Sunday, December 30, 2018

Survive. Sustain. (2018-12-30, Holy Family Sunday)


SUNDAY 30 December 2018    [ HOLY   FAMILY   SUNDAY ]

 Sirach 3:2-6,12-14  • Psalm  128 or Psalm 84   • Colossians 3:12-21  • Luke 2:41-52  

Title:   Holy Family Sunday: Surive, Sustain...

[_01_]  I need to hear something more than once for it to sink in, to understand, to comprehend. As Jesus says, “he who has ears, let him hear.”  (Matthew 11:15).
          I may need to hear something more than once, repeatedly.
          When I was preparing the December 30th Mass schedule, I asked Father _ to say 9:30 am Mass. He promptly responded that would be away. I thanked him for his note and did not write down what he told me.
          Then, I created the schedule and put it up in the sacristy with his name as the priest for 9:30 am on Sunday December 30.  He told me again that he would be away. I said thanks, and promptly forgot this as well.
          Finally, last Thursday, I emailed him to confirm that he would be here on Sunday December 30 at 9:30 am. He reminded me again.  My bad. Finally, it dawned on me. LISTEN. LISTEN.
          Sometimes, we have to hear things more than once. Repetition helps.
          As Jesus says, “he who has ears, let him hear.”  (Matthew 11:15).
[_02_]  The family is a place for us to have ears, to hear.
          What do we hear? What lessons are REPEATED for us in our families, in family life?
          And, when I say “family life”, I remind myself and all of us that we all have a family history and family experience that has made us the children of God, the young adults, the adults, the women and men we are.  And, our family history is a place of REPETITION.
 [_03_] First, SURVIVAL. This repetition teaches about SURVIVAL, about remaining alive. For a child to survive, to remain alive, he or she needs repeated – daresay constant connection and affection with the family and especially with his or her mother.  A very small child, as we understand, holds so tightly to his or mother that he does not even know the mother and child could have separate personalities or social security numbers.  It is true that this BONDING may take a little while to develop, but once it does develop, it teaches both the parent and the child that survival and intimacy are one and the same.  It takes repetition. Family life teaches us about survival and coming alive. We do not come alive – or survive - as individuals but in the family unit.
 [_04_]   2nd, SUSTAINING.  We are also SUSTAINED in the family, not simply sustained by our own individual efforts.
          I believe we are sustained – especially -- by the repetition of forgiveness.
          And, in the family unit – especially under the same roof – we can experience how beautiful and effective it is to forgive someone.
          It is relatively easy to withhold forgiveness to harbor a grudge against someone whom we see only occasionally … let’s say we are speaking of a co-worker we see a few times per month. On the other hand, is not true that the lessons we learn about forgiveness to many people – at home, at work, at school anywhere - who might trespass against us?
          In my own experience, I have found that I need not only my own will and my own energy to extend forgiveness but also God’s help. I need prayer, quiet time. I need repetition.
          There is s saying that time heals all wounds…but I have also found that it depends on what you are doing with that time.
          I can recall in certain instances, I have held tightly to a grudge because I was not yet ready to pray for the person, to forgive.
          In other instances, I can recall praying for someone, and then experiencing great calm.
          In one instance, I recall praying for someone, not seeing the person for about a month or so. And, when I did, the first though in my head was, “oh yeah, I was supposed to be mad at you.”  (Fortunately, I did not say this out loud.).
          Why had my anger subsided? It was not because of my own efforts, but because of God’s gift and grace.   And, in the interim, I had been praying for this person. I believe these prayers were examples of the necessary repetition we need in order to forgive others, to sustain ourselves with God’s mercy.
          And, through both the positive and negative, I have learned something of the EFFECTIVENESS and the DEFECTIVNESS of NON-FORGIVENESS.
          And, by “defective”, it does not mean that I was “defective”…but withholding the forgiveness was a defect, was a fault… and God can change this from “defect” to “effect”, when we allow him to work in our lives.
 [_05_]   We also need repetition to discover our true calling, our true selves in life.
          This applies to me, it applies even to the 12 year old Jesus, the Son of God.
          In this mysterious event at the Temple, Mary teaches us something about the need not only for speech but also for silence, for reflection, for prayer, especially when we are not sure what to say.
          Jesus offered an explanation, “did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  (Luke 2:49).
          Jesus is insisting that Mary must have known. And, in retrospect, it’s easy for us to say that Mary must have known. Did you not know? Didn’t the angel tell you?
          Well, yes, Mary – and also Joseph – were visited by angels.
          But, the angels did not give them a full text download with a timeline and a predefined list of mysteries.
          They may – in their hearts – have anticipated the difficulty of separation, some fore knowledge that Jesus would be, as Simeon says, the “fall and the rise of many in Israel.”
          Isn’t it true that we may also expect or anticipate difficulties or crises from time to time in marriage, in  family, at school, at work? But, when they happen, we still ask “why?”
          Mary asks “why” today.
          Mary has said – as so many parents would – all she possibly can under the circumstances. But, then, she is silent, still and surely her example – her interior life with God – teaches Jesus something about his own survival, his own bond with God as his Father, and his own need for confidence in God.
          Our Blessed Mother, Mary,  also needed to hear this Good News more than once.
          And, in this regard, Mary – together with Joseph– teaches us by their REPETITION –and repeated prayers -  to keep all these things, pondering them, reflecting on them in her heart.   [_fin_]

