Ordinary Time, 29th Sunday. Jesus has been giving a long list of what it takes to be his disciple. Why? Because Jesus does these things and the disciple must be like his master. Jesus has made himself the servant of all and he deeply desires to serve you. But in order to receive his gifts, have to be willing to serve like Him. (18 Oct 2009)
Ordinary Time, 28th Sunday. One thing has struck me since I arrived here in this city: how sad people look all the time. No one really smiles on the street or in the mall. Some can’t even smile back when you smile at them. On a recent TEC retreat, I discovered people that are really, honestly happy. What would we have to give up to accept Christ wholeheartedly and be happy like them? (11 Oct 209)
If you want to experience the joy of Christ, the next Teens Encounter Christ retreat is January 1st. See: www.anchorofhopetec.org
Ordinary Time, 27th Sunday. What are we passing on to our children? The last three Gospel readings have all mentioned children. Are we passing on faith? Are we passing on love? Are we passing on respect for all human life? In addition to families, a very important resource for our children is our Catholic schools, as our GRACE appeal reminds us. (4 Oct 2009)
The Diocese has several appeals every year for different things – missions, religious retirement, seminarians, etc. While these are all good things, the priest feels the pressure to integrate the appeal well into Mass and still allow things to finish in a timely way. Any suggestions from the pew on how to do it better?
For the most part, priesthood needs very little equipment. To celebrate Mass, for example, all we really need are a few fancy garments, some pretty cups and bowls, a few expensive books, and a nice big church comes in handy too. However, it sometimes happens that we celebrate Mass on the road or in nursing homes or other places where all the equipment is not available. In that case, a very useful priestly item is the Mass Kit. It consists of all the basic things needed to say Mass with. They usually cost upwards of $100 and come in various sizes. The smallest are like equipment for doll houses, and the biggest ones practically contain their own altar. Not wanting to spend the money when I was a newly ordained, I decided to build my own. It has taken me a while to collect all the necessary items but here it is: Chalice (the cup), patten (the plate), water and wine, candles and crucifix, altar bread, and altar linens.
It needs to all fold up into a handy travel case. For a long time I couldn’t find anything that was just the right shape. Finally I settled on a Plano Guide Series case, like a small tackle box but without dividers. I called several sporting goods stores but none of them carried this particular model.One day I stopped at a local store. I described what I was looking for and the helpful salesman said, “No, we don’t have anything like that,” and walked away. Right behind his head on the shelf was exactly what I was looking for, and it was the only one in the store.
I had some chunks of 5×5 foam left over from the boxes they ship Easter candles in. Half an hour of snipping and I had a custom-made Mass kit.
The finished product is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at 2kg and measuring 9.5×7.5×4 inches. In the picture below, the dollar bill is for scale (contrary to popular belief, a collection is not a necessary part of Mass). It is also surprisingly expensive — the chalice and patten were each $40, the case was about $30, and the rest was free. So my home-made inexpensive kit cost me about $110. So I spent the same amount of money, just spread out over a period of time. At least I can brag that I built it myself.
Ordinary Time, 26th Sunday. Jesus talks about cutting off hands, feet and eyes. Is he serious? A malfunctioning gas flap on a car shows what Jesus really means: We cannot tolerate even a little sin in our lives. Even small sins begin to choke off the life of God that we desperately need. (27 Sep 2009)
Ordinary Time, 25th Sunday. Jesus predicts his passion a second time, and then catches his disciples trying to be the greatest. "Whoever wishes to be first must be the last of all and the servant of all." This is Downward Mobility, Jesus’ invitation to seek the good of others instead of satisfying our own selfish ambitions. Which wolf do feed? (20 Sep 2009)
Ord24 – Would you Rather…? (7:20)
Ordinary Time, 24th Sunday. Would you rather: A) live of comfortable but mediocre life that does very little good for anyone, or B) live an uncomfortable life with a lot of suffering, but which does great good for the world? Jesus chose the second, and history shows us what a profound effect we can have by making the same choice. Your works reveal which one you choose. (13 Sep 2009)
Ordinary Time, 23rd Sunday. Jesus touches the deaf man and says "Be Opened" — and he can hear Jesus’ voice and praise God. We too are deaf to the voice of God. We need to allow Jesus to heal us so that we can hear him clearly and bring others to him. (6 Sep 2009)
(The recording from Church didn’t appear so this was recorded later)
The news recently reported that Pfizer (maker of Viagra, Zoloft, Lipitor, and other commercials) and had been fined $2.3 billion. Apparently they were promoting drugs by inviting doctors to “consultant meetings” at resort locations, paying their expenses and providing perks, including free golf and massages. (Devlin Barrett, Green Bay Press Gazette, “Pfizer to pay record $2.3 billion penalty for drug promotions”, A-13, 3 Sep. 2009). Essentially, this means that when the TV commercial says, “Ask your doctor if Zoloft right for you,” they’ve gotten to your doctor first. He wrote out his first prescriptions in med school on a Zoloft clipboard, his office is littered with pens and other free Zoloft promotional materials, and he’s been to the Zoloft “consultant meeting”. Do you think he’ll find that an equivalent generic drug will work just as well, or that you don’t need a drug at at all? I think he’ll give you a prescription for Zoloft.
The worst part, of course, is that all this money comes from you. It is you, the patient, that ultimately pays for the drug that provides the money for them to run millions of dollars in commercials, hand out promotional materials and bribe doctors with great perks.
In other news, the Green Bay Press Gazette also noted that health care costs have more than tripled since 1990.(Ref) How could costs more than triple in 19 years? Is that even possible?
Ordinary Time, 22nd Sunday. We work hard to keep our bodies clean and free from germs. But Jesus reminds us that a clean heart is better than clean hands. We have to work just as hard to avoid Spiritual Contagion. Fortunately, Jesus provides us with antidotes: Prayer, Confession, and Penance. (30 Aug 2009)