Tuesday, December 4, 2018

                                             Vesper Time – A Book Review

Vesper Time is a short book, packed with insights into 5 key areas around the issue of aging. The first chapter deals with memories.  It’s not so much about losing memories as it is to identify the key memories which have led us to become the people we are.

Chapter two raises the subject of Intimacy.  What kind of intimacy really helps us as we age?  How do we maintain relationships that sustain us and keep us connected as we face the future? And, of course, facing it with others is more life-giving than facing it alone.

The third chapter treats the huge issue of diminishment.  What things can’t we do as well as we used to? Can we admit that?  And are there some things that we can actually do better now, in spite of the physical and mental changes we are experiencing? 

And the last 2 chapters deal with acceptance and gratitude. They help us age with hope. They encourage us to see aging not only as a challenge but also as a gift.  The goal is to become loving and grateful people and to avoid the grumpy old men or women syndrome!

I’ve read four or five other books about aging and this one is my favorite.  It’s written by Frank Cunningham and published by Orbis Books, Maryknoll New York.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

                                                            Leading with a Towel

On last Sunday’s feast of Christ the King, Pontius Pilate and Jesus are discussing Kings and Kingdoms.  The kind of Kingdom Pilate has in mind is the King of the Roman Empire.  His throne is the seat of power and his army controls the borders, his weapons include horses, lances, bows and arrows, and his riches provide a luxurious life-style.

And Jesus’ notion of a king is a Servant King. His throne is the cross.  His army are His disciples.  His riches are the poor, the leprous, the marginalized, the prostitutes and sinners.  And He leads with a towel.  It’s the towel of a servant King who washes feet.  And that Servant King asks His followers to lead with towels too. 

Our Servant King is in charge of the final judgment. He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will enter the Kingdom because they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the homeless, visited the sick and imprisoned. And our Servant King says: "What you did for my least brother or sister…you did for me."

Question: How are you leading with a towel this week?   

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


I’m trying to broaden the scope of my gratitude.  And I invite you to do the same.

Who have been your best teachers in school or in life?

What’s the tastiest meal you’ve had?  With whom did you eat it?

What’s the most interesting place you ever visited?

Who are people behind the scenes of your life who really help you?

List the beautiful things in our natural world that you relish and enjoy.

Think of a piece of music or a work of art that has touched your soul.

Remember a time when you laughed so hard that you cried. 

When did you feel closest to God in the last week or two?

Who loves you most?  Why do you think that person loves you so much?

                                        Happy Thanksgiving.  F Ron

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

                                          I Will Praise You…For I Am Wonderfully Made
                                                                       (Psalm 139:14)

How wonderfully made are you? There’s something a little unnatural for me (and probably for many of us) to describe ourselves as wonderfully made.  It sounds like we are bragging.  But God really has made us wonderfully.
In my morning prayer I almost always say: “Thank you Lord for loving the total package that I am.”  And that includes my sins, foibles, idiosyncrasies, etc. But it also includes the gifts that God has given me.  Can you name 5 gifts that God has given you?

The way I see it is that I am a child of God.  And just like I take after my parents in some ways, I also believe that I have some qualities that God has passed on to me too.  It’s what I call my Spiritual DNA. 

Take time today to identify your DNA markers that are God-like.  And then think about the people closest to you.  Can you see how wonderfully made and God-like they are too?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

                                                            God-Sent Moments

Last weekend I was struck by Mark’s placement of the story about the scribe who approved Jesus’ insight into the 2 great commandments.  In Mark’s Gospel, that story occurs on the Tuesday of Holy Week…a time when opposition to Jesus was growing rapidly. 

The previous day Mark described Jesus’ visit to the temple when He turned the tables upside down and used a whip to get the money-changers out of there.  Many Jewish leaders saw that as proof that Jesus had to be killed. 

So on Tuesday each opposition group sent people to confront Jesus.  It was a horrible day until the Scribe came.  He asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest.  And when Jesus described the two commandments of love, the scribe genuinely affirmed Jesus.  That was a God-sent moment that helped Jesus face the agony that was coming soon.  

Sometimes God-sent moments come directly from God, but most of the time they come from people that God puts into our lives.  Who was a recent instrument of a God-sent moment in your life?  And how were you recently an instrument of a God-sent moment for someone else?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

                                          Blind Man Sees Better than James and John

In the Gospel two weekends ago, Jesus asked James and John what they wanted Him to do for them.  And they told Jesus that they wanted to sit on His left and His right when He came into His Kingdom.  What a brash self-interested request! 

“What do you want me to do for you?” is the same question Jesus asks the blind beggar in last Sunday’s Gospel. And the beggar, Bartimeous, says “I want to see.” And Jesus responds “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” And not only are his eyes opened but he also sees with eyes of faith. The story ends saying that that “Bartimeous followed Him on the way.”

‘Following Jesus on the way’ is code language implying that Bartimeous became Jesus' committed follower. So guess where Jesus stops next on the way? It was Jerusalem when Jesus arranged the ‘Palm Sunday' entrance into the Holy City. So Bartimeous follows Jesus to His dying and rising. What a commitment! (Read Mk 10:51-11:1-2)

How would you respond if Jesus asked you “What do you want me to do for you?” And what is the hardest thing for you to do as you follow Jesus 'on the way'?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


                                                      Do You Listen to God? 

Last weekend we heard the aftermath of Jesus’ 3rd prediction of His suffering, dying and rising. (Mark 10:33-45)  And right after that, James and John ask Jesus if they can sit on His right and left sides when He comes into His kingdom. 

After the 1st prediction of His suffering and dying, Peter ‘rebukes’ Jesus for saying such a thing. To which Jesus responds: “Get behind me Satan!” (Mark 8:31-33)

And in the light of the 2nd prediction, Jesus discovers that while He was talking, the disciples were arguing about which one of them was the greatest. (Mark 9:30-34)

You might ask: What’s wrong with these Disciples?

I think they simply didn’t ‘hear’ what Jesus said, because they were too focused on their own issues. If they really heard Him, wouldn’t they have shown some shock or compassion?
Do we listen to what Jesus wants to tell us?  Or are we so preoccupied with our own issues that we don’t even ask Him what He might want to say to us?
Honestly…that happens to me almost all the time!
So my new-found daily remedy is to ask Jesus to tell me what He wants me to hear.  And then I shut up for 10 minutes and try to listen to Him. It seems to work. Give it a try.