28 February 2019

Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No 3 in B minor

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Camille Saint-Saëns' "Violin Concerto No 3 in B minor", Op. 61:

Health in All Policies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency in an initiative, Health in All Policies (HiAP), designed to be a collaborative approach that integrates and articulates health considerations into policymaking across sectors to improve the health of all communities and people. This initiative recognizes that health is created by a multitude of factors beyond healthcare and, in many cases, beyond the scope of traditional public health activities. According to CDC, the HiAP approach provides one way to achieve the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy People 2020 goals and enhance the potential for state, territorial, and local health departments to improve health outcomes. The HiAP approach may also be effective in identifying gaps in evidence and achieving health equity.

Related resources and information:

Office of the Surgeon General: National Prevention Strategy

Health in All Policies Resource Center

Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments

Health in All Policies: Strategies to Promote Innovative Leadership

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials: National Prevention Strategy Implementation Toolkit

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of kind words.

Devin Rose on Saint Joseph

"As a Baptist, I didn't think too much about St. Joseph.

"In the first place, the Scriptures said very little about him, recording nothing of his actual words, and since as a good Protestant I believed that Scripture alone was the sole infallible rule of faith, that must mean that St. Joseph wasn't too important.

"Boy was I wrong, but I didn't know it at the time, and it was through a winding path that our Lord showed me the greatness of his foster-father."

In a recent commentary, writer Devin Rose reflected on Saint Joseph and his importance in the lives of God's people.

To access Mr. Rose's complete reflection, please visit:

ChurchPOP: How a Simple Novena to St. Joseph Changed This Convert's Life Forever (26 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Sirach

"Do not winnow in every wind, nor walk in every path. Be steadfast regarding your knowledge, and let your speech be consistent. Be swift to hear, but slow to answer. If you can, answer your neighbor; if not, place your hand over your mouth! Honor and dishonor through speaking! The tongue can be your downfall." - Sirach 5:9-13

27 February 2019

Anthony Esolen on Restoring a Sense of Beauty in Sacred Architecture

"The men who built the cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres did not have diesel engines, or lightweight metals like soft aluminum or firm titanium, or steel girders. The men who built Europe's greatest Gothic church did not have cranes that could tower a hundred feet in the air without toppling, while lifting pre-formed blocks of concrete. They did not have computer models. They did not have the calculus. Most of them assuredly could not read.

"They had to fit stones atop one another precisely to be both balanced and beautiful, and that meant that the stones had to be cleanly and accurately dressed, shaved with saws, cut to fit. Their carpenters had to know how to build safe scaffolding from the hewn trunks of hardwood trees, to soar ten or twelve stories in the air, supporting the men who, with sledges and pulleys and main strength, set in place the stones of lovely arches, springing on each side at exactly the same oblique angle from the pillars beneath, to intersect one another at a point clinched by the keystone."

In a recent commentary, writer (and professor of classical literature at Thomas More University) Anthony Esolen reflected on the importance of restoring a sense of beauty in sacred architecture.

To access complete essay, please visit:

The Institute for Sacred Architecture: Except the Lord Build the House: Restoring a Sense of Beauty

Ray Charles and The Voices Of Jubilation: "Oh, Happy Day"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Ray Charles and The Voices Of Jubilation presenting "Oh, Happy Day":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for those who maintain our streets and highways.

Br. Paul Marich, O.P., on Opportunities in the Upcoming Season of Lent

"In the final chapters of the book of Genesis, we find Joseph, a person who foreshadows and anticipates the coming of Christ. There are many parallels between the lives of Joseph and Jesus. For example, the malice of Joseph's brothers, envious of the favoritism shown to him by their father, is similar to that of the Jewish leaders who sought to execute our Lord for claiming to be the Son of God. Before changing their plans and deciding to sell Joseph into slavery, the brothers initially plotted to kill him by throwing him into a pit, leaving him for dead. Their evil plot, in which 'they conspired against him to kill him' (Gen 37:18), is echoed by the enemies of Jesus, who 'took counsel how to put him to death' (Jn 11:53). The pit into which Joseph was thrown resembles the tomb where Jesus would lay after his death. . . .

"The parallels between Joseph and Jesus also present a moral comparison, helpful for those seeking to live their lives according to the teachings of Christ. "

In a recent commentary, Brother Paul Marich, O.P., reflected on the upcoming season of Lent as a time for spiritual renewal and for a deeper examination of our lives and the faults that often plague our relationship with God.

