October 13, 2019
On the way to Jerusalem, as Jesus enters a village, standing off, 10 lepers cry out: “Jesus, master, have pity on us.” Lepers, with their visible skin afflictions, are forced to live apart isolated socially and spiritually. Jews and Samaritans do not associate except when they find themselves shunned. Of the 10 lepers we know one is a Samaritan. After their healing, he returns glorifying God, prostrates himself and thanks Jesus.
The lepers go, as Jesus directs, to the priests who can give an official OK that they are clean and able to return to their families. It is a dilemma. Do they return to Jesus to thank him for the healing or to their families after months even years of separation? Before we say anything about the ungrateful nine, we should examine our own lives. Have we expressed gratitude to a parent, friend, teacher, coach, doctor, nurse, or dentist who has done things for us that we cannot possibly repay? To the UPS driver, to emergency responder or check out at TOPS? We live in a consumer society with a sense of entitlement. We know what we don’t have and want; we fail to appreciate what we do have. Rather than coming up with a shopping list, we can come up with a “blessing list” of all that has been given to us.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” An attitude of gratitude kindles hopes of blessings to come. Mass is the perfect place to give thanks. “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.”
Our first reading is “wisdom” from Jesus Ben Sira (late 3rd, early 2nd century BC). The wise seek wisdom. Know-it-alls don’t. Truly wise persons share what they have learned. Truly wise persons listen attentively. It is generational. “Humility” comes from “humus” earth. It is living with our feet on the ground – with honesty, balance and perspective. It is ... READ MORE
I enjoy “Pickles” -- not out of jar but the cartoon. The comic strip tells the adventures and misadventures of Earl & Opal (elderly couple), Nelson (their grandson), Roscoe (the dog) and Muffin (the cat). A week ago, Earl and the dog return from a walk and find themselves locked outside with no key. Roscoe enters the house through the “doggie door” and when Ear... READ MORE
Some folks pushing 70 may recall an event that took place on a farm in Bethel, NY. Bethel is the name of the place in the Bible where Jacob dreams of seeing angels of God. “Bethel” in Hebrew means “House of God.” Can anyone remember the event? August 15-17, 1969. It was billed as a music and arts fair. Performers included Jimi Hendrix, Joe Crocker, Arlo Guthrie, Jo... READ MORE
I like the old name of this feast day. Back in the fifth century it was called “Natale” or “Dormitio” – the “Falling Asleep” of Mary. “Falling asleep” is a phrase of St. Paul that expresses our hope that those who die before Christ’s Coming will awaken to enjoy Christ’s victory over death, the resurrection. When Mary died she is given a singular honor... READ MORE
It was unsettling! I walked downstairs early in the morning to open the church and noticed in the kitchen a carton of milk on the floor. Who would leave it there? I walked into the parish office. The closet door was open. It began to dawn on me that the rectory had been robbed. My living quarters were just up a flight of stairs, a few steps away. Jesus in our Gospel says: ... READ MORE