Mom Forever In A Song

I offer this re-post as a Happy Mother’s Day wish to all.

CROSSROADS-Right Choices

I had difficulty coming up with the words that would best do justice to this Mother’s Day post. I searched my mind but found none worthy. Yet the words not found in thought were found in the heart.

After a nine month stay at a convalescent hospital, recovering from paralysis due to Polio, my mom would sing me to sleep each night. The fears of a disabled five-year old then, and the challenges ahead not yet conceived, were tempered by the security and confidence instilled by Mom’s comforting protective loving voice. The trials of any day melted away with every lyric of the song which she chose as a lullaby that bound us to each other as she lie beside me until I gave way to peaceful sleep. I offer that song here in tribute to my mom’s memory.

“Goodnight Sweetheart – (performed by Rudy Vallee, 1941)

Goodnight sweetheart
‘Til we meet tomorrow.
Goodnight, sweetheart
Sleep will banish sorrow.

Tears and parting
May make you forlorn.
But…

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How Important is any one of us?

“…but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” – Matthew 10:30

As I gaze out my window on a pleasant spring-like day, I find myself focused on our lawn. Not on the entire lawn, but on a particular blade of grass. I imagine myself removing that one blade among the multitude and planting it in a trimmed down small empty milk carton; like one of those we used in grade school to grow seedlings as a class project. I inspect this most favored of grass blades from our lawn. Most favored because by my removing it and setting it apart, it stands alone as a representative of its species. There is no other blade of grass in the world that is its double. In its aloneness and by my favor for it, this blade is distinct and therefore important. I cannot help but to think of its individuality, uniqueness and the purpose it serves when it is returned to the lawn from which it was extracted.

Are not any one of the flora and fauna in the world individual, unique and with purpose? Some do their part to provide a cool cushion for bare feet on a warm summer day. Some as a beautiful adornment to the environment that favors the eye of we who are most fortunate to behold. Others in the natural hierarchy of life are a most sacred example of sacrifice in that they provide sustenance for the level of life above it. Minerals are subject to plants, plants are subject to animals, and plant and animal are subject to humans for the purpose of life-sustaining nourishment.

If one blade of grass can be so exalted and made to stand apart from the multitude of grass that ever was, is, or will be throughout the world, then cannot any form of life be so exalted and be singled out as important. Is not the particular mineral that nourishes a particular plant important to that plant? Is not the particular plant that nourishes a particular animal important to that animal? And, likewise, is not the particular mineral, plant, animal or fish that nourishes a particular human not important to that human? Given this, should not individual men, women and children who are so endowed beyond the lower levels of life with the capacity of reason, logic, common sense and love then be so esteemed, as well?

“Now Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.” – John 18:14

Was Caiaphas’ counsel born of logic, reason or political fear? In one film of the Star Trek series, The Voyage Home(1986), crewman Chekov is in trouble, Spock insists that the crew save him, even at risk of jeopardizing the crew’s vital mission to save Earth and everyone on it. Kirk asks, “Is this the logical thing to do?” Spock answers, “No, but it is the human thing to do.” Spock reaffirms his claim that the needs of the many logically outweigh the needs of the few (or the one), and here he is in keeping with Caiaphas. However, Spock then, contrarily, suggests that sometimes we must do the “human” thing, not the logical thing, and put the needs of the few (or the one) first; emphasizing individual uniqueness and importance. This dialogue first shows, as does Christ’s example, that no greater love is there than to give up one’s life for his friends. Yet, the life being given is no less important than those being saved. And in the event of the Crucifixion; this one solitary life is of divine importance, for it is the Creator sacrificing Himself for His creatures. Caiaphas’ council to the Jews, may, in his opinion, have been the expedient action to take, but was not necessarily the right action to take. Yet, to reconcile God with the world, sacrifice was the only action that could be taken. Spock’s dilemma was between logic and humanness. The dilemma of the Crucifixion was between humanness and divinity. For it would have been human to come down from the cross. However, it was divine to hang there.

Assigning value to a person, place or thing then determines its importance. When that value is considered beyond any price then its loss would be intolerable.

Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she finds it? – Luke 15:8

What think you? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray: doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray? – Matthew 18: 12-14

All that comes from God’s thought is important. For God is love. The true test of the importance of a thing is to what extents will love go to sustain it. Christ’s parables reveal that God so loves us that He will never stop pursuing, encouraging and forgiving until He wins our favor over all other worldly influence. Hence, the blade of grass is returned to its fold, the lost coin to the woman and the wayward lamb to the shepherd. And returned home is each of us – a child of God – to Our Father.