To access Br. Raymond's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Pharaohs Who Know Not Jesus (25 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

26 February 2019

Fr. Justin Braun Offers Tips for Youth Ministry

"According to James Emery White in his book Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, the culture of Generation Z is one of unfettered access to information, radical autonomy mixed with virtual connectedness, and statistically less religious identity (p. 49). Unfortunately, this is the first generation that has without exception been terribly affected by relativism in all of its ugly forms. We are not just fighting DeLubac's four horsemen of atheism, nor are we merely confronting strict scientism in the post-Christian era, but we are also dealing with the dire consequences of moral relativism and selfishness that justifies any sin according to the individual's perception of good and evil (The Drama of Atheist Humanism, Henri DeLubac).

"Frankly friends, this is a battle for the soul of our children that I do not take lightly, and one that I know comes with a tremendous amount of heartache and frustration. The light of Christ does shine in the darkness of our youth culture, but you have to really strain to see it. When you see that light, it will remind you of why you volunteered to teach youth in the first place: transformation in Christ is the most exhilarating and faith-confirming experience a Christian can be a part of! It is faith-confirming. As St. Irenaeus said: 'The glory of God is man fully alive!'"

In a recent commentary, Father Justin Braun, Director of Youth Formation for the Saint Phillip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, offered some recommendations for those who work with the youth, especially those involved in high school and middle school ministry. These recommendations include incorporating Sacred Scripture into youth formation, being oneself instead of being cool, and incorporating community building.

To access Fr. Braun's complete essay, please visit:

Catholic East Texas: Five Tips from Fr. Braun for Youth Ministry (14 JAN 19)

Raising Men Lawn Care Service

"A man inspired by others' random acts of kindness is in Florida mowing yards for free.

"He's helping those who need assistance.

"Rodney Smith Jr. thought he'd be a computer programmer until he realized, while at college, that he hated it.

"Then, he saw an older man struggling to cut his grass.

"'I pulled over and helped him out, and that night, I decided that I'd just start mowing free lawns,' Smith said."

A recent report on WMUR-TV profiled Mr. Smith and his lawn cutting ministry, a ministry that has expanded to all 50 states.

To access the complete WMUR report, please visit:

WMUR-TV: Man travels from state to state offering free lawn mowing service to those in need (11 JAN 19)

Related report:

Briggs & Stratton News: Mission Complete: Rodney Smith Jr. Wraps up 50 States, 50 Lawns Tour (25 JUL 17)

Mr. Smith's website:

Raising Men Lawn Care Service - Making a Difference One Lawn at A Time

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for inspirations and encouragement to put You first in all things.

Joe Heschmeyer on the Acceptabilty of Abel's Sacrifice

"'And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard' (Gen. 4:4b-5).

"Why does God accept the sacrifice of Abel but reject the sacrifice of Cain?

"Exegetes have come to differing conclusions throughout the years. Both Luther and Calvin, for instance, thought it was simply a case of God's preferring Abel over Cain, and thus preferring Abel's offering. . . .

"But is the biblical text actually all that ambiguous? Scripture says that Cain resented Abel, not because God arbitrarily predestined the one and punished the other, but 'because [Cain's] own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous' (1 John 3:12). Hebrews likewise views the difference as this: 'By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts' (Heb. 11:4).

"So it wasn't God's 'secret reasons,' or his arbitrary preference for Abel over Cain, but because Abel offered a 'more acceptable sacrifice' in faith. And what makes Abel's sacrifice better? 'Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions' (Gen. 4:4a). That is, he offered the first-borns, the very best of what he has. But Cain doesn't offer God the first fruits of his harvest. Instead, he simply gives him 'an offering of the fruit of the ground' (Gen. 4:3). If Abel is giving God the equivalent of filet mignon, Cain is giving him ground beef. This is a difference in both faith and works. By faith, Abel gives God everything. Cain phones it in."

In a recent commentary. writer Joe Heschmeyer reflected on the difference between Cain's offering and Abel's offering and on how Scripture tells us not just to "give God whatever fruit we have left over and lying around," but to be generous with God in our poverty.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Catholic Answers: Why Abel’s Sacrifice Was Better (6 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Henry David Thoreau

"Be not merely good; be good for something." - Henry David Thoreau

25 February 2019

The Diamonds: "She Say Oom Dooby Doom"

It's time for some more doo wop. Here is a presentation of "She Say Oom Dooby Doom" by The Diamonds:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good judges/justices in our judicial system.

