Friday, January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015


Oh my God, we think we know
why another said, did, what they said,
or what they did.

Oh my God, we think we know
why we did what we did and why -
and then we do a number on ourselves.

Oh my God, we think we know
why God did, let happen, what happened
and then we do a number on God.

Oh my God, we think we know
why we get our headaches and backaches
and tummy aches and our agita.

Oh my God, we think we know,
but down deep we really know
we know nothing and never did.

© Andy Costello Reflections 2015
January 15,  2015



© Andy Costello, Reflections 2014
January 14, 2015


Someone said the greatest sin in the world is to bore God.

Is that true?

How about the refusal to accept God’s love or forgiveness?

Is that true?

Someone said that the greatest sin is our inability to acceptance the otherness of the other person.

Agree ____ Disagree ____  Undecided _______

C.S. Lewis thought the greatest sin is pride.

Any comments about that?

Would the following comment by Walter Lippmann strengthen that opinion about pride? He wrote, "There is no arguing with the pretenders to a divine knowledge and to a divine mission.  They are possessed with the sin of pride, they have yielded to the perennial temptation." 

Joyce Meyer wrote, "There is a deceptive sin that can keep us from walking in love: pride.  It's deceptive because when you have pride, you're usually too proud to admit it. I know this because when I used to have teachings on pride and they didn't sell well."   

Agree ____ Disagree ____  Undecided _______

Pope Francis uses a qualifier when talking about the greatest sin. He uses the word “one” as in, “One of the greatest sins is being a divider instead of being a welcomer.”

Is that your experience or observation about people?

Someone asked, “Is non-belief in God, the greatest sin?”

Agree ______ Disagree______ Undecided _______

George Bernard Shaw sees the greatest sin towards our neighbor is indifference.

Agree ______ Disagree _______ Undecided _______

Norma McCorvey – the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade fame said, " The holocaust against the unborn is the greatest sin they could ever do or even ever participate in." 

Agree or disagree?

Any comments about this comment of  Ellen G. White? "The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, which separates us from God and produces so many spiritual disorders, and which are contagious, is selfishness."   

Any comments about this statement from Pope Francis: " Vanity, showing off, is an attitude that reduces spirituality to a wordly thing, which is the worst sin that could be committed in the church."

Anthony Hopkins said, “We're all caught up in circumstances, and we're all good and evil. When you're really hungry, for instance, you'll do anything to survive. I think the most evil thing - well, maybe that's too strong - but certainly a very evil thing is judgment, the sin of ignorance.”

Pearl Bailey said, "The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one's self. All sin is easy after that." 

Any response to this comment from Carson McCullers: "The theme is the theme of humiliation, which is the square root of sin, as opposed to the freedom from humiliation, and love, which is the square root of wonderful."  

Henry L. Stimson said, “The only deadly sin I know is cynicism."  Agree _____ Disagree _____ Undecided _______ 

Do you agree with Bertrand Russell that “Sin is geographical."  Is the answer to all of the above, “It all depends?”  Or would you shout loud and clear for one sin being the greatest and it’s _________?

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2014
January 13, 2015


As Leonardo Boff put it:
It’s the nature of the Holy Spirit
to bring about the “eruption
of the unexpected.” Well, if
that’s the way the Spirit works,
then I pray, “Come Holy Spirit!”
Shake this house called me.
Shake this parish. Shake this Church.
Shake this state. Shake this country.
Shake this world. Shake us all.
Erupt good surprises because
there are too many bad surprises:
earthquakes, disasters, storms,
killings, terrorist attacks.
Come Holy Spirit. Erupt us with
unexpected changes – like
Berlin Walls coming down –
the Cuban Embargo lifted,
the South African Apartheid
ending without bloodshead,
peace talks that become
peace actions and forgiveness.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015
January 12, 2015


They say quiet water runs deep –
like pain, like death, like memories.

They say quiet water soothes the soul,
like a good friend, ice cream, or a sleeping child.

They say Quiet Waters Park is the place to walk,
to talk to each other, to get away from it all.

They say Quiet Waters Park is the place 
to remember those we miss, those deep in the ocean of our grief.

They say Quiet Waters Park is the place to sit,
on a bench in memory of the one we love.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015
January 11, 2015


Sometimes we have to step back,
to see there is a person right in front of us.

Sometimes we have to climb mountains
to see the plains.

Sometimes we have to listen,
before we can hear what we’re not hearing.

Sometimes we have to see we are lost
in order to realize we need to be found.

Sometimes we have to teach
before we can learn.

Sometimes we have to know we don’t know,
to honestly admit we really don’t know.

Sometimes we miss the distant
because we’re looking at the tiny in front of us.

Sometimes we only see and feel the hurt
another tells us about

Sometimes we miss the moment
because we’re stuck in the past or the imagined future.

Sometimes we have to sin
In order to understand another.

Sometimes we think we’re the only one on the planet – 
and we think,  the only one feeling what we’re feeling –
that is, till we talk to one another –
what we’re talking to ourselves about all day long.

Sometimes the empty barrel makes the most noise;
sometimes the barrel full of hurts makes even more noise.

Sometimes the full barrel can’t be lifted,
but it can be emptied.

Sometimes we have to hurt in order to feel
that others hurt

Sometimes we have to be in the desert
in order to appreciate water.

Sometimes we have to say “No!”
before we understand the meaning of “Yes!”

Sometimes you have to be bald
to appreciate when we had hair.

Sometimes the tooth ache lets us know,
we didn’t take care of our teeth.

