Sunday, September 9, 2018

Cooperate. Confide (2018-09-09, Sunday-24)

9 September 2018    /    23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Isaiah 35:4-7a  •• Psalm 146 •• James 2:1-5 •• + Mark 7:31-37

••       Title:   Cooperate. Confide.


[__01__]     I’d like to extend a special welcome to guests, alumni, friends and neighbors of the parish who are here today for the continued celebration at Lourdes of West Orange Old Timer’s Day.
          The Gospel – this Sunday – is about both our call to “COOPERATE” and to “CONFIDE”.  To work together and to build trust, COOPERATE, CONFIDE.
          “West Orange Old Timer’s Day”  is a day to recall the COOPERATION of many coaches and players, officials and volunteers through whom young people have been served and taught to kick, to shoot, to swing but more importantly, as we say, “how to play the game.”
          And, by these efforts, they become citizens themselves, team-players, and those who understand that CONFIDENCE – and CONFIDING in
one’s coaches and teammates – is is not only a strategy for scoring, but a virtue to cultivate when you are defeated or sorrowful.
[__02__]     There is a Gospel lesson this Sunday also about COOPERATING and CONFIDING.
          About working together and building trust.
          Cooperation was evident in the teamwork of the group who brought – perhaps dragged along – the man who is hearing-impaired and speech-impaired to Jesus.
          But, did not all of the disciples  - do not all of us – require what this man received:
          EXAMINATION one-on-one. The healing happens one-on-one away from the crowd. We are called not only to worship publicly collectively but also to examine ourselves one-on-one. Similarly, are not our relationships with each other strengthened – marriage, family – not only by the things we do together but also the prayers, reflections we offer for each other 1-on-1 before God.
          That is, we are called to pray for our spouses, our children and through this it is God who helps us to listen to each other, to hear each other, in cooperation.
          It is God who helps us to hear and speak with each other.
          Cooperation leads to examination.
          Even if cooperation means what we are called to challenge another person to help each other to grow.

[__02.01__]      CHURCH. It also takes cooperation to address injustice, to raise awareness, to make a rescue of any kind.       It will take cooperation to rebuild the trust and trustworthy leadership of Catholic community and Church leaders.
          However, it will not simply require a public cooperation but also the individual personal commitment of every priest, every bishop, every church leader – and every one of us praying for them – to rebuild trust.
          We cannot do so simply by following what is popular, but by what is true, by what God teaches us. The commandments are not simply about keeping boundaries, but about dignity and respect for the inner mystery of person. That’s cooperation.
          I do not have a solution or resolution but recognize that just as collective inertia or indifference – in some cases by some - permitted these evils it is examination and cooperation with God’s plan for justice and with and a common vision that will be the remedy.
          That’s COOPERATING.

[__02.02__]    IN THE MIRACLE-we see not only outward cooperation but also CONFIDING + CONFIDENTIALITY.  Even -- SECRECY.    It is strange to read that Jesus asks for secrecy or taking down any online posts about the miracle.
          Why the secrecy? One commentator observed that this is simply Jesus’ reminder to the disciples that just as he is not “marketing” himself as a healer or magician, they are also not to seek renown or reward for their own teachings or ministry or miracles.
          And, in addressing ourselves to the current Church scandal, or to the everyday task to lay down our lives for each other, to forgive each other, am I looking for reward, are we looking for renown?
          If Jesus himself did not want credit, why should we feel dissatisfied if something we do – or we rightly avoid doing – goes unnoticed.
          It’s an act of faith or confiding in God. One-on-one.

[__04__]     The miracle event or encounter in the Gospel is not a reminder of the other people whom God helps, but that He helps all of us.
          Just to return to this Old-Timers’ Day.  
          This “old-timers’s event “ may remind us of those who are advanced in age.  But, spiritually, we are not separated chronologically.  We also not separated by statistics or successes or sorrows, but united by a shared history. 
          Consider: Paul wrote to Galatians ….. there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
          Similarly, we are not divided as OLD – versus – YOUNG. To our Lord and Savior, all of us are OLD for already knows every hair on our heads, and all of us are YOUNG and growing and need of his help, to hear and to speak.
          Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for Us.     [__fin__]

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Water, Elevation, Inspiration (2018-09-02, Sunday-22)

2 September 2018   /   22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8  •• Psalm 15 •• James 1:17-18, 21b-22 •• + Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

••       Title:   Water, Elevation and Inspiration

[__01__]     I’d like to connect this Gospel episode to:
►WATER + purification.
►WATER + concentration. How do we respond to crisis? In our lives? In the church? It’s problematic when a high volume of water is concentrated, and comes all at once.
►WATER + precipitation. Our storm of Saturday August 10th, 3 weeks ago.

