Sunday, May 30, 2010


The reflection on this week's Gospel is very inspiring.
Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Cathlic Worker Movement. the video gives a brief introduction to who this extraordinary woman was. She is a saint for our time.
The Last Hill sometime ago a friend of mine sent me his reflections on his Korean War eperience. In reading it I came to the sad conclusion that for some war is really never over.
The Last Hill

It started very innocently. At telephone call asking for information. The call opened up memories long hidden in a deep compartment ofmy psyche. The call erased 46 years. “What was it like in Korea?” A college student writing a history paper on a segment of history of which not too many people know; a professor challenging students to look into what has rather unhappily become known as the “forgotten war.” The need for some first hand information. The call, the student, the professor, the need, all converged on me.

It took time to answer. Digging away all those years and finding in the shoveled space the feeling, experiences so long past was a task happy and fearful. Happy because to share a part of ones life is always a fulfilling experience. Fearful because I was not quite sure what unwanted memories would bob their heads up from the sea of so many years. Memories safely tucked away should not be let into the light. They have been dealt with, let them rest. This would be wise.

“What was it like?” I remembered the fear. It was the constant companion. Fear was the cloud under which we all lived. Sometimes the fear gripped you in its vice like jaws, sometimes it was subtle. At times the fear was like a hurricane, blowing and screaming inside of you. The fear always challenged you. Who was going to wing the fear or that inner part of oneself which whispered “do not let it control you.”

One learned about fear very quickly. Learned that it could paralyze, that it could destroy the human spirit. This bed fellow which arrived in the heart the moment you realized that someone else was trying to kill you. You learned that there was no escaping it. The fear became part of who you were. Some where in the shadows of the psyche it was always there. To deny its presence would be to deny a reality. To deny it would be opening yourself and those around you to danger.

A strange paradox about fear. It could also be your friend. You learned that fear when controlled, and not controlling, had a dynamic all its own. It could drive the human heart to deeds which were thought to be impossible. Fear gave life to a deep sense of responsibility because all shared it. No matter what race, creed or color, the common denominator was that we all shared the same fear. Because of this shared fear there was a mutuality of life protecting. Because of this sharing someone else’s life became almost an extension of your own. This is why death in combat brings up an extra sadness. Looking at the dead body some where in that mysterious entity we call the human person we see ourselves.

As I sat in my silent and non-fearful room trying to answer the student’s question the fearful memories came back. The silence of my room was shattered by the sounds of war. Exploding shells, shouting voices, cries of pain, filled my room. It was then that I realized the fear had never really been forgotten. It was waiting to be called into the daylight. My hands did not sweat as they did those many years ago. The pressure behind the eyes was not there. The unthinking movements were absent. The fear was real. The sounds were real. Can all those years and all those miles vanish so quickly? Is it possible that letters forming words popping from a typewriter can form a bridge which spans all the years and miles? It was no longer “now.” It was “then”. It was no longer “here”, it was “there”.

The sounds stopped. It was now. It was here. My thoughts changed. It was no longer the fear that captured my memory. It was the cold. Fear could become a friend. Fear could transcend the moment and travel to somewhere
Higher. The cold was never a friend. It was always with you. Fear had its moments of highs and lows. The cold was always the same.

There was not escape from the cold. It was everywhere. The occasional bit of warmth was quickly neutralized by the wind blowing through the bunkers.
As many new things were learned about fear, so cold revealed its nature. The desire to find relief from its biting stabbing fingers could become obsessive. The dehumanization which it worked on the body, the numbing of the spirit so that at a point you were so cold that no longer would the spirit acknowledge its presence, a protection God build into us. Skin hardened and peeling without feeling, hands and feet blued, lips chapped-bleeding and always the dream, the hope that soon there would be warmth.

I remember looking out over the valley and seeing fires in the enemy lines. They were cold. A moment of bonding took place. The enemy was human. They were cold. They were afraid. The impersonalization which is such a necessary ingredient of war disappeared. They were huddled around the fire trying to get the last flicker of warmth. They were talking about the same things we talked about, getting home. They had mothers, fathers, family, wives, girl friends. The cold was the common factor between enemies which made them human.

The fear and the cold lived inside of bodies without sleep. Sleep, that simple thing which over the years has been taken for granted, was a prized possession. It was sort after at any time, any place. It was more important than food. Sometimes there were days without sleep. The eyes became dazed. The brain numbed. There was no thinking. Unthinking, trained reactions were all one could hope for. Constantly trying to find the last scrap of energy which would make the next step possible was a constant task. One realized that sleep walking was becoming a reality in life. What the cold and fear had not eaten the days without sleep would.

