your Christmas Story - how Christ was born in you - and reborn in you.

I rarely work on a homily till I get to that homily - but I’ve been working in my mind on my Christmas story for this year. For the past 20 years I have written one for every Christmas. This year I want to get into this issue - of how people got their call to Bethlehem or Calvary or Jericho or the shores of the Lake of Galilee.

I am hearing that we’re getting the bounce effect from Pope Francis on many drop outs.

So I am expecting more people at Christmas Mass this year. Now Christmas Mass is actually redundant - because Christmas means Christ’s Mass.

I hope all of us the regulars will do what I heard Father Pat Flynn likes to say: “Welcome them. Give them your seat!”

I am well aware that many CEMF - Christmas, Easter, Marriage, and Funeral - Catholics are out there - ready to be reborn - ready for Christ to come to them - to be born in their stable or unstable lives - stinky stable or cold cave of a mind and heart.

God is no fool. God comes as a baby to disarm us - with the hopes we’ll grow up with Him - or come into the vineyard - at whatever hour it happens. Amen.



[1] "Bryan Cranston: By the Book,"  New York Times - Sunday Book Review, December 8, 2013, page BR 6

[2] Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Vatican Council II, Pope Paul VI, Rome, November 18, 1965


December 22, 2013 - Quote for Today - Sunday

"How much has to be explored and discarded before reaching the naked flesh of feeling."

Claude Debussy [1862-1918]

In the meanwhile, listen to Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy