Saturday, April 22, 2017

CLAPPING  IN  CHURCH 


I discovered after writing the previous blog piece about clapping that some people have problems with clapping in church.

I had never heard of this before.

I was looking for a YouTube something on clapping in church - and surprise - there were YouTube pieces showing various folks criticizing people who suggest giving thanks to someone who made a contribution to the parish or what have you.

I was surprised. 

However, I didn't "Boo!" at them. 

Tempted, but no. I don't want to go there.

But I wondered, "Where have they been?"

I've seen all kinds of clapping situations at Mass and at church. 

Haven't they been to a wedding where folks clapped for the newly married?

Haven't they heard someone who just gave a great eulogy for a mom or a dad and there was a spontaneous applause?

I dare an anti-clapper to go, "Shush!" when that happens.

I've been here at St. Mary's and I've seen folks clap at a great sermon - and I've seen people becoming very quiet at a great sermon. I've seen Masses when the pastor or bishop congratulates the newly confirmed or newly coming into the Catholic Church and folks clapped for them.

So I would have problems with anyone who is against clapping. If they personally don't want to clap, don't clap.

Haven't they seen a tiny little kid under a year old clapping - and everyone loves the scene?

I remember seeing a documentary on dance and Agnes de Mille said that Blacks saw some Irish tap dancers who were not moving their arms - and they thought to themselves, "Hello! Start snapping those fingers, start moving those arms and start dancing - and add some clapping in the mix.   

Okay soccer players can't use their hands, but the goalie and American football players can use their hands.

"Hello" folks who are against clapping in church. Take a good look around.

Let me find a few of these YouTube videos that feature "againsters" and "forers" when it comes to clapping.

I noticed one uses Pope Benedict as a source for no clapping and then I spotted a video of people clapping for him.


Smile.  Loosen up everyone.















April 22, 2017



CLAPPING  PRAYER

Clapping happens in churches -
yes, even Catholic churches,
and not just for the big shots -
but sometimes spontaneously
for a singer - whose song touches
the inner strings of everyone’s
heart - or for little fourth graders
acting out a gospel parable and
yes, for God - clapping for God.
Does God ever take a bow? Hey,
after all, some days are beautiful
and beautiful things surprise us.



© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Friday, April 21, 2017


THE 153 FISH


INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily is, “The 153 Fish.”

POSSIBLE POINTS TO REFLECT UPON

Today’s gospel opens up several points or issues we can reflect upon.

1) We can meditate or reflect or pray about the idea: Without Jesus we catch nothing; with Jesus we catch everything.

2) The Lord Jesus is always there on the shore of our life—in the dark—the Son, the Dawn, about to rise and take away our darkness.

3) Forgiveness: there is a charcoal fire there. As commentators point out, the only other place we hear about a charcoal fire was in Jerusalem at the moment Peter denies Jesus. So this gospel will be a moment of forgiveness for Peter.

4) The Church’s Mission is to be Open to all. And this is the issue I would like to think and talk about. I always find that number 153 very interesting.

THE NUMBER 153

There are various interpretations on why John’s gospel tells us that there were 153 fish.

Obviously, it’s a symbol of something. Yet, nobody really knows for sure what the 153 means. I read different commentators and I noticed some explanations given. Most commentators say we don’t know what the 153 stands for.

One theory is that 153 is the sum total of the first 17 numbers added up, that is, 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 etc. It might be a Pythagorean calculation to which we no longer have the key. 17 would represent perfection or wholeness. One can take 153 dots and put them in an equilateral triangle with 17 dots at the base line and on each side with the remaining dots in the middle. 153 dots laid out that way would make a perfect triangle.

What I like best is the thing that some think that 153 represents the number of species of fish that there were in the world at that time. The learned poet Oppianus Cilix said there were 153 kinds of fish.  Peter and the disciples are called to reach out to all the world—to go fishing for all the different kinds of people.

The call to reach out to all: Peter and the whole church is called to reach out to all people—to catch all people and then to celebrate together with the Risen Christ in the great meal, the great banquet!

I believe that is a good theme for a homily that one can take from this 21st chapter of St. John, especially since they cut out the 3 “Do you love me” scene in today’s text. That can be found in the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C.  If we use it, we can connect it better to Peter’s  3 fold denial of Christ.

The theme for this gospel is probably mission and ministry, because it’s here at the end of the Gospel.