[__02__]     ►1st. WATER. And purification.
          In the Gospel, this Sunday, the washing (water) of hands and other items is the manor concern of the Pharisees and Scribers who are finding fault with Jesus and his disciples’ practices.
          And, you and I – as Catholic/Christians – still bless ourselves after the ancient Jewish custom. Holy Water is a sign of life and also of deliverance from death to life.
          So, for example, when a child – a little girl or boy – is baptized/christened – we come as close as we possibly can to pouring the water over the child’s whole head. When adults are baptized, they are often fully immersed and submerged in water.
          This water is an outward sign. This the definition of a sacrament: an outward sign of an inward reality or grace.
          An outward sign of what is meant to happen inside. Jesus does not just want to purify our hands but our hearts.
          Jesus wants us not to be a signal  or a traffic light for goodness, but to be a signifier, to mean it. Or, as he says, in Matthew’s Gospel: let our Yes mean YES and our No mean no. (Matthew 5:37)
          When we ask for forgiveness, when we do penance, we do so not to change HISTORY (outwardly) but change our HEARTS (inwardly).
          And, when we endeavor to forgive another person, I suggest this is not so that we can reconcile and give everything a good “look”, but rather so that we can let go – inside – of the hurt, resentment, anger.
          In this regard, it is both the water and blood of Christ that touches us inside. So this is water and purification.

[__03__]      Secondly, water and CONCENTRATION.
►What about WATER and concentration or a crisis?
          Sometimes, the layers of a problem are thickly concentrated and we are not sure what to do.
          Recently, my father’s cousin passed away under tragic and sudden circumstances. And, my father’s cousin had one son who is now an adult, but nevertheless as a young man had now lost both of his parents.       It was not clear whether or not there would be a funeral mass.  And, I must admit that the high concentration of tragic circumstances made me want to withdraw. But, at one point, I suggested to a relative that maybe I should call Richie, the surviving son, an idea that was very enthusiastically embrace and encouraged.
          I needed that encouragement to overcome my own fear and grief over the situation, that encouragement was an inspiration and elevation.
          We need the help of others to find the high road, the elevated road, which is not always clear of mud or water.

[__03.01__]   ►What about WATER and concentration of bad news in the Church right now?
          There is a flash flood faced by the Church and by many church leaders right now.
          In the Gospel, we recall that Jesus constructed his house on the Rock of Peter. It was a rock that did not have mechanical pumps to push out the bad water. Peter as the first Pope – and every Pope since Peter – has been a sinner in need of redemption. Nevertheless, this rock and construction reminds us that we are elevated by Christ and can be restored and made new. The Church will survive this storm.
          Jesus built the church on rock. He did not say that he would build our church on rock, or that he would “deed” the rock to us and we would build it. You are here because He built it. He is in charge.
          The Church is  Christ’s and we are His. That is the ELEVATION.
          What about the INSPIRATION?
          This is a challenge right now. Because the inspiration, the prayer, the penance to which all of us are called may seem to be objectionable.

[__04__]       So, why should you or be elevated or inspired in this way?
          To be an example, to be a witness.
          Let’s say it is Christmas Day and it’s super-cold outside: 12F.
And, you or I are in a rush to get someplace. And, we are driving around Washington or Gregory School or some school zone where the speed limit is significantly reduced.
          But, you are in a hurry. There are no police anywhere to pull you over. But, still, you would – and I hope I would practice what I preach – slow down out of respect, out of care, for the child you cannot see,  you have not seen, or may never see.
          You do so as a sacrifice, as a little penance, to be an example, to be a witness, to elevate, to inspire.

