Saturday, November 29, 2014


Poem for Today - Saturday - November 29, 2014


Grandfather took us out
Long after dark
And set his telescope up on the lawn
And showed us how to look through the lens.
We saw the mountains of the moon!
We saw the rings around Saturn!
We saw the stars in the Milky Way –
Too many to count!
“See,” Grandfather said.
“what wonders God has made!”
And then he hugged each of us
And said, “And you are wondrous too!”

© Madeleine L’Engle

Friday, November 28, 2014


Poem for Friday -  November 28, 2014


Having shared our bread,
we know that we are
no longer hungry. It is enough

that you see me for myself.
That I see you for yourself.
That we bless what we see

And do not borrow, do not use
one another. This is now we know
we are no longer hungry … that

The world is full of terror, full of beauty
and yet we are not afraid to find solace here
To be bread for each other. To love.

© Gunilla Norris

Poem for Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - November 27, 2014


Not enough hours in the day, we often say
we watch as the business of life allows time slip away.

Before we know days turn to months and months into years,
Time is mapped with laughter and cheers,
the long road sometimes landmarked with sadness and tears.

Elders pass and children grow,
has it been that long we ask, where does the time go?

Not every chance to gather is taken.
"We'll see them next time" we say and hope we're not mistaken.

A chance like now comes once in a lifetime it seems,
when the bright light of family is nurtured and beams,
there will be laughter and time to reminisce
we will all be proud this is a chance we did not miss.

© Ryan Guerrero
Written for the
Guerrero Miramontes
family reunion
July 4-5, 2008
in Scottsbluff,

Painting on top:
Carmen Lomas Garza
(Making Tamales)
Collection of Leonila Ramiriz,
Don Ramons Restaurant,
San Francisco,
Imaging the Word,
page 175

Poem for Wednesday November 26, 2014


They went together—those
wrinkled hands and tattered
book. And something in the
awe with which she held it
 made me think she held
a sacred fire.

The old brass-bound Bible
came to her from her mother,
and hers before that, too,
through more generations than
I know how to reckon - faded,
cracked, worn with use.

I wonder how it felt to hold
the past within her hands -
how many broken hearts found
comfort there, how many searching
minds were fed, how many fears
were calmed in its reading-, what
songs of joy were hummed over it;
what secret tears still stain its pages?

I loved to hear her talk to God,
and when she prayed, I sometimes
imagined I felt God near. It was a
very safe place to be - with God and her.
I liked her God, so wrapped up in the
small goings-on of daily life—not too
far away and busy with eternal
things to take notice of one
small child.

The Bible became mine today, and
my smooth hands look somehow out
of place - and somehow right at home.
Like her, I hold the accumulated joys
and sorrows of my heritage and join
my life with theirs. There is a
strength to it - forged by faithful
living in the presence of a loving
God. The line still holds - all those
who have gone before, myself, and those
who are to come.

© Marie Livingston Roy

Poem for Tuesday - November 25, 2014


Now I must write for myself     for this blind
woman scratching the pavement        with her wand of thought
this slippered crone     inching on icy streets
reaching into wire trashbaskets  pulling out
what was thrown away     and infinitely precious

I look a my hands and see     they are still unfinished
I look at the the vine and see the leafbud
inching towards life

I look at my face in the glass     and see
a halfborn woman

© Adrienne Rich, 1975,

Excerpt from “Upper Broadway”

Poem for Monday November 24, 2014


I remember this woman who sat for years
in a wheelchair, looking straight ahead
Out the window at sycamore trees unleafing
and leafing at the far end of the lane.

Straight out past the TV in the corner,
The stunted, agitated hawthorne bush,
The same small calves with their backs to wind and rain,
The same acre of ragwort, the same mountain.

She was steadfast as the big window itself.
Her brow as clear as the chrome bits of the chair.
She never lamented once and she never
Carried a spare ounce of emotional weight.

Face to face with her was an education
Of the sort you got across a well-braced gate –
One of those lean, clean, iron, roadside ones
Between two whitewashed pillars, where you could see

Deeper into the country than you expected
And discovered that the field behind the hedge
Grew more distinctly strange as you kept standing
Focused and drawn in by what barred the way.

© Seamus Heaney

Sunday, November 23, 2014



The title of my homily is, “Picture That! Oh My God!”

Today is the Feast of Christ the King!

I don’t picture Christ or God the Father as a king. 

Oh my God! You don’t. Nope. Sorry….


If you were handed a box of crayons or clay or paint, canvas and brushes, how would you picture God?

A wondering: Does each of us – including atheists – and agnostics – and drop outs -  have an impression, a picture, an image, an idea, a feeling about God – inside – down deep inside of us?

Primitive or refined?

As you know, everyone – including atheists – agnostics – has a blurt sound or words, an “Oooh!” or an “Oh my God!” or some kind of exclamation – when we experience a catastrophe, a death, a tsunami, an explosion, a crash or a spectacular sunset or rainbow or new born baby, a great play in football or coming into a big room and see all the family together for a big Happy Thanksgiving Dinner.  “Oooooh!” “Ohhhh!”  “Oh my God.”

I’ve been on retreats where people were asked to draw God and then in a small group circle explain their picture.

Answers are different.  Answers are fascinating. Answers trigger questions.

Kids often picture God as male, with robes and with beard.

Adults often do the same – but sometimes – sometimes….

Sometimes adults picture a tree with leaves – and try to draw leaves that are moving – and then in reporting their image of God – say that they see God as a breeze – sometimes soft, sometimes loud – sometimes refreshing us, sometimes shaking us – all the time moving realities inside us.

Adults picture God as mountain, light, ocean, circles, arrows, ladders, steps  ….

How do you picture God?


