Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stewarding We Go!

Light switch on in the bathroom. When done, I turn it off. Yes, I do. While in there, flush, when done. Wash hands, wipe dry, or, power dry 'em. Waste not, want not! Where did I hear that from? Was it from my mother, or, my father, both farming-town youngsters who came to Detroit to find factory jobs in their early teens from Cheboygan and Port Austin, MI. They used every minute well, it seemed to the seven of their children with two sets of twins when diapers were cloth, and, far from the 'throw-away' today. Waste! Got to hate it, right? Senate Bill 1150 seeks to change the Michigan Vehicle Code to limit the gross total weight of trucks, not to exceed 80,000 pounds. Got to give it to Michigan State Senator Steve Bieda pressing to pack more gently on the asphalt, even though this time 'round it went down like a flat tire! Speaking of fledgling roads, the good Senator is concerned about declining gas tax revenues caused by increased vehicle fuel economy that has resulted in a significant drop in fuel tax revenue, notes Bieda, representing Warren, MI., a blue-collar town in a fest-shrinking middle class. Whether the light switch, saving water at the sink, or elsewhere on the lawn, for example, a little bit of enlightenment and information helps us all conserve and be wise stewards of time, talent, treasure, and trees, too! Anyone out there today who will lighten the burden on roads these days, and, be a 'light' to the world saving some, somehow today? After all, it's Stewardship Sunday across Catholic congregations today! The power of oneness may be the answer in the living Temple of the Holy Spirit that get to give an accounting at the general and particular judgement day when my final breath of living energy ebbs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunday's Sermon: A Homily

Friendship. We all have one or two. And, tons of acquaintances. For sure. I learned that from the famous Father Edward Popielarz, a parish priest of the late Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish where my family of nine, including two sets of twins, worshiped, and, went to school. Ruth and Naomi were friends. Really good friends. They were faithful and true like a 'best' priest friend, and, a high school chum from the East Side of Detroit, my Motown - another friend of a town! That's another sermon, however. Committed friends. Ruth and Naomi, Biblical friends way back. They were. Side by side, heart to heart, they spoke, shared, and, I bet they cried also, at times. Both characters of the Sacred Scriptures - the Living Word of God that you and I walk these days in our limbs and legs and living Temples. Small in stature compared to the love God has for you and me, among all others, including creatures that crawl the earth. God's love is huge. A really big heart. In fact, unimaginable for us frail, limited and at times sinful humans. Yep. I can't imagine the size, let alone an adequate Name for the largesse of the Maker of men and women like me, like you, all of us here today giving praise to God at this Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist (a Greek word that means 'thanksgiving'). Feeding here on the living Word and easting of the Body and Blood of Christ with the communion of Saints. With Mary, the mother of God, her mom, Saint Anne, Saint Lawrence, the deacon,and, the entire heavenly host of all saints such as you and me, and, the officially canonized Saints. Even those "poor souls" in Purgatory that we all prayed for, I bet. That feast we marked November 2nd, called All Soul's Day. So many saint among the dead and the living, and...among the Living forever, for eternity. Be blessed these holy days all the way to Thanksgiving Day, and beyond. Give thanks. For saints. For friends. Acquaintances also. And, for friendship with God, with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity. Be one. Be a friend. Befriend one or two, and reach out if you need one. Know, however, that God is a Friend forever especially at those low points, down moments that come and go like the spiritual life, like consolation and desolation, the 'ups and downs' of living daily lives. Like the roller-coaster at Edge-water Park on Seven Mile near Telegraph. Anyone remember?

Monday, October 19, 2015

OCTOBER 25, 2015 Sunday's Sermon: A Homily Based on John's Miracle Story of the Blind Beggar

A family went to Africa to hunt lions. Dad and mom wanted to do this as a dream of their lifetime. Lions seemed lazy, they all thought. Outraged at the lifestyle there, they judged the Nation as one filled with people who could changed everything if but they were motivated like Americans, dad and mom concluded. "We will never return here again," they declared. And, the kids agreed. As a matter of principle, the parents taught their children to never give cash to beggars. To any of the street beggars, and anybody else. You just never know what they want the loot for? Can't trust anyone? When they returned home they showed their photos to others they frequently visited in their upper-scale community. They agreed that they wouldn't visit there ever again, also. Do you have any sympathy for the poor and needy, one relative inquired. How can you feel for lazy, unmotivated people, anywhere? they shot back.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

People's Pope of Family Stepped One Step to Far?