[__05__]      Thirdly, water and PRECIPITATION. An example, and an example of the blessing of Lourdes church.
          Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1 Eagle Rock Avenue, 07052 was built with water in mind not just the miraculous healing waters of Lourdes in France, but with the WATER of a stream of which our church is constructed.  (NOTE: mechanical pumps running 24 x 365 lower level church.  Due to water volume increases / rain, they work harder.)
          How do we survive precipitation and heavy rain? I suggest it is due to our
          ELEVATION: i.e., we are not actually at the bottom of the valley.  We have some elevation here
          INSPIRATION, and we have your inspiration, prayerful commitment to Lourdes.
          We are blessed. An example…

 [__05.01__]     Precipitation. 3 weeks ago, around 4 pm on a Saturday, severe thunderstorms and flash floods occurred in this part of Essex County and also in Passaic County and Little Falls.
          This led to a flash flood about 3 feet of water in our adjacent Mississippi Avenue (to your right) which lived up to its name. And, because water flows down, there was 5 feet of water outside the church basement door on the side of the church.
          Water was leaking into the church basement – Connor Hall – for about 30 minutes. It turned out to be one very shallow puddle. It could have been worse.
          And, I believe ELEVATION saved us.  While we there are acres and acres of land above us, we are not at the lowest point. And, after a while, the water was able to flow further downhill, further downstream, and went away.
          But, in addition to ELEVATION, there was also your INSPIRATION. The inspired and devoted help of many of you to check the basement, to clear a drain, to call the Fire Department and also …to listen, to advise, correct my understanding of the true nature of the problem. Thank you for your patience. 
          We are grateful that LOURDES has both elevation and inspiration so as to survive water and precipitation.
          And, you by your prayers and sacrifice make this ELEVATION and INSPIRATION possible.

[__fin__]

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Real. Right Now (2018-08-26, Sunday-21)


26 August  2018    /  21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b  •• Psalm 34 •• Ephesians 5:21-32 •• + John 6:60-69

••       Title:   Real Presence

[__01__]      ‘Instantaneous ’  - instantaneous  – means “right now.”
          In this homily, I’d like to talk about what is going on …
·       RIGHT NOW in the Gospel.
·       Then, a “RIGHT NOW” example to illuminate the Gospel.
·       And, to speak about what is happening RIGHT NOW in the Catholic Church, in the news, in the news with which you are perhaps all very familiar.

          ‘Instantaneous’ or ‘real time’ describes something that is happening right now, the hurricane in Hawaii or another weather pattern, whether we are in it or not, we know of its existence.
          It’s still happening right now.
          Sometimes, we turn off our phones or computers or TV’s wondering what is happening – right now – that I cannot be connected to.       And, in Catholic Tradition, we Jesus’ Real Presence – his instantaneous presence - through Holy Communion.
          This my body given up for you. Right now.
         
[__02__]    Jesus is real in Holy Communion.
          This is not a matter of “giving up” because I am indifferent, but rather “giving up” or “offering up” because we care about the well being of another person.
          As an example… a RIGHT NOW example.

[__03 __]      Right now. My brother and his wife have a daughter who is about to start college, about to start her first year of undergraduate-college and is moving into her college residence hall today about 30 minutes from here in New York.
          But, they live in California.  She is moving in right now. TODAY. How do you bring a child to college with all of her belongings, all of her necessary things, 3,000 miles,  when it is a cross-country excursion?
          Your order everything online.
          In real time, it gets there.
          And, over the past 3 months – RIGHT NOW - my parents’ condominium – also hear near NYC -has come to resemble a warehouse, packages, boxes, deliveries, from Target, Ikea, Amazon. And the boxes were not placed in the garage or basement, but right there all over the living room and dining room.
          I told my father the other day, “you know you could have put these in the garage or the basement.”  I think he liked them in the living room to keep an eye on them, even though he did not know what was in them.
          The paternal and parental instinct, just to keep an eye on things even if you do not know what is going on.
          So, amid all of this, of course, there was a person at the center of all of this, their granddaughter, my brother’s daughter and my niece, to take care of her properly, to get her started.

 [__04__]    It is a frequent message of the Gospel that we should not store up treasures on earth – or from Amazon – but rather treasure in heaven.
          But, I think there a temptation which is that we might just welcome Jesus as one more box or package and put him in a box and keep him in a corner.
Jesus is, however, is the child not to leave behind but rather the child and person to place in front of us.

