Archive for March, 2011

Press Pause While I March Around Jericho

March 31, 2011

I remember the first time I heard about the DVR.

It seemed hard to believe that you could rewind a tv show you were watching.

Then I learned you could pause and save permanently.

Whoever figured this out is a genius.

I loved the concept, but fearing the cost, I didn’t get one right away.

Still, I was in awe of its power.

I think we finally gave-in the last time the Patriots made the Super Bowl–during their near perfect season.

(Yes, a sore subject …I want a grandson, but don’t name him Eli.)

Last night something occurred to me that I have to share.

My wife and I were getting ready to watch American Idol.

Crossroads and obstacles in the world were swirling around in my head.

(I also dislike commercials, unless they include the AFLAC Duck with Gilbert Godfrey. Otherwise I fast forward at 4x speed.)

I asked Natalie if we could DVR the program and pray together before starting to watch.

That way we could approach the throne, pray for our children and the chaos everywhere, cheer for Stefano and James, and still not have to watch the ads.

It was a real eureka moment for me.

I can’t speak for my wife, but I can say, what better way to spend an evening as a couple.

There we were, in the comfort of our living room, marching around the walls of Jericho, holding up the Ark of the Covenant.

We may not see it happen, but the Lord promised He would knock down the walls if we obey.

That’s our faith.

I’m still in awe of its power.

Let’s do this again my dear.

Two couch potatoes, mashed together, shall become one….or something like that.

As for American Idol…lets just say, we were the Americans and the show was in idle.

Thank you DVR.

Domestic-Victory-Realtime.

Letters vs. Letters

March 30, 2011

Every morning, before heading off to work, I read the letters to the editor in our local paper.

I put them right up there with the obituaries.

The letters to the editor give me hope, if written from a conservative standpoint.

Or–material for my daily standup comic return, if liberal.

Our First Amendment freedom of speech, combined with a newspaper’s requirement to print reasonable letters from readers, gives us a unique privilege to speak our mind.

There’s a good one in our paper today, that sounded off, just as I did in my blog, about the assumption that all Hispanics are Democrats.

Somehow today, I’ll reach out to the author and say thank you.

At least I’ll try, through Facebook or the Phone Book.

Not just because he echoed my sentiments, but because when one makes a public statement about Truth, it’s natural to want feedback.

Attacks are guaranteed from the left and pre-emptive edification is just what God would want us to do.

I remember calling a letter writer at home.

I said…”are you the man who wrote the letter to the editor today?”

I could almost hear him putting on his helmet, as I’m sure he was expecting criticism from our liberal left-wing community.

“You did a great job,” I said.

He let out a long sigh.

When we’re passive about the little compromises we see, it’s only a matter of time before that slippery slope allows everything to slide away.

That’s why we need to remain passionate about things we do believe.

Check out Jesus attitude on the letter of the law from Matthew 5.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The next time you read a letter to the editor that makes you proud, pick up the phone and call in an “atta boy.”

It doesn’t matter that they don’t know you.

That’s why they made a public statement, to influence more than those around their dinner table.

Watch how quickly you make a friend for life.

On the Right Page–Thumbtime Today?

March 29, 2011

For many years I’d grab my Bible for inspiration, like I’d grab a Newspaper.

Most of the time, randomly flipping through to any old page and then begin reading.

It was my hope that something special would move me.

Conservatively speaking, 50% of the time, I’d realize the page of Scripture my thumb selected, left me dry and I’d start to  flip around again.

Historically speaking, The Church has had a Liturgical calendar for centuries.

When Christ handed the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter it was for a reason.

Jesus told Peter that he had the authority to “bind and loose.”

What better thing to bind for His Church than our daily readings.

Church Scholars, through the centuries, have linked a Gospel reading, the climax of each Liturgy, with Old  & New Testament supporting texts, along with a theme appropriate Psalm.

Jesus prayed in earnest in, John 17, that His people would be one.

I can think of no better way for a Christian to start his or her day than by meditating on the readings that The Church has bound, like manna, as our holy meal.

The Word of God, studied in unison, with the rest of His people world-wide, puts us all, literally speaking, on the same page.

Here’s a link that I use each morning and I recommend you put it on the desktop of your computer, so it’ll be handy.

http://www.usccb.org/nab/today.shtml

Give your thumb a break, it has no brain.

You do.

The $9,000–Bob Hurley–St. Anthony High Story

March 28, 2011

The quantity of majdoobs in the world probably stays constant, at least on a percentage basis. 

(If you have no idea what majdoob means, ask a Lebanese.)

Sadly, what’s disproportionately large, are the number of people with an appetite for the details of their lives.