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Where Are You From? (2018-12-25, Christmas)

25 December 2018  Christmas -  Mass During Night
Isaiah 9:1-6  • Psalm 96 • Titus 2:11-14 • +Luke 2:1-14  •

Title:  Where are you from?

[__01__]       “Where … Where are you from?  Where are you from?”
            To answer this question, Father Joe Petrillo – our beloved pastor of Lourdes until 2013 – might have told this story. “Where are you from?” When he was about 23 years old, and in the 1970’s, and visiting in late summer a Catholic school where he would teach, he was in the parking lot of the school one day. He was new but recognized by someone as new and this person knew only his name, his last name and told Father Joe  … “oh, you are the new Italian teacher.”
            He did not mean you are teaching the Italian-language and idiom. He meant Father Joe was new  from Italy and of Italian descent. Imagine, he could mean and say all that and ANCESTRY.COM hadn’t even been invented yet!  That’s where you are from. Father Joe acknowledged proudly his Italian ancestry …but would not have answered this way.  He would have said, “I am an American.” That’s where he was from.
[__02__]       Where is Jesus from ?
            Well, Jesus is of of Nazareth, with Mary of Nazareth, Joseph of Nazareth.
            Nevertheless, Joseph & Mary recognize as every father and mother recognizes, that their child belongs not only to them, he is not just of their home, of their lives, but is meant to be of our lives. They have Jesus, in order to give him away to us.
            Where is Jesus from?  He is also of you and your home. Your town.
            Father Ronald Knox wrote that Joseph and Mary come to understand that that their child – Jesus - belongs not to them but to the whole human race.  He came to gave his life as a ransom for many. And, he came to live and be among us.
[__03__]      Recently, I was recognized …  This person knew where I was from. Nevertheless, he asked, just to be sure.
            Last Tuesday, I was at Seton Hall University, at the chapel. I was one of the few people in the chapel and sitting on a bench, on a pew.It was a little dark and hard to see faces.  Someone approached and started to speak. I heard but could not see …
            “Is that you?” “Jim, Jim Ferry is that you?”
            He knew where I was from, because we had been classmates.
He asked if I remembered him. Yes, Rich, I remember you – we were together every day for 3 years. Imagine if you might a high school, college, school classmate. The image/foto is still on my hard drive (mind). It’s in the archive of permanent long-term memory.
            Where are we from? Where we are from helps us to remember our common origin – as God’s children. We are from the same place, children of the same Heavenly Father.
[__04__]      Knowing we are from, tracing our origins, however, can also bring us closer together.
            It does not have to divide us.
            I’d like to give an example.
[__05__]      In 2005, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times newspaper was walking through downtown Los Angeles and noticed a musician living and playing Beethoven –beautifully – a violin on the street corner, a violin that had only 2 of 4 strings. It was apparent that this musician’s concert hall was the street corner or, frequently, the 2nd Street Tunnel. Imagine a violinist in the Lincoln Tunnel. That’s where this musician was.
            The reporter and musician develop a friendship which becomes a book and later a movie called “The Soloist”.  Jamie Foxx plays the part of the real-life musician, Nathaniel, Nathaniel Ayers.
            This is how it starts, on the street corner. After the reporter hears this Beethoven classical music being played:
          “That’s pretty good,” the reporter says ..and that he would like to come back later and to listen again to more Beethoven.
          Nathaniel says, “Oh, all right, he says APPRECIATIVELY  but with fear. [He is afraid] Nathaniel looks like a man who has learned to trust no one.”
          Back at the office, the reporter make a note on a yellow legal pad – the title for a future newspaper column “Violin Man”.
          It’s got potential. Who knows where it will go?
[__06__]      The violin man is Nathaniel and the reporter is named Steve Lopez. Both are from the same place. What I mean is that they both thrive and flourish on the street, out in the street.  But, for different reasons.
            Steve Lopez is an old-school reporter who is known to discover this subjects and stories by pounding the so-called pavement.  He is a model of journalism and reporting that he notes – with some sadness – seems to be fading away with so much technology and electronic media.
            In any case, Steve Lopez is of the street.
            But, Nathaniel – the musician he discovers – is also of the street, but for a different reason.
            Nathaniel suffers from serious paranoia, schizophrenia.  He is about 55 years old.   He seems to be just one of many homeless people in downtown Los Angeles. But, is that where is really from?