The worldwide mission of the church is to go out there and bring in everyone—every kind of person—numbers of people—to form a pyramid of people, a perfect triangle of people, to become like God.  We’re made in his image. We are made in their image and likeness. So mission—we are sent fishing—to bring into the  Kingdom of God—all the peoples.

The Kingdom is like a dragnet thrown into the sea which takes in every kind of person. (Cf. Matthew 13:47 or check Rev. 7:9 where it mentions bringing together every tribe, tongue, and people.)

I’d like to reflect on an aspect of ministry: being open to everyone or to put it negatively, not to exclude anyone - especially people we judge or perceive as “uuuuuh!”

AQUARIUMS: BALTIMORE - BOSTON - CONEY ISLAND - CAMDEN

Aren’t people, especially kids, but even adults moved, excited, wowed a bit, when they visit an aquarium?  I’ve been to aquariums in Baltimore, Boston, Coney Island, and Camden, N.J.

One soon sees that there are more than 153 kinds of fish. You might even see more than 153 kinds of fish in just one tank. I love to watch people watch fish in an aquarium—especially kids. Wow.   I hear kids spotting an interesting fish and elbowing another kid with a “Look at that one. Wooooo!”

MESSAGES

In ministry, we spot all kinds of folks. We have to be in the pool with all kinds of people.  We have to deal with sharks, piranhas and barracudas’ - as well as quiet but colorful other types of tropical fish.

It’s difficult to be in communion with all.

With Christ, the stranger on the beach, it’s much easier.

Without Christ we struggle all through the night in the dark - catching nothing.

In the gospel there are only 7 disciples. It’s not the whole apostolic college of followers.

IXTUS: the fish - becomes a symbol for Christ. It can be seen in the  catacombs in Rome, on tombstones and today on bumpers.

In catacombs of St. Sebastian 2nd half of 2nd century in Rome

We can compare this story in John with the story of Luke and the catching of fish. In both accounts they have caught nothing. Many specialists ask if both stories are about one experience. John has it after the resurrection. Luke has it at the beginning of the call. Benoit likes Luke because they already gave up their nets.

“It is the Lord!” John is the one who spots Jesus. He seems to have a special spiritual sense - more spiritual insight - than Peter.

Peter is painted as the awkward one - impetuous - jumps in the water - leaps out of the boat. His reactions are instinctive. The others stay in boat till they get to shore. If everyone was like Peter, maybe the fish would have been lost.

In John’s version of this fish story, the Eucharist - manna - multiplication of the loaves - is feathered. Jesus gives life.

It’s the 3rd appearance of Jesus.

Notice that the net is not broken. The strain of mass conversions took place and effected local communities - yet the kingdom of God has room for all. Many - but unbroken

CONCLUSION


The bottom line is that all are called - including the strange rangers.
April 21, 2017


WHICH  SIDE

Inside our eyes we find
ourselves on both sides
of the counter. Next....

A ticket for where?
Two scoops of what?
Which movie? Next....

Next. Large pizza - pepperoni…
Fries and a cheeseburger….
I don’t know what I want yet. 

Next. Which side is easier?
Choosing or being chosen?
Front or end of the line?

Next.... 

  


© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017



Thursday, April 20, 2017


MARCION

INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily for this Easter Thursday is "Marcion"

I pulled together today's thoughts because of one sentence in today's gospel from Luke: "Then he [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."

In order to understand Christ, one needs to understand the whole of Scriptures. That’s a theme that appears quite a bit during the Easter season. That’s the theme I’d like to reflect upon a bit today. Or to put it another way: private interpretation of scripture vs. public interpretation.

When Christ died the disciples of Jesus had the rug pulled out from under them. In the days that followed, the Risen Christ appeared to them in mystery. Slowly they began to piece together what he had been saying to them while he was with them before his death and resurrection. Slowly they began to see his story in the Old Testament story. And even more slowly they and then the Church began to understand the New Testament. But only slowly.

Slowly we need to begin to see both his story and our story in the Old and New Testaments. Slowly we need to study scripture - but also tradition - Church history. We need to look at the whole picture - the big picture. We need to be Catholic - not Partial.

MARCION

It’s always easier to see the spots on the other leopard’s back than our own. So let’s start with a character in Early Christianity whose name was Marcion.

He was born in Sinope, in Pontus, on the Black Sea. His father was a bishop and his family belonged to the upper crust. He made a fortune on his own as a ship owner. Somewhere along the line he went off on his own thinking. The result was excommunication in his local church. The person who did it: his father.

