Thursday, September 21, 2023

"ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS........."

As one who has never taken a computer class, but learned by trial and error, I have a couple of friends willing to help me through a few problems. I need their help and I appreciate their help, but one of the things that drives me crazy is when they answer my question with this response. "All you have to do is........," followed by instructions using technical words that I have no idea about their meaning! This funny exchange says it all! 

The query:

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slowdown in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as: NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1. Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and House cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

 What can I do?

 Signed: Desperate


The response came weeks later…


Dear Desperate,

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an Operating System.

Please enter command: I thought you loved me.html and try to download Tears 6.2. Do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5. However, remember, overuse of the Tears application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0, or Beer 6.1. Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download Snoring Loudly Beta version.

Whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Mother-In-Law 1.0 as it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.

In addition, please do not attempt to re-install the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0.

Good Luck

Tech Support

Tuesday, September 19, 2023



"Virtue Stands in the Middle"

A principle derived from the ethical theory of Aristotle meaning "good practice lies in the middle path" between two extremes.

Some priests have a call within a call. They are called to be pastors. The essential object of action as a pastor is the common good. As such, the pastor must move from his own personal point of view, to a viewing point. Unlike a seminarian or even an associate pastor, a pastor does not have the luxury of living merely in his personal point of view.

It is a pastor’s task, therefore, to reconcile differences of mentality in such a way that no one may feel himself a stranger in the community of the faithful. Pastors are (a) defenders of the common good, with which they are charged in the name of the bishop. At the same time, they are (b) strenuous defenders of the truth, lest the faithful be tossed about by every wind of opinion.”

When Jesus discussed leadership, it was always in terms of servanthood (Mark 10:42-43). The servant image encourages us to view leadership not as power and prestige but as service and devotion. A servant-model nowhere demands the abdication of the leadership role. Jesus was both servant and leader, and he never saw the two roles in a mutually exclusive way. Two extremes must be avoided: authoritarianism (exercising his ministry in an overbearing manner) and abdication (disdaining his rightful role as leader). The key word here is proper authority. “The priest should avoid introducing into his pastoral ministry all forms of authoritarianism and forms of democratic administration which are alien to the profound reality of ministry, for these lead to secularization of the priest and a clericalization of the laity.”

A parish priest should never be the servant of an ideology or of a faction. There is a growing tendency of some priests to align themselves, even beginning in the seminary, with sub-groups in their presbyterates and in the Church in general, creating a destructive “them” and “us” climate of suspicion and even hate. This “virus” prevents people from engaging in respectful dialogue. It seems to have started in American politics a few years back and has now invaded our churches and even the hearts of some of its pastors.

How can a priest lead the community entrusted to his care to unity, when he is part of the forces of disunity, even under the mantle of “orthodoxy?” In his encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam, Pope Paul VI said that our dialogue is “not proud; it is not bitter; it is not offensive; it is peaceful; it avoids violent methods and barbed words; it is patient; it is generous; it is respectful.”

Sunday, September 17, 2023



Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times? Jesus answered Peter, “I
say to you, not seven times but seventy times seven times”
Matthew 18:21-35

Again this Sunday, we are asked to consider forgiveness - not only for what we have done, but also for what we have failed to do - and that includes not forgiving each other! As I mentioned last week, I read that lists over 160,000 books on the topic of forgiveness. That’s 32,000 more than books on sexuality. That alone should tell us what the human heart hungers for most and why the Church considers it so important to preach about! 

Like the cartoon character Charlie Brown himself, good old Saint Peter craves affirmation. Like a needy little puppy looking for a pat on the head, Saint Peter is always on the look-out for ways to impress Jesus. No matter how hard he tries, he seems to keep missing the mark over and over again. You have to love this big klutz with a soft heart. 

The stories of Saint Peter embarrassing himself are numerous, but the one we have today is typical. Jesus had just told his disciples that they must forgive one another. When Jesus finishes speaking, imagining that another chance to impress Jesus has presented itself, good old Saint Peter springs into action. Peter knows well that the rabbis had always taught that people needed to forgive three times. Peter gets out his little mental adding machine and multiplies three by two and adds one for good measure. Then he asks his question and answers it at the same time. “How many times must we forgive? Seven times?” He obviously expected Jesus to say, “Wow, Peter, how generous you are! You are better than the best! Seven times is way beyond the call of duty!” You can almost see his big eager grin melt like wax when Jesus told him to forgive, not seven times, but seventy-times seven times. In that culture, that was a way of saying – “forgive without even counting the times!”

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to forgiveness is thinking forgiveness is for the benefit of the offending party - that forgiving requires us letting them off the hook!  To be honest, it is the other way around. Forgiveness of others is actually a gift we give ourselves. It lets us off the hook! Grudges consume vast amounts of time and energy: the incessant mental energy of rehearsing it over and over in our minds, the regular bad feelings it keeps generating for us with the constant retelling of it to anyone who will listen. We all know people who constantly bring up their festering grudges and we have to stand there and let them go through their bag of stinking “bag of grudges” one more time!  Let’s all make sure we are not one of those people who drags a stinking bag of grudges around with them and makes everybody have to hear about it.   

While we are working so hard dragging around our grudges, the offending person is probably not even aware of the punishment we are inflicting on ourselves. As the comedian Buddy Hackett put it, “Don’t carry a grudge. While you are carrying the grudge, the other guy’s out dancing.”  Again, as Mark Twain so wisely said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

“In the long run, it’s not a question of whether they deserve to be forgiven. You’re not forgiving them for their sake. You’re doing it for your own sake. For one's own health and well-being, forgiveness is simply the most energy-efficient option. You can muster that heart power to forgive them as a way of looking out for yourself. Forgiveness releases you from the punishment of a self-made prison where you are both the inmate and the jailer. Forgiveness releases you from the incredibly toxic, debilitating drain of holding a grudge. Don’t let these people live rent free in your head. If they hurt you before, why let them keep doing it year after year in your mind. Forgiving, even seventy times seven times, is a favor you do for yourself. Forgiveness is one way to keep rotting garbage from piling up in your mind and heart.

The second reason to forgive is also selfish. We forgive so that God will forgive us! The Book of Sirach, our first reading today, lays it out quite clearly. “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” Jesus put it this way, “Forgive and you will be forgiven. The measure you measure with, will be measured back to you.” Holding a grudge is a dangerous, as well as a self-defeating, thing to do to oneself!

Grudges are like cancers. They need to be stopped, cut out and removed before they kill us, emotionally and spiritually. As the first reading says, only a sinner “holds them tight” and “nourishes” them in an insane need to be right. The need to be right is expensive. You can be right without your offender needing to be convinced that you are right. Forgiving is ultimately “agreeing to disagree” and letting it go!

How many old grudges are you carrying around in your mind and heart? Who do you refuse to forgive? Isn’t today a good time to cut yourself free, emotionally and spiritually? It may be the biggest step toward self-care you’ll ever take!