Saturday, June 4, 2016



The title of my homily for this feast of the Sacred Heart is, “Love Is A Hole In The Heart.”

That’s a quote from a guy named, “Ben Hecht.

It’s from his 1958 play, Winkelberg.

I don’t know the scene or the setting, but someone says, “Love is a hole in the heart.”


i haven't done my research on why describing Jesus as THE Sacred Heart had so much impact on so many people.

My guess is that when religion becomes too rational - too heady -  the pendulum swings from the mind to the heart. 

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque had her visions starting back the 1630's and they were sculpted into Jesus the Sacred Heart. Was rationalism being born at the time and this counter intuitive image showed up.

Sister Faustina Kowalska had her visions in the 1930's. She described what she saw to the artist, Eugeniusz Kazimirowski. He painted what he heard and it became the Divine Mercy image of Jesus.

It's my wondering if the image of the Sacred Heart had dropped out so much that the image of Divine Mercy popped up to take it's place. 

It has Jesus with light coming out of him - but notice the light is coming out of his heart. 


Obviously, we know that the heart is a pump - with 4 chambers - and the blood of our whole subway system makes its rounds all day long - 24 / 7.

And a hole in that system would be dangerous - very dangerous.

Obviously, we know that our brain is our center - our capital - our caput - where we have our computer system - our Random Access Memory - our cloud - our thinking system - our supreme court, our congress, our library system, our files, our laws - our president, etc. etc. etc.

And sometimes we have headaches - and we hold our head - and we shake our head and say at times, “Too much! It’s too much for me.”

Then again we have this heart in the center of our chest - for most folks on the left side - and sometimes in stress we put our hand to our heart and go, “Oh boy, oh girl, too much, too much, too much.”


Love is a hole in the heart.

And that hole longs to be filled.

Or that hole needs to be emptied.

Hate can also be a hole in the heart.

So too jealousy, so too envy, so too anger… etc. etc. etc.

Question: what is our heart filled with? What does it long for? Where does it feel empty? Where are the holes?


Blaise Pascal  - author of  - Pensées or Thoughts, gets credit  for triggering the phrase “the God-Shaped Hole in the Heart”.

He wrote,  “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in us a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This we try in vain to fill with everything around us, seeking in things that are not there the help we cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” [Pensées VII(425)]

Isn’t that the same as Augustine’s words from his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they find rest in you.”

Our heart is slow to realize this. Once more Augustine’s message, “Too late I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new.  Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you.” [Confessions, 10:27.]


The title of my homily is, “Love is a hole in the heart.”

On the Feast of the Sacred Heart it’s a good prayer to enter into our heart and the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 3, 2016

June 3, 2016

Norman Rockwell


His eyes watched the bread
on their kitchen table. It went
quickly. He didn’t reach for a
slice - but that cold butter would
have been a wonderful treat.

Her eyes watched the meat
and the potatoes, the broccoli
and the gravy. She too didn’t
reach for the food - yet. Like her
husband  the kids came first.

Their eyes watched their parents
hands - daddy’s hands that made
the bread - mommy’s hands that
put together the rest of the meal.
Then they all began to talk. Finally….

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016
June 2, 2016


To lock a door shut.
To knock on a door.
To wait at a door.
To open a mind.
To open a door and

to let another in.

To ask for, “Help!”
or to yell back as
we’re walking out
the door for college,
“Thanks! mom and
thanks dad! Thanks!”

To say, “Yes” to this
when it means, “No”
to that - forever as
in marriage - or in
deciding a type of
cancer treatment.

To make an act of
faith that there is
a God who knows,
loves and serves
me and I am called
to live in that image.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016
June 1, 2016


She lit her candle slowly, deliberately -
making sure the wick caught fire. It
burned in the small red glass cup.

He lit his candle slowly, as well,
concentrating on his intention:
a prayer for his wife with cancer.

She lit four candles, one for each
of her kids - each long away from
the church. “Christ bring them home.”

He lit his candle. He did this every day -
- a prayer and a hope for his youngest
daughter - now 17 years disappeared.

She lit her candle - wondering what hopes
and prayers these 7 candles were burning
for - white flames trying to catch God’s eye.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016
May 31, 2016


The Talmud, as they say,
says, “Teach thy tongue
to say, ‘I do not know!’”

