Archive for November, 2010

To Buy or to Lie

November 30, 2010

I will never forget the first time I went into the First Agricultural Bank to request a credit card.

I was around 23 years old and it was the early 1980’s.

At that time, credit cards were nowhere near as easy to use and acquire as they are now.

The daily mailings that most of us receive trying to entice us to transfer our credit card balances just did not exist.

I do not recall the name of the personal banker that I met with, but she was fairly young, probably in her early thirties.

I will never forget what she said to me when I sat down at her desk and told her that I would like to apply for a credit card with a $300 limit.

This mild-mannered looking banker seemed to change form:

Why do you need a credit card?

What makes you think you are credit worthy?

Frankly I had no good answer.

I was a bit stunned that she became so aggressive about the subject.

I think I just mumbled something about needing to have it in case of emergencies.

I felt weird and embarrassed about the whole encounter and worst of all, I did not feel very “cool” sitting across from this woman in my blue on “blue-collar” White Star uniform.

The uniforms we wore at the time, provided by Aladco from Adams, made us all look like auto mechanics.

The fact was, we were less skilled than that and could just barely drive Econoline Vans around Berkshire County without dumping loads of White Rock Soda onto the streets and messing up refilling cigarette machines.

There was one time when I filled the vending machine at Danny’s on Fourth St.

This was one of the darkest bars in the city, in more ways than one.

When I returned to the warehouse my bag of quarters from Danny’s was missing.

There was well over $100 in that bag.

I back tracked over to the Bar and there it was still sitting on top of the machine.

It was so poorly lit in there that no one ever saw the dark blue sack of coins that sat for several hours before I returned.

I never even told them why I came back.

I just grabbed it and walked out.

It turns out that Americans now, for the first time in many years, are starting to cut down on credit card use.

The woman at the bank was not wrong at all to try and frighten me.

Like most Americans, I later went on to allow myself to use credit and charge cards when I knew that it would be difficult to pay them back.

Unlike a vending machine, or at least the ones I used to work on, there was no way one could charge on them.

Cash was the only way to play.

Common sense says we should try to go without things before we charge for them.

Yet the “consumer-first” mentality has pushed personal finances to the brink in the U.S.

I wish that stern lady from First Agricultural Bank had her speech recorded so that whenever any American opened an envelope with a credit card offer, they would have to listen to her lecture about the dangers of revolving credit, like they listen to tunes on a birthday card.

It is a good sign that Americans are finally trending away from credit.

My advise to young people is, use a debit card, that is real and you will not have an interest accruing noose around your neck when you use them.

My advise to old people is, cut them up, they are a lie. You really have not bought anything until the debt is paid in full.

Lord thank you for the smart people you have put in our lives that do not roll over when we seek the lower roads.

They, like You, believe we can do better if we simply try a bit harder to restrain ourselves.


Standing Up For Our Loved Ones

November 29, 2010

The summer after my sophomore year in high school had an interesting twist.

I began to have trouble sitting down.

I had no idea what it was, but well under the skin of the upper backside of my left leg was a growth.

No one could see it, but I could feel it.

It seemed to be about the size of a marble at first, but by the time August came around it was much larger.

I remember trying to move a vending machine with Ricky, our route manager and falling down backwards right onto that thing, whatever it was.

The fall, though it did not look bad, was extremely painful and it seemed like, when I fell on it, the sudden impact helped it grow larger.

Finally my parents took me to a surgeon, Dr. Haidak, who scheduled me for its removal.

My parents never showed me much emotion and I had little knowledge of what the first diagnosis was.

After the surgery, I remember being in a recovery state and there being at least two nurses trying to hold me down on my bed.

I also remember passing out in the bathroom and they had to come and haul me out.

A day or two after surgery a handful of my closest friends came to see me; Billy, Dougie, JB, Woody, Tony.

For some reason they were not their jovial selves.

I guess I just figured they were a bit intimidated by the hospital atmosphere.

I learned later that the Doctor was quite concerned about what he found.

He also ended up needing several hours to complete the job as opposed to just a few minutes, as he originally estimated, which is why I had so much trouble in recovery.

The Doctor told my parents that he thought I had cancer.

He told them he was pulling out giant chunks of tumor with both hands.

I never knew this sad news, until the biopsy came back many days later confirming that it was benign.

My parents chose not to tell me the whole story until they had all the facts.

It was not a lie, it was just a decision they made as parents to hold out hope for their 15-year-old, before giving him bad news.