[__05 __]      Jesus gives life when we welcome him amid our busyness, our problem-solving, our packaging and re-packaging.
          The boxes and packages of Target, Ikea, Amazon make sense in the living room because they are connected to a person whose boxes they are. “The yoke is easy and the burden light” (Matthew 11:30)  when we act out of true love.
         
[__06__]    There is a challenge in the Gospel, because some disciples do not want to welcome Jesus – RIGHT NOW – into their lives.
          They want to postpone or to re-define his arrival.
          Jesus reminds us he is here to stay and to remain among us, not to just to deliver Holy Communion – and leave – but to deliver you and me, to take us with him.
          Do we want to go there?
          Did we have other plans?

[__07 __]      The temptation faced by the disciples of his day and ours is that we will “also leave”.
          But, to receive Holy Communion means that we are in community with others. Your burden is my burden or box – whether it is delayed, lost or on time – is my burden also, as Saint Paul wrote also in Ephesians 5 about the shared joy and struggles of wives and husbands in marriage.
          We are all preparing for Jesus’ arrival which is RIGHT NOW. It is not tomorrow, it’s TODAY and at 11:30 am Mass and was also at 5:30 Saturday, and 7:30 am and 9:30 am.
          But, we do not want to postpone it until next week, because it is happening right now, we are called to welcome Jesus by our willingness to be converted, changed, RIGHT NOW.

[__08__]    RIGHT NOW, in the news media, there are many articles about the mishandling of criminal abuse cases of children. I was remembering something that happened around the year 2000.

[__09 __]      Around the year 2000, I was applying to go to the seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange. I was, at that time, working.
          And, one evening, after my regular daytime job, I went to the seminary for my interview with a priest and professor there.
          And, I was particularly stressed out due to a difficult project at work.
          I was reflecting that the seminary would be a place for me to pray and to change my pace of life.
          And, even now, 18 years later, I am still on that same journey. I am not perfectly peaceful, but I am seeking that peace – in God – that you are also seeking.
          And, the seminary started that journey very well.
Now, after the priest heard this from me, he quoted Psalm 84 to me … was seeking a different way …and I remember the priest who interviewed me quoted to me Psalm 84 …”one day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. 
Now … not every day in the seminary was better than a thousand elsewhere.
          However, for the most part, I experienced a significant change in my life and attitude, very positive. I felt called to be a priest.
About a year or so after that interview – and early in my seminary days – there were scandals being discovered of priests and criminal abuse of children, children who trusted them.
This was in 2002.  So, I thought ..why should I even stay in the seminary?
Is one day within your courts better than a thousand elsewhere? I this place really any better?
That is the question.
I came to believe it was, it is and that I was/am called to become a priest.
It is a joy to serve you at Our Lady of Lourdes.
During these 2002 discovery time of many scandals of abuse by priests/clergy, I was encouraged by seminary faculty who wanted to discuss this with us, with the seminarians.  We were able to talk with our priests, mentors, and professors who were very open and honest with us about their own disappointment in Church leaders.
I do not know what the changes will be as a result of the most recent discovery and reporting of abuse. I do not have an announcement of a solution or resolution.
I share your outrage, your disappointment. And, if any of you wants to talk to me personally whether it is to talk in detail, just to vent to me, to share your concerns, I am glad to listen at any time, before or after Mass, on the phone or in person, whether it is to ask a question or demand an answer. Please call me or stop in and see you.
I have a responsibility to dialogue with you and listen to you, to what your concerns are.
          The seminary remains the center of formation and information and help to those studying for the priesthood. Pray for those studying for the priesthood, including own Father Bob Suszko is one of our priests as he is vice rector of the seminary – please pray for Father Bob and for the rector and professors.

          The seminary was a place of dialogue and discernment for me and the most important question (in 2 parts) I was asked was this –
          do you love the people whom you serve?; and, do you show the people you serve that you love them?
          I do love you, the people I serve. And, I realize that I do not do this perfectly, all the time.
          But, that is the question – some priests – some men preparing for the priesthood did not know the answer to that question, did not know what it meant unfortunately.
          And, this had heinous consequences.
          And, so, above all, we pray for the victims, the children, the families,
They need our EYES to watch over them, and EARS to hear them.
          We must listen and watch out for them, to let them know that the Catholic Church cares for them and about them, RIGHT NOW.
Listen to them.

