Saturday, May 9, 2015

May 9, 2015


To be
To be born
To walk
To be held
To be taught
To be understood.

For food
For family
For caring
For trust
For satisfaction
For friendship
For recognition.

To share
To serve
To be asked
To think
To speak
To be noticed
To be heard.

For dreams
For justice
For peace
For laughter
For music
For meaning
For the Kingdom of God.

To risk
To love
To go beyond the valley
To climb the hill
To die
To rise

To embrace the Father.

Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015


All of us are newspaper reporters,
          telling our story,
          selling our story,
          trying to catch
          the other’s eye,
          reporting to others
          that we’ve been to Europe and Hawaii,
          that we have three grandchildren,
          that we have a cousin in California
          with a $750,000 home,
          and therefore please read
          that I’m okay,
          that I’m not a failure.

And sometimes when we begin
          to really trust another reader,
          we begin to report our failures,
          our sad stories,
          about our kids who dropped out,
          about divorces and drinking
          in the family,
          and how it all makes us feel so small.

And all of us know
          what it feels like
          to be misread,
          or what’s worse,
          to be rejected,
          to have someone
          just look at our headlines
          and then be thrown onto a pile,
          or to be used to wrap the garbage
          or for cat litter.

And all of us are part of every robbery and rape,
          and all those stories
          in Dear Abby or Dear Ann,
          stories of wives being used,
          and husbands being rejected,
          and teen-agers being sent to bed’
          right in the middle of their
          favorite TV show,
          story after story on insensitivity.

And all of us know the feeling
          of being used as paper
          to line the bottom drawer,
          hoping that someday,
          somebody will pick us up and say,
          “Hey, look at this old paper.
          Let’s see what it has to say.”

© Andy Costello Reflections, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015


Sitting here in this hospital waiting room ….
It’s a recovery room for the family - for friends sitting here in a vinyl chair - which is getting harder by the hour. Each time the door opens - all faces look up. Everyone is waiting - waiting for good news: How the operation went? 
How she did. Is she OK for now. Finally 
after 4 hours comes Good News. Now what? And now comes the real waiting - the future -
and then some more waiting in this vast 
waiting room - called earth, called life.

© Andy Costello, Reflections, 2015

[Version 2]

Sitting here in this hospital waiting room -
just down the corridor from an operation
recovery room - a room for the family -
many families - many people - waiting.

Sitting here on a vinyl seat getting harder
by the hour. Each time the door opened,
all faces looked up - looking, wondering if
this was the doctor who would bring news.

Sitting here waiting for Good News - how
she/ he was, how the operation went, Finally….
It must be tough being a doctor - a nurse -
especially when the patient is not good.

Sitting here in the car, watching her/ him
out the front windshield - heading for the car -
wondering about the nexts - more waiting -
in this waiting room called earth, called life.

May 6, 2015


All of us are looking and searching
          for a vision center,
          for the answer
          to the question
          of the meaning of our lives.

So we go to temples,
          book stores,
          buying fads,
          trying movements,
          looking for answers
          to our quest,
          looking for the Way,
          the Truth and the Life.

Some of us think the center is
          Washington, Moscow or Beijing,
          Mecca, Rome or Jerusalem,
          Paris, Hollywood or New York City,
          always searching
          for the center of life,
          fashion, style, money,
          politics, power, dance,
          forgetting that the veil
          of the temple
          has been cut in two,
          forgetting that the kingdom
          of God is within.

Some of us stop along the highway
          at those buildings marked,
          “Adult Books and Movies,”
          “For Mature Audiences Only,”
          and only years later
          come out wondering
          what maturity
          and being an adult
          is all about.

All of us then are tiny ships
          making for harbors
          in the night,
          leaving at dawn and
          launching out into the deep,
          lowering our nets
          for a catch,
          for the Center.

All of us keep looking.
          Wise men and women,
          following the star,
          journeying towards

          the Center of the Universe. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015



The title of my homily for this 5th Tuesday in Easter Time is, "Secrets of Peace."

Does everyone have to come up with their own personal secrets for peace on our planet - on their porch - in their home - and in their relationships? Can we learn from others - see what they say - watch what they do - figure out if they work?

It takes working together for peace to make a village work.

I live with 11 guys in the  rectory here on Duke of Gloucester Street.

How many people do you have to  live with - work with - adjust to - communicate with?

How’s it going? What’s the peace temperatures in your house, in the places you enter on a regular basis.


Today’s first reading from Acts tells us about some of violence the early Christian Communities were experiencing. We heard today about Paul be attacked and dragged out of a city.  They want to kill him.