They kept me in the hospital for almost two weeks.

By the time I left, my oldest brother Louis had told me the whole story.

When he did, I broke down and cried.

Everything hit me at one time and I thought about how my parents must have felt.

Somehow news about my potential condition leaked to my friends.

Since my dad was a salesman on the road in town, he must have mentioned his concern to one of his customers, which got back to my pals.

I am grateful for the healing and even more grateful for God’s love that I was shown by so many.

Just like the Centurion in today’s reading from Matthew 8, I know my folks prayed and asked God to heal their loved one.

Although Jesus offered to go to his home the Centurion chose not to allow it.

He said, “Lord I am not worthy to receive you.”

He had enough confidence in Jesus to command a healing, just as he himself had authority over soldiers to go here and there.

Jesus was very impressed by the Centurion’s faith.

God also blessed my parents faith.

Their decision not to allow me to know, (though some relatives of mine might not agree), was my parent’s way of allowing Jesus to heal from afar, using the authority He had.

All of us are sick from sin in some way or another.

Its impact on our souls is why all of us have bodies that are spiraling downward toward conclusion.

It is only through faith in an all-powerful Creator that we have hope for a better tomorrow.

My parents, and my brother Louis have all gone home to be with God.

I miss them very much, but I will never forget them.

There is even a form of God’s healing in knowing that they are waiting on the other side.

Ironically, they all died of cancer.

Lord, thank you for your love and mercy and for those you have put in our lives who stand in the gap to help us through dark times.

What if Every Day Was Black Friday?

November 28, 2010

It was a very strange sensation.

There we were, thousands of us, lining up at the entrances.

It was early in the day, people of all ages were there.

The majority of them seemed poor, but there were others, middle-class mostly and even a few of the wealthiest.

Since the most important Christian Holiday of the year was approaching, this Friday ritual, in advance of The Day, is just something we Christians need to do.

As the doors began to swing open, many of those who were there seemed to become more animated and hopeful.

The group I entered with walked briskly down the main aisle, but there was no shoving or pushing.

Everything inside was neat and clean and seemed to be prepared for a huge onslaught of those who knew the purpose of the blackest Friday of all.

It was odd to me, at first, how quiet everyone was.

Then, as I thought about it, it made sense that people would be so focused, that they would have little to say.

Before long there was no more room inside.

People outdoors, who could not get in, were required to wait until others left, allowing them entrance privileges.

The most important item in the building, the one that everyone wanted the most, was covered up with a purple cloth.

It was raised up high for all to see, but no one was around to uncover it.

A man in a holiday robe ascended to a podium, to speak.

Everyone stopped what they were doing to listen.

He spoke these words:

Good people, welcome.

We are blessed to have you hear with us today.

As you know, today is the most important day of the year.

On this day, our objective is finding a great gift.

But for a certain gift, the greatest of all gifts, there is a twist.

You do not need money.

You do not need credit.

You do not need to use lay-away.

You see, the gift we celebrate is from God in Heaven.

It is the death of His son Jesus on the Cross.

In two days we celebrate Easter.

The resurrection of the Lord.

But today, we sit and solemnly ponder Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

He gave all that He had so that we could be forgiven of our sins.

He opened the gates of heaven to those who would believe.

Thank you all for coming to Church this day.

Your faith helps put things in your life in proper perspective.

Let us strive to make every day of our lives like today.

Filled with gratitude.


Because when we ponder God’s grace on this day, it makes us good.

In fact, on this blackest of days, the word Good Friday seems a more appropriate name.


We’ve All Had Moments Like This

November 27, 2010

I had a friend in the neighborhood named Brian.

Brian’s father Earl was my dad’s accountant.

Earl and his wife invited our family to Brian’s Bar Mitzvah.

I had never been to one before and I am not sure that my parents had either.

We even went to the ceremony to watch Brian read from the Torah.

I was probably around ten years old when this happened.

The reception was immediately afterward and I remember Brian’s father lifting his glass to toast his son.

Everyone in the hall annexed to the Synagogue was focused on Earl as he said wonderful words about Brian and the hard work he had put in to achieve his manhood as a young Hebrew.

As Earl finished his toast, the guests in unison all looked toward the seat of honor and realized that Brian was not there.

It sounded like 300 “where’s Brian” comments were all uttered at the same time.

One of the kids yelled out, “he’s locked in the bathroom!”

“I’ve got to see this.” I thought to myself.

I bolted toward the Men’s Room that was in the lobby and sure enough, there was a stall, locked shut with Brian yelling from the inside, “get me out of here!”