Bishop Tobin on Being Perfect and Loving One's Enemies

"'Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.' (Mt 5: 48) There are lots of challenging passages in the Bible, but this saying of Jesus must surely be among the top ten.

"The command to be perfect would, in itself, be hard enough. After all, who among us is perfect, or believes that they ever will be? I don't know about you, but when I look in the mirror, I don't see a reflection of perfection. I see a man, sincere perhaps, but one who wrestles with his faults and failures every day; a man keenly aware of his sins, past, present and no doubt, future."

In a recent commentary,  Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on Jesus' command to love and forgive.

To access Bishop Tobin's complete essay, please visit:

The Imitation of Christ: Be Perfect, Love Your Enemies (21 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

24 February 2019

"All My Hope on God Is Founded"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "All My Hope on God Is Founded":

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; and Luke 6:27-38. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 103 (Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 103 "A God of Kindness and Mercy"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 24, 2019)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 24, 2019)

Community in Mission: Be Different, Be a Christian - A Homily for the 7th Sunday of the Year (23 FEB 19)

Crossroads Initiative: Who am I to Judge?

The Sacred Page: Loving Our Enemies, Whoever They May Be: 7th Sunday of OT (21 FEB 19)

The Sacred Page: Love Your Enemies (The Mass Readings Explained) (18 FEB 19)

St. Paul Center: Davids and Sauls: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Word on Fire: Grace and the Aporia of the Gift (Cycle C * Ordinary Time * Week 7)

Spirituality of the Readings: How to Love (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

In Exile: Stuck In Traffic (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Creative Non-Violence (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Engaged: Open to the Spirit (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: Stereotyping (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Augustine of Hippo (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a good night's sleep.

Msgr. Pope on the Mystery of Rebelliousness

"There is a phrase in the Scriptures that, while speaking of mystery, is itself a bit mysterious and is debated among scholars: the 'mystery of iniquity' St. Paul mentions it in Second Thessalonians and ties it to an equally mysterious 'man of iniquity' who will appear before Jesus' second coming.

"The Latin root of the English word 'iniquity' is iniquitas (in (not) + aequus (equal)), meaning unjust or harmful, but the Greek μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας (mysterion tes anomias) is probably best rendered as 'mystery of lawlessness.' Many modern translations use the 'mystery of lawlessness' though it doesn't have quite the same ring to it."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the mystery of iniquity, including the roles played by "rational" man's irrationality, the angelic rebellion, and the final refusal to repent.

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Community in Mission: The Mystery of Iniquity - A Meditation on the Mystery of Rebelliousness (19 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Detachment from worldly appearances is essential to prepare ourselves for heaven." - Pope Francis

23 February 2019

Glenn Miller & His Orchestra: "Moonlight Serenade"

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Glenn Miller & His Orchestra presenting "Moonlight Serenade":


"An older woman gets pulled over for speeding . . .

Older Woman: "Is there a problem, Officer?"

Officer: "Ma'am, you were speeding."

Older Woman: "Oh, I see."

Officer: "Can I see your license please?"

Older Woman: "I'd give it to you but I don't have one."

Officer: "Don't have one?"

Older Woman: "Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving."

Officer: "I see.. . . Can I see your vehicle registration papers please."

Older Woman: "I can't do that."

Officer: "Why not?"

Older Woman: "I stole this car."

Officer: "Stole it?"
Older Woman: "Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner."

Officer: "You what?"

Older Woman: "His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see."

The officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes, five police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: "Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The woman steps out of her vehicle."

Older woman: "Is there a problem sir?"

Officer2: "One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner."

Older Woman: "Murdered the owner?"

Officer2: "Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please."

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer2: "Is this your car, ma'am?"

Older Woman: "Yes, here are the registration papers."

The officer is quite stunned.

Officer2: "One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license."

The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer. The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.

Officer2 : "Thank you ma'am, one of my officers told me you didn't have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner."

Older Woman: "Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too."

                                                - Source unknown

On the International Year of the Periodic Table

"The periodic table stares down from the walls of just about every chemistry lab. The credit for its creation generally goes to Dimitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist who in 1869 wrote out the known elements (of which there were 63 at the time) on cards and then arranged them in columns and rows according to their chemical and physical properties. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of this pivotal moment in science, the UN has proclaimed 2019 to be the International year of the Periodic Table.

