Saturday, August 23, 2014


Poem for Today - August 23, 2014


I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

© Roy Croft

This reading is 
often read 
at wedding 
as well as at

Friday, August 22, 2014


Poem for Today – August 22, 2014


He may be six kinds of a liar,
He may be ten kinds of a fool,
He may be a wicked highflyer
Beyond any reason or rule;
There may be a shadow above him
Of ruin and woes to impend,
And I may not respect, but I love him,
Because—well, because he's my friend.

I know he has faults by the billion,
But his faults are a portion of him;
I know that his record's vermilion
And he's far from the sweet Seraphim;
But he's always been square with yours truly,
Ready to give or to lend,
And if he is wild and unruly,
I like him—because he's my friend.

I criticize him but I do it
In just a frank, comradely key,
And back-biting gossips will rue it
If ever they knock him to me!
I never make diagrams of him,
No maps of his soul have I penned;
I don't analyze—I just love him,
Because—well, because he's my friend.

© Berton Braley

Thursday, August 21, 2014


A Poem for Today - August 21, 2014


Stay beautiful
but don’t stay underground too long
Don’t turn into a mole
or a worm
or a root
or a stone

Come in out the sunlight
Breathe in trees
Knock out mountains
Commune with snakes
and be the very hero of birds
Don’t forget to poke your head up
and blink
Walk all around
Swim upstream

Don’t forget to fly

© Poem by Al Young

Painting on top:
Still-Life With Insects
and Amphibians, 1662,
by Otto Marseus Van Schrieck


The eyes have it.

We have these other senses: taste, touch, smell and hearing.

Along with sight – they are the classic five.

Still the eyes have it.

At least I think so…..

Then there are these other senses various scientists have come up with: a sense of balance, pain, a thermal sense, that is, having a sense of hot and cold – as well as having a kinesthetic sense – that is, sensing the energy that comes from motion and tensions.

Still the eyes have it.

At least I think so.

Coaches tell players – coaches yell to and at players – using these two fingers – pointing towards one’s eyes, “Keep your eye on the game – on the ball  - on the scene – on what’s happening.”

The eyes have it.

One piece of advice for you for this year: “Keep your eyes on your kids.” Whether your role is good cop or bad cop, keep your eyes on your kids.

This past year I read an article in some Sunday newspaper magazine – which said that many people when they are talking to other people – don’t look the other in the eye.

When I read that, I said, “Oh my God, that’s me.”  When I am talking with someone, when I begin thinking as I’m talking, I tend to look elsewhere.

How about you?

Well,  ever since reading that, I found myself working on that.

So if you want one recommendation from this short presentation tonight, or one piece of advice for this coming year:  as parents – keep your eyes on your kids – look them in the eye. Watch where they go, watch what they are doing. When communicating “about last night” – look them in the eye and see if they can look you in the eye.

What color eyes do your kids have?

For Mother’s Day –  a long time ago – I saw an ad in The New York Times about restoring a picture of your mom for Mother’s Day. Well, my mom had this neat picture of herself  as a young lady. She’s  around 20. She’s living in Boston at the time. Well, I borrowed the picture – assuming nobody would notice. I take it to Macy’s to get the picture improved as a gift for Mother’s Day. In the picture she is sitting. Standing next to her is a cousin with her hand on my mom’s shoulder.

I asked the person at the counter in Macy – if he could remove the lady from the picture.

“Piece of cake,” he said.

This was years and years before computers and digital cameras and Photo Shop.

Then the guy said, “I can colorize this black and white photo if you want.”

I said, “Great!”

Then he said, “What color are your mom’s eyes?”

I didn’t know – so the guy gave my mom my color eyes.

When my sister saw the picture – she said, “Mom doesn’t have greenish brown eyes.”

Message: look people in the eye.

The eyes have it.

When seeing your kid – especially when they are acting stupid – see their whole life.

Picture the first time you saw your kid – a tiny baby in the hospital.

The eyes have it.

In our office, just down the corridor outside this church, a gal named Ann Marie works. Well, she just had a baby the other day – Alice Marie. Still in the hospital, this afternoon I held Ann Marie’s new baby – now 7 pounds 4 ounces – in my arms.