I do not know why this baby
died at 3 months. Maybe ….

I do not know why God
made tree leaves green
and granite grey. Maybe….

I do not know why water
begins to freeze or melt
at 32 degrees and begins 
to boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit -
but not always. Maybe….

I do not know why cows moo, dogs
bark and cats meow and the whole
woods is a symphony orchestra
some summer nights. Maybe….

I do not know why God bumped
me into you today and why friends
move away tomorrow.  Maybe….

I don’t know why the ocean seems
to stop here and not go any further,
but sometimes it doesn’t.  Maybe….

I don't know why you said that. 
I don't know why I wrote this.
I don't know why you're reading this.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016
May 30, 2016


Come on now,
give me a second chance!

Allow me to repeat
what I was trying to say the first time.

I know my first chance
came out wrong and I hurt you.

I often do that
when I’m tired or I’m not thinking.

Your hurt,
your face, your turning away,
tells me better than words
that I made a mistake.

Come on now,
give me a second chance.

Okay, a third
and a fourth, a fifth,
a sixth and a seventh chance as well -
even though at times I don’t give
you a second chance.


I guess this me is me.

I guess this you is you.

I guess Jesus was right.

Life calls for seventy-seven times
forgiveness [1] and second chances
and sometimes second
and third chance marriages.


Did Jesus say that?

Am I allowed to say that?

Come on now,
give me a second chance.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016

[1] Matthew 18: 21-22
May 29, 2016


I noticed you like to drop the God bomb,
from time to time, “Oh, I don’t believe in
God. I don’t believe in that stuff anymore.”

And sitting there watching your face, I
wonder if your eyes and mind really mean
it. I wonder if you say it for the effect.

Yet you let slip, “Oh my God!”
Or, “Jesus Christ - why did
she die from cancer so young?”

I can’t say it yet - but you’re
the one person I notice who
stops to notice the stars of night.

You seem intrigued with a dog
flying through the air to catch
an orange Frisbee in flight.

For the sake of transparency, I believe
in God - and I really wonder about
whether you really wonder about God.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016



The title of my homily is, “Communion: Making the Connections.”

Today we’re celebrating, “The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi.”

Today we’re making -  not our first communion - but perhaps our 3000th - more or less communion.

Communion: receiving the body of Christ into our body: Amen.

Communion - connection - making the connection with God - coming down the aisle - in this church - and in the churches of our lives - and at some point - for some of us in a nursing home - or a sick bed -  to receive the Lord Jesus into our hands - into our mouth - into our bodies - into our being - into our lives. Amen.

And we’re receiving communion not just with Jesus and me - but Jesus and his whole body - with the whole Church - the whole body of Christ - here and now - here in this church and all churches - here and hereafter.

The title of my homily is, “Communion: Making the Connections.”


Saint Paul discovered somewhere along the line,  the theology - as well as the mystery - as well as glimpses of what Jesus was all about - when he gave us this great sacrament - called “communion” - the Mass - the Meal - the Supper - the Eucharist - the Bread.

Many say this happened to Paul on the Road to Damascus - when Christ told him he was hurting - killing him - killing him the Christ - when he Paul was trying to kill the members of the Body of Christ.

Are we hurting? Are we hurting each other?

Communion - connection - sharing life - and bread with each other…. do we get this?

Isn’t this what’s killing us - and our world - when we stop going to communion with each other.

All of us have members of our family - as well as friends - who have dropped away from the Body of Christ. They have stopped going to Mass. They have given up on weekly - Sunday - Sabbath - eating the sacred bread - communion with Christ - and we feel their absence - and if we feel their absence - that’s a good sign. We got what communion is about.

And many people have told me - especially parents - that this hits them when they come to Sunday Mass.

And in my 51 years as a priest, I have heard X number of people come back to Church - because this is what they missed: communion - the sacred bread, the sacred Body of Christ - being and praying and eating with others in Christ.

Being at Mass - with the mass of humanity - even when the music and the sermon and the words aren’t mixing well.

They miss the connection. They have got in touch with their disconnect from Christ - especially to be in communion with him and each other.