"But the periodic table didn’t actually start with Mendeleev. Many had tinkered with arranging the elements. . . .

"Mendeleev's genius was in what he left out of his table. He recognised that certain elements were missing, yet to be discovered. So where [other scientists] had laid out what was known, Mendeleev left space for the unknown. Even more amazingly, he accurately predicted the properties of the missing elements."

In a recent commentary, Dr. Mark Lorch, Professor of Science Communication and Chemistry, University of Hull, reflected on the development of the periodic table.

To access Dr. Lorch's complete post, please visit:

The Conversation: The periodic table is 150 - but it could have looked very different (2 JAN 19)

Related document:

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry: The United Nations Proclaims the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

Background information:

Wikipedia: Periodic table

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Periodic Table of Elements

The periodic table of the elements by WebElements

"Best Places to Stargaze in New England"

"Want to see stunning starscapes and feel re-anchored in the celestial sea? Escape from cities and suburbs, where light pollution robs us of true nighttime, and visit one of these picks for the best places to stargaze in New England."

Yankee Magazine recently republished on its website, a reprint of an article from August 2018 with writer Kim Knox Beckius' thoughts on the best places to stargaze in New England (including Arcadia National Park in Maine, the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center Lodge in New Hampshire, the Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theatre in Rhode Island, the Maria Mitchell Association's Loines Observatory in Massachusetts, and the Northern Skies Observatory in Vermont.

To access the complete article, please visit:

Yankee Magazine: The Best 5 Places to Stargaze in New England

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good rituals in our lives.

Carolyn Humphreys, OCDs, on the Necessity of Rituals

"Although we may not be aware of rituals, they weave themselves into the fabric of our days in one way that defines who we are as individuals. A definition of ritual can be a regular pattern of words or actions. The way we answer the phone or door, our favorite topics of conversation, the way we get dressed, how we develop or maintain our physical and mental well-being, specific hygiene habits, and other tasks we routinely do become rituals that sustain our daily life here on earth. If we take a close look at our personal rituals, we can see how they can range from life-enhancing to life-depleting.

"Whether public or private, rituals can also define moments that keep us going through routine days, give pleasure to our lives and reasons to celebrate various stages of growth. Rituals can be formal rites that involve many people, such as graduations, weddings, and funerals, or informal, like watching the games of a specific sports team, planting favorite flowers, going out to eat with friends on certain days, or attending specific cultural events."

In a recent commentary, Carolyn Humphreys, OCDS, reflected on the importance of rituals in every aspect of our lives (including our spiritual lives).

To access her complete post, please visit:

Homiletic & Pastoral Review: The Necessity of Rituals (12 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

22 February 2019

Johann Sebastian Bach: "Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D"

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D" by The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings You offer to married couples as they live their marriages.

The Makings of a Long-Lasting Marriage

Valentine's Day brings thoughts of love and marriage. We may especially marvel at couples who have remained married for 50 plus years - and who love and appreciate each other even more than they did on their wedding day! Peggy Rowe and her husband,John, fit that model. You might know them better as the parents of Mike Rowe, host of the TV series Dirty Jobs and advocate for careers in the skilled trades.

At age 80, Peggy recently wrote the best-selling memoir About My Mother: True Storiesof a Horse-Crazy Daughter and Her Baseball-Obsessed Mother. It's a warm and funny remembrance of how she and her mom, Thelma Knobel, differed vastly in personality,yet loved each other anyway. But the book also recounts the relationship between Thelma and her husband, Carl, and how it served as a model for Peggy when she got married.

During a Christopher Closeup interview, Peggy told me, "I've never seen a love story quite like that of my parents. Both of them grew up poor and married during the Depression . . . She was always at his side, right up until the time they passed away in 2005 and 2003. Her one wish in her senior years was that she would outlive my father so that she could continue taking care of him. She outlived him by two years. He was an invalid for the last 11 years of his life. He had glaucoma and had lost his eyesight, and he had a stroke earlier on which left him very weak on one side. So she took care of him."