Whether that was the reason or for some other reason, he went to Rome in 140. In July of 144 he was excommunicated again - this time by the Church in Rome.

Johanes Quasten [1900-1987],  world famous Roman Catholic Theologian and expert on the Early Church, points out, “There was an important difference between Marcion and the other Gnostics. While the other Gnostics founded only schools, Marcion after his separation from the Church of Rome founded his own Church. He established a hierarchy of bishops, priests and deacons. The liturgical meetings were very similar to those of the Roman Church. For this reason he gained more adherents than any other Gnostic. Ten years after his excommunication, Justin reports that his church had spread, `over the whole of mankind.’ Up to the middle of the fifth century there remained many Marcionite communities in the Orient, especially in Syria. Some of them were still in existence at the dawn of the Middle Ages.” (Cf p. 268, Vol. I Quasten)

Exactly what he taught is hard to say. Very little of what he wrote remains. But what he said had a great impact, based on the number of communities of Marcionites that sprung up and the amount of print he received from so many other Early Church writers.

For our purpose here I am using Marcion as an example of the type of person who is narrow in his use of Scripture. He is a good example of someone who selects scripture to back his own viewpoints and not the other way around.

It happens all the time. Listen to people. If there is any one area where people have lots of their own opinions and theories, it’s with the Bible. They like what they like and they avoid what they don’t like. We’re selective readers and listeners.

One of my private theories is that another cause of this practice is that people have picked up their ideas from preachers through the years who didn’t do enough homework. You’re looking at one right here. We preachers get a lot of nonsense off. Laziness is one of the main causes. That’s another one of my pet theories. It takes time to read up on the different studies and research on different scripture passages. It’s much easier to babble on from the pulpit: the Tower of Babel.

The Catholic Church certainly has opened up a lot on the Bible in the past 50 + years. And one of the good things that has happened in the Catholic Church, is their 3 year, 2 year and 1 year cycle in the use of Scripture. It forces us to read and hear most of the Bible in a 3 year cycle. As we move ahead, hopefully, people will attend scripture courses and preachers will do more homework and become more and more open to being stretched.

Marcion eliminated Matthew, Mark and John. Then he cut out a lot of Luke. In Paul he razor bladed out the pastoral epistles of Paul as well as Hebrews. He put the Letter to the Galatians first and changed the Epistle to the Ephesians to the Epistles to the Laodiceans. He also eliminated the whole OT. So becoming a priest in his church would be a lot faster. You would not have to study a lot of that  Scripture stuff.

Marcion read the scriptures and saw 2 gods. Read the scriptures and listen to the psalms when we say office and you can see where he might be coming from.

First there is the good God who lives in the third heaven. You find him in the New Testament - or better in what Marcion had saved of the New Testament.

Then there is the just god who created the world and man. This god is none other than the demiurge - who is well known in Gnostic sects. This second god did not create the world out of nothingness, but formed it out of the eternal matter, the seed of all evil. This god - this second god - is the god of the Jews - the god of the Law and the Prophets. He has passions. He gets angry. He is revengeful. He is the author of all evil - be it physical or moral. He is the instigator of all wars. (cf. Quasten, Vol. 1, p. 270)

How’s that for selective editing? How’s that for selective thinking?

THE NEED TO BE CATHOLIC

What do you do with someone who thinks and preaches that way? You throw the bum out. His father did it and the Church of Rome did.

The word Catholic means whole - KATA HOLOS.

So some obvious lessons for us can be found here.

1)       The need to know what we believe in - what scripture texts we favor and what ones we avoid.

2)       The need to be open to all the scriptures - to do our homework - to do our research - to study and to read.

3)       The need to be open to the Church and its teachings. Marcion wasn’t. But the Church also needs to be open to the research and study done by scripture people. In the past this hasn’t been always so.

4)       The need to be open to our tradition - both in the Old and New Testament - to clarify and collate what we have learned and go from there.

CONCLUSION



I think that’s about enough for now. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mosaic on top - Jesus Christ Pantocrator in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
April 20, 2017

HASSLE

Hassle sneaks its way
into our conversations and
our suitcases. Something
always just doesn't fit.

It’s like a bug that got
into our car somehow -
maybe when we invited
someone in who bugs us.

Nobody ever told us that life
is ever hassle free. It's always
something. Side effects like a
bug come along for the ride. Smile.

  

© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


THE SUBJECT
 WAS BREAD


INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily is “The Subject Was Bread.”

And I want to touch on two basic points: the value of long walks and what we can learn from being broken.