There were at least ten other kids in there, but no one was doing anything.


I slid under the door, and with one flick of the lock to the left, Brian was free.

Don’t ask me why he could not figure it out, don’t ask me if his pants were still pulled down and please don’t ask me whether or not he had remembered to flush the toilet.

Brian was extremely grateful for my chivalry.

I never had a problem telling Brian what was on my mind either, so I verbally encouraged him to get his act together.

Had I not been granted hero status, I probably would have been grossed out by the rescue.

We don’t have to be Brian, to have moments like that in life.

On our journey toward God, thankfully He does not allow our lives to be perfect.

There will always be struggles and even some embarrassing moments along the way, especially if we become parents.

Our children our supposed to be right there on cue, as we brag about them, yet, due to no fault of our own, they have mishaps.

Even almighty God, whose Son was perfect, had to suffer the shame and humiliation of His death on Calvary.

Though it was all meant for good, history records that the sky became black and the earth shook as Jesus breathed His final breath on the Cross.

Lord, thank you for drawing us to you with your Word and through your Mystical Body, the Church.

These great gifts help us when things go wrong so that we do not have to remain stuck in the mire of our mistakes.

Wedding Day Near Miss

November 26, 2010

After leaving U Mass, I bought my first car; it was a 1980 Toyota Tercel.

I remember seeing the commercial on television.  It was being advertised for $3,695.

“I can afford that,” I figured, since I was working full-time at my dad’s warehouse.

When I asked my father to co-sign the loan he said, “have your brother co-sign it.”

My older brother Phil did co-sign the loan, but not before lecturing me at length that if I missed a payment he would take the car away.

I thought it was a bit odd that neither my dad or brother shared my giddy enthusiasm over me buying a new car.

One of my U Mass friends, Patrick, invited me to his wedding in Quincy.

I believe it was early September, 1980.

Patrick was one of the friendliest and most fun people I knew and he loved to share his faith.

We became acquainted through Campus Crusade for Christ.

On the drive to Quincy, something happened on the Mass Pike that I will never forget.

I was motoring about 30 yards behind a pickup truck, loaded with college-type dorm-room junk.

One of the items on the truck-bed was a homemade looking bar for serving drinks.

Something most college kids would brag about having built themselves.

The bar-top was made of plywood and it was about 6 feet long by 3 feet wide.

Without any warning the bar-top lifted right off its base and began sailing through the air like a surf board that had caught a wave.

It shot straight up and I first thought it would sail off to the side of the road.

It did not.

Since this was a college move-in weekend there was quite a bit of traffic on either side of me and the only thing I could do was stay in my lane and watch this road debris arbitrarily select a victim.

I was the chosen one.

It crashed into the passenger side of my windshield, also denting the roof about 12 inches into the car.

The safety glass did not spray into the vehicle but it “spidered” into a web of a million cracks, making it impossible to see forward.

The traffic was moving along at about 60 miles per hour and I remember saying to myself, I have to pull over immediately, then praying please God help me get to the breakdown lane without crashing into another car.

By God’s grace, I maneuvered the car out of the center lane all the way over  to the breakdown lane without another incident.

I just sat for a few moments trying to catch my breath.

The pickup truck driver never saw what happened.

Since there were no cell phones, I needed to find a police officer to report the mishap.

The spot where I pulled over, on the east bound lane of the Mass Pike, was directly across from the Weston State Police Barracks.

That was not luck.

I cautiously ran across both sides of the highway and walked into the station.

A friendly trooper began absorbing my story and as I was filling out accident papers, two college-age kids walked into the barracks.

It was the driver of the truck, turning himself in.

Another motorist flagged him down, who saw the whole thing happen.

That motorist told the kid what transpired and since he could obviously see his bar-top was missing, he decided to do the right thing.

His honesty saved my insurance company and me a few dollars, since I did not have to pay the deductible.

I called my other brother Louis, who lived in Boston at the time and he advised me where to have the vehicle towed.

I thanked the guy for “fessing-up” and then asked him for a ride to Quincy, so I could make the wedding.

“Sorry bud, we’re going to the North Shore, not the South Shore.”

Great, now I had an unsafe car and no ride to Patrick’s wedding.

God was not done.

The trooper who wrote up the report piped in, “I’ll drive you to South Station and you can grab a train to Quincy.”

We had a real nice talk about things on the way and I remember him telling me he wanted to go back to school to become a lawyer.

