Coffee Share – Week of 11/27/2016

Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I am typing this on my IPhone.  We just had the our carpet washed, and I am nervous about having the laptop power cord laying on it. I am still trying to get my thumbs trained.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my reactions to this post election period.  Again, I have been through many post presidential elections periods; never have I been through one like we currently are.  I am still trying to be open and giving this coming administration a chance; but the actions of the President-elect is not making it easy.  And now the other side is engaging in the very actions they accused the Trump campaign of trying to do; delegitimize the election.

Over a cup of coffee, I want to share something a fellow deacon, who is a theologian and author, Deacon William Ditewig.  On his blog billditewig.wordpress.com.  He suggests we take the following actions:

  • We must be active agents of peace and reconciliation.
  • We must move beyond categories of ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’
  • We can offer opportunities for listening and dialogue with the view towards reconciliation.
  • How might we all become even more involved in the local political scene…We all have a responsibility to do something and not just complain about things.

Finally, he suggests, and I concur, that no matter if we are Democrats or Republicans; liberals or conservatives;  we come together, when we gather around the Eucharistic Table.  We need to remember that in Christ, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all one.

Well, the cup’s empty, see you soon over a cup of coffee.

A Thanksgiving Psalm

thanksgiving-2

118 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O Lord;
O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

(Psalm 118: 1-10, 19-29; NKJV)

Coffee Share  11/21/2016

deacon coffee mugGood day!  I usually meet you all on the weekend over a cup of coffee.  However, if we were having a cup right now; I would tell you that yesterday, I jammed the tips of my fingers in a closing door.  My pastor had to rush off to a wake service, after Sunday Mass. I volunteered to check our main doors, to make sure they were locked up tight.  One set of doors did not seem right, so I pushed them open a bit. Still do not remember exactly what happened, but suddenly my left hand fingers were caught in the doors.  There is no serious damage, a little bruising under one nail, and the fingertips are still a little sore.  So it has been a little painful typing yesterday.  Right now, I am using my thumbs on my mobile phone.  Not quite sure this is an improvement.

Over a cup of coffee, I would tell that we had our first snow of the year!  It was only a dusting, but I still had to brush our car off.

Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my growing anxiety about  this presidential transition.  I have through a dozen presidential elections; and I do not remember it ever being like this.  I have in the past reserved judgment until a new administration was up in running.  But this transition, the opinions of people that they are bringing into government, quite frankly, scare me.

As I write this, I am watching a beautiful sunrise.  I remember a quote from the writings of English mystic, Julian of Norwich: “All will be well, all will be well.”  See you soon over a cup of coffee.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – A Brief Reflection

There was an inscription over his head:

‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS’

.(Luke 23:38)

2 Sm 5: 1-3

Col 1: 12-20

Luke 23: 35-45

San Damiano crossToday, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King.  However, the Scripture readings for the day could lead to confusion for some of us.  The first reading describes how the people of Israel came together and made David their king.  It was to David, did the Lord make the promise: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me ; your throne shall stand firm forever” (2 Sm 7: 16).  Even when their lands were occupied by foreign invaders; the people of Israel still hoped for the promised coming of the Messiah, a descendant of King David.

We believe that Jesus of Nazareth, of the line of King David; is the promised Messiah, the Christ of God, the Son of God.  However, in the Gospel reading from Luke, we see Jesus not seated on a throne, but nailed to a cross, like a common criminal.  Yet in this suffering, he was performing the greatest act a king can do; dying for his people.  For by his death and resurrection; Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, freed us all from the power of sin and death.  To Him, would come a glory that would surpass anything pomp and ceremony could bestow on a earthly king or queen.

Today, the Catholic Church is also ending the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  It is fitting then, that today’s Gospel reading describes the last act of mercy Jesus would perform before his death.  Despite enduring horrific suffering, he hears the plea of a repentant criminal, and promises him eternal peace.  Thus, we are being challenged by Jesus; that no matter how much pain or suffering someone may have caused us, we must be ready to be merciful, to forgive and to heal.  And no matter how hard life might be, at any given moment, we must be open to any opportunity, to give mercy to someone who needs it.