Stupid me didn’t look Alice - the new baby - in the eye – I didn’t know the content of this reflection till tonight – when I worked on this talk after supper. But actually Alice’s eyes were closed the whole time.

But I did notice her mom and her dad’s eyes – and the smiles that went with those eyes – experiencing this first child of theirs.

Imagine all – the all – that is going on in their brains – right now – the stuff seeing their tiny baby is triggering.

As someone said, “The eyes are the windows of the soul.”

The eyes have it.

Picture the times you saw your kid in her first musical or play or game.

Picture the times your kid looked up to see you seeing them on the field of play.

Picture their eyes looking at your face – approval or disapproval – with their report card – and their marks.

Are you the type who sees the one D and misses all those A’s and B’s or C’s?

Are you the type that uses the pronoun “you” or “we” when a kid gets mostly “D’s” in his or her report card. “What can we do to work on improvement here? What can we come up and be eye to eye with?”

The eyes have it.

Picture a father’s face when he walks his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day – or a mom sitting there in church – watching her son’s face on his wedding day.

See the tears that form in those eyes.

The eyes have it.

See your kids’ faces when they see the face of their first child – making you a grandmother or grandfather. Oh my God, how time flies.

The eyes have it.

See your kids not seeing your face – or anybody’s face – but just the face of an iPhone – at supper or at the breakfast table.

I love one of Harry Chapin’s songs when he talks about his daughter and catching her eye – eye to eye – at one super special moment – and then she’s back to the dance of life – she’s back to her make-up and things.

The eyes have it.

This year look your kids in the eye. Don’t yell at them: “Look me in the eye when I’m talking to you.”

But look into their eyes – at least one moment each day – and notice by doing this that there is no escape – we are family.

Remember those days when you sat with him or her in a soft chair and you stared him or her in the eye – and asked this little 7 month old baby – “What’s going on in there? Hi! And your eyes are 3 inches away from each other and then you rub tips of your noses with each other.

I realize those childhood – eye ball to eye ball moments – lessen – as kids move towards the slow separation in becoming themselves – and kids start saying those dragged out, “Daaaaad!” or “Mooooooommm!” sounds.

It’s then parents have to spot those possible eye-opening moments – like the two of you are alone in a car. Your eyes are on the road. Your kid wants to put on different music – and wants to be somewhere else . You’re not looking into each other’s eyes. Your kid can’t escape – you’re going 55 miles per hour – and you see this as a moment to ask, “How are you doing?” Or “Hi what’s going on in there? I hope you have at least one moment every week – when you have an opportunity to be with each other – to talk to each other – I to I. 

Be aware! I’ve heard kids say, “I haven’t really talked to my dad or my mom – she or he – is always somewhere else.”

Instead of face book – or iPhone – have an eye to eye look into each other’s soul.

Ooops forgot to add: Don’t forget to let your kids see you doing this with each other.

The eyes have it.

Life each day has a roll call.

Our name is spoken by God and by others: ______

Then we have a chance to respond:  “Present” or better, “I’m here.”

It’s then we have a chance to say to God and one another: “I love you!” “I’m here for you!” “I’m listening. What’s happening with you?”

The eyes have it.

So that’s my thought for this evening. Thanks for listening!

Oops that’s another sense – hearing. I’ll save that for another talk.

[Presentation: St. Mary's High School - Orientation Evening for Parents of New Students - August 20, 2014]

After last nights - presentations at St. Mary's Church - as parents and staff headed for Marian Hall, various people saw the following rainbow with their eyes - and out came the cameras. Here are 2 pictures sent by Christine Bervid -  with the names of the great picture takes below each picture.

[Taken by Katie Petrides]

[Taken by Jimmy Ellis]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Poem for Today - August 20, 2014


They lie, such twisted flesh, so many numbered dead
in mud long bitter day, stained this earth blood red.
For King young lives were laid. for god and glory bound
hope that bloomed, called victory, broken on the ground.

Sky, long filled with flame, shell and killing bomb
so began this hell, The Battle of the Somme.
Seven days of thunder, deep German trenches shelled
to wrest this muddy waste, the enemy strong held.

