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Lent 2016…….changes

What IS this time of lent?  What IS it for? Why?

Changes.

We are called to change.  You could call it a calling, a whisper, a sign, the Holy Spirit – a change in the wind.   We recently have experienced this change, call it a calling, we call it an opportunity.  An opportunity, in the end to help provide for our family.  With this opportunity comes a lot of changes.  One of those changes has already challenged us in our faith.  We are finding ourselves changing parishes, priests, dioceses and feeling a bit lost currently.  Not lost for the love of our faith.  Even though the catholic faith is universal in the liturgy and the whole mass, it does feel different; different priest, different bulletin, different songs.

So our challenge is this change.  Let’s focus on making a difference in our changes this year.

Since we went to Rome this past year and we were less than ten feet from Pope Francis, I feel we are close friends, so I am going to use his favorite phrase and say “Pray for us”.

 

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2015 Easter Time

It always happens doesn’t it?  We are cruising along the highway of life.   Something happens,  a loved one falls ill,  an accident happens or a tragedy.   We don’t expect it, we can not foresee it and we never want it.   We have to adjust, adapt and move forward because there is not a rewind button.

The excitement of Holy Week rushed by.   And now I am finding myself standing in the pool of exhilaration like when you go down one of those big water slides!   It is Easter time!

Easter (FYI – the resurrection of Jesus) doesn’t end on Easter Sunday.   Jesus shows Himself multiple times to many different people (One of the many reasons that the christian faith is so strong is the fact that many people testified to this fact and not only was it recorded in many letters (aka the Bible), but it also had to be passed down, verbally, to many more friends and family.  Which makes up our deposit of faith.)   One of my favorites is on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) when Jesus comes upon two men walking home from Jerusalem, three days after Jesus was crucified.   He walked and talked with them.   He explained to them why He had to be crucified.  They were amazed.   They wanted more.   Later that day as they were about to dine with Him  I think they were astute enough to ask Him to say a blessing before breaking the bread.   And Jesus “took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them” , their eyes were opened and then Jesus vanished.

This year during Easter time, let us be willing to open our eyes, our minds, our hearts and recognize Jesus in our lives.   Now Jesus can appear in many ways such as; movies, music, children, animals, scenery, sports, work or even old family pictures.   The funny thing is if you seek Him, you are more likely to find Him!

2015 Lent Day 39

We all have encountered those family moments of bliss, laughter, love, anger and regret.    And the fact that it can usually occur within a few short hours is what makes each family unique.

The Holy Family may have had the same family dynamics, but possibly with less anger.   Most certainly there was love, laughter and bliss.

We are nearing the end of lent, let us all hold ourfamlies up with our love, laughter and joy of each other.  Reach out with a phone call, email or even a text can make a difference today.   Go make a difference.

 

 

2015 Lent Day 18

Today’s Readings

I am the number four child of five.   I don’t think I was lost in the shuffle, maybe sometimes not always feeling the love at the time, but then again I was/am all about me 80% of the time.    Our reading today is about the prodigal son, you know the story by heart ( if not, please take time to read!).   We all need to know that we can turn around our ways and God will be there.   We need that reassurance.

But how do you practice this?  We need to be there for our children, our friends and our family members.  Turn the other cheek and welcome them back into our lives and homes.   This is how to show them that God loves them!!

I am one Lucky Dog! …….

I am one lucky dog!   

I found the love of my life when I was seventeen.    It’s kinda of funny, I mean, who would of thought that?  Not me.   But I can honestly say (why do we say that? “honestly say?”  do we assume you/me are dishonest from the get-go or is it that we assume you are honest until found out that you are not?  Maybe I should ask a politician) that I dreamt that she was the one from the first kiss, yes really, THE one.   And as it has turned out these short 35 years that we have been together (29 married) that, in short, I am one lucky dog!!