            It turns out  … 35 years earlier – in the 1970’s – Nathaniel had been a promising classical string bass student at Juilliard – the Juilliard School of Music, NYC – ambitious, charming, one of the very few African-American students at Juilliard in the 1970’s until Nathaniel gradually lost the ability to function and suffered a nervous mental breakdown.
            When he is re-discovered on the street and re-appreciated for his gifts, Nathaniel is alone, suspicious of everyone, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there. There is a glimmer of brilliance n all of us.
[__07__]      Through their friendship, Nathaniel starts to accept some of the psychological help and counseling he needs, and starts to accept violins and cellos that are sent – from all over the country and world - to the Los Angeles Times building.
            The story testifies to our belief that every one of us is from the same place. Also, the reporter recognizes – paradoxically – that this musician who has absolutely nothing is an important friend and part of his family.
            To this day, they spend usually – every Thanksgiving and Christmas together. They were certainly together last Christmas.
[__08__]       Where is Nathaniel from? Well, Nathaniel is from Juilliard and he plays the strings. And, he was there in the 1970’s. So, of course, who does he know personally? He knows Yo Yo Ma, one of the famous classical musicians in the world and the most famous living cellist.
            When Yo Yo Ma visits L.A. for a concert, he learns about the connection and promptly and gladly agrees to meet Nathaniel is in his dressing room     Going to the dressing room, Nathaniel REMEMBERED, he was in awe and said, “I remember your hands from [when we were together at] Juilliard. You’re an amazing player, Mr. Ma.”
            “First of all, I’m not Mr. Ma, I’m Yo-Yo.  Did you like it, I know you like Beethoven. I want to tell you what it means to meet you, to meet somebody who really, really loves music. We are brothers.”    
            The connection between Nathaniel and Yo Yo Ma is not just in their hands – but in their hearts. That’s where they are from.
            Our connections in love of God and neighbor is not in what we do but in who we are as children of God the Father.
 [__09_]      Where are you from? We are from the same place and need the same salvation and mercy and peacefulness. It is a question that comes from the dark, an invitation to be present to Jesus each day, as he asks, “is that you?” [_fin_]  

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Hands Full / Visitation / Lost Objects (2018-12-23, Advent)


December 23, 2018 (Advent- 4th week)

Micah 5:1-4a | Psalm 80 | Hebrews 10:5-10 | Luke 1:39-45

Title: Hands Full
[_01_]  Saint Anthony. Saint Anthony is naturally associated with objects. Objects that we want returned to us.
            Your headphones are lost. Your keys are lost. Your remote control is lost. Something is lost.
            We want the objects returned to us.
            We naturally associate Saint Anthony with the Lost & Found in heaven and on earth, universally.
            He knows where everything is.
            However, the reason that this tradition developed is because of his own prayer regarding an object that he lost.
            When he was in the monastery, when he was studying to be a priest. One of his brothers left the monastery and took a book that was precious to Anthony.
            So, he prayed that the book would be returned.  But, he was not just praying for the book to be returned but also for his brother to return. We can also pray for the intercession of Saint Anthony not only for objects – but also for relationships that might be lost or have lost their way.
            Anthony is really praying for his brother to return to the monaster.
[_01_]  This time of year, we associate objects with people, but not so much lost objects, but rather gifts – as objects.
            People bring gifts. Sometimes, we want to bring a gift when we go to visit someone.
            One friend of mine describes it this way – my mother taught me this ..when you go to someone’s house, you should be ringing the doorbell with your elbows. That is, your hand should be so full so loaded down with gifts, that you can only ring the door with your elbows.
            He should be invited over more often, as he would bring many gifts.
            This Sunday is the Gospel of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary  to Elizabeth. And, Elizabeth and Mary are associated with gifts, that is the gift of their children who they are carrying. Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist; Mary, the mother of Jesus. And, each of them has her hands full.
            They involved directly in the salvation of the whole world.  Elizabeth and Mary are mothers and they have their hands full.
[_02_]  The Gospel this Sunday is about the friendship and the perseverance of Mary and Elizabeth to be with each other to support each other.