[__fin__]

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Trust, Listening (2019-08-19, Sunday-20)

19 August  2018   /  20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Proverbs 9:1-6 •• Psalm 34 •• Ephesians 5:15-20  •• + John 6:51-58 

••       Title:   Trust, Listening

[__01__]      Who can be trusted?
(2x) Yesterday, I was at a family funeral for my father’s cousin, Richie.
          Richie was a beloved member of our family, owned a restaurant. He was a person liked by many, known for his sense of humor and trusted by us. He knew how to lighten up a situation.
          I recall meeting Richie on the day after I was ordained a priest, when I celebrated my first Mass of Thanksgiving. Many family and friends were there.  I used to see Richie every summer but I had not seen him for a while. He was my father’s cousin. His nephews are my 2nd cousins. We have to do the whole ANCESTRY.COM genealogy to figure it out.
          So, I saw Richie that day. And, I must admit … there family members whose names I was mixing up, with so many people at once.
          And, he came up to me and said, knowing I might be a bit lost. He came up to me and said, “I’m Richie, I’m the nice one.”
          So, it was a way that he lightened up the situation and built trust.
[__02__]      My cousin told another story about Richie. Richie owned a restaurant called The Manor House in Westchester County, New York.
          The Manor House is like a much miniaturized – smaller version of The Manor in West Orange.  They have weddings, receptions.
          And, Richie knew how to, so to say, schmooze and welcome guests, customers and …. in this case potential/future customers. When my cousin was a junior in high school, and president of his class, he and his committee were shopping around for a location for their junior prom/dance.
          My cousin suggested – and really wanted to go to – The Manor House, Richie’s place, because their high school was in this same vicinity.
          So, my cousin suggested this to the committee …let’s check out The Manor House.
          So, they put Richie and The Manor House on their list and they go over there.       
[__03__]    What my cousin recalled, first of all, about this visit was Richie’s car – his beautiful, black, shiny Jaguar right by the front door.
          Richie had some flash.
          And, Richie then gave his sales pitch, showed my cousin and the committee the place.
          Then, upon returning to high school, they had to make a decision about all the different places they had visited.
          My cousin recalled that he had to RECUSE himself from the deliberations. There is a whole lot of RECUSING going on these days….
          But, one of his classmates – on her own – was quite insistent that she liked The Manor House.
          So … in this case, Richie – objectively on his own – won their trust. They trusted him, they had a good experience.
          He took these young people under his wing. They trusted him. He took care of them.
          That’s how it should be. Not everything is always how it should be.
          Who can be trusted?
[__04__]    Many of our parishioners have heard of the recent findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury regarding the abuse of children by members of the clergy and, sometimes, the cover-up by their superiors.
          This can be earth-shaking and faith-shaking.
          Consider Jesus’ caution about trust:
[But] he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.  (Matthew 18:6)
          Children trust us.
[__05 __]      Our children are given to us to love, protect and guide to adulthood from a safe and secure place in childhood. When a priest, who we expect to protect and love our children with the love of Christ acts otherwise, “he has betrayed the grace of his ordination”  in the words of St. John Paul II. 
And, the damage done to children, young people and their loved ones/families is immense.
It can take years to measure and heal, to bring the incident to consciousness, to LISTEN.    
My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by such reprehensible behavior.
As your pastor, I am also horrified and troubled to think of little ones deeply scarred by priests they trusted.
An institution’s public persona is never more important than the vulnerable persons within à who are more vulnerable than our children?
          I wanted to share my thoughts and let you know that I am here for you. Your faith and devotion are inspiring to me.
          Let us never fear the truth – either when are called to speak the truth or to hear/listen to the truth.
          This truth sets us free, to act for Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit, according to his guidance.
          And, He always guides in the ways of love, especially on behalf of those we are called to love and protect. And to remember they depend on us to do so.
          Listen to them.
[__fin__]

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Moving In (2019-08-12, Sunday-19)

12 August  2018    /   19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• 1 Kings 19:4-8  •• Psalm 34 •• Ephesians 4:30-5:2  •• + John 6:41-51 

••       Title:   Moving In… (John 6:41-51)

[__01__]     In the Gospel readings of the recent Sundays, of this Sunday and the upcoming Sundays, Jesus has taken the people of his day back to school, back to a new understanding of God’s gifts to them and for them.
          He is reminding them that God is not only tending to them by a multiplication of loaves, but also teaching them and asking them to bring their gifts forward to be multiplied.
          But, how do we regard the gifts, talents, and dignity that we bring?
          An outline. I would like to touch on this Gospel in three aspects, based on what often happens when we go back to school, or back to campus … whether we are living there are not…
          There are these 3..
(1)  Moving in
(2)  Looking Around.
(3)  The Bread of Life.