  1. © Andy Costello, Reflections 2014

Sunday, January 11, 2015


[This is a story I wrote last night for today’s Sunday Morning 8 AM Kids Mass. Today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.]

Talk about Sibling Rivalry – take Jack and Jill - as an example.

Jack was born 6 minutes and 7 seconds ahead of his twin sister Jill. Once they were old enough to start to realize what words and who was ahead of whom meant – Jack let his twin sister Jill know he was the older brother – the oldest of the twins – born 6 minutes and 7 seconds ahead of his sister Jill.

At their birthday – every year on January 1st - New Year’s Day – Jack got to make the birthday wish first – and then to blow out the candle first – Jack being the oldest.

Jill - underneath the singing of the Happy Birthday song – would say, “It’s not fair. It should be my turn every other year to blow out the candle on our birthday cake.”

Besides this - Jack was always the bigger and stouter baby – always at least 10 pounds heavier than his twin sister Jill in their first 10 years of life.

And all through their growing up years – Jack was the pushy one – pushing Jill out of the way to sit on the couch – to be next to their dad or mom – or in the car or the house or at the dinner table first – and what was on TV.

Speaking about pushing – Jack’s mother often said, “Jack had to be first one out of me when they were born.  Obviously Jack pushed Jill out of the way and made it to the finish line first.”

Jack knew how to get his way. He pushed for all the rights and privileges that came with being first and oldest. He often began and ended any and every argument with the words, “After all I’m the oldest!”

One day – near Thanksgiving – Jill at the age of 5 – was crying. She was all by herself – off in the corner in this small room in the back of their house.

Her  grandmother was worrying where she was. So accidently – but on purpose - her grandmother just happened to spot her all alone – in this quiet little room in the back of their house.  Grandma came into the semi-dark room – came up to Jill and said, “Can I sit with you for a while?”


Then Jill said, “Okay grandma!”

“What’s with the tears Jill? What’s with the tears?”

Then Jill really broke down – and her grandma held her even tighter.

Then her grandma said it again, “What’s with it with the tears?”


Then Jill poured out her heart to her grandmother. She told her grandma about  all the hurt she felt from Jack – always bragging that he was the oldest.

Then Grandma said, “Well you know you were baptized ahead of your twin brother. You know that - right?”

“What?” said Jill.

“You were baptized ahead of Jack – and your baptism date is more important than your birthday.”

“Who told you that,” asked Jill?

“Everybody knows that Jill. Everyone knows that?”

“And I better tell you,” said her Grandma, “how do I know this? I was there and I suggested to your mom and dad you that you be baptized first. Ladies before gentlemen – that’s how I was brought up.”


“And your mom followed my advice. And after all, I’m the oldest.”

And they both laughed – and laughed – and laughed.

Well, then at Thanksgiving dinner, Jill says to Jack, “Grandma just told me that I was baptized ahead of you – and baptism is more important than birth.”

At that, of course,  Jack disagreed with his grandma – and told her, “Grandma everyone knows that a birthday is more important than one’s baptism. No contest.”

“Nope,” said Grandma, “and you’ll find out you're wrong and I'm right when you start studying religion.”

That Sunday – after Mass – in the back – Jack went right up to their pastor and asked, “Father Jack, which is more important, your birthday or your baptism date?”

“Jack, sorry to disappoint you, but your baptism is more important than your birth. You’ll find this very easy  to see when you study about baptism in Religious Ed classes.”

Jack disagreed with Father Jack as well.

When he started to study about all this in Religious Education classes – he remained stubborn, stubborn, stubborn – convinced that priests and grandmothers and religious education teacers – were wrong.

Well time goes on and NCIS had become Jill’s first and favorite TV show – but she had to watch it in that little room – with a tiny TV in the back of their house.

Well time goes on even more – and Jack and Jill go off to college – but to different colleges.

Jack went off to college – with the secret hope of one day becoming a Nascar driver.

Jill went off to college with the hope of one day become a forensic scientist for the FBI – or the State Police – of for some agency like NCIS.

One day she was part of a team who were investigating a terrible small plane crash – in which 36 people were killed.

Agent Jill noticed one woman who was killed was a twin.

“Interesting,” she thought.’’

They didn’t have any fingerprints of the woman who was killed – so maybe., Jill said to herself, “Maybe she was born in some foreign country.”

So she checked around and sure enough she checked around and found out that the woman who was killed was born in Thailand.  Surprise she found that she and her twin brother had foot prints taken when they were babies.

She was able to get the woman’s footprints – along with her twin brother’s footprints – along with the exact – time of birth.

Jill smiled and thought – I wonder if I can get Jack and my time of birth.

After the plane crash case was over, Jill went to the hospital of her birth and was able with her badge get into the hospital records.

She found her footprints – along with Jacks.

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise. There it was in black and white – Jill was born first 6 minutes and 7 seconds ahead of her brother. She was the oldest. She screamed  a loud “Wow!” and everyone in the record department stood up to see what had happened.

Jill was waving a paper with her foot prints – and her brother Jack’s in the other hand – and yelling, “I am the oldest twin.”

Nobody knew what that meant – but Jill did.

Then surprise, surprise, she called up her mom and dad, to tell the news – but then she added, “Let’s not tell Jack – it would only deflate him. Let him always think he’s the oldest.”

And for the rest of their lives, Jack and Jill's parents thought how big their oldest daughter, Jill, was.. They would wink to her and smile to her - whenever at some family celebration, Jack would announce to all, "After all, I'm the oldest."