This first half of life has gone by pretty quickly, and I mean that at times the clock did stand still at few points in my life.    Do you remember Andy Warhol’s famous quote “everyone has fifteen minutes of fame”  or something like that, and it depends on what you call “fame”.

My “fame” is that I did marry the ONE that I wanted and with any “luck” I am hers as well (if I may quote St. Joan of Arc “If I am in the grace of God, I pray that I stay there, if not I pray that I might”).    I am a firm believer that it not only takes divine intervention for a couple to come together, but the almighty God above is also involved throughout your whole  life, dating and marriage.

So I raise my glass to us “Lucky Dogs!”   you know if you are one.   May we continue to be in this state of grace of “Luck” and be forever blessed!!

Why I am catholic ……. fear of God

Fear the wrath of God!!!!  That sounds old fashion doesn’t it?  The last time I heard about the fear of God was when Charles Heston was holding two tablets in his hands, the wind blowing his ZZ Top inspired beard,  to the golden cow groupies at the bottom of the mountain.

I grew up not fearing God, really.  We were always taught about the love of God.  For instance in Vacation Bible School we always sang “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world” ….. (caught ya singing the rest!).   So the “fear of God” has never really entered my mind, until recently.

When Katrina hit New Orleans we heard from Pat Robertson which he said that was God’s punishment for that life style in New Orleans (note, my interpretation).   Not only did Pat Robertson declare this, even some Jewish leaders said God was mad at America.  Does God get mad?  really?

But why do we fear God?  Does God really punish us? 

Why, if we believe that God is ever merciful, every forgiving and loving, would we believe that God could punish us?    So we believe that God is almighty, all-knowing and all that is, was and ever will be.  We pray “Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever will be a world without end, AMEN!”

So WHY do we fear God?

I don’t fear God, I fear me.   I mean I fear that I will fail the faith that God has placed in me.  It is that God will not punish me, I will punish me.   How is that you ask, well God gives each one of us “free will”  to do as we please.  So where, with that free will, does that leave room for God to punish me?  yeah – no God doesn’t, I do.    I failed.  And what is the worse feeling?  Knowing I failed God or that I failed me?  Well, for me, that I failed God.  I let Him down.  I did not live up to His expectations.    We face this type of stress in our daily lives right?  Our spouse expects us to help out, communicate, love, laugh and share our life with them.  Our children expect the same but also food, clothing and shelter.  Our community expects us to volunteer unlimited hours to help out in keeping everything clean and organized.  Our church  If we believe (and I do) that God placed each of us here on purpose to seek a purpose with our own free will then He is unlikely to punish us.  In the Old Testament we read where God seemed to get fed up with the Israelites.  The Israelites kept breaking there covenant with God, notice that God did not break the covenant, man did.

By giving us free will, God allows us to screw things up for ourselves.    Remember when you were learning to ride your bike and your Dad was right there at first, guarding you from falling, but then he let you go!   “I got it Dad!!  I got it,  I got it……I don’t got it!!! ”   BOOM ! CRASH !  OUCH!!  –  “why did you let go?!”  This is how we think of God in times of trouble – why did you let go?   And we become afraid of God because He let’s bad things happen or will cause them to happen.

God did not create us  for us to “Fear” Him, but rather He created us to Love Him!!

So to quote from FDR   “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”  Let’s rephrase that to “the only thing we have to fear is…OURSELF!”

Why I am catholic…….reverence

My baby sister visited us a few years back.  Not exactly for a happy visit because our older brother just past away.  But that’s another story and I have mentioned it here and there in other writings.

But she had never attended a catholic mass, even though one of her best friends growing up was catholic (as was my best friend too!) .   So I, like the big brother I am, instructed her on a few things one of which was concerning the eurcharist or communion.  She could go up if she wished and receive a blessing from the priest.  She choose to stay put in the pew.   After we got home I asked her how she did she like her first mass,  “it was reverent” were her words.   I couldn’t agree more.