I wrote him a thank you note and with it, a Four Spiritual Laws booklet, so that I could share my faith.

Patrick would have been proud.

In the first part of this story my dad and brother Phil were concerned about the financial aspects of car ownership.

They knew that it was more than just fun and games.

It was real life.

In the second part of this story my heavenly father and another loved one, seemed more concerned about my safety and how to get things back to normal.

What is so wonderful about the God we serve is that through our study of the Word, and the fellowship of the Church, He trains us for pending danger that the world holds.

No matter what happens to us, in our journey with God, He always forgives when we stray and never holds us hostage when we need Grace.

Our communion with God is like accident avoidance training.

The more we commune or train, the better at it we get.

When that hunk of plywood flew into my windshield, it was all part of God’s plan to allow me to grow in faith and confidence as a young man.

To this day, when driving behind any truck carrying an open-to-the-wind load, I pass them by as fast as possible and advise all my readers to do the same.

Trouble can fly at us quickly.

Our eyes and hearts can easily get caught up staring at things that appear harmless, when in reality, they have the potential to destroy.

We think to ourselves, just a peek or just a taste; nothing serious will happen.

Yet, suddenly our world can change.

Thank you Lord for the countless times you intervene and forgive.

Help us to always remember to give trouble and temptation the widest birth possible.


I made it to Patrick’s wedding reception, though I missed the ceremony.

I arrived as the bride and groom were exiting the church and being pelted with rice.

I was happy for them, but due to the circumstances, it felt more like my day than their’s.

Bowled Over By Truth

November 25, 2010

One of the greatest things about living in Massachusetts, outside of Cape Cod, Boston or the Berkshire Hills, is a game we call Candlepin Bowling.

Unlike Ten Pin Bowling, with two rolls and large balls with finger holes, the Candlepin game allows three rolls, with a smaller, “shot-putt” size ball, with no finger holes.

The lane length is the same, but there is one more difference, the dead wood is not swept away.

That means one can “play the dead wood” by striking it as it lay on the lane, hopefully getting it spinning toward other pins that need to be knocked down.

It sounds easy, having three rolls with dead wood, but it is actually much more difficult, due to the ball being so much smaller.

Breaking 100 is not as common in Candlepin as it is in Ten Pin.

Although avid Ten Pin Bowlers would probably never make the permanent switch to our game, at least they are respectful of it for its connection to the game they love so much.

There is one thing that cannot be denied about either of the two games and that is the sound of the balls hitting the pins.

There is no way to tell one from the other.

Put a blindfold on either type of bowler and walk into a Candlepin or Ten Pin Bowling alley and they probably could not hear the difference.

The sound of success is the same.

Today I am going to challenge my readers to a sound experiment.

Below is a Scripture reading. 

You’re job, without using Google, is to guess from which Book it comes, based on the sound of God’s voice.

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.

Give up?

Before I tell you the answer, I feel it’s only fair to give you a hint.

The Book that it is from, was determined to be Canonical with the same edict that declared James and Hebrews to be Holy Scripture.

Still not sure?

One last hint, it is the same book that Jesus refers to in Matthew 6:19-20, where He talks about “laying up treasure for yourself in heaven.”

Still not sure?

OK, get ready, the answer is……the Book of Sirach.


In case you are wondering that was the sound of 10,000 KJV Bibles whizzing by my head.

I ducked.

Yes, Sirach is part of that nasty Apocrypha, which many of my non-Catholic friends believe is not Holy inspired Scripture.

The reason I gave the analogy of the two different kinds of bowling and the sound of the pins, is the point I am trying to make.

When you read the Scripture from Sirach, chances are you heard God’s voice.

When the blindfold was taken away, you saw something a bit unlike your game, yet still closely related.

God speaks to us always through His Spirit.

The Bible is awesome, but it is just words on paper, until someone of Faith, filled by God’s Spirit absorbs the Truth that the words on paper have the potential to impart.

There is not much holy about a Bible that sits on a shelf in the home of an atheist who uses it only to refute Christians.

My point today is not to pick a fight with Bible Christians.

I can’t, I am one myself.

The difference is, like Candlepin Bowlers, my tradition allows the playing of the dead wood.

Many of the books of the Bible, even James and Hebrews were not accepted by the Council of Nicaea, but the Council of Trent, centuries later.

On this day of Thanks, let us who claim to love Christ first, forget about our differences and listen to the sound of God’s voice as He directs us to sing His praise in perfect harmony with His holy Angels.