The Jewish Scriptures – as well as the Hindu, Moslem – and various other religious scriptures – picture God as Power – Energy – Sexual Energy – Earth’s Energies – Volcano - Lava Flow -   Lightning – Thunder – Storm.

In today’s scriptures God is pictured as a Shepherd.

In today’s first reading from Ezekiel, he has God saying, “I myself will look after and tend my sheep. I will find my scattered sheep.  I will rescue them. I will pasture them. I will seek them out. I will bring back the strays. I will bind up.  I will heal the sick ones.

Then at the end of today’s first reading, there’s the catch: we have to act right – not be a goat – not be a bad sheep. Sheep are dumb animals, but we can’t be all dumb – passive – stupid.

We are responsible.

In today’s second reading and gospel, New Testament texts – we have the same message – but with a bit tougher and tighter message.

In today’s second reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Christ is central. Christ is the one who resurrects us from death.

In today’s gospel from Matthew, we are called to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger and clothe the naked.

Then Matthew pictures us after we die, in a Last Judgment  scene – when God – when Christ – will separate all of us – sheep from goat – self-centered from other-centered?

The good sheep will be lead into eternal life; the goats will be led to eternal punishment.

If this is what happens after death? Will we say – when we hear, see, experience this Last Judgment, “Oh my God!” Will we mutter in complaint, “Oh my God, nobody told me about this. Nobody prepared me for this. Oh my God! What’s next?”

We are coming to the end of the Church year this week – and then next Sunday we begin the cycle again – with Advent.

We move from Christ as adult, as strength, Shepherd, King, to Christ as Baby.

Everyone loves a baby; many are scared of the other end of the life cycle, death, especially death, death on a cross or dementia in a wheel chair.

Next Sunday we move from Cycle A in the Liturgy Readings to Cycle B of the Church’s Year.

We move from Matthew’s yearly cycle of Gospels to Mark.

If we sat down with Mathew and Mark – it’s my impression listening to both of them tell the story of Christ – that Mark is not as tough as Matthew when it comes to Jesus – when it comes to judgment – when it comes to the reality of why we were created in the first place.

To get back to my earlier question about how we would paint or picture God, how would we picture Christ?

We have the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – then there’s Paul.

Each have the floor. Each have the pulpit. Each have the words – that present their take – their scenes and pictures of Christ - to tell us about Jesus.  What is God the Father’s picture of Jesus?  Is Jesus – the reality of Jesus – is he God the Father’s attempt to break into our world – and tell us who He is – what he  wants us to be and what have you?

What is our favorite Gospel Text?

Benedict Groeschel – who recently died – who was quite the character – once said in a course I took on pastoral counseling, “Ask people their favorite Gospel text and they will tell you a lot about themselves?” 

Then he added, “It’s a Rorschach blot. It’s an inkblot test. A person projects themselves into the images in ink – into the ink of the words – found in the gospels.”

That weekend – on a men’s retreat – there was this guy – who was tough, rough, angry at everything and everyone it seemed. In the question and answer period he was after gays and politicians and certain priests, and lots of other people. Out of the blue I asked him, “What is your favorite Gospel text?”

His answer: “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing!”

His answer scared me.  His demeanor and his anger scared me.

What would happen if God was like this man?  Are all of us trying to be God-like and we think our image and likeness of God is God?

I know a family in Ohio with 4 sons: Matthew, Mark, Luke and Sean. Sean is John.  Each son is different.

There are 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I sense that each puts their personality into their presentation of Christ to our world.  I prefer Luke. I’ve read that he was a doctor and an artist.

I prefer the gospel of Luke. He was supposedly a doctor and a painter.

I know you can’t take anything with you. But I’m taking Luke 15 – and it’s 3 stories with me – into death – with me.

I once was praying and I said to God just that. I then wondered, “What happens if God said after I died, ‘I’m not like that”? 

I then said to God, “Then the hell with you.” At that I covered my mouth and went, “Oooh. Oh no.” I didn’t say, “Oh my God!” because I was talking to God.”

Then I said, “Yes. If you’re not like the way your son pictured you in Luke 15, I’m going to go and find that God.”


Then I said, “Yes!”


I’m well aware that we all picture and paint life and God and reality and what happens after we die differently.

Someone took the scripture texts that talk about Christ as King – and pushed for that image of Christ to be broadcast to the world.

Others pushed for Christ as Good Shepherd.

As you know Pope Francis is pushing bishops and priests to smell like sheep and shepherds – and not be monarchs and dictators and Lord it over others – but to listen and serve one another.

I’m sure in his sermon for this weekend – if he talks about Christ the King, he’ll talk about the kind of king Christ is – the foot washer, the feeder, the healer, the servant king.

He’ll talk about simplicity over splendor, poop over pomp, listening over speaking, serving more than being served.

If I hear him saying anything, that’s the kind of images and pictures, he’s presenting in gallery of images of how to do life.

I’m sure you’ve been hearing about the Francis Effect. This pope is effecting people around the world to re-picture, reframe Christ and God in their lives. In the last few months I’ve had at least 10 calls from folks who have been away – and they added, “I like this pope. He’s triggering good stuff in me. Can we talk?”


Doodle this week.

Draw this week.

Take our your crayons – be like a little child again – and with your imagination – get in touch with those deepest visions and hopes we all have within us for a better world and a better life.

Then stop doodling and start doing his kingdom –  here in his wheat field – his vineyard – growing, harvesting, and then becoming the bread and wine that becomes Christ – as we give our lives to each other – that we feed off each other – that we be in communion with Christ and each other - for our life of this world and the next world to come.

Oh my God…. Picture that.


Poem for Today, Sunday, November 23, 2014


When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you,
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you,
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

© John Fox, in Finding

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