At our parish we have a total of five different mass times for you to choose from.   Each one has a little bit of a different flavor to it.  One mass is a little more geared towards the teens and young adults.  It has a little more upbeat  current music flare to it and the teens are more apt to start dancing in the pews or isle if the Holy Spirit strikes them.  But when the procession begins til the last song sung the teens and young adults (and those young in heart) are reverent.   To contrast the teen mass to the early morning mass,  you guessed it, very few teens.  Yet the early morning mass has a different type of reverence to it and a very quiet reverence.  At the early mass you can hear yourself pray and during your prayer it can carry you away.

What is reverence?  According to that ever reliable source,  it states;

Definition of REVERENCE

1: honor or respect felt or shown : deference; especially : profound adoring awed respect
2: a gesture of respect (as a bow)
3: the state of being revered
4: one held in reverence —used as a title for a clergyman
Let’s look at this a little closer.           The Church  (when I say the Church I mean the Roman Catholic Church….just sayin’), the Church is issued the mission of guarding the deposit of faith to which the Lord intrusted.    And the Church’s responsibility is to keep her guard up and defend these deposits of faith which Christ taught us.  The Church uses not just the books of the Bible that are inspired by God but also those teachings which Christ, Himself being 100% Divine and 100% human, taught His (hand-picked) apostles.  He taught them by way of oral teachings and better yet by example.  What do we say to our kids “do what I say, not what I do” – wait, strike that, reverse it.
But that “teaching” by example is what is passed on down to us today and what in fact makes our faith so strong.
So when I think of “reverence” I think of all those who came before us and showed us how to be reverent.  I think of the what those apostles must of been thinking and did they know and respect what they were witnessing.  Of all the disciples that listen to Jesus’ teachings and the reverence they had for Him here on earth.  And what about those who listen to the words of those who listened to Jesus teaching them the beatitudes.  We are a people of faith.  We need not witness miracles to believe because we believe by those who live by example and  by the greatest teacher, Jesus Christ.
It’s another reminder of when the priest holds Him up high, in reverence and says “Behold The Lamb of God”

Big Brothers….

I have two big brothers and I am actually bigger than both of them.

It was three years ago that my oldest brother, the BIG brother, passed away in an accident.  Cheers to you my brother!!

My other brother is doing well and if he reads this, I need $100 – thanks.

Being the baby boy of the family I had a lot of advantages.  For instance I wasn’t the first one mom or dad blamed for anything going wrong.   I didn’t get in trouble for leaving the house a mess.  I learned early it was probably best not to be a smart ass to my dad ( thank you brothers!).   However, one time my oldest brother and I got busted for throwing rocks or something in the alley.  What lesson did I learn from my biggest brother then?  Be sure to be the one to stand the closest to the one with the belt – being on the tail end hurt!

Another lesson I learned from my other brother was not to actually beat my oldest brother in ANYthing, he was a bit of a sore loser.    We had a pool table with a ping pong table on top.  My brother (middle) was playing our big brother in ping pong and kicking his butt.  Well it got a little heated and he (big brother) pushed the top towards my brother (middle) and tried to decapitate him, missed and broke  a corner of the table.  Game over.

Our big brother was very smart, to smart.  After high school he ended up getting a scholarship to Pepperdine University.   He came home the next spring in an Opel GT with long hair and a goatee, and it all seem to fit him perfectly!! He also was a very gifted painter which again fit him perfectly.    And when I got to have the basement room he had I felt very honored to know that he also slept in that room.

My other brother (middle) taught me (or tried to) a bunch of things.  Most of which I will not mention here.   But I will say this that his teachings has helped me as a father to think like a teenager and be prepared like a boy scout.

I love my brothers like, brothers.   And wish that we actually would have lived a little closer to each other, then again maybe not – don’t know for sure.  But the beauty of being brothers, we can be pissed off at each other for a while and feel better after one punches the other out.

I Love You Man!!

God Bless you David!   Andy – see ya soon!

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