[_03_] The other day, I happened to cross paths with an old classmate of mine. We had not seen each other for 15 years. I knew what he was doing that he was teaching at Seton Hall and in South Orange. But, still we had not visited or seen each other in 15 years.
            Unlike the episode of Mary and Elizabeth, this was not a planned encounter. We just happened to be in the same place at the same time.
            There was reminiscing, remembering … classes, teachers, people we know. We caught up in about 2 minutes the 15 years that we had missed.
            First there was reminiscing – but then there was also a need for help, for support.
            His car was in the shop, in the mechanic’s shop. He seemed to need money. He does not carry an ATM bank card.   What’s up with that? Even 15 years ago, I had an ATM card. You did too,  you had an ATM card 30 years ago,. He did not have one. I did not ask.

[_04_]   But – strangely – at least, this felt strange to me. I actually wanted to help him out.
            And, I seemingly, I had no reason. I see him once every 15 years. But, I wanted to help him out.
            I suggest this motivation was not because of my own patience (I am not very patient) …. Or my own generosity (I am not consistently generous….)
            It was because of 2 gifts.
            And, the gifts are suggested by Mary and Elizabeth.  And, the 2 gifts – which are not on any registry – are suggested by a parable of Jesus called the “The Friend at Midnight”. (Luke 11:5-8)
            In  this parable, Jesus rings the doorbell – teaching us about someone who arrives at the 11th hour, literally or not. And, the person brings 2 gifts: FRIENDSHIP and PERSEVERANCE.
            And, Mary brings perseverance as a gift to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth to Mary.
            Mary goes off road off the grid to the hill country.
            In this, seeing my old classmate – after 15 years – I was experiencing both. There was a friendship – and old friendship and there was his perseverance. His story of his car, the ATM card, the repair shop, the cold weather.
            So, I felt motivated by these 2 gifts…these 2 gifts which he – in a way – brought to me, carried to me, with his hands full.
            In the end, the book was returned to Saint Anthony. And, more importantly, his brother returned to the monastery. The brother was recovered too.
            Mary and Elizabeth also have their hands full, yet they are loving and supporting each other.   They are persevering. They are also friends I pray that this mystery of the visitation may also inspire us to seek their intercession and follow their example, whether we are the friend hearing the doorbell or ringing the doorbell.     [_fin_]  

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Lost. (2018-12-16, Advent)

SUNDAY 16 December 2018    [ advent  –  week 3 ]

• Zephaniah 3:14-18a   • Psalm  / Isaiah 12__ • Philippians 4:4-7 • Luke 3:10-18   •

Title:   Lost.  Repentance.