American Conservative Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, need to stand together and oppose the liberal agenda that attacks morality as if it were evil.

As hard as it is, we must pray for our enemies.

The devil would prefer us to be enemies of those who are most like us, with only a few minor differences.

If that happens, Satan has succeeded in wasting our time and diverting our energies away from opposing him.

God, please spare those who strike out against us and treat this faith of ours as if it belonged in the gutter.

With You, every roll we throw in faith, leads to a perfect game.

Palin and the Ants; a Lesson in Wisdom

November 24, 2010

The latest bad news in “the news” involves Ireland and their failing economy.

What we are witnessing is a microcosm of a smaller country/economy over indulging on credit and the results of their inability to repay their debt.

Ireland’s fate, even by the most liberal commentators view, is where America is headed.

I say we are already there, but just have not seen the other shoe drop.

Unless drastic cuts are made immediately, after the new Congress is seated, we will need to raise our debt ceiling again in April.

That is like having too much debt to pay on your personal credit cards and asking the banks if they can raise your borrowing limit so you can have enough money to pay the debt you already owe.

The problems we are having are not that complicated.

The liberals are trying to make it complicated, by saying ridiculous things like, “if we extend the Bush Tax cuts who’s gonna pay for it?”

That’s like saying, “if we keep our store open and sell more products, who’s gonna pay for the employees to work there?”

I am really amazed they get away with so much “jive.”

Maybe that explains the dominance of Fox News.

More Americans than ever are turning off left leaning CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN nightly news.

In the book of Proverbs chapter 6, the writer makes clear how a society must behave to survive.

 6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
   consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
   no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
   and gathers its food at harvest.

 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
   When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
   a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
   and scarcity like an armed man.

In the society of ants, everyone pitches in to store up food for winter.

There are no ant food banks that they can borrow from when times get tough.

They have no choice but to act in a responsible manner and live within their means.

Notice too, how the writer minimizes the role of government by saying the ant “has no commander, no overseer or ruler.”

Our liberal friends feel as though a society cannot be trusted to do the right thing unless government tells them what to do.

What they cannot accept is that a people, self-governed, under a Holy God who is relevant in their lives, will not only succeed, but will excel at goodness.

The Spiritual aspect of the ant community is what scientists call “instinct.”

Take the State of Alaska for example.

Under a fiscal conservative, Sarah Palin, the former Governor, instinctively knew that with a smaller than average centralized government, she could help the State live within its means.

The woman the liberals hate so much, sent surplus tax reimbursement checks to every citizen in the State.

Wow, not only is she good-looking and nice, but she is smart too.

That is exactly what the ant communities do each summer.

They work their little antennae off, and then, when times are tough and winter hits, they have enough to get them through to the next harvest season.

It sounds so simple, yet, right on cue, day in and day out, liberal pundits bash the people who have the responsible answers and give credit to the fools who want to borrow more money.

Lord, please help us through this difficult time and let the majority of Americans see wisdom in the simplest of solutions.


Thanksgiving: The Primary Election for Christmas

November 23, 2010

Every year the Thanksgiving Holiday, wich was at one time the most important holiday in America, seems to become more and more like the Primary Elections for Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas for what it stands for, the birth of our Savior and good will toward all, etc…

What is sad is that retailers, just like political junkies, feel the need to get a jump on the big “money-makers” earlier than ever.

Apparently Wal-Mart, Sears and JC Penney are not yet in the turkey business, otherwise they would barrage us with fliers promoting succulent foul instead of toys, sweaters and perfume. 

A new poll came out today from Quinnipiac College comparing the President to potential opponents in the 2012 election.

Those who seem to be doing well against the President, like Romney and Huckabee, can do little about it but wait their turn to run again.

I actually like all of the potential Republican candidates, including Sarah Palin.

The challenge for the Republicans is to pick the candidate with the best chance of “righting” the ship for America.

It does not matter how they match up against the President.

Yes, they would be running against him, but he does not control my vote or yours.

With unemployment high and the deficit still a major concern for America, the next President will need to persuade Americans that he or she can bail us out the old-fashioned way.

That is with bare bones and groans, NOT more loans.

Sorry about that.

Across the board spending cuts is how it must work.

Everyone’s sacred cow must be put on a diet and no department should be exempt from change.

Even the President has time to redeem himself from irrelevance.

This would be a miracle, but I am praying for him to wake up and allow us to have a tax structure that inspires more investment in the U.S.

That is the only thing he has not tried.