Weekend Coffee Share – 11/13/16

Over a cup of ice coffee; I would share with you that I was not totally surprised by the electiondeacon coffee mugn of Donald Trump.  It has always been my belief that there was always a chance that he would win.  News analysts have pointed out several factors that contributed to his victory.  First, he spoke to blue-collar workers in those states that make up the”Rust Belt.”  These are those voters who felt left behind during the country’s economic recovery.  They felt ignored by federal government; by the Democratic Party, which originally was their party.  They now see it, and the government as supporting Big Business; and immigrants.  They claim to not recognize the country they live in; and they were mad as heck!  They were looking for anti-political establishment  figure, and found him in Donald Trump.  The irony is that it was these same blue collar workers who helped to elect Bill Clinton to the Presidency.  Reports are out there that he told Hilary’s campaign staff not to ignore the workers in states, like Michigan, but he was ignored.  There were other factors also that contributed to Clinton’s defeat; she just had too much baggage, from her e-mails, to her cozy relationship with the Wall Street establishment; a lot of people just could get excited about her enough to go out and election-2016vote for her.

Now the country waits to see what a Trump Administration means for us, for minorities, for immigrants, and for those workers who have pinned their hopes on him.  There are already sizable protests on both coasts of the country; with people crying out: “Not my president.”  The fact of the matter is that come January, 2017, Donald Trump will legally, constitutionally, be the President of the United States.  We can either accept that fact or be responsible for the ending of the political experiment that is the United States of America.

What is the Catholic Christian response to this situation?  First, to pray; pray that the Holy Spirit will invade the hearts of our political leaders, changing them from hearts full of anger and disrespect for the other side; to hearts geared towards cooperation for the sake of the nation and all its’ people.  That political and social discourse will be with respect for people on the other side of an issue.  That there will be a new commitment to make government work.  We then must also be willing to stand with the poor, the disenfranchised, the immigrant; and where necessary, speak “truth to power;” but in such a way that respects the political process, in a way that promotes civil discussion and cooperation.  I would highly recommend reading an article by Fr. James Martin, SJ, in the Jesuit magazine, “America.”

Well, my mug of iced coffee is empty; and believe it or not, I am about ready to pass out.  So I hope to see you again, over a cup of coffee.

 

 

Election Day in the U.S. – 2016


After a very long, angry and bitter campaign; it is now up to us citizens.  Now, my wife, Peg, and I voted last Friday, at Beverly City Hall; the last day for early voting in Massachusetts.  The first floor was set up for voting, using old fashioned voting booths.  We checked off our preferences with a pencil; sealed our ballots in envelopes; and deposited them in a ballot box.  Even though we had to wait on line; everyone was friendly, and helpful to each other.

What will happen today; what kind of country we will have at dawn, remains a mystery.  After I saw a report on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” I am still worried.  They hired a pollster, (worked for Republican campaigns), to form a focus group.  He brought together a diverse group of individuals; who promptly went after each other’s throats.  No civil discussion, just anger came out against each other.  Even the pollster expressed fear over what he was seeing, and what it meant for the country.

The preamble of our Constitution begins with: “We, the People..”. We cannot lose sight of the fact, that each of us, in small ways and large, contribute to the ongoing experiment in democracy, that is the United States.  We may chose to build it up, tear it down, or let it whither on the vine.  This is the “choice,” we face; not just tonight, but in all days to come.

Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) – 2016

Yesterday, the Church honored the memory of the unnamed saints in heaven.  Today, we remember all those who have died; family members, friends and acquaintances; and we pray that they are in the embrace of our Father’s loving arms.  

We Catholics hope that those who die, will quickly go to heaven.  However, we also believe that before many of us reach that blessed home; we need a time of purification; a cleansing of the stains of past sins.  The Church believes that this purification take place in a place called “Purgatory.”  Whether it is an actual place, or a state of being; it is still a place of longing for God; of preparation to finally encounter him, in all his glory. 

We, who are among the living, pray for these souls, that their time of purification will be short.  And we hope that, when it is our turn; our family and friends, both on earth and in heaven will pray for us; that we will all be in the indescribable joy and glory of the Presence of God.