WALK THE WALK - TALK THE TALK

My first point would be the value of walking. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we  discover a lot of stuff from a distance.

Sometimes we have to get away from home to figure out what is  happening back home.

Sometimes we have to get away from it all, to understand it all.

These two men in the gospel found this out. It wasn’t till they walked the walk and talked the talk that they discovered that Christ had risen from the dead.

I’ve heard that phrase, “Walk the walk and talk the talk,” a few times in the past couple of years, but it has not been till lately that I really heard it.

So let me use it a bit more this morning.

So if we have a problem, don’t just stand there, do something. Don’t just sit there or sleep there in upper rooms, get out of bed. Get off our butt and go for a good walk. Hence the value of puzzles - fishing - climbing - traveling - all un-upper room stuff. That’s just standing there. So don’t just stand there, do something. We’ll have a chance of putting it all together by getting away from it all.

Sometimes we have to get away from it all, walking so far that what is near makes sense.

And when we walk the walk, we’ll find ourselves talking the talk. And as we walk, if we monitor ourselves,  we’ll find ourselves talking to ourselves.

Every night, when it is dark, it’s smart to look back on our day and in prayer, hear Christ ask, “How was your day?”

Some people can’t deal with silence. Can you? Some people can’t drive in a car by themselves without turning on the radio. Can you? They need music. Can you be quiet? They need talk. Can you be silent? They can’t spend a free day by themselves. Can you? They need to turn on the TV. Can you be reflective? And when they try prayer, they wonder why they have so many distractions. Help.

So there is a value in taking long walks. They can be like plane or bus trips home when someone dies. A person does a lot of thinking in moments like that. Help.

And if you start being able to be alone and do a lot of walking and talking to yourself, get a journal. You’ll find yourself having a lot to jot down.

WEST END: WALKING ON THE WATER

When I was stationed at West End, I noticed that a lot of people used to walk by the ocean - or around Tankanasee Lake. So walking prayer helps talking prayer and listening prayer.

So my first suggestion is: Walk the walk, talk the talk. Walk, talk, talk, walk. Walking prayer. Talking prayer. Listening prayer. Try it, you’ll like it till it all makes sense.

When I look back on  my life, I see also see the value of taking trips with just one other person. Three’s a crowd.

Prayer can be a long trip with God.

EMMAUS STORY

At the heart of the Emmaus story is this point that it wasn’t till these 2 men walked the walk away from Jerusalem that they talked the talk that brought them back to Jerusalem.

How many times has it happened that it wasn’t till the next day we see how stupid we were. It wasn’t till later that we noticed that our assumptions and our expectations are all wrong.

Some commentators say that Jericho is west, so these 2 were heading backwards into the dark - away from the dawn. Then when they recognized Christ in the Jewish Bible stories as they talked, and recognized him in the breaking of the bread, and in the story of their lives, and on reflecting on it all, it all made sense. And obviously, they had to run home to announce that they too experienced Christ - the Risen One.

So Emmaus can be now - on any road - on any trip - at any Mass - at any meal - in any conversation.

THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES


I don’t remember the movie enough to get the facts straight. But once there was a movie named, “The Subject Was Roses” [1968]. Patricia Neal plays the part of Nettie Cleary. She’s married to John Cleary, played by Jack Albertson. The marriage was dull and boring. Once when it hit the skids, Nettie  took money from a coin collection. She then packed and took a bus from Port Authority in N.Y. to Spring Lake, N. J. or somewhere down there on the New Jersey Shore and spent a few days walking along the beach and talking to herself about her marriage. What hit me was the need to get away from it all to get back to it all.

I might have it all wrong, but the key memory that brought her back was that her husband gave her roses once. Later on she was to find out that the son Timothy - played by Martin Sheen -  suggested it to the father. “Here give them to her. It means a lot to a woman to receive roses.” The husband gave her the roses, but it wasn’t his idea. They were given without heart, without understanding.

THE SUBJECT WAS BREAD THAT WAS BROKEN

My second point is the learnings that we can come up with - when we are broken.

Sometimes somebody has to die or leave, before we find out how much that person means to us and how much this person does for us.

The disciples experienced Christ in the breaking of the bread. Jesus didn’t give us roses. He gave us bread and he gives us wine - back to basics.

But the key word today is “breaking”. Sometimes it’s only when we are broken, when the bottom has caved in, when we have given up and walked away, when we are crushed, that we understand the meaning of it all.