I’ve nothing against rap stars with names that end in “Dog,” or their tattoos that honor dead rap stars from the same litter–but would somebody please tell Yahoo News–I don’t care!

Last night I watched a segment on 60 minutes that gave me hope for our society.

It’s the story of  St. Anthony’s High School basketball coach in Jersey City, Bob Hurley.

Bob’s won 24 National Championships, and has already been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for his work.

Each season he’s paid a stipend of $9,000.

What?

That makes no sense in our culture.

Why hasn’t he accepted one of many multi-million dollar offers from NCAA Division I Schools he’s been presented?

True sacrifice is so rare.

Please, please, please,  if you want to be inspired, stop what you’re doing and watch this video.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7360940n&tag=related;photovideo

It will make you a better person.

Thanks Bob, people like you are man’s best friend.

Kudos to you too Steve Kroft…Yahoo News shouldn’t even walk your dog.

Liberals Want Hispanics–Just No Familia-Values

March 27, 2011

This past week, in our local left-wing pandering newspaper, the Berkshire something-or-other, was an article by their number one progressive attack-dog.

I’ve decided neither will be mentioned by name, as the published comments were too embarrassing. (Plus, I plan on using them to bash the writer over the head, figuratively of course.)

Let’s just call him “the Professor,” as a professional courtesy.

In his article titled “Hispanic Wave Could Devour GOP,” the Professor shares a statistic that half of the U.S. population is now Hispanic.

I’m not sure where he got that number, but, if it’s true, great.

Viva los Americas!

The Professor bounces the theory that all Hispanics coming into America and/or born here, are automatically radical lefties, like him.

He projects that their sole mission, politically, will be to get even with Republicans for putting up roadblocks against illegal immigration.

His assumption is that every Hispanic supports illegal activity, so long as it has to do with an entitlement.

That’s quite the compliment Professor. 

The Hispanics around the Berkshires that I know do nothing but work their buns off.

They’re also famous for their respect for laws far greater than U.S. Laws.

More about that in moment.

Here’s what I believe is the most ironic line from the Prof’s column:

Any student of Hispanic culture understands the emphasis placed on the family and on education. In a relatively few years, our medical schools and our finest universities will be filled with men and women with Hispanic surnames.

Lord please let this be the one thing the Professor got right.

Get to your point Massery…you’re dragging this out.

OK fine…here it is. 

http://www.lifenews.com/2009/05/25/nat-5085/

If you don’t feel like clicking on this link, allow me to share the headline.

New Survey Shows Hispanic Americans Want Abortion Illegal, Confirms Other Polls

News flash for the Professor–real conservatives don’t love the GOP, we gravitate toward them because their platform is pro-life.

GOP–God Over Politics.

The DEMS platform is pro-choice.

DEMS–Dead Embryos More Socialism.

I know I’m pushin’ it.

Further study of the article reveals 83% of Hispanics are pro-life.

83%!

So, according to the Professor’s thesis, “in a relatively few years,” there’s an 83% chance that all Medical Schools and Finest Universities will be filled with men and women named Martinez or Guerrero, who will also be pro-life.

Imagine a classroom at Brown or Harvard that is NOT pro-choice?

Cool.

Thanks for the encouraging news Professor, maybe then we can finally turn our culture of death back toward a culture that respects life.

These  men and women with Hispanic surnames will also be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Hey, nameless one, can you say “Justice with a devotion to the Virgin Mary,” or will your tongue implode?

Go ahead, keep rubbing that lamp, we love the Jeannie coming out of it, sombrero and all.

Note to Progressives:

De-personalization is our enemy’s most effective tool when promoting death.

When an abortion happens, those responsible don’t name that unborn child.

That would be too embarrassing, especially when they meet on election day.

FYI: the word “elect” is the root word for “election.”

Putting elections ahead of being one of “the elect,” might be the worst political decision you’ll ever make.

Blessed be The Name.

The World’s Smartest Chickens Lay Eggland’s Best

March 26, 2011

I’m almost embaressed to admit this.

I will though, because I promised my readers that nothing but Truth will appear on these pages.

It must have been around ten years ago.

I was at a supermarket and saw a display for a new brand of eggs, called Eggland’s Best.

As I always do before buying eggs, I opened the carton to be sure there were no broken shells.

To my amazement there were tiny brown “EB” stamps on all the eggs.

“Wow…these are smart chickens,”  I thought to myself.

It really grabbed me.

I took about five seconds to figure out that the chickens didn’t put those stamps on the eggs at all.

Boy did I feel like a dunce….but no one knew…until now.

