Saturday, March 31, 2018




Chapter 3
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly,
for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also.
If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies.
It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot's inclination wishes.
In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze.
The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers.
Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water?
Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

Friday, March 30, 2018


Saint Joseph Home 


This year, I had the honor of being with the Little Sisters of the Poor and the residents of Saint Joseph Home down the street from my house. 

I was there Tuesday, Wednesday, Holy Thursday and 
Good Friday. 

What an uplifting experience! 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

WHAT IF.....


I certainly hope it never happens, but it looks like there is room on that kneeler for one more Pope! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018






























P. Did you say "hospitalized for three days with a blood clot?" I guess this shoots the hell out of my retirement trip to France? 

X. Just to think that while I was pastor of a very small parish in southern Kentucky, the Presbyterans in Chicago starting calling me "doctor" because they call no man "father." 

F. I was driven over to Saint Meinrad, I made a "2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award" acceptance speech and I turned around immediately to be driven home. My rotator cuff surgery and intense reaction to its "pain killing" drug were not obvious, but I was just barely functioning that night. 

A. You've heard of "nuns on a bus?" You've heard of the "pope on a bus." Well, how did I know I'd end up with "bishops on a bus" in Trinidad?

U. It was time to get in the car, after twelve years of preparation, to go to the Cathedral for ordination to the priesthood. 

Z. If I had to adopt a baby, I think I would take this one! His name is Princeton.  

S. Just "hangin' out" in The Vatican Embassy in Trinidad with Cardinal Felix. 

V. Sharing a few words with the Papal Nuncio to Canada before dinner. He is very personable with  a stereotypical heavy Italian accent. I may have met him twice. 

T. Lecturing the priests and bishop of the Diocese of Kingstown on how to work as a team. 

M. You don't need to know what I am thinking!

Q. Should I tell their one and only young priest in the middle of the back row that this ship is going down?

B. Lecturing the Antilles Bishops' Conference all afternoon? Who would have thought?"

W. Schmoozing with the Papal Nuncio to the Antilles. A passionate Italian who obviously loved his job. 

O. Removing the old cataracts, one eye at a time! Here's looking at you, barely!

J. Teaching the new crew about avoiding icebergs and packing their own lifeboats. 

N. There's a big aggravating gnat swarming around me!  . 

K. Surrounded by more poverty than when I was growing up in Rhodelia!

R. Before this flu kills me, I want to thank all of you for not being here to witness it! 

H. If that priest in the stripped shirt "yes, buts me" one more time I'm going to clobber him right here in front of the whole bunch! 

L. An honorary doctorate and commencement speech the same year Archbishop Kurtz got his honorary doctorate and gave his commencement speech? It was probably good I was retired!  

I. A Caribbean fishing  boat with my logo on it, now that's "leaving my mark" in the missions!

G. "Sister, just because you failed me on the altar boy test three times and told me I would probably "never be any good around the altar," doesn't mean I want to hold a grudge on your birthday after all these years!" 

C. I looked right into his eyes and held it as long as I could. I am sure it was against all protocol for a "near god."  

E. They said their flu shot would protect me! I got their flu shot and still got the flu - on Thanksgiving no less! That's the last time I am getting a flu shot at Kroger! 

D. I had no idea nine boxes of donated toys could cause me six months of aggravation and pain - but they still made it - AFTER Christmas!

Y. The day I shaved off my mustache because someone said I looked like Colonel Sanders. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018



When  the  great crowd that  had  come to the feast heard
that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, throwing their coats on the road.’ 
Mark 11:1-10

I am convinced that most people do not understand what Palm Sunday is about and I am not absolutely confident that I can explain it as well as it needs to be explained. Ill try anyway!

To understand it, I think we need to go all the way back to the beginning. Remember, Herod was so paranoid about the baby Jesus being a “newborn king” that he had all the young boys in Bethlehem slaughtered – just in case. Jesus, Mary and Joseph escaped to Egypt for a few years. 

