Saturday, October 31, 2020


 “And the scariest costume goes to the guy not wearing a mask”

By the way, in Alabama it is illegal to dress up as a priest or nun! 

Thursday, October 29, 2020




Because There Is No Rescue Party Out Looking For You

a forty-three minute You Tube reflection 


Rev. J. Ronald Knott 

Along the same line, I found this military speech by Admiral McRaven at the University of Texas in 2014 to be very valuable. He too talks about doing hard things for your own good as a way of helping yourself become your best self.  


Tuesday, October 27, 2020



Looking back, I am very aware of God's guiding hand in my life, especially since he has called me to be one of his priests. I have always been aware of this fact, but since I got into volunteering in the island missions of the Caribbean, it seems that either he is intensifying his help or I am becoming more aware of it. 

Like manna from heaven in the story of the Exodus in the Bible, it seems that help is coming from everywhere and in so many ways - even funny ways! God truly does have a soft spot in his heart for the poor!

A while back, I heard someone down in the islands talking about the need for "musical instruments." Before that Sister Nyra Anne, at Saint Benedict Home for Children, told me last year that she had a girl who showed some musical ability. She had gotten a violin from someone, but she did not have a bow to play it. Guess what? Someone showed up in my life with a violin bow to give her. 

I had that request for musical instruments in the back of my mind for a while when, all of a sudden, someone who played the harmonica contacted me and asked if I would be interested in some harmonicas for the islands. What a great idea, I thought! It might be hard to come up with enough expensive instruments like guitars, pianos and trumpets to go around, but harmonicas would be inexpensive to ship, easy to maintain and more kids could have access to them! 

As it turned out. this donor had a plan. He said he would contact the HONNER harmonica company to see if they would donate some harmonicas to the kids down in the islands.

He called me a few  weeks back to meet him for lunch. We arrived at the restaurant at the very same time. He opened his trunk and pulled out a box with 104 Honner Harmonicas! The HONNER Company could not give them to him for free, but they gave him a huge discount! 


I have already found a harmonica teacher (from Scotland in fact) down in the islands who is willing to teach some of kids how to play them.  I will ask the teaching Sisters to help me find interested students. My dream is to create a couple of small groups of harmonica players to go with the kid-drummers who already play at Mass in some parishes.

With 104 harmonicas planted like seeds, surely a small number of them will go on to blossom and excel musically! 


This note, and the attached video, just came from Sister Carmen down in Saint Vincent. "We had our schools' Independence celebration yesterday during which the different grades performed an item among lots of other activities. So some of the harmonica students showed what they were able to do with the harmonica." 

We hope interest is the harmonica spreads! Having a few kids playing before all the schools is a good place to start! 

Sunday, October 25, 2020



You shall love God with all your heart, all your soul,

all your mind and your neighbor as yourself. The

whole law depends on these.

Matthew 22:34-40 

We have been reading about the battle between Jesus and the religious teachers of his day. Since Jesus was very popular among the ordinary people on the streets, these religious leaders could not attack him directly so they resorted to trying to trap him in his speech so that they could have something to accuse him of should there be a heresy or sedition trial.

Last week, they thought that they had Jesus cornered. First, they schmoozed him with false flattery to get him to open up. “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” They then asked him whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. They thought they had boxed in with a clever “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” dilemma. If he said “yes it is lawful” he would offend and lose his followers who hated Caesar and his taxes, but if he said “no it is not lawful” then the Roman government would come after him for sedition.   Jesus outsmarted their trickery by answering, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s!”  

Today they are back for another try. The trick question today is “what is the greatest commandment?” They knew that scripture scholars could not agree on this so they thought they could discredit him with somebody no matter what answer he gave. Again, Jesus outsmarted them by placing the love of God and love of neighbor on the same plane - making them equal - rather than prioritizing them as they requested.     

Love God with all my heart, soul mind and strength? Love my neighbor as myself? You mean I am supposed to make God and others the most important considerations in my life, even more than myself? Most of us, to be honest, can’t say that God is that important to us, much less the people around us!

I would love to be able to say that God is always at the center my life, and that I love all people all the time but sadly I quite often put myself and other things ahead of God and the needs of others. Some days I do better than others but, thankfully, God is very patient with me and loves me anyway.  I have always taken comfort in knowing that my best is good enough for God.

Today, I want to say a few more words about taking these two commandments seriously. None of us will ever measure up completely to the Great Commandment – the one that summarizes all other commandments - but this is the brass ring for which we all reach. To take God seriously, to seek to love him and others with all we have, there are things we must do. I can think of six.


1.    We must want what God wants. To be able to even want what God wants, we have to know what God wants. That means we have to understand the Scriptures, listen to the Holy Spirit and stay consciously connected to God through prayer.

2.    We must remember who we are. We are holy. We are holy, not because of what we have done, but because we are “created in the image and likeness of God” and, through our baptism, we are adopted children of God. We must accept our holiness, loving ourselves if you will, neither exaggerating who we really are nor denying who we really are!

3.    We must want to live by the same values that Jesus lived by: having a loving kindness toward all, especially the most weak and vulnerable, even our enemies; striving to do God’s will no matter the consequences; using Jesus’ life as a pattern for our own lives.

4.    Loving ourselves does not mean pampering ourselves and giving into our worst inclinations. No, we must be in command of ourselves, have a handle our addictions and our passions, so that we can steer ourselves in the way that God wants us to go. We must constantly question our own motives, making sure that we not only do the right thing, but also do it for the right reason.

5.    We must never give into hopelessness, whether it is about the future or about other people because we know that the war against evil has already been won, even though we may continue to lose many more painful battles. God’s kingdom will come and nothing we do, not even the gates of hell, can stop it from becoming a reality!  

6.    Regardless of our failures, loving God and each other with our whole heart, soul, and mind is something we should strive for, even though it is something we will never accomplish completely. God wants a relationship with us, even if it is rocky and imperfect.


Today, we are challenged to get serious about God, not in some loud, noisy and superficial way, but in a long haul and to the core-of-one’s-being kind of way. Loving God and one’s neighbors with all our hearts, souls and minds does not translate into noisy religious fanaticism, but into a subtle way of living that draws people attention away from themselves and place it on God and those around them. That is the spirit of these two commandments and that is what the spirit of the whole law is all about!   How can we possible do all this? We can do it only with God’s help! Let us now go to this table to be fed and strengthened on the Body and Blood of Christ! With God’s help all things are possible! 

Last of all, remember this! If you love God with all your heart, you can do nothing else BUT do the loving thing to your neighbor and to yourself! If you are disrespecting yourself and anybody around you, you simply CANNOT claim to love God! It’s that simple and that profound!

At a time when meanness to others in the name of God is so intense, it might be good to remember this, the greatest, commandment. Even loveless religious people, as Jesus knew, can be “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Blaise Paschal put it so well. “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”