Battle cry ' Advance ' from throats a bloodied roar
curse this bitter day, curse this bitter war.
Twenty miles or more, so young, they marched to hell
towards the trench bound foe, beneath the killing shell.

Bullet screams of anger, torrent death of steel
ripped the waiting flesh, with biting thoughtless zeal.
They fell, they fell so many, still they marched and more
heaped they lay unmoving, this graveyard battle floor.

Torn amidst the twisted wire, grotesque their dying fall
till left the fields of carrion, where only wounded crawl.
Battles end now came, a million more they lay
blood that soaks this earth. God I curse this day.

© Black Narcissus

-        Barry Hopkins

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



I’ve often read that if we’re in a photograph, the first person we look for in a group photo is oneself?

Is that true? Is that true for you?

Where were you in your class picture?

On top is a class photo of some 4th graders – in an all-boys school.

I spotted this picture in a very thought provoking book: Photoanalysis.

The author is Dr. Robert U. Akeret.

It’s sub-title is, “How to interpret the hidden psychological meaning of personal photos.”

On page 143 you’ll find the photo on top. The author says, “Find the Fuhrer in this photograph.”

Then he says, “One of the children in this school picture is Alois Schicklgruber, or Adolf Hitler, as he later became.”

I looked at the picture and I didn’t guess which one was little Alois.

Before checking below for the answer, check the picture – study the picture – and see if you’re sharper than me. Where’s Alois or Adolf?

In my 8th grade graduation class – all the boys were on one side and all the girls on the other side – and I was in the back – near the corner -  far left - looking out. I remember a bunch of us were trying to shake the whole stands – to see if we could get a good laugh – that is, till our 8th grade teacher yelled at us.

In our graduation from the Minor Seminary, I was in the 3rd row – out of 4 rows – on the far left looking at the camera.

In our religious profession picture – after taking our vows  - I was in the 3rd row out of 4 rows – left  center looking out.

Where are you in your class photos?  Do you still have them? If you don’t,  could you get a copy somewhere, somehow.

And some of you might say, “Why in the world would I want to do that?”

Okay, I stalled long enough – here’s the answer to the “Where’s Alois?” question.

There he is – with arms folded – top row - exact center – and the author adds, “not only central, but also slightly higher than anyone else in the photo.”

Did you guess it?


The title of my homily for this 20th Tuesday in Ordinary Time is, “Squeeze.”

In our readings at Mass, whenever we have Jesus’ comment about the difficulties in being rich – as difficult as it would be for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle – all kinds of thoughts and questions hit me. How about you? 

This image from Jesus about the camel and the eye of a needle can be found in three of the four gospels: Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25.

Down through the years I’ve heard different explanations – that the eye of the needle was a small gate in Jerusalem – and a camel had to get down on its knees to squeeze through that gate. I’ve also heard it refers to a big fat rope trying to get through an small anchor hole in a boat. [1]   Or it could simply mean -  as someone said - exactly what it says: it's difficult for those who are rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven - as difficult as it would be for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle.

Thinking about this message I get many wonderings. How about you? Here are 10.


# 1 - Obviously rich means riches and stuff. I love a scene I saw  in a short video once. It explains what Jesus said very clearly to me. The video shows a man walking down a street with 2 big suitcases – a back pack on his back – a camera around his neck - along with some other carry on bags. He stops at a house which has a small doorway. Holding on to all his luggage he tries to enter the doorway, but he can’t fit in. So he shrugs his shoulders and moves on. As he continues walking down the street a little kid with just himself – comes running down that same street. He stops at that house and then runs right into that house with ease.  In the background is heard this text about the camel as well as another message from Jesus: unless you be like little children, you’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven.[Cf. Matthew 18:3.]

# 2 - Can we stretch the message and the metaphor and ask: does the person who knows too much – have room in their head – to fit in another question or observation and perhaps be poor and humble enough to hear what someone else in the community has to say? In other words, can know- it-alls, squeeze in the truth or at least a question?