[_01_]  I was LOST. One night, I was driving home, in Jersey City, and a kind man – a driver of another car, gave me directions.
            I was LOST. He pulled up next to me, in the next lane, rolled down the window, because I was lost.
            I was lost, because I could not get the car to go forward. I could not get the car to go forward because I was unfamiliar, uncomfortable with this car. I was unfamiliar, uncomfortable with this car, because I had just purchased the car.
            I had just bought the car. Now, I had to drive it home. But I was lost, because I could not get the car to go forward.
[_02_]  I was LOST, but not geographically. I was LOST mechanically and technically because I did not know how to drive a manual transmission, stick-shift automobile with a clutch.
            But, I just bought a manual transmission stick shift car.
            I sort of knew. I thought I knew.
[_03_] When you are lost – mechanically or technically or geographically – or in bad weather like snow – …or when we are first learning to drive, people might roll down the window …or they sit next to us…or talk to us about what to do. They tell us what we should do.
[_04_]  I did what I was told by the other driver.  I tried to do what I was told by the other driver. I like doing what I am told.  Most of the time…
            And, in this case, it was an absolute pleasure to execute successfully what this man was telling me, because it was going to get me home.
            I got home, thanks to his advice and … some prayers.
[_05_]   So, I was trying to move this car. I was LOST. I like doing what I am told.
            At the same time, as I am trying to follow the instructions, I am also experiencing something else. I am questioning why I bought this car. Did I make the right decision?
            I was, as we say, second guessing myself.
[_06_] I’d like touch on this personal experience to reflect on what REPENTANCE – or REPENTING – means.
            If something does not feel right, or go right, or someone reacts negatively to something we say or do, we may second-guess ourselves.
            I was second-guessing my decision to buy this car. I did not really put a lot of thought into it and had traveled by bicycle to the dealer. I had no CARFAX, on EDMUNDS.COM, nothing … no idea whether this used car had ever been in an accident. You know, all that stuff you are supposed to do.  There was a bumper sticker on the back of the car that said HERCULES and  Cuban flag. So, it was owned by a Cuban family who liked HERCULES.
            I’m just saying..when we 2nd guess ourselves we may just put ourselves through torture and torment in our minds.
            So – repentance might start with some 2nd guessing..but  that is not the goal of repentance.
            Repentance is about getting out of our own heads, getting out of our own way, and – in terms of John the Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord and Savior, making straight his path.
[_07_] In the Gospel, this Sunday,  we read that tax collectors were coming to John the Baptist.
            Are they lost? Why are tax collectors out in the desert talking to John the Baptist?
            So, the tax collectors were – surprisingly, paradoxically, ironically – leading the way in religious devotion and repentance toward John the Baptist.
            Now, the tax collectors were not some government employees who broke some ethics rules and have to go before and independent counsel.  The tax collectors were, in our terms, like cybercriminals, computer hackers and identity thieves. And, everyone despised them. They were using their strength and position to prop up the Roman Empire which the Jewish people did not like living under.  No one liked the tax collectors – no one likes cybercriminals either – but they were wealthy, healthy, and stealthy and no reason to change their ways.
            Yet, the tax collectors are asking – WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
            Are they lost?
[_08_]    It is notable that John the Baptist – and later Jesus – shows mercy and kindness to the tax collectors and holds them up as models of repentance.
            Because …they – the tax collectors – had a lot to lose by repenting.
            Because – their repentance was not just a theoretical abstract – feeling of anxiety but an action that would lead them out of themselves, out of their comfort zones and to a new life. Yes, they were lost. But, that was a good thing.
            In his letter on Christian hope, Pope Benedict XVI writes that the Word of God is both informative and performative.  The Word of God not only INFORMS  us with information..but also PERFORMS  and helps us to PERFORM, to repent to go out of ourselves.
[_09_]   John the Baptist is an audible, sometimes loud presence – in the lives of his disciples.  He rolls down the window, right next to them, tells them what to do .. gives them important commandments – not about the use of clutch pedal and accelerator ..but about other PEDALS and POWERS and ACCELERATORS ..about generosity, about not extorting what does not belong to them, about use of their authority. This is also an important lesson to each of us – to me as a priest to all of us in the church that we treat others w/ mercy and use our authority in ways that do not cancel the freedom & initiative and grace working in the lives of those around us.
            As parents – you – Moms and Dads – have walk this fine line of guiding and helping but not cancelling out the initiative and energy of your children.    As adults, when we care for our parents or an elderly person, we also must not cancel out their free will …
[_10_]    John the Baptist is also trying to prepare them to meet Jesus who not only teaches us but also unites himself to us, first as a child who comes to us and later as s sacrifice in Holy Communion, nourishing as the Way, Truth and the Life and helping us to move forward.
[_fin_]

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Prepare the Way, "Lanes", "Letting Go" (2018-12-9, Advent)

SUNDAY 9 December 2018    [ advent  –  week 2 ]

• Baruch 5:1-9  • Psalm  ___ • Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11 • Luke 3:1-6  •
BibliographyPope Benedict XVI (B16) 1st Vespers, Advent, 28 November 2009.