We have to break open the package to get to the contents. We  have to take off the wrapping, to find out what’s inside the package. We have to break the bread, we have to chew the bread, so as to get it into your systems.

So Jesus gives us “our daily bread”. And we experience our daily “breaks”.

The subject was bread - bread that was broken.

Broken brings some people back to Mass - and they recognize him in
the breaking of the bread.  We recognize Jesus in the breaking of the flesh. We recognize Jesus in the breaking of a life. We recognize Jesus in the breaking moments of our lives.
“Were not our hearts breaking inside us as talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

CONCLUSION

So I’m preaching two basic themes this morning:

1) Learn how to be by oneself. Taking long walks by ourself is one of the best things we can do for ourself. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we’ll discover a lot of stuff that is happening back home. Sometimes we have to get away from it all, to understand it all.


2) Being broken - like bread - reveals a lot of things. Sometimes somebody has to die or leave, before we’ll find out how much that person meant to us and how much that person did for us. 
April 19, 2017

GOD

Dammed-if-You-do,
dammed-if-You-don’t.

Do those words echo from
earth into the Trinity - each day?

Jack is praying for rain and Jill is
praying for sunshine today in Peoria.

God, take mom, she’s suffered enough.
God, leave mom, for another day, we pray.

And won’t we be surprised 
to meet in heaven so and so 
whom we asked God to damn a dozen
times when we were on earth?


© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017




OUR  RELIGION   
IS  PERSONAL, 
RELATIONAL 

INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily is, “Our Religion Is Personal, Relational.”

It has a catechism. We have a Bible. We have rules and regulations and all that, but the bottom line is this: our religion is all about a personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Our religion is all about entering into communion - Holy Communion - with Jesus who brings us into the Trinity.

So it’s not words. It’s the Word become flesh who lived and walked amongst us.

It’s not prayers. It’s being with God - and God is often quiet - silence - presence - keeping all the universe going and together with all the more there is - especially with all we don’t even know about yet.

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

As we know there are 4 gospels. The first three, Matthew, Mark and Luke, are filled with many of the teachings - sayings and parables of Jesus.

The fourth gospel, John, is quite different than Matthew, Mark and Luke.

The 4 gospels stress being in relationship with God, but I see the gospel of John stressing having a relationship with Jesus more.

Let me simply run through the gospel of John - chapter by chapter - from the beginning - by mentioning people - especially one to one moments Jesus had with different persons.

In the beginning was the word - and that word became flesh - and John the Baptist witnessed to that person called Jesus. He was not Jesus. Jesus was Jesus. [1:19]

Like Andrew we approach Jesus and ask, “Where do you stay. Who are you?” [1:40]

And Jesus says, ‘Come and see!” Like Peter, someone comes to us and says, “I think I have found the messiah, the one we are all looking for.

Like the couple who have run out of wine, Jesus can fill us to overflowing. [2:1]

Like Nicodemus, we can come to Jesus in the night. [3:1]

Like the Samaritan Woman, Jesus can give us living water. [4:1]

Like the sick, Jesus can wash us clean and heal us. [5:1]

Like those without bread, Jesus can feed us when we’re empty.[6:1]

Like the adulterous woman, Jesus can get those who want to condemn us to put down their rocks.[8:1]

Like the blind man Jesus can give us sight. [9:1] 

When we feel like sheep without a shepherd, Jesus can recognize us. [10:1]

When we die like Lazarus, Jesus will raise us from the dead.[11:1]

Like those who are hungry and thirsty, Jesus can take away our thirsts and hungers. [13:1]

When we realize like everyone we are condemned to die at some point - when we have to make our way of the cross, Jesus did it before us. [18:1]

And after we die there is resurrection. Like Thomas and Mary Magdalen,   Jesus will let us touch him the Risen One.[20:1]

Like the apostles Jesus will feed us with the Bread of Life.[21:1]

Those, in general, are the people and situations Jesus found himself in.

In today’s gospel from John [20:11-18] Mary meets Jesus - the Risen Christ - and she wants to cling to him - hold onto him - to be in communion with him. So too us - but she has to let go  - so as to go tell the rest of us - that she has seen the Lord - who is going to the Father - our Father and your Father.

ST. ALPHONSUS

St. Alphonsus said all this in his classic book: The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ.

Alphonsus at times floundered around in worry, dark moods,  scrupulosity, till he discovered the whole secret of life, of sanctity, of happiness, is the practice of the love of Jesus Christ.