[__02.01__]     1st. MOVING IN.
          AUGUST 2001. On a Sunday in August 2001, I arrived with my car absolutely packed with stuff, boxes, belongings to move into Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange.
          I began the afternoon somewhat annoyed because I was also – simultaneously trying to move out of my apartment in Hoboken. While trying to re-organize the furniture for my remaining roommate the apartment, I banged my thumb so hard that I needed to keep it on ice all the way from Hoboken to South Orange.
          I was relieved, therefore, to encounter helpers among the faculty and staff and seminarians who would move the boxes out of my car into room 211 on the 2nd floor.
          So, we need help to move in.
[__02.02__]      In terms of both “content” and “comprehension”, Jesus was trying to help his disciples to move and to move in, to a new relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
          Regarding ‘CONTENT’, there was the content-rich miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. While the disciples protested, Jesus insisted that these 5 loaves and 2 fishes – after the blessing and consecration – would be the “content” …and they would sustain and contain the crowd’s hunger.
          Do we trust that even sometimes our seemingly humble or meager gifts – when blessed by God – can go a long way?
          So, there is CONTENT at Jesus’ school.     
          But there is also COMPREHENSION. That is Jesus, was not just teaching them to multiply bread or feed the crowd physically.        
          And, sometimes the gift of our SACRIFICE does not satisfy someone immediately or physically.  Sometimes, we give a gift to a person by saying … no..by saying no because what he or she is asking for is, actually, harmful.
          Sometimes, God does not give us what we want immediately.
          And, by the Passion and Cross, Jesus does not want to teach us that we do not have to suffer…but wants to teach us HOW TO suffer.
          There is content and comprehension.
          And, this 6th chapter of John is both a lesson in theology that is kind of advanced..and it is also Christianity 101 … for novices, for the freshman… for all of us who need a refresher.
          When we move in to a new school or new class or new state of life, we receive both ‘CONTENT’      and COMPREHENSION. Both the material and the spiritual.

[__03__]      What happens after we MOVE IN? 
          Well, I suggest that we start LOOKING AROUND… we look around for friends, we look around for those we can get along with …and sometimes we look around to avoid the kids your mother told you about.
          When I arrived at the seminary – with all of my belongings, I began to look around.
          And, I realized – that up until this point, I was the only person that I really knew … and I was the only person that my friends or family really knew who was studying to be a priest.
          So…as I told people about this journey – this seminary decision – this made me – I imagined – unusual and interesting in their eyes.
          It was like I was the only astronaut they had ever met. I kind of enjoyed that.
          But, then, I looked around the seminary and I realized…you know, for all the better, I am not the only person trying to do this.
          And, some of these classmates and seminarians I can connect with…some I cannot.
          Or, to return the example of move-in day with all the boxes, some of them brought gifts and talents that I wished I could possess.
          Some of them brought attitudes that might, at times, annoy me.
          Some of them had intellectual gifts that I did not have.
          So, for better or worse, I could be either pleased or annoyed any given day.
          And, no one wants to be annoyed. We do not like to be annoyed.
          So, the decision I had to make went back to Day One. While my thumb was no longer bothering me…the thumb that was banged up slightly trying to move the couch in my apartment … I still had to return to move in day.
          Am I ready to move in?
          And, over time, I recognized that my calling was not based on what other people thought or said or thought was interesting.
          My calling was based on my relationship with God.
          And, my belief – however I much I did not want to admit it…that the seminary, the priesthood was not just going to help me to get to a parish, but ultimately to get to heaven.
          So, after MOVING IN, after LOOKING AROUND, I learned that the Christian life and Gospel was helping to move toward and look toward God more closely.
 [__04__]    3rd The Bread of Life.
          Or, in Jesus’ terms, to receive the Bread of Life, his school, his move for us.

 [__fin__]