The overriding emotions of this week for me, have been disdain and delight. I had written a long diatribe on my disdain for some of our elected officials who have held up the Congressional legislation that would give us all some direction on how to proceed in these uncertain times, at least in terms of employees, payroll and healthcare. But I decided to erase that and in the spirit of Lent to practice extra charity. As is so often the case, whenever there is a free-for-all, someone will try to pick your pocket and take advantage of the situation for their selfish purposes. I understand now why St. Thomas Aquinas said that the highest levels of heaven were reserved for politicians since the temptation to self-aggrandizement and corruption is so great for them that if they can resist, it amounts to heroic virtue on their part. Doesn't look like many of them can resist the temptations. Sad.
That being said, delight far surpassed disdain. Delight at how creative so many of you are in finding ways to cope and make the best of this situation. And delight at how many businesses are stepping up and retooling to manufacture needed supplies. The My Pillow Guy has converted his pillow making plant to making face masks, many booze producers have converted to making hand sanitizer, Auto manufacturers are trying to make ventilators and lots of other creative ideas are helping us get through this.READ MORE
Lent is a special time of conversion, of healing to grow closer to God. It’s a special time of grace to ask ourselves what attitudes, sins or attachments that draw us away from God. Today’s Gospel relates the story of the man blind from birth to whom Jesus gave sight. Healing comes first of all because we recognize ourselves sick. Jesus came for the sick or the sinners, not for the healthy or the just. It is a favorable time to turn to Him and allow Him to cure the blindness that we have: selfishness, indifference, pride, resentment. Let us ask Him with deep humility and simple hearts knowing that if we do this, we recognize that Jesus truly came personally for us, that Jesus came to heal our own personal wounds. Jesus came to be our Light so we won’t have to live in darkness!
A friend of mine recently said to me, “you realize we are living at a point in history when there are two popes and a plague. Medieval, huh?” That sounds right. You would have to go back to the 1300’s for the last time that convergence of events occurred. Of course, back then there were popes and anti-popes and the Black Plague. So, if you ever wondered what it was like to be a medieval man, well you’ve gotten your taste. The good news about living in 2020 despite a pandemic that seems medieval is that we will get through it quicker and with less lethality than past pandemics. But we have to get through it. And that is the challenge we all face.READ MORE
Maybe not my finest moment… I was in the Supermarket and at check-out time there were no Cashiers, just the Self-Service Kiosks. I do not use the Self-Service Kiosks simply because they put people out of a job. There are four kiosks and one staff person supervising the checkout process. So that means there are today, three less cashiers, three less jobs. And if we continue to use the kiosks then the store will get the message and hire even less staff.
Another problem with the kiosks is that after about three or four items there is nowhere to put additional items, except on the floor. If you try to put them back in the cart the camera sees it and tells you to “put it back in the bagging area”. So, I asked to speak with the Manager. I told him, rather strongly, that I resented having to do this self-service check-out because it puts people out of jobs. Just my principle. And since I had more items than normal my stuff was all over the floor. Not only me, but the lady behind me was holding a baby and scanning items at the same time and her stuff was all over the floor as well. Though she had a smile on her face, don't suppose I did.READ MORE
Eight days before His Transfiguration, Jesus told His disciples about the suffering and death He would go through and that He would be raised the third day. He promised glory and eternal happiness but He never hid the reality of the cross or sufferings. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we should deny ourselves and take our cross every day. However, sometimes we fail to remember this reality, especially when we are in the middle of difficulties: maybe in our families, our relationships, our work place, personal struggles, or suffering of our loved ones.
Following Christ is certainly not the easy path: choosing Christ means giving up our selfishness, pride or sinfulness, it means selflessness, forgiving, loving even our enemy. It is the narrow path that we should follow but it is The Way, the only way to eternal glory, the only way to be truly happy. Let us keep in our minds that the story doesn’t end on the cross but in His glory. And sometimes, all we need to do is to be faithful day by day and look for the little and simple moments of “lights”, when we “hear” His voice and “see” His Plan clearer.
As we approach another general election, polls say that one of the top concerns of voters is healthcare. And now with the outbreak of the recent version of the coronavirus, you can bet that healthcare will be even more prominent in this election cycle. It seems like we talk and argue endlessly about our healthcare system and you wonder what exactly happened that makes our healthcare system such a frustrating issue?
If you have ever been scheduled for surgery, you know that your medical provider will submit to your Insurance provider a request for “preauthorization”. Then you get a letter that states, “Your preauthorization is approved but this is not a guarantee of payment.” Then what’s the point, you think. It’s called bureaucratic-eeze. Now if you called your medical insurance provider and ask “under what conditions will you not pay for the surgery” you will not get an answer or at best some gobbledygook response. But you may be stuck with the bill or a large chunk of it if some insurance administrator decides afterwards that the doctor didn't color within the lines.READ MORE
This was a recent headline from CNN: “Germany is currently not considering closing its border with Italy, due to the coronavirus outbreak…” Brilliant, I suppose, if there were actually a shared border between Italy and Germany. You wonder if anything this media outlet tells you is accurate or true. If they can’t proof-read maybe they should just look at a map.
Speaking of Italy and the coronavirus, things have turned rather somber. Both the Archdioceses of Venice and Milan have suspended all Masses, including funerals until further notice. Additionally, the city of Venice cancelled its annual Carnivale celebration which will have a tremendous impact on the local businesses and economy. Much of that area in Northern Italy has been placed under quarantine and photos show the supermarkets were stripped bare by panicked and angry residents. Likewise, in many areas in China, all religious gatherings have been cancelled, no funerals or even sick calls are being allowed. Let’s hope that’s not what awaits us.READ MORE
If you attended 9am Mass, you will have seen our Catechumens receive a special blessing. In Sacred Scripture, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the “Book of Life,” in which are written the names of those who have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus. Those who are already baptized, as Catholics or in other denominations, had their names written in the Book of Life at Baptism. In this Rite, those preparing for Baptism are invited to come forward and sign a book, as a sign of their desire to be numbered among the chosen of God.
On the first Sunday of Lent, across the entire world, Catholic Bishops welcome those sent by the Parish to gather together with their Sponsors in what is known as the Rite of Election. This symbolic book will be presented to the Bishop and will mark their Election. Please pray for our Catechumens as they start their final preparationtowards their reception to the Church.