Today’s gospel begins with a message of peace:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Today’s gospel, then, can get us thinking about peace and peace making.

These readings can get us thinking about how we can be peace makers.

What are Jesus’ secrets for peace making?

For starters Jesus tells us that retaliation doesn’t work. An eye for an eye only makes us more blind. A tooth for a tooth leaves us ugly in mouth and mind. Well maybe we won’t notice it because we’ve become blind. So that’s number 1 for Jesus: don’t retaliate.

If we watch ourselves get off a nasty - I don’t know about you - but if I look carefully - if I give another a dig - or a snap back - I can sometimes find a comment trail to something another said about me - and I didn’t think it was fair. I don’t like doing that, but I like spotting them - so I stop doing gossiping or criticizing others. My rocks are usually made of words and my digs I dig up for when I want to bury someone.

Often we are retaliates - in various ways - but many times we’re blind about what’s going on.


So Jesus is teaching us to go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, forgive 70 x 7 times - because others don’t know what they are doing. We don’t either.

Pray for the Spirit - the Spirit of Forgiveness - we’re heading towards Pentecost.


We can find and read the many comments about peace making from the Social encyclicals of the popes.

Papal letters and encyclicals are not my regular reading. I don’t ever remembering reading a papal document in the bathroom.  I read them when I’m looking something up.

Peace is very tied into justice, fairness, equality.

It starts with kids and getting their fair share of cake and pie.

It continues when we’re thinking of others.


The title of my homily is, “Secrets of Peace.”

I stressed these secrets amongst many:

No retaliation.

Go the extra mile.

Work on being a peace maker.


Work hard so nobody  will accuse you of not trying.

May 5, 2015


All of us contain the best thing
          that ever happened to us.

Did anybody ever ask you that question?
          “What was the best thing
          that ever happened to you?”

A radio station in New York City
          gives a hundred dollars
          for the answer.

We all hold the answer to the question
          somewhere inside of us,
          in our file system.

We hold the memory of the day
          we won the boy or girl
          that we always wanted,
          or won the race,
          or the scholarship,
          or decided to quit the job,
          or move and start again.

Or it might have been
          that second honeymoon
          to the Bahamas,
          or simply a week-end
          away from the kids,
          or a quiet retreat
          by the shore.

We all have our inner vault,
          where we bank
          not only the terrors of life,
          the deaths and disappointments,
          but also all those right moments
          that changed our lives.

And like being asked our favorite movie or song,
          after a little effort,
          we can all name
          the most important day
          of our life.

It might have been a Columbus-like
          and maybe someday
          it might contain God.



The title of my homily for this 5th Monday in the Easter Season is, Hermes and Paul.


Whenever you hear mention of Greek Gods and Goddesses do you say, “I wish I knew more about Greek Mythology.”

I’ve heard in talks about Zeus and Hermes, Venus and Apollo, Atlas and Chaos, Chronos and Dionysius, etc. and etc. and I said to myself, “Someday I have to look up and memorize the names of all these Gods and Goddesses.


I said that again this morning as I noticed in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles - Chapter 14: 5-18 - that Paul and Barnabas are called Hermes and Zeus.

Zeus is the head god and one of his sons was Hermes.

Hermes was the god of speaking and speed - amongst other things.

It’s sort of like different saints are patron saints of different things.

It’s sort of like God being given different attributes like mercy and forgiveness.

The title of my homily is Hermes and Paul.

Paul worked and moved fast.  Paul was great speaker.  So having these 2 qualities, Paul was thought to be Hermes.


Homily thoughts - thinking of the ancient gods and goddesses….

Which ancient God would I like to be associated with?

I’ve seen exercises like, “If I were a dog or a tree or animal, which one would I be like?”

Answers to that - would tell me about myself.  I wish I could bend like a willow.  I wish I had the strength of an oak. I wish people could find gifts at my feet like a Christmas tree. If I were an apple tree, I would hope I would be giving delicious apples to pickers.

For another homily thought, run through the letters of Paul and pick out the one text that grabs us and then run with it?

For another homily thought, what nickname would I give Paul or Saul?


Then there’s Barnabas….

Sticking with Paul may we all be like Paul quickly bringing Jesus to our world.


Statue of Hermes on top

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015


Who wants to play cards with God?
God always wins.
God knows my hand.
God beats me every time.
God is always in a win, win position.

Who wants to play cards with God?
God’s so quiet.
God’s so perfect.
God’s so unreal.
God always plays the unexpected.