[_01_]  John the Baptist spoke of PREPARING THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKING STRAIGHT HIS PATHS.
          Arrivals can be tricky, challenging, in these ways, I’d like to reflect on… the
LANE of someone’s arrival
LETTING GO of someone’s arrival…
          I’d like to reflect on, after this Gospel passage is the LANE, the LENGTH of time and the LETTING GO.
          As you know, “company”… “guests” they arrive in our LANE …and the also invite us not only to do things but also to LET GO.
[_02_]  LANE OF ARRIVAL.
            These days, the latest devices – phones – and cars – tell you if you are in someone else’s lane or someone is in your lane.
            In fact, if later today, you are to encounter someone, you can track their “lane”, their direction, their whereabouts. Where are they…
[_03_]  In 2005, I had to meet someone at the airport… and things were not quite so advanced or easy… and I had no phone with GPS. And, I was rolling the dice…because I don’t think I even had the arriving guest’s cell phone number. I certainly had no lane-detection on my car.
          So, I had to do the whole thing by sight.
          The airport and airline would not provide guidance. As you know, the airline will only tell you that the flight has arrived, or what “lane” or “gate”  or “terminal”…they will not give up any information on individual passengers. It’s all up to you, or to me, to be in the right place – the LANE - at the right time.

[_04_]  When someone is in your LANE … how do you feel about that?  When someone gets in your LANE or in your SPACE…
            I went to the airport to help out some people who were waitng for this arriving guest.
I found out later was that I was not the only one asked to pick him up. I found this out after I arrived at Newark Airport.
           
[_05_] This was actually good news…    I was trying to get out of this all along and now I was free.  I could go back to my LANE.
          It’s interesting … a paradox … the only thing that I really remember about that day was the trip to the airport, meeting him, greeting him and then sending him on his way.  His presence is all I remember. I have no recollection of anything else I did that day. I only remember the person I met.

[_06_]  ADVENT is an ARRIVAL.
          There is an arrival LENGTH OF TIME of which John the Baptist is urging is not very much…. And  a LANE,  a way to be prepared.
          Pope Benedict XVI (B16) wrote that Advent (1st Vespers, Advent, 28 November 2009) in a technical and ancient sense referred to a personal presence, or a personal arrival, a VIP, surely someone who would need to be greeted at the airport.
          Jesus is also arriving. And, while other people may also be greeting and meeting him, each of us is called to meet him personally, each in our lane.
          Because, when someone important is arriving we also prepare ourselves, internally, do we not?
          I’d like to touch also on the LETTING GO of an arrival.

[_07_]  LETTING GO.
          I’d like to make an observation of the events of this past week …which was an advent with lower-case ‘a’, the arrival of a VIP.    The body of deceased President George Bush, 41st President of the United States was transported to Washington D.C.. It was a political-national ‘advent’ with  small a.
          Yet, I believe this advent resonates with our understanding of presence, personal presence, respect for life, respect for eternal life, and of LETTING GO.
          President Bush was lying in state in Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill. Hundreds of members of the legislature, of Congress, the Senate, the judiciary, the Supreme Court, military and cabinet members were there.
          And, this presence absorbed their action and attention and perhaps forced them to surrender – to LET GO of their smartphones and their agendas. They could not do anything. They could not make excuses. Their presence – or absence – would be noted.
          They just had to sit there which may have been hard for them, but it was not a bad thing.

[_08_  In Advent, we are called to be in  a LANE, and to LET GO..
            B16 wrote that, in our daily lives, we all experience having little time for God and also little time for ourselves. That is, we find it difficult to be fully present to Christ or even fully present to our own thoughts.  We end up being absorbed by ‘doing,’ by producing, by action. Rest? That’s boring…
[_09_]   In my case, at Newark Airport, I was able – and rather eager -- to say good-bye and sayonara to my passenger because someone else would now drive him, in their LANE.   My duties were fulfilled. I had nothing more to do. I had no reason to wait.

[_10_]  In Advent, we are asked to find reasons to wait, reasons to be present, reasons to rest, to pause – in our LANES --- because while we may not wait to wait any longer than necessary, God waits for us as long as possible, as long as He needs to.
            And, like the father of the parable of the Prodigal Son, watching out for us. To meet us, and he sees us coming down the lane, down the street, from a long way off.
            He finds us even in a crowd.
            Knowing this Good News, we are called to welcome Jesus each day, to prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths…[_fin_]