# 3 - Is it better to grow up in a house with one bathroom  compared to a house with three bathrooms. Does small get all to think of others more – compared to those who live in bigger houses with fewer people? 

# 4 - Is it better for kids to go to a school where there is limited space – more kids in the classes – and kids from various classes – colors – and backgrounds – in each class?

# 5 - Is it better to grow up poor – where parents had to struggle to make ends meet – by various strategies to stretch a dollar and squeeze a nickel – and hear lots of “no’s – sorry we can’t afford that”?

#6 - Is it better for a family or a bunch of high school kids having to be squeezed into a tiny bug or a compact car – to get to school. Does 3 or 4 kids – or 3 adults -  squeezed into a back seat every day – make them more aware of others – and give them that great line for when they are parents: “When I was a kid...." or "When I was your age....”?

# 7 - Do the poor and the immigrant – especially the illegal immigrant  - who had to squeeze  through  holes in walls and openings in fences – to get out of where they were – with a dream for a better life elsewhere - bring more to the table – more to a new country - than we’ll those who have been around here for a few generations - a distance from when their parents squeezed into our country?

# 8 - Do those who have experienced a broken marriage or split family or divorce or poverty have a classroom experience in their home – that can help them understand others for the rest of their lives?

# 9 - Do those who experience more deaths than others – say less, “Why is God doing this to me?” Do they see more and then realize more and say more: “Maybe this is why God squeezed into us – in Jesus – so God could know firsthand what it is to be human – what it is to be rejected – what it is to be spit at – and beaten – and crucified on a cross?"

# 10 - Do we have to experience being first on line - when suddenly someone shuts the door we're next to enter? Then another door on the other side of the room opens up and the last on our line rush over for that door or gate that has just opened – and now their first?  How many of those kinds of experiences get us to laugh at life – and prepare us for heaven? Amen.


[1] Daniel Harrington, S.J., “The Gospel According to Mark, on page 618 in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, Joseph Fitzmyer, and Roland Murphy, 

August 19, 2014


From the trenches he heard the blast
of bombs booming in the near distance,
saw the heavy clump of black smoke
twisting like a tornado;
and thought of life back home:
a wife and kids full of love and concern.

It was once the picture of the perfect life-
the dog bathed on Sunday mornings,
the pop-corned ice cream visits to the park
by evening. But now, as he huddled there
under the raised mount of protection,
he looks around at the new family:
hard-faced men dressed
in heavily-clad war drab,
holding cold, hard metal, firing;
ready to die yet hoping, remembering
the family they left back home. 

© Nicholas Damion Alexander

Monday, August 18, 2014



The title of my thoughts for this 20th Monday in Ordinary Time is, “3 Things to Think About from Today’s 3 Readings.”

Today’s readings have several issues that all of us need to make decisions about.


Does God take away our loved ones?  Does God zap people? Does God cause bad things to happen to good people? Does God go bad things to bad people? Does God try to teach people by sending them troubles? Does God tell people not to cry – not to feel the death of loved ones?

In today’s first reading from Ezekiel 24: 15-24, he says he heard God saying: “I am going to take away the delight of your eyes.”  This is his wife – who soon dies.

Then he hears God saying, “Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead.”

Then Ezekiel hears God saying that the people are going to be whacked and zapped and punished for their sins and evil doings.

If you are over 21 or 35 you’ve thought about how God operates and you probably have told others how you see God’s will working in our lives.

How do you see how God operates?

In the Our Father we say every time to God, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

We’re praying that God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done.

How specific do we make God’s will to be?

It seems that much of life happens whether we’re alive or whether we exist  or not. Life has been going on for a long time now. The sun rises; the sun sets.  People laugh and people cry. People celebrate births and scream at deaths. I had a funeral this weekend of a 45 year old – who died of complications from alcoholism and the death of an 101 year – due to old age.

Of course exercise and good eating and living habits work better for good health than if we overeat or overdrink or over couch potato ourselves.

Of course, we hear about great athletes falling over dead – sometimes after getting a great medical checkup or what have you – and an autopsy shows it’s genetic or what have you.