The love of God, of which we are all a product, is boundless. It is no wonder then that we should be compelled to pursue persistently that which is lost or gone astray. And in so doing acknowledge the divine importance in all things and peoples.

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Easter Sunday: The Empty Tomb

“Pilate said to them, “The guard is yours; go secure it as best you can.” So they went and secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard. – Matthew 27: 65-66

“The king lay in state with the guard about Him. And the most astounding fact about this spectacle of vigilance over the dead is that the enemies of Christ expected the Resurrection, but His friends did not. It was the believers who were the skeptics. It was the unbelievers who were credulous.

None of the apostles expected a Resurrection. They had to be convinced. They had to be convinced the hard way, as Thomas had to be convinced. Believe me, the skeptics of today cannot compare with the skeptics of those days, namely the apostles. They were the doubters, and when they were convinced they proved that they believed by having their throats cut for the cause of Christ.” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” He is not here, but has been raised.” – Luke 24:5-6

And as the risen Christ had overcome death, so too, the apostles would rise above their fear. Having again seen and eaten with their master, a presumed illusion had become reality; restoring their faith. The cowards would become heroes. They were now prepared to let go of the lives they knew and give them over to and for Christ; completely. All that was Christ was conferred upon them by Him. They would do what He had done. And through the apostles the gospels would be proclaimed throughout the world resulting in a growing, vibrant, Holy and living church.

As a result of the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday all that was is changed forever. Suffering once seen as a dreaded error of life now has a valued purpose and meaning; for it is the precursor of a greater good; and in the case of Christ, the greatest good. His success is our success. The entrance to heaven that had been denied to all humanity by the disobedience of one man, has been reopened, and access reinstated to all humanity by the obedience of the One man.

From the apostles and succeeding disciples to the present day priests, the consecration of the Holy Eucharist continues in the presence of the ever vigilant Paraclete. The Paraclete is the love of God that binds the Father to the Son and the Son to us all. The Paraclete guides, protects, inspires, consoles and sustains. And through that continual Eucharistic consecration, Jesus keeps the promise He made that comforted and encouraged his apostles then; and comforts and encourages all today, who take up their cross and follow Him. “And remember that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” – Matthew 28:20

The stone that sealed the tomb of the Savior was found fallen away. And the place where His body had been laid was empty and free of darkness. For that which harbors not life, but death, had not the power to contain “The Light Of The World.”

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Good Friday – The First Homily

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Happy Good Friday Wallpapers and Images Ishu+cross+shadow

In the letter to the Hebrews, the author affirms Jesus as High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek.

When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, proclaims the Gospel. Therefore, all must listen with reverence to the readings from God’s word, for they make up an element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. Although in the readings from Sacred Scripture God’s word is addressed to all people of every era and is understandable to them, nevertheless, a fuller understanding and a greater effectiveness of the word is fostered by a living commentary on the word, that is, the Homily, as part of the liturgical action.

The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay…

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Holy Week: “The Week That Changed The World”

Palm Sunday

“Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried: Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”- John 12:13

Holy Thursday

“And taking bread, he gave thanks, and broke it: and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.”-Luke 22:19

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.”-Matthew 26:28

Good Friday

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”- Luke 23:34

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?” That is, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”-Matthew 27:46

“And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”- Luke 23:46

Holy Saturday

” Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead: and the last error shall be worse than the first…Pilate saith to them: You have a guard: go, guard it as you know.”- Matthew 27:64-65

 Easter Sunday

“Who saith to them: Be not affrighted: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place they laid him.”- Mark 16:6

“For this was I born, and for this came I into the world: that I should give testimony to the  truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”

 

“A Promise”– by, Alan Malizia

Upon a cross a debt was paid,

and promise made,

for tortured souls enslaved.

From an empty tomb,

as if a womb,

emerged the promise kept.

And by it we are saved.

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The Carpenter’s Son

CROSSROADS-Right Choices

joseph“And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business?” – Luke 2: 48-49

Jesus, at the age of twelve, during the Passover, was missing for three days. When His frantic parents, who thought he was with relatives or acquaintances, had returned to Jerusalem, they found Him in the Temple discoursing with the elders. As He said, He was in His Father’s house tending to His Father’s business. All, save for His earthly parents, did not understand His meaning. For often it was said among those who knew the family: “Is this not Jesus, the son of the carpenter, Joseph?”