I don't know. But, perhaps Pope Francis is a bit too brave. And, courageous. Although I savor such stellar stepping out, did he go one step too far earlier today when he addressed the joint session of the U.S. Congress at the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.? I don't know, but I'm paying attention to my parish priest who would have relished the image of the family at a fireplace like a folkloric feast with food and fellowship, so to speak. The late Father Edward Popielzarz of Polish origin in Saginaw, Michigan, perhaps, unlike any other mentor and pastor of my seven decades, taught me to listen well to my feelings, and, to heed what joy or 'heartaches by the number' I may be entertaining at any given time or day. For sure. When Francis called for conclusively eliminating this Nation's death penalty, evangelicals and fundamentalists must have had the hairs on their head, or, neck rise in anger. Really! After a splendid, urgent, and clarion call in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," Pope Francis' urging for the prayer and dialogue of my favorite Cistercian monk of Gethsemane, Kentucky, buried at my favorite retreat house, Father Thomas Merton, got the pope to want the world to emulate Merton, and, connect with the Creator often each day. And, Abraham Lincoln's cry for liberty was held up high for us all, and, union of the Civil War era, finally, revered Catholic Worker Dorothy Day's pleading for social justice, and, the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights' race, and massive march on Washington, D.C., did the pope of the people and the poor and impoverished lean a step to far? I think so. But, I may be wrong. Of course the arc of justice is long, and, it leans toward justice, as King would have applauded the Pontiff, but, one can spoil the soup, so to speak, with one step too much, no? Who knows? With little clarity, the Pope concluded on the side of mercy and hope and rehabilitation possibilities for criminals on 'death's row. He did. I affirm that also. However, some fine nuancing, and, elaboration on this 'magical' man's point would have helped Francis to trek on in his firm, feisty, and virtuous procession through the weekend in Philadelphia for the World Family Meeting without a glitch, and 'possession' of unnecessary attachments, to borrow from his speech to Congress today. The fallout may follow. We'll see. Too risky for the fledgling U.S. family that needs all the help that it can give. The late, and former Archbishop of Detroit, John Cardinal Dearden, would agree. "We never do enough for family," bolted the reasoned and progressive Dearden who participated in all of the sessions of the ecumenical Vatican II Council from 1962-65.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Married Couples, Family Income, Poverty, and an Angelic Phrase to Protect the First Institution of the Sacred Scriptures

New estimates of 2014 poverty and income just published show that poverty increased among groups that are traditionally less vulnerable: Married couples with children and people age twenty-five and older with at least an undergraduate degree. According to reports, no President has done as bad by the middle class in modern times. Other resources now note that growth rather than social justice needs to be the measuring standard. That will be tough in a time and culture of entitlement-mentality, and increasing dependence on federal monies by individuals and others. All of this points to indicators of even more anxiety and anger disorders in the work of counselors and clergy, among others, especially the fledgling American family that could use all the help it can get from people getting back to work and buoying the economy in urban areas, and more. Detroit's poverty rate below $24,0000 incomes is highest in the Nation at over 39 per cent. The future, I must confess looks bleak in a 'feel-good,' politically-correct-driven America that would rather be comforted by lies than the facts and truth. After all, C.S. Lewis noted that the question about religion is not whether it makes one feel good, no, it's about whether religion is true. God help us work to provide hope within and around ourselves in a culture of violence and reduced respect for all of human life in and outside the womb, coupled with global wars erupting everywhere. Such fracture further divides children broken by conflict, longing for family affection, unity, and, mentoring by mom and dad. The village and neighborhood may help also with effective, functional examples of the common good. Angel of God, my guardian dear. . . may I be moved to stand up fearlessly for, and, defend the first institution of the Bible, and, my America. Family First! For sure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

War Room Is Number One - A Bit of Restorative Faith in a Fledgling Family

Tops. A shattered marriage of Liz, who is Priscilla Shirer, merges with some mentoring by Miss Clara, who is Karen Abercrombie in a thrilling, laughable and most loveable cinematography. War Room, a remarkable and fast-moving, funny drama, is No. 1. It topped the Labor-day weekend with close to $13 million in about 1,500 theaters. With about thirty inter-religious leaders, steered by Bishop Jerry Pepisco, and, his wife Sherill, of Evangel Christian Ministries in Roseville, Michigan, this flick had me in stitches with all my feelings flowing freely from glad to sad, and, everything in-between. Faith-based movies are bringing throngs of people into theaters everywhere these days filling the longing for moral meaning and purpose-driven living in an oft-void culture we inhabit all around us. War Room is the top hit for director Alex Kendrick. His, Courageous title, in 2011 and Fireproof flick in 2008 cashed in at $34.5 and 33.5 million, according to bean counters. The crowd I was with went over to a new National Coney Restaurant nearby following the movie to unpack its pearls of wisdom. For me, I'd love a spiritual director like Miss Clara, who I affectionately call, Grandma God working for Jesus like a fury of fire catching on in Liz' fragile home first, only to ignite neighbors, the workplace, and beyond. Like an amassing snowball copycatting is everywhere. Applause to the producers. The world needs this movie for mending a broken home, or two, on your block. Bring on more. Enter more makers of movies like this. The faithful, and more, are hungry. Real hungry. Beyond any need of reconstructing Genesis' male/female marriage partners, this film only aims to strengthen marriage and family as the Bible's first institution. No need here to remake God's marriage design, as in the latest fad of the five attorneys who wrongly decided for so-called democracy in America.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Firm Faith of Jimmy

It was easy watching President Jimmy Carter tell of his cancer. He told the world about it in the eyes of faith. His eyes. His faith. Without drama, Carter smiled as he told his tale: Cancer is in his brain. Yet, amid all this, he stood firm in his faith. And, after radiation treatment, he taught his usual Sunday Bible School class full of hundreds of people attending. Faith is his life. Carter doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve. It is him. People may laugh about his presidency, but, what is most important, is faith. His own. Mine. And, yours!