So the first issue is how God works: what does God’s will mean? How deeply is God involved in every specific event that happens in life? Does God cry when a baby dies? If God is all powerful, why doesn’t he prevent blindness and car accidents and cancer and killings and wars and random nuttiness?  If we want to be able to drive a car and it has a steering wheel – and we get distracted or fall asleep and we veer into the opposite lane and hit another car – is it God’s job to grab that steering wheel? What about people who enjoy a drink and they drink too much this specific night? Is it God’s job to notice all these things and to elbow someone else to notice it as well and get them to take away someone’s car keys?

We have to factor into our answer: mystery, freedom of choice, various scripture quotes that present contradictory answers to this question – and various other considerations.


Today’s Psalm response is not from a Psalm in the Psalm book – but from a poetic hymn from Deuteronomy 32.

It’s saying that there are repercussions when we forget God.

Of course. But are the repercussions the ones we hear in today’s reading from Deuteronomy 32?  Does God get filled with anger and loathing? Does God provoke people – and get them to become filled with anger?


Today’s Gospel - Matthew 19: 16-22 - talks about a young man keeping the commandments – keeping the Golden Rule by loving his neighbor as he loves himself – but thinks there is more for him to do to be perfect – so Jesus tells him to  drop everything – give up everything – and not let things possess him.

Do we have here the heart of the matter – of what is the Good Life – that when things possess us – we walk around sad? In fact, when we pursue possessing stuff as well as possessing or controlling others – and not God concern for others, we will find ourselves feeling sadness – as opposed to gladness. Is this how life works?


When we hear the readings at Mass – are they read to provoke us – challenge us – get us thinking in certain ways?



The title of my homily for this 20th Monday in Ordinary time is, “Listening For The Underneath, Underneath the Underneath.”

Welcome to all of you St Mary's High School Teachers and Staff - and a special welcome to all of you who are here for the first time. On our high school retreats, if a kid says this is his first year here, I always ask in one to one situations: "Have the other kids made you feel welcome?" 

So once more the title of my homily is, "Listening For The Underneath, Underneath The Underneath."

This is certainly a theme that we find in today’s first reading from Ezekiel the Prophet – who used many strange props and preaching and teaching tricks – to get underneath the underneath in people.

This is certainly the theme we find in today’s gospel  - when this young man comes up to Jesus and addresses him as “Teacher!”

Then he asks Jesus the secret? He asks Jesus: “What’s the good I must do to possess eternal life?”

I assume the text is here to get folks underneath the 10 commandments – and to go much, much deeper – into what’s possessing us.

What’s the bottom line? What’s underneath? What’s really going on here – underneath the underneath?

This is certainly a theme and a thought you think about many, many times with many, many kids – “Where is this kid right now? She’s certainly not here? Is it something going on at home? Or in a relationship? Or what?

What’s underneath this person’s underneath?

My original title for this homily was, “Answering The Call!”

That’s the theme a team came up with for this new year of religious education for our parish education programs.

“Answering The Call.”

I began asking myself, “What’s underneath that message?”

It’s 3 words – like last year’s theme – easy to bannerize – easy to titleize.

I began wondering – who’s calling?

I began wondering, “Is there a problem here at St. Mary’s that people are not answering calls?”

I sense this line of wonderings got me to come up with the title of my homily this morning: “Listening For The Underneath, Underneath the Underneath.”


“Do themes work?”

I know I asked that question to myself at this time last year – when a team came up with the theme for 2013-2014: “Every person matters.”

I don’t know about you, but that theme worked for me. I found myself listening better. I found myself looking people in the eye more. I found myself giving others more attention from my command center in my brain than I had been doing.

I heard that theme in several homilies and on retreats and in several talks.

I sense that theme resonated with faculty and people around here.

I sense that theme – “Every Person Matters” - a quote from Pope Francis -  had more impact than themes from other years.

Then I began going underneath a bit more….

I wondered if the team – or the folks who came up with last year’s theme – did any polling or soft research – on the impact of that theme?  Was it better than previous themes? How would one measure that? Did we need to stress that theme more than other themes?  Were their folks around here who felt they didn’t matter? If asked on the street – could 37% of our kids state what the theme was – or what a theme was? What would be the percentage? Is there a successful percentage?  How about teachers – staff – parishioners?  If asked what the theme was in December – would more know what it was – than in September? How is it broadcast – advertised?