In essence, Thelma was living out the virtues taught by her Christian faith. Peggy said, "I joke that our church was like a sibling. We lived just one block from the little gray shingled church, Kenwood Presbyterian. My father was the Sunday school superintendent. My mother was the president of the women of the church, and they were involved in every phase of the life and work of the church. We were there multiple days a week. I'm still a member of that church. My husband, John, and all three of our children came through this church."

Speaking of John, Peggy admits that she was blessed with finding such a devoted, compassionate husband to whom she has been married for 58 years - and whom she now calls "Prince Charming." And while Thelma wasn't a fan of John's when they first met, she came around. Peggy noted, "My husband is the best gift that I [ever gave] to my parents. He was the son my father never had. He was like a son to my mother, and he was there for them throughout their senior years especially. He and my dad were pals. When Dad could no longer drive because of glaucoma and John had retired, every morning John would take Dad back to McDonald's so that he could meet his retired friends. They had a wonderful relationship."

John's willingness to help others is one of the qualities Peggy admires most about him. She said, "It's been good for me through the years to see his giving nature. If it's Tuesday, it's Meals on Wheels. If it's Wednesday, he's volunteering at the oncology unit at our local hospital . . . It's such a priority, and people are so appreciative."

People often wonder what the secret is to a successful marriage. Based on the Rowe's relationship, the answer is love, understanding, faith, compassion, and selflessness. They don't sound like such a secret at all.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from Bertrand Russell

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." - Bertrand Russell

21 February 2019

Ransomed Bluegrass: "I'll Fly Away"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Ransomed Bluegrass presenting "I'll Fly Away":

Thank you, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of holy objects in our lives.

Br. Raymond La Grange, O.P., on Treating Holy Objects with Reverential Care

"This year, I am assigned to work in the sacristy, wherein we look after everything that is used in the liturgy. We do everything from setting up for Mass, to cleaning objects that I never knew the name of before (like a situla), to replacing many of the candles we use throughout the priory. It is an interesting job; being closely involved with the liturgy is at times demanding, but very rewarding.

"One thing that surprised me is the particular care we must take in handling all the sacred vessels and blessed objects with which we work. They have to be treated with a certain respect. For example, we melt down blessed candles before disposing of them, the same way that you would burn an American flag to dispose of it. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Brother Raymond La Grange, O.P., reflected on the good reasons for treating holy objects with care and on the witness this care provides in a "rationalistic world that often ignores the divine presence and fails to see how matter can point to anything beyond itself."

To access Br. Raymond's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Every Crumb (21 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from James

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror." - James 1:22-23

20 February 2019

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of the various forms of outreach to senior citizens.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser on Ecumenism

"I was very blessed during my theological formation to have had the privilege of taking classes from two very renowned Catholic scholars, Avery Dulles and Raymond E. Brown. The former was an ecclesiologist whose books often became textbooks which were prescribed reading in seminaries and theology schools. The latter was a scripture scholar whose scholarship stands out, almost singularly, still nearly 30 years after his death. Nobody questions the scholarship, the personal integrity, or the faith-commitment of these men.

"They were in different theological disciplines but what they shared, beyond the high respect of scholars and church persons everywhere, was a passion for ecumenism and a capacity to form deep friendships and invite warm dialogue across every kind of denominational and interreligious line. Their books are studied not just in Roman Catholic circles, but in theological schools and seminaries in Protestant, Evangelical, Mormon, and Jewish seminaries as well. Both were deeply respected for their openness, friendship, and graciousness towards those who held religious views different than their own. Indeed, Raymond Brown spent of his most productive years teaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York, even as he, a Sulpician priest, more than anything else cherished his Roman Catholic identity and priesthood. After losing his own father and mother, he spoke of the Roman Catholic Church and his Sulpician community as 'the family that still remains for me.'"

In a recent commentary, Father Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I. reflected on the role of each of us in participating in ecumenical outreach.

To access Father Ron's complete post, please visit:

The Boston Pilot: Echoes: Ecumenism - The Path Forward (6 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Alice Childress

"A gift - be it a present, a kind word or a job done with care and love - explains itself! . . . and if receivin' it embarrasses you, it's because your 'thanks box' is warped." - Alice Childress

19 February 2019

An "Old Lady" and Her Bananas

"Mr. Phillips was just getting ready to leave his office and he remembered that his wife had asked him to bring 1KG of Bananas. When He stepped out, he saw an ill-looking old lady across the road. She was selling fresh bananas on the street. Mr. Phillips usually buys bananas from a grocery shop few blocks away from his office but since he was in hurry to reach home today, he thought about buying them from across the road only.