The title of my homily is, “Communion: Making the Connections.”


We all know about moments of disconnect.

The phone goes out. The signal shuts down. We go through a dead zone - and communication stops. “Are you there?”  “Are you still there?” “Can you hear me?”

We know what it’s like to be cut off - excommunicated from others.

We’ve seen on the evening news, news about people caught in an airport - and they miss their flight because of long TSA lines - and they are disconnected from the people in other airports - in other places - home - till they get on another flight - and get back or to where they are headed.

We’ve all experienced family members who get divorced or disappear or drop out - from the family. Tough disconnects.

We’ve all known moments when another just stops listening to us. They take  looks at their watch - or the clock on their cell phone - and they leave us - actually or virtually.  They disconnect ….

We’ve all lost loved ones - who have died - and we feel their presence - and their lack of presence - as we move around their former spaces and places.  Communion with them in our homes - beds, kitchen chairs, sofas and lazy boy chairs - is missing.

We know about disconnect.


We also know about connection.

We see zillions of people on their cell phones - connecting, connecting, connecting.  “Are you still there?”

We’ve sat at enough meals - at enough tables - breakfast, lunch, supper - at home - in restaurants - cafeterias - picnics - with family, friends, others.

We know about communion.

We know what it is to eat - and to be at a great meal with each other - with spouse, family, at weddings, wakes, anniversaries, Thanksgiving Dinners or simply at simple meals. Give us this day our daily bread.

We know the difference between finishing a dinner as  fast as possible and the beauty of sitting around long after a meal is over - and talking, and talking and listening and laughing and telling the old stories - over and over again.

We know about moments of connect and disconnect.


Today’s readings for the feast of the Body of Christ - obviously connect us with this theme.

The first reading from Genesis mentions Melchizedek - the King of Salem - bringing out bread and wine for a celebration.

The second reading from St. Paul’s First Reading to the Corinthians brings us right into the Last Supper - one last breaking of bread - on that Passover Night - our Holy Thursday - when Jesus knew he was about to leave his friends - his disciples - and go out into the night.  He needed to pray and he cried when his disciples couldn’t even stay awake and connect for an hour with him.

The gospel story for today from Luke brings us right into one of those several  moments in the gospels when Jesus fed the hungry - the starving - the 5000 - and that was just the men - with just 5 loaves and 2 fish.


Each time we come to Mass - we begin by pondering how well is the connection - the communion between us and God our Father? Lord have mercy. We wonder how well is the connection with us and the Christ? Christ have mercy. We wonder about the Holy Spirit surrounding us - like the air we breathe and how well is our communion with our brothers and sisters. Lord have mercy.

At the offertory, we remember Jesus’ message,  if we come here to the meal to make our offering and we remember any disconnect with our brother or sister- first go and reconnect - and then come and make our offering.

I love Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - when God  reaches out his finger towards Adam the first human - and Adam reaches out his finger to connect with God.

I love those scenes in the gospels when people reach out - their hand - their finger - just to touch the tassel of Jesus cloak to be healed.

I know the call to say to Jesus - touch me or let me touch you - I’m blind, I’m deaf, I’m out of sync with you or so and so.

I love the moments in the supermarket or the mall or a store when a little baby  reaches out his God or Michaelangelo finger and points at me.

It’s the call to connection - human beings to human beings.

It’s the call to communion.

We need to sit down at this table - weekly - and wonder about our connections with God and each other as well as ourselves.

We get the Great Commandment: to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We get that. We know that. We need a weekly reminder of that.

We laugh - at least I do - about building this big wall - between each other - and we try to make the other pay for it.

We all know the words in Edwin Markham’s poem, Outwitted,

He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.


The title of my homily is, “Communion: Making the Connections.”

This week I challenge you to connect eye ball to eye ball - to be in communion with every person you see - or talk to - to text or e-mail.

This week receive communion  with every one your on line with - car to next  car.  I love that moment at a red light - to Michelangelo that other driver - with a mini-high sign - index finger to index finger - that finger - communion.

So too in elevators, escalators, entering and leaving rooms, doctor’s offices, work places.

This week receive communion with all our brothers and sisters all around our world.

Body of Christ. Amen.