Since a grown man, smart enough to marry a woman as intelligent as Natalie, can be fooled by the “EB” chickens, I’ve made it my mission to keep the joke going.

Last week at the supermarket, there was a 40-something mom and her son, shopping near me in the egg aisle.

I could not resist, as this boy was the perfect age for a bit of teasing.

First I told the mom how lucky she was to have a nice helper in the store.

I needed an ice-breaker.

Then I grabbed a dozen of my Eggland’s Best from my cart and walked up to the boy.

I said, “Hey, look how smart these chickens are, they can lay eggs with stamps on them.”

The little boy’s eyes grew wide and he even reached out and touched one of them.

What happened next was a bit suprising.

The mother looked over at him, seeming more than a bit dissappointed, and said.

“Is that what you think…you think the chickens put those stamps on there?”

The boy just nodded his head and said, “yup.”

She was not amused with me, or with her son for failing the test.

She just showed me the back of her coat and walked away.

C’mon lady, he’s 7 years old, give the kid a break, this was no S.A.T. test, this was a fun memory we were making for you and your boy.

Those foxy chickens fooled me and I’m over 50.

One of my dad’s pet peeves about parenting was when he would hear a parent say to a child, “act your age.”

Most times, when kids got told “act your age,” it’s because they were.

Kids do things, usually in innocence, but they do them.

I can’t say for sure this mom was a tyrant, but I can say, if that joke were pulled on me by my Uncle Eli or Uncle Eddie, my folks would’ve thought it was a riot, not an insult.

In today’s Old Testament reading from Micah 7, we learn about the incredible love and patience God the Father shows us in light of our shortcomings.

It’s worthy of our meditation.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;

Lord, thank You that when we crack under pressure and sin, You’re there to put us back together again, and stamp us with your seal of approval.

The Best is yet to come.

If it Ain’t Broke, Fix It

March 25, 2011

There are so many safety features on electronic and mechanical products today, that I think we Americans need a culture re-tooling.

Here are a few examples.

My dishwasher was stuck in the “lock” position.

A little green light came on and I could not get it to start.

After trying unsuccessfully to call the service center 800 number, because it was after 6pm, I decided I would reach out to my friend Mr. Google.

“If your dish-washer lock light is on, depress and hold 4 seconds to disengage it.”

That worked and I realized my dishwasher was not broken at all,  it was just doing what someone (Natalie) told it to, even if it was unintentional.

Another example:

I’m demonstrating a truck to a large group of potential buyers.

The fuel level is a bit low and the first drive I take with them is up a very steep hill.

Once at the top of the hill, the vehicle goes into convulsions and decides it will not exceed 25 mph.

Broken?

Nope.

Limp mode.

The computer automatically does that to the vehicle when it senses low fuel, to eliminate the possibility of a highway speed loss of power.

Once the vehicle’s fuel leveled off and I restarted the truck, it ran perfectly.

Sure, I panicked, but figured it out in time to save the sale.

In today’s Old Testament reading from Isaiah 7, a character named Ahaz is trying to fix something on his own, without listening to the prophet Isaiah, the handy owner’s manual of the day.

Check this out:

Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!”

When we miss the intricate operational details of appliances and vehicles we own, because we have not studied the owner’s manual as well as we should, that’s a common occurence, which, thankfully does not always have the most drastic of consequences.

When God decides to move on the planet, people He chooses as instruments, like Ahaz, are irrelevant to his providential will.

No failure at a human level can stop God from bringing salvation through a Virgin birth.

Like Ahaz, who had the opportunity to be the vessel and voice of a great announcement, we often mistake blessings for curses.

Both the dishwasher lock and the limp mode on the vehicle are good.

I was blinded by my ego at first, thinking, “how does this help ME right now?”

God needs us and also doesn’t need us at the same time.

He will  always maximize His technology (the Word)  through a willing and humble heart, or, in spite of one.

It’s just a lot less stressful to know how things work and not try to fix something that ain’t broke.

Lazarus One, Lazarus Too, Which is it?

March 24, 2011

About twenty years ago I stumbled across a tape series by a Christian named Scott Hahn.

His message was life changing for me and I still enjoy listening to those five tapes to this day.

In one of the talks he touched on the parable of the rich man in purple garments and fine linen from Luke 16.

He pointed out something that I’d like you to ponder as you read it for yourself.

This is Scott’s idea.

In Jesus’ long repertoire of parables and life lessons, this is the only one in which a person is identified by name.

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’”

The possibility remains that this is not a parable at all.

We know that there was a man in the New Testament named Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha.

We also know he died.

We also know that Jesus raised him from the dead.

Why then does Jesus name one man in this story, Lazarus, but not the other?