How do we do that?  Answer: it’s the same answer as to how to get into Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice.

CONCLUSION

So here we are in church for morning mass - practicing, practicing, practicing, being in communion with Jesus Christ.



We’re hugging, holding onto Jesus. We’re tying our ligaments, realignments, our religion from which the word “ligaments” is rooted, and we’re tightening ourselves to Christ, who brings us deeper into the Trinity, who brings us deeper and deeper into the community called The Body of Christ. Amen.
April 18, 2017



CRACKS

When watching walls
and beams -  we sometimes
spot cracks. The weight
of structure - or the change
of weather - can change
the face of what we’re looking at.

So too the skin and face
of self - in the mirror - we can
spot cracks and wrinkles -
smiles that slipped because
of the weight of mistakes we can’t
shake - sliding out - wearing us out.



© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017

Monday, April 17, 2017


RUNNING

INTRODUCTION

The title of my homily for this Monday in Easter Week  is, “Running.”

I noticed that word in yesterday’s Gospel - the Easter Sunday Gospel - from John 20: 1-9.

Mary of Magdala ran back from the empty tomb to Simon Peter in John 20: 2. Then in verse 20: 4 Peter and the Beloved Disciple ran together to the tomb - but the Beloved Disciple ran faster.

Then in today’s gospel from Matthew 28: 8-15, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary are described as moving quickly - as well as running. Check Matthew 28:8.

The Greek word used is TRECHO - to run - to rush.

So how about a little thinking - and reflecting - on running for a Monday after Easter quick homily?

QUESTIONS

Do you still run?

Are you usually in a rush?

Compared to your parents, are you quicker or slower that they were usually.

My dad was always up early - ready to move - earlier than my mom - who was always there early as well - for wherever we were to go to next.

My dad  was lean and described as a runner when he was young.

I heard a man - seeing my mother  - in her late 70’s -  going up the Avenue in Brooklyn - saying, “Mrs. Costello you’re faster than a bus.”

How fast are you?

Is your mind faster than your legs?

Are you early or are you like me, usually close to late, sometimes late, but getting a lot of things done?

I picture myself - while driving from St. Mary’s - to here at St. John Neumann - looking at my watch 5 times while rushing to this Monday Mass every week at 12:10. I get out of the car and I love running, dashing - rushing into the sacristy and ready to start down the aisle at 12:10 and a half.

And I love to see people check their watch as I walk down the main aisle.

Are you a watch watcher?

QUOTES

Charles Joseph, Prince de Ligne [1735-1814], whoever he was, said of  the Congress of Vienna, “The Congress doesn’t run - it waltzes.”

Great quote, because some people never answer questions. They just waltz around an answer - sometimes.

How about you?

How do you see our congress?

Are you direct or indirect?

Do you think some people who are direct - should learn to button their lips more and unbutton their ears and mind - and rush to listen more and better?

What’s your attitude towards heaven? The hereafter?  Christ as the meaning of life?

What do you think of this quote from the Letter to the Hebrews:

“With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running with patience in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection….” [Hebrews 12: 1-2]

The scriptures - especially St. Paul like to use the image of getting to heaven as being in a race - with Christ as the finish prize.

In the meanwhile life sometimes is not as clear as a race - a beginning, the run, and then the finish line.

Life has a lot of possible side trips and distractions, surprises and possible delays because of road blocks.

Here’s a quote about love: Shakespeare in A Midsummer-Night’s Dream has someone say, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Act One, Scene One, line 132

If love, if marriage, was simply a marathon or a 10 K race, we might be able to keep our eye on the goal, but life is a long run - so too love.

No wonder the marriage vows have, “for better for worse, for richer for poorer….” 

CONCLUSION

In the long run - in a long life - it’s difficult to stay the course.

Keep moving. Keep running.

We’re not running for an empty tomb.


We’re running to find the full embrace of God the Father - and the arms on our shoulders in the moment - of Christ the Risen Lord.



-----------------------------------------------

Painting on top: The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulcher on the Morning of the Resurrection [1898] bu Eugene Burnand [1850-1921]
April 17, 2017

CONVERSATIONS

Conversations seem to have a mind 
of their own - drifting - switching topics - 
as they go along - and half-way through 
a room full of words - someone says, 
“Wait a minute! How did we get off 
on this question - when we began 
with a totally different topic? Where 
are we?” And the others left the room 
a long time ago - going off on totally 
different topics in their own inner rooms. 




© Andy Costello, Reflections  2017