Even when Jesus came out of obscurity to begin his ministry, we read at the beginning of Lent about Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert to become a "king" as he discerned what direction his ministry should take – what God’s plan was for him.

One of the temptations Jesus was offered by the devil was to take the political power road – to become a king. We know that, even though Jesus concluded that this was not God’s path for him, people were always trying to make him a king. Even some of his apostles thought that that option was always on the table. Remember the story where James and John tried an end run around the other twelve by asking for the two best jobs in this new kingdom they thought he was going to set up in the near future.

We will read tonight that Judas was so disappointed with Jesus over this very issue that he tried to force Jesus hand to “get on with it,” only to see it backfire. When it didn’t work, he ends up committing suicide.

All this “king talk” among the people, all the dreams about power inside his inner circle and a rising tide of paranoia among the Roman occupiers was about to explode when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.

When Jesus and his band arrived in Jerusalem, the streets were clogged with religious pilgrims from everywhere. The air was full of tension. Jesus’ own popularity had reached a fever pitch, the religious leaders’ jealousy had reached the boiling point and the government’s worry had become paranoid.  Everybody in authority, as well as Jesus, seemed to know that this trip smacked of a show down.  Jerusalem was indeed tense when Jesus arrived for the Passover - something big was about to happen. 

It was in this tense situation that Jesus came riding into the city, not quietly, but with total fanfare. Everybody noticed. This triumphant entry into Jerusalem was not some harmless little passion play. It was a deliberate move with dark possibilities.  Everybody knew that the very presence of Jesus in Jerusalem at Passover could set off a riot.

When  the  great crowd that  had  come to the feast heard
that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, throwing their coats on the road.’

Palm waving and the throwing of coats on the road were not just a nice gesture of welcome, spontaneously invented for this particular occasion. These gestures had major political overtones. In the past, when kings arrived to ascend their thrones, people threw coats on the road. Palm waving was a symbol of Jewish nationalism, synonymous with waving a rebel flag. Many in the crowds wanted a Jewish Messiah-King who would overthrow the hated Roman occupation and they thought Jesus could fit the bill. Even though Jesus had fought off several efforts of this kind, the crowds knew what kind of Messiah they wanted. They wanted a powerful revolutionary.

In response to the people’s misguided reception of him as a political, David-like, Messiah, Jesus deliberately came into the city on the back of a jackass, a pack animal.  It was a powerful counter statement that simply went over the heads of the crowds. While they waved palms and chanted nationalistic slogans, by this action Jesus said, “No! I’m not the kind of king you imagine! My power is a spiritual power, not a political power!”

This “temptation,” the temptation to become a powerful political leader, had been proposed by Satan at the beginning of his ministry.  The gospel tells us that Satan left him to wait for another occasion. It had been proposed to him, on various occasions, throughout his teaching days. Here it was again!   Satan, in various guises, never gave up, even at the end. Jesus, consistent in his refusal, remained faithful to his call as a humble, peaceful, spiritual messiah to the end.

Throughout history, the church has sadly from time to time given into the temptation to choose political power as a means to its goals, always with disastrous results. Again, in our own time, not convinced of the real effectiveness of spiritual power, some Christian communities have fallen for the temptation to take the short cut to achieve its mission by courting political power.  What is their rational? It seems that they believe that if people won’t choose to be good, they need to be made to be good! Palm Sunday has a lot to teach the church, even today!  My friends, our power is not a political power. It’s even more powerful than political power. It’s a spiritual power! The more we "get in bed with politics and politicians," the  more credibility we lose and yet more evangelical Protestants and some scared Catholics have still not learned that lesson!  They keep intensifying their attempts. Pope John Paul II had no armies, but he helped bring down communism just by his preaching and presence. That’s spiritual power!  Pope Francis has no real political power, except in a one-square mile of ground inside the walls of the Vatican, but he has tremendous spiritual power - a power that comes from authenticity. For it, he is the victim of many who insist that the Church can only survive with a powerfully strong authoritarian center.  Pope Francis style is the real source of our power as well – the power that comes from authentic Christian living and that power is harder to come by than a religious-political alliance!