He can embrace conservative ideas now, or curse them in 2012.

It’s never too early to do the right thing for America.

When it’s “O.K.” to Be Prejudiced

November 22, 2010

My wife Natalie and I were honored to have been written about in a few Family Magazines over the years for the success of the Father Daughter Valentine Dances.

There was even a news website, called Word Net Daily that covered our story.

I am not sure how I missed this in the past, but I recently rediscovered that website and noticed something very special about the editor and founder.

He is a Lebanese-American-Constitutional-Christian.

Yes there is more than one…there are two.

My new hero…Joseph Farah.

I have had many heroes through the years, my dad, Danny Thomas, Doug Flutie, my son Luke…it hardly matters that they all know what real Tabuleh looks like.

I really am not biased against others…just a bit prejudiced in favor of people my own kind.

There is a difference.

Whenever I am away on a business trip, if I meet people from my home State of Massachusetts, or even surrounding New England, I get excited.

It is human nature to trust and gravitate toward those we believe have the same upbringing and values as us, just like I do with Lebanese Americans.

My bias toward groups “like me” is the same bias that every culture has toward their own kind.

When the U.S. Constitution was written, the freedom fighters and revolutionary leaders of the day wanted to be sure that no outsider would ever be given special privileges over an American.

That is why, to attain to the highest office in the land, one needed to be a natural-born American citizen.

Recently, there is more than just a little debate about whether or not a certain President can prove his natural-born status.

Since the Massachusetts Legislature recently voted, along with a handful of other left leaning liberal State Legislatures, to change the way that its electoral votes are counted, (not to go to the winner in the State, but to go to the candidate with the most popular votes….I am not lying, they really did this), then it would only seem fair that a few right leaning conservative State Legislatures might make a change too.

This is where my new hero Joseph comes in….

Joe is suggesting that a few States are getting ready to require that any Presidential candidate, wishing to get on the ballot in 2012, will need to present a long form Birth Certificate proving they are natural-born.

So, there you have it…who needs to be on the ballot in Texas anyways?

Remember, it is not racism to love and promote your own kind…it is only wrong when it is meant to cause evil against someone else, equal under the law.

The law is clear.

One must be a natural-born citizen to be President.

If you aren’t, then you are NOT equal under the law.

That sounds fair to me.

Why Catholics Love to Party So Much

November 21, 2010

We Catholics love holy days and feasts.

Today is the Feast Day of the Solemnity of Christ. 

In our tradition, it is also called the Feast of Christ the King.

Two important things are celebrated. 

The first is that it is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Calendar.

The second, and one might say, the more important, is a reminder to all members of the mystical body of Christ, that Jesus is the King of the Universe.

The Old Testament Reading today, from 2 Samuel 5, reminds us of how the boy David rose up through the ranks, first as Shepherd, then Commander and finally the Anointed King of Israel.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is annoyed by the Scribes and Pharisees lack of insight, especially since they like to call themselves teachers of the law.

Besides their hypocrisy, they are ignorant.  

Everything that the life of Jesus represents, the humble beginning, the miracles, the profound teachings, were already played out for them throughout the history of Israel by other types of leaders.

In nearly every great story of the Bible, lowly people like, David, Moses and Joseph, are promoted, then chosen to guide, protect and save the flock.

The established leaders of Israel, although they should, just don’t see Jesus for who He is.

In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 23, we see the story of the two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus.

God the Father allows this to happen for more than just one reason.

A correct interpretation would be to show that mankind can still find salvation, no matter how badly we have lived, provided we acknowledge Christ and seek His mercy.

The good thief literally repented on his deathbed.

Another point, spoken of less often, but just as important, is a reminder that the least of all people can still be considered the greatest.

In The Gospel of John, 19, also at the Crucifixion of Christ, the leaders of the Jews, still opposed to Jesus, are not satisfied with Pilate’s condemnation.

 21Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

 22Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

The road to royalty, for hypocrites like the Chief Priests of Jesus’ day, was not supposed to include a shameful death, like a naked crucifixion.

They wanted pomp, they wanted celebrity, they wanted riches and bounty.

Ironically, all of those things they wanted so badly are there with Jesus in Heaven right now.

When He returns to earth some day, no online vote will need to be taken to determine his popularity.

The price for being crowned and enthroned as King of the Universe, has been paid in full.

Annoying and ignorant so-called religious leaders, will have no argument.

And, most of all, the flock will be reunited with an awesome and all-powerful shepherd.

Now do you understand why we love feast days so much?