Next I began wondering if everyone has a basic theme – underlying their life?

I thought of Hillary’s comment that was in the news a few weeks back when she criticized Barack about his foreign policy plan – that it was no plan.

She said his plan: “Not doing anything stupid” – or “Not doing stupid things” -  is not a plan.

I am glad that conversation was started – because it got me saying to myself: “Not doing stupid things is a very wise plan.”

Then underneath that thought,  I said to myself, “That’s my foreign policy plan.”

I also thought that my basic motivation – my basic life plan – to be perfectly honest is: “I do what I do to be liked.” 

Then having admitted that to myself, I added, “Does anyone do things to be disliked?”

I don’t think so, but sometimes when I see people I judge to be odd – doing odd things – doing stupid things – doing things others think are nutty – I wonder.

I also realized others might not have as their major goal in life – to be liked – they have something else as their major goal or plan: to be comfortable or to be in control.

It was after these thoughts I said to myself:  “Underneath there has to be multiple plans going on – all at the same time – one predominating all the time or most of the time.

So awareness would be a first step. Seeing other possibilities would be the next step. Decisions to change or remain the same would be a third step. Changing and practicing new behaviors and ways of thinking would the fourth step.

Last night I heard during a football game that Michael Jordan worked on one specific skill that he thought he needed – or needed improvement on – every off season – say a jump shot from a specific spot – or what have you.  The commentator had said that of some football player on the field – had worked on footwork or something in the off season. Did he take ballet lessons or tango dancing lessons or what?

I remembered playing a 3 on 3 basketball game once – at Dunwoodie in New York. 3 of us priests would go there every Monday for 3 classes for Pastoral Counseling Skills and then play basketball after lunch for an hour or so. Well I have the ball. I’m out beyond the foul line dribbling the ball – watching and about to make some kind of move or play – and the guy covering me, Neil Connolly, is not in front of me – but to my right – and it was noticeable and while dribbling I said, “Why are you standing there?” And he said, “You can’t go to your left.” And I said, “What?” And he said, “That’s one of the first things I learned in basketball camp as a kid.”  Here I was 33 and never knew that about myself. I couldn’t dribble and go to my left.

I still remember that moment at the age of 74.  What are the things I do and don’t do?  What are things I don’t know I’m doing or not doing?

When it comes to theology and politics I certainly go to the left – and don’t go to the right.


So my question this morning is my title, “What’s underneath the underneath?”

So the title of my homily this morning is, “Listening For The Underneath, Underneath the Underneath.”

So the theme for this year is, “Answering the Call.”

I would assume that underneath that theme is the issue of listening – listening to what’s underneath my skin – underneath my thinking – underneath my talking to myself.

I would assume that we first need to listen to the calls inside of me – before I hear the calls from others.

I hear Mary Oliver’s quote. It’s on one of those cube quote boxes in my room – within eye shot: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life!”

I would assume there are various calls – underneath the underneaths – of our life and our life plans.

What gets me out of bed in the morning?

What gets me out of bed some mornings faster than other mornings? Is it weekends?

What makes me tick?

Does anyone have a list of basic ticks – motives – calls?

What are the calls I’m hearing?

What are the calls I tend to put on hold?

Do I avoid calling a sister or a parent or a friend – or my God?

While working on this homily – I thought of basic motives – under the letter “C”

Comparisons, contrasts, compassion, competition, control, challenge, cash, Christ….

Why do I teach? Why do I do anything?

Do I take the time to listen to the underneaths underneath my underneaths?


Conclusion – a great C word.

So in working on this homily I said to myself: I liked last year’s theme, “Every person matters” better than other year themes.

I like it better than this years’ theme: “Answering the Call.” – yet maybe by next year – I’ll say, “Not bad. I learned a lot from that one.”

Not bad, because I am like this guy in today’s gospel – who didn’t follow Jesus’ call – after he heard it – because so many things were possessing him. Amen.