Life was brought to the very basics. It was stripped of the comforts and even the necessities of life. Common denominator had been found. Warmth, sleep, freedom from fear, these were the important things. Having reduced life to these bare minimums one also came to realize the great dignity of life. The accruements of culture seemed to trivialize life. It got hidden under a lot of “things.” In some strange way this reducing life its fundamentals went to elevate it.

The fear, the cold the sleeplessness all lived on a hill. I wondered, as I sat in my room bringing up these old images, what they, the hills, looked like now. Are they green? Are there trees? I wondered whether these long ago places of death had turned into places of life. Were the marks of war now covered with the signs of a hoped for peace? It was on the hills that our constant companions were with us. It was in the dust, the mud, the snow, of the hill that we shared our lives the cold, the fear and the sleeplessness.

My answer to the student’s question was complete. The fax machine sent the pages quickly. All those years were lived in such a short time. All those miles spanned in a blinked eye.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why is May traditionally set aside as a month for special devotion to Mary? There are many traditions but the one I find very intriguing finds its beginnings in the name of the month itself. May comes from Maia, through the latin Maius. Now Maia in roman mythology was an earth goddess and the month of May was named in her honor. Taking it a step back in Greek the name, maia means “mother”. It is very probable that the early Christians , they did so often, looked at the culture in which they lived to find helps for their devotion. The ordinary Romans celebrated the feast of Maia what an appropriate time, they might have thought, to celebrate the feast of our mother in Faith, Mary. Another example of Baptizing something already exisiting in pagan culture.

How best to show devotion to Mary? Of course, the highest type of devotion is imitation, following her example. Some of the points of our lives as followers of the Lord which Mary highlights are:
She was a great listener to the word of God. By listener I do not mean passive, but active response to the Word. Our Lord puts her as an example of this when He says of her: Blessed rather are those who do the will of my Father. Mary conceived Our Lord by saying “yes” to the Word she heard.
Mary also gives us a deep insight into the meaning of life. At the Annunciation when the angel announced that she would be the mother of God Mary had an intuitive sense that her life was more than just for herself. She sensed that this was a moment of decision in her life in which she would say either yes or no to the place which God had for her in the plan of salvation. Life, for Mary, was always connected to this unfolding plan of God.
Mary teaches us about be disciples of the Lord. Her entire life was spent following her Son . She was connected to Him in such a deep and profound way that you could almost say that His life was her’s. She walked with Him through the good times and the bad, in the times when the crowds proclaimed Him as their king, and when they rejected Him. She walked with Him during the pain of Good Friday, and the glory of Easter. She stood in the midst of the disciples in the upper room on Pentecost.

Using her as an example May would be a great time to increase our love of Scripture as the way God speaks to us. It would also ask us to reflect on the meaning of life and see in the living of our lives the plan of God. Finally, to look at our lives as a walk with the Lord.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Seventh Week of Easter

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter (Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33) Water is precious. It gives life, it cleanses, it refreshes. Without water there is no life. The Holy Spirit is the water which springs up out of the very being of the Lord. The Spirit pours forth from the Resurrected Body of the Lord. The Spirit is the water of eternal life.

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter(Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a) It is so easy to forget what God has done for us. God loves us. Sometimes we feel He is saying that to a crowd and we are just a face in the crowd. Through the Spirit God’s love for us becomes personal, exclusive. The Spirit because He is God makes the love of God personal. No longer are we a face in the crowd. The crowd disappears and we stand all by ourselves in God’s presence. This complete presence of God is love.

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter(Acts 20: 28-38; John 17:11b-19)The Spirit lives inside the Church. The Spirit guides the Church. It protects the truth of God’s revelation. The Spirit is always urging the Church to grow young through constant conversion. Conversion, a deeper turning to God. The Spirit of youth, of dreams and hopes. The Spirit takes away the dross of cynicism, the darkness of dimmed hopes, the pain of unfulfilled dreams and gives us new dreams in God.

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter (Acts 22:30;23:6-11;John 17:20-26) The Lord’s earthly mission is over. How do we share in His life on earth. The Spirit makes present to us the words of the Lord, He makes them alive in our hearts. It is the Spirit who plants the seed of the life of God within us. Through His Spirit He makes us sharers in His life. Through His Spirit He makes Himself present to us.