So is that why God sent his only son,
who ends up the big loser
cursed upon the cross.
Just look at his hand,
It’s the hand of a loser.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015



The title of my homily for this 5th Sunday After Easter B is, “Stopping To Taste a Grape.”

“Uuuuuum!”  Want another grape?

Those who stopped to listen to Jesus - asked, “Where did this man get all his wisdom? Isn’t he the carpenter’s son?”

They must have heard Jesus giving them a saying or telling them a story - something about how we treat one another - how it ought to be of love - or we should hear our inner instincts for forgiveness. They must have heard him say something that was clever, challenging and creative. It might have been a parable that grabbed them. Whatever it was, it triggered goodness in them - in a way nobody else spoke.


When and where and what triggered Jesus to squeeze  some wisdom from some grapes?

Was it a hot and thirsty day and Mary walked into the carpenter shop with plate filled with fresh grapes?  Did they have a vine with delicious grapes in the back of their house in Nazareth? Was it some grapes Mary bought in the market place? Was it from a sermon by the local rabbi at their local synagogue? The rabbi read some words from Isaiah - and then talked about being a good grape and not being a sour grape?

Or was it some morning or afternoon when Jesus went out by himself into the countryside? He spotted some grapes on a vine and he had a feast on grapes. Did he stop by a vine and study what he saw?  Good and bad grapes! There’s a message here. He saw vines with grapes. What happened here with these grapes that had withered? Where did Jesus get his wisdom about wheat and grapes?  Did Jesus like to sit under trees and watch farmers at work? Did he notice the birds or the air - and the foxes of the field? Did he know that wolves sneak up on sheep and grab them and kill them?

Did Jesus think about the meaning of bread and wine from the annual Passover meal? Did he watch workers in vineyards picking grapes - crushing grapes - throwing grapes into a grape press  - and the juice from the grapes - like red blood was rolling down the wooden sluices of the grape press.

Did he come up with his ideas about crushed wheat and crushed grapes dying - so others would receive life because of the sacrifice of seeds and the work of workers in the vineyard and the sickle cutting of wheat in the fields - and then the crushed wheat becoming flour - mushed together with yeast - and then baked to bring us bread.

Did he see a lamb slaughtered - realized it was sacrificed to feed and nourish a family?

Is this the way he learned - in the great classroom called life?


I’ve often heard people who visited a winery say it was a positive experience. I hoped I’d get to one eventually. I finally got to see one.

I listened to the owner point out how everything worked. I saw him give a signal to his wife to pour out different wines for the visitors - and on the table was bread and cheese - on small plates for all to eat.

We priests joke about the eternal question:  “Does this count for Sunday Mass?”  Has anyone having small pieces of bread and small glasses of wine at a winery ever with a smile on their face say, “Does this count for Sunday Mass?” Or at least notice how close it was to what a mass is like?

Well, I finally go to a winery. I don’t drink, but it was a learning experience. I watched folks starting to smile. I watched them as they paused to sip some wine and nibble on some bread. I only drink wine at Mass - but only a sip.

Well, when folks started to drink different types of wine - and buy some bottles, I walked outside - away from the crowd our tourists I was with. I went up to rows of grapes on the vine. At the end of a whole row, I spotted that the whole end of that row - had dead branches - dried grapes - dead fruit.  In an instant, I got the message.


In an instant I got what Jesus said, as found in today’s gospel.

We are grapes - connected to the vine. Separate ourselves from the vine - from Christ the living vine - and we die because we’re not bearing fruit for others.

At times we need to be pruned.  Sometimes life is sacrifice. Sometimes life is all about dying to self - for others - and that reality gives life to us. In giving, in dying to self, for others, we experience new life.

Life is all about communion, remaining, being with Christ and in communion with each other. None of us are the only grape on the vine.


Get these messages about wine and the vine and we get the meaning of the Mass.

Get this and we get glimpses of what Jesus was saying and doing with his life.

May 3, 2014


You’re there. I’m here. A closed door stands between us…. Locked in or locked out?
What’s the difference? If this is like the last time,
and all the times before that, we’ll blame the other for closing the door between us. If this is like the last time, and all the other times before
and after that, we’ll blame the other for closing
the door between us. And we’ll blame the other
for being so closed - for being so stuck on being right. We really don’t remember who closed the door. What we remember is this: we’re both waiting for the other to be open, for the other to open up that d_  _ _ door and invite each other on to the other side of that door - to twist that door knob and greet each other once again.

© Andy Costello Reflections 2014