"He went to the old lady and asked her the price. She quoted $7 per 1KG. He told, 'But the store where I usually buy from gives them for $5 per 1KG, can you not give me for the same price?' The Old Lady told, 'No Sir, I can not afford to match that price. I can sell them to you at $6 per 1KG. That's best I can afford to give you for.' Mr. Phillips told her, 'never mind'. He left in his car towards the usual grocery shop."

My lovely wife,Myrna, recently shared this story (Thank you, Myrna!). To access the complete story, including what happens next, please visit:

Moral Stories: Act of Kindness and Goodwill

To access a YouTube version of the story, please visit:

YouTube: Act of Kindness with a old lady selling Bananas

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good educators.

St. Patrick Parish, Providence,RI, Receiving Opening Doors Parish Award

"For almost two decades, St. Patrick Church in Providence has been opening its doors to make physically handicapped parishioners feel like they’re part of the parish community.

"The inclusive spirit that permeates the parish on Smith Street has been recognized on the national level. In mid-January, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, in partnership with Loyola Press, announced that St. Patrick Church is the recipient of the Loyola Press 2018 Opening Doors Parish Award.

"The parish will receive $1,000 and a plaque from Loyola Press for its commitment to helping parishioners with disabilities to have access to full participation in all aspects of parish life, including catechetical opportunities, liturgical celebrations and community service projects."

A recent Rhode Island Catholic article reported on this award being presented to St. Patrick Parish.

To access a copy of the Rhode Island Catholic report, please visit:

Rhode Island Catholic: St. Patrick Church receives national award for its welcoming spirit (21 JAN 19)

Background information:

Saint Patrick Parish

National Catholic Partnership on Disability

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

""The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

18 February 2019

The Tune Weavers: "Ol Man River"

It's time for some more doo wop. Here is a presentation of "Ol Man River" by The Tune Weavers:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for calling us to trust in You.

Bishop Tobin on Challenges to Simplicity and Detachment

"While in my local drugstore recently, I was looking to buy a new toothbrush. Not as simple as it sounds!

"The number of available options made my purchase a daunting, irritating task. There were, first of all, various brands, a factor that wasn't important. But, did I want one of the new high-tech, electric toothbrushes, or an old-fashioned, simple manual toothbrush? And even there, lots of decisions to be made. . . . There were toothbrushes with soft, medium and firm bristles; regular bristles and rounded bristles; and an 'indicator' toothbrush that told you when to discard it. There was a selection of bright colors; a travel toothbrush or the domestic stay-at-home model; and multi-packs with two, three or eight brushes. . . .

"Of course the plain old simple, single toothbrush I wanted was on the bottom rack, meaning I had to get on all fours to see it. . . ."

In a recent commentary,  Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on how "one of the challenges to successful, peaceful living today is that we are surrounded by too many options, too much clutter" and how the "imitation of Christ presumes a certain simplicity of life and a detachment from material things."

To access Bishop Tobin's complete essay, please visit:

The Imitation of Christ: All I Wanted Was a Toothbrush (14 FEB 19)

Reflection Starter from Jeremiah

"Blessed are those who trust in the LORD; the LORD will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit." - Jeremiah 17:7-8

17 February 2019

Paul Robeson: "There Is a Balm in Gilead"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Paul Robeson presenting "There Is a Balm in Gilead":

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Jeremiah 17:5-8; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; and Luke 6:17, 20-26. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 1 (Psalm 1:1-4, 6).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 1 "True Happiness in God's Law"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: "Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 17, 2019)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 17, 2019)

Community in Mission: Blessing or Woe: You Decide. A Homily for the 6th Sunday of the Year (16 FEB 19)

The Sacred Page: The Upside Down Kingdom of God: 6th Sunday in OT (14 FEB 19)

The Sacred Page: The Sermon on "the Plain" (The Mass Readings Explained) (11 FEB 19)

St. Paul Center: Rich in Poverty: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Word on Fire: A Salt and Empty Earth (Cycle C * Ordinary Time * Week 6)

Spirituality of the Readings: Happy Are You (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

In Exile: The Empathetic Gaze of God (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Let the Scriptures Speak: Flesh or God? (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

The Word Engaged: Open to the Supernatural (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Historical Cultural Context: Rich and Poor (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time C)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Chrysostom (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time C)