When God, the Father, sent His Word into the world in Christ, He sent Him by way of the womb of a sinless women. But, why to a…

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Humility to Humor to True Humanness

“It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.” – G.K. Chesterton

Humor is a grace from God that makes the unapproachable approachable. All classes, races, political partisans and religious sects can have one thing in common; a good laugh. The great elixir of conflict is humor. And humor can only be expressed when humility overtakes the stubbornly proud. It is logical to assume then that since God made man in His image and likeness, and since we have a sense of humor, that He would also have one. If we can find things funny, so can He. Of course God’s humor is never cruel the way humans may be at times. In fact, God is entirely pure and unblemished, therefore so too is His humor. God, like a good parent, will help us see the futility in our seriousness by not taking us seriously in a most  unassuming way. And by it our pride gives way to humility followed by good humor. Making us charming to those around us.

After mass one Sunday, a little boy unexpectedly announced to his mom, “Mom, I’ve decided to become a priest when I grow up.” “That’s ok with us if you want to do that,” she said, “but why did you decide to become a priest?” “Well,” said the little boy, “I have to go to mass on Sundays anyway. I think it will be more fun to stand up and yell than to sit down and listen.”

A boy walked up to the parish priest after mass and handed him a dollar. The priest told him he should give the dollar to the poor. The little boy responded, “But, that’s why I gave it to you, Father. My dad says you’re the poorest preacher we ever had.”

After his baby brother was baptized in church, little Timmy cried all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him what was wrong? Finally, the little boy stopped crying long enough to tell his dad, “That priest in church said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you and mom!”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: While giving his homily during mass one Sunday, was interrupted by a restless and quite vocal child. The child’s embarrassed mother at one point gathered her child up and was making her way out of the pew where they were seated. Archbishop Sheen paused in his homily to encourage the mother to stay, saying: “Madam, it is not necessary for you to leave mass, your child is not bothering me.” To which she replied, “No Archbishop, I’m leaving because you are bothering him.” And with that the congregation, including Archbishop Sheen, broke into laughter. Again, even the good Archbishop would note, that humility precedes Humor. All at that moment, in laughter, were one.

If we can agree that God has a sense of humor then Jesus, the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, would be expected to as well. During the time of Jesus in first century Israel, there were publicans and tax collectors who could walk up to a man and tax him for what he was carrying, and much more. These tax collectors were hated and despised because they were usually fellow Jews who worked for Rome.

In a scene from Franco Zeffirelli’s mini-series, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus invites himself to the house of Matthew, a tax collector. Outside Matthew’s house, Peter, in the company of some of the other apostles are appalled that Jesus was eating with a sinner. In their anguish over the certainty that such a scandal would spread, the apostles asked Peter why he didn’t persuade the master not to attend. Peter, in anguish, told them that he tried to do just that. But Jesus’ reply to Peter’s plea was, matter-of-factly; “Why don’t you come along, as well.” That scene always draws a chuckle from me. Through humor, Jesus is showing Peter that he must put away his pride and anger so not to separate himself from all those, righteous and sinners alike, whom he must one day love and lead as Jesus’ vicar on earth.

Once, as any child who doesn’t get his way, I announced that I was leaving home. My mom’s response was, “Wait, I’ll make you a lunch to take with you.” How can you not laugh at that? Yet I stormed out of the house. We are made to realize, at times as these, by those who care most for us, how truly foolish we are. And isn’t a fool a humorous character? We need but to consider the court jester of the Middle Ages. Peter I’m sure came to the same realization that his foolish pride, too, had put a divide between him and Jesus. Once humbled, Peter saw the humor and was again one with Jesus. After one lonely lap around the neighborhood my senses, too, returned. And I, as well, returned home for lunch, rather than stubbornly taking it on the road.

There are things in this worldly life that should be seen as important but not taken too seriously, including our foibles, so that God’s gift of humor is not lost. For it is in shared humor that the common and elite, the friend and foe are humbled to the same level of perception where true humanness is exalted. It is here that we will come to understand, if but for an instant, that we are all one as brothers and sisters of Christ, and like Him are heirs to Paradise; where love, truth, life, joy and humor are everlasting.

“When last I saw an old gentleman running after his hat in Hyde Park, I told him that a heart so benevolent as his ought to be filled with peace and thanks at the thought of how much unaffected pleasure his every gesture and bodily attitude were at the moment giving to the crowd.” – (From “All Things Considered,” by G.K. Chesterton)

 

 

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