Maybe this place the man is in, the Netherworld, is not Hell at all, as his spirit isn’t devoid of love.

Is it not possible that the rich man’s prayers were answered, when he asks for Lazarus to be raised from the dead?

Abraham doesn’t say, “no,” when the rich man asked for Lazarus to be raised from the dead.

He said “neither will they be persuaded.”

When Lazarus is raised from the dead, the Pharisees aren’t convinced of anything, as Abraham predicted.

It’s this miracle that makes them more determined to kill Jesus.

What’s my point?

Don’t disbelieve everything you hear.

Sorry for the double negative.

It wasn’t my idea.

Rumors–Album Review–Who Cares What I Think

March 23, 2011

The first time I heard Fleetwood Mac was on an album my big sister was playing at her little bungalow apartment in Lanesborough, back in the early 70’s.

She’d just gotten married and the newlyweds liked to collect and play rock albums.

I fell in love with the sound and the band.

Rumors is one of the best-selling rock records of all time. 

You don’t need my opinion on the album, it’s irrelevant.

Somehow I lost track of my original Rumors album, possibly selling it at a tag sale, trying to turn it into baby food.

About a year ago, I stumbled across one in a used record store and bought it for a dollar.

Best buck I ever spent.

It’s the other kind of rumors that don’t have much value.

Rumors about people and things that might transpire are too common.

Sometimes we hear them, sometimes we start them.

There’s one more thing we can do with rumors.

Do you think you know?

If you guessed “stop them” you’d be correct.

The benefit of stopping rumors is that it always makes you seem like a person more interested in truth.

Even if the rumor turns out to be true, you cannot be blamed for trying to rein in “maybes.”

In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 20, watch how Jesus squelched rumors before they started.

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

First, the mother of the two sons of Zebedee is corrected by Jesus for her attempt at nepotism.

Just as the rumors start, amongst the other ten disciples, Jesus jumps into their lap and reminds them He came to be a servant, not to be served.

When we gossip and rumor about people, it’s a form of self-service and Jesus knew the other ten were about to start a grumble-fest.

It’s very nature, putting someone else down, automatically lifts our egos upward.

It’s better to just sit back and let the music play.

If the rumor turns out to be true, no one cares that you had it right, unless of course you’re a paid informant for the police.

Then you get more work.

What your friends and family care about most is whether or not they can trust you with a secret.

Can you be their confidant?

If you can, that’s a Godly trait worth playing over and over.

Cleanliness is Next to….(finish this)

March 22, 2011

Last month my Aunt in Great Barrington, on my mother’s side, fell and broke her shoulder and ankle.

She was bending over and lost balance.  They sent her to rehab to recuperate.

I’ve gone to see her once and called on the phone a few times.

I learned yesterday that my Aunt in San Diego, on my father’s side, fell and broke her neck and pelvis.

She too was bending over.

They sent her to a rehab center and she can only look up to watch TV, as she cannot turn her neck.

I said this cliché to my wife after as I told her the latest sad news…”it’s tough to get old.”

Ten minutes later, I was dragging the trash out to the street, through heavy wet snow, which annoyingly fell in late March.

You guessed it.

I fell.

No broken bones, just a wet bottom and a sore side, where I twisted myself.

Your reading this today is my rehab.

Thank God I’ve a purpose and a large rear bumper.

Last night, my daughter, just back from her third trip to Haiti with the Catholic Outreach To Youth (COTY) from North Adams, told us about some of her experiences.

Most of the people displaced from their homes by the earthquake of 2010, are still living in tent cities–tens of thousands.

Water is meted out by a delivery truck once a day and people’s existence is connected to a 5-gallon plastic bucket.

The contrast between America and Haiti is incredible.

In one case–the worst news means a warm rehab center with nurses, therapists and modern communication.

In another case–life seems hopeless.

Marisa visited a young boy whose father she befriended working at Camp Winadu in Pittsfield a few summers ago.

She was asked to be the boy’s God-mother.

He’s only two years old, but when the family learned his God-mother was coming for a visit, his real mom gave him a sponge bath the day before.

The very young boy then refused to go outside of their hut for two days, as he wanted to stay clean for his God-mother.

I’m not sure why, but Natalie and I cried when we heard that story.

God allows suffering and heartache in every country.

Somehow we must churn that suffering into praise, so that we can witness to the world of the greatness of our Father.

Yet, no matter how wise or old we get, the poorest children of the world, in their innocence, are still the greatest teachers.

I thought of another saying when I heard about Marisa’s God-son…”cleanliness is next to Godliness”

Thank You Lord for teaching us what we are not able to teach ourselves.

Your lessons are not cliché.