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter (Acts 25:13b-21; John 21:15-19) The Spirit which makes the limited unlimited. The Spirit turns our minds to God. Every time there is something good, every time there is a prayer, a work of love there is the Spirit. The walls of time and space which surround our existence are broken, through the Spirit we enter into the very life of God, the unlimited One.

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter (Acts 26:16-20; 30-31) The divisions of sin are done away with. He makes all things one, if we but listen. The life of the Spirit; we have so much more to go. Our journey in living with Him has just begun. There is so much darkness left. Selfishness, pride, lust…the very power of God lives and dwells inside of this weakness. The power of God, His Spirit, is molding us, into the image of the Lord. The journey with the Spirit will only be finished when we stand before the throne of God.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010


The video homily on the blog spot is not of Sunday but of the Feast of the Ascension. The reason being that the Ascenion is so important that perhaps a couple of extra days to think about it would be good....enjoy

A couple had two little boys, ages eight and ten, who were excessively mischievous.
The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be confident that if any mischief occurred in their town, their two young sons were involved in some capacity. The parents were at their wit's end as to what to do about their sons' behavior.
The parents had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so they contacted him, and he agreed to give it his best shot. He asked to see the boys individually, so the eight-year-old was sent to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?"
The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God?"
Again the boy made no attempt to answer, so the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face, "WHERE IS GOD?"
At that, the boy bolted from the room, ran directly home, and slammed himself in his closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and said, "What happened?"
The younger brother replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it!"

Sixth Week of Easter

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter ( Acts 16:11-15; John 15:26-16:4a) The great promise of the Holy Spirit…The Lord has finished His earthly mission. He is going, at the same time remains. It is the Spirit who makes this presence real. It is the Spirit who frees us from sin, and changes us from the earthly people we are into the spiritual people. It is the Spirit who makes us the Temples constantly singing the praises of God. It is the Spirit who imprints on our souls the image of the Lord. We are the heirs of the Kingdom.

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter (Acts 16:22-34; John 16:5-11) The Spirit blows where it wishes. Christ has touched all people living and dead without exception. All are united in Him. He touches them with the power of His Spirit. The same Spirit is shared by all, we,the entire human race, are united in the Spirit. The horror of murder in any of its forms, is that it is basically a denial of what God has made all people, His children.

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter (Acts 17;15-22-18:1;John 16:12-15) A pause. We have walked for almost six weeks with the Lord on this journey. What has He taught us? All the events over which we have meditated cry out with one voice: the Lord has risen. The Lord is alive. Death has been defeated, all things have been reconciled. The voices cry out with joy because He is still with us in the Sacraments. He is present to us through the working of the Holy Spirit within us. He has created a new family.

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter(When Ascension is celebrated on Sunday) (Acts 18:1-8; John 16:16-20) Grief gives birth to joy. So often in the Gospels do we come across this paradox. Death to life, sorrow to joy, poverty to richness, darkness to light…Grief at parting is replaced by the joy of a new presence. No longer limited by space. We possess this new presence. In possessing it, God Himself, we find our joy fulfilled.

Ascension Thursday
(Acts 1:1-11;Ephesians 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20)
Our human nature has ascended into heaven. A marvelous exchange takes place today. He becomes present to us through His divinity and He invites us to be with Him through our love. The visible is replaced by the invisible, seeing is given the deeper meaning of faith. The Sacraments are our way of sharing in His Ascension, to be where He is. Today is a day, to look at the things of heaven, and what are these things if not ourselves sharing in the very life of the Lord. Our weak human nature, because of this day, has been raised up.

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter (Acts 18:9-18; John 16:20-23) We are called to believe. In what? It would be so easy to believe if we could see, but that would not be faith. It would be so easy if we could but hear His voice, touch Him, be satisfied with what our senses tell us about Him, but that would not be faith. Ascension faith is to stretch ourselves beyond our human power and to accept the complete fullness of who He is. Ascension faith asks us not to be satisfied with what our senses tell us. It asks us to live our lives from the viewpoint of heaven.

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter ( Acts 18:23-28; John 16: 23-28) Ask and you shall receive. We bring this promise so often to a rather selfish level. We look at ourselves not as people of the Ascension, but people of this world. We ask and do not receive. Our definition of joy is relegated to this world, without going into the deeper part of who we are. He is asking us to remember that we have ascended with Him and to ask for those things which will help us live that life.