31 July 2021

Michael Dutra and the Strictly Sinatra Band

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this presentation by Michael Dutra and the Strictly Sinatra Band:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of stories (print, broadcast, and/or spoken) that help us reflect, in a good way, on aspects of our lives.

Pope Francis on the Value of Senior Citizens

"Older people are not 'leftovers' to be discarded; rather, they continue to be precious nourishment for families, young people and communities, Pope Francis said in the homily he wrote for the Mass marking the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

"'Let us ask ourselves, "Have I visited my grandparents, my elderly relatives, the older people in my neighborhood? Have I listened to them? Have I spent time with them?"' the pope said in his homily, which was read aloud at the Mass by Archbishop Rino Fisichella."

A recent article in The Pilot reported on this homily from Pope Francis.

To access the complete report, please visit:

The Pilot: Elderly are to be valued, not discarded, pope says (29 JUL 21)

Reflection Starter from St. Ignatius of Loyola

"Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God." - Saint Ignatius of Loyola, whose memory the Church celebrates today (31 July)

Live the Golden Rule

"Be kind, be kind, be kind, and you will soon be saints," said the medieval mystic Jan van Ruysbroeck. This bit of wisdom was most certainly inspired by the Golden Rule, which states, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As Van Ruysbroeck's quote exemplifies, following the Golden Rule is a perfect way to draw closer to God. Yet the world throws so many complexities in our way to obscure our vision of this clear path to holiness.

Many cultures and religions have teachings similar to the Golden Rule. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was an idea expressed in Leviticus 19:18, when God instructed Moses, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Christ later reiterated this idea in His Sermon on the Mount, saying, "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

The Christophers' recent News Note "Live the Golden Rule" details practical ways to stay on the path to holiness by following Christ's command to treat others in the way we would like to be treated. In this News Note, a quote from Father John Catoir, former Director of The Christophers, puts things in perspective. He states, "Maybe you can't be a delegate at international peace talks. But you can be a peacemaker in your own family - and pray and work for peaceful communication between people of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds."

One particular story tells of a woman named Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse, who wrote a piece for Today's Christian Woman about her struggle to overcome a judgmental attitude towards others. "The other day," Newenhuyse writes, "a rather shabbily dressed young woman walked by our house while I was working in the yard. I literally thought to myself, 'Be kind.' I smiled and said hello, and she gave me a beautiful smile in return. It just lit up her face. It was a small but significant encounter, because it represented a victory over my old negative pattern of judging people by external appearances."

Processing what she learned from that encounter, Newenhuyse concluded, "When you're tempted to think or act critically, stop and consciously substitute a positive response. Pay a compliment. It may seem artificial at first, but after a while, it will become a habit, and a God-honoring habit at that."

What a beautiful way to honor God, by showing kindness to someone who might otherwise be treated as an outcast. This is the courage we are called to, and though it's a courage that can manifest itself in small gestures and interactions, it's no small matter at all. It takes courage to befriend those on the margins of society in a culture that can be as judgmental as ours. We risk being branded by the problems of those we associate with, which is why we're so reticent to cross that imaginary line that's been drawn between us and them.

But we are called to cross that line to the degree we are able. When we do, we are practicing the Golden Rule in the most challenging way possible. For which of us cannot say, "There but for the grace of God go I," in regard to another person's struggles? And if we can picture ourselves in their shoes, we can know how we would want to be treated - with kindness, kindness, and more kindness.

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column by Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers' Board of Directors ; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events. 

Background information:

The Christophers

29 July 2021

Yale Symphony Orchestra: "Scheherazade"

One of the treasures of New England is the great variety of music in our region. Some of this music (of whatever genre) is provided musicians from the region; other music is provided by artists visiting the region from other areas.

One such example is the Connecticut-based Yale Symphony Orchestra.

Background information:

Yale Symphony Orchestra

In this video,
Yale Symphony Orchestra is presenting Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good instructors/trainers at places of work.

John Grondelski on Cornelius Van Leemputten's Painting and Lost Sheep

"Cornelius Van Leemputten was a 19th-century Belgian painter whose specialty was sheep. He painted many scenes of sheep and barnyards. That's why he's featured for this week's Gospel. . . .

"It's a staple of most preaching that sheep are not particularly smart. They follow the herd. If they wander off, they're apt to lose their lives. They're exposed to predators. 'There's safety in numbers.'

"Because of this, sheep need shepherds. Sheep and shepherds form bonds, enough that even if herds mix, the voice of the shepherd attracts his sheep to separate from the larger group and 'follow him.'"

In a recent commentary, writer John M. Grondelski offered some insights on a sheep painting by Cornelius Van Leemputten.

To access Mr. Grondelski's complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Blogs: John Grondelski: There Are No Lone Sheep - Just Lost Sheep (18 JUL 21)

Reflection Starter from the Book of Proverbs

"Many are the plans of the human heart,  but it is the decision of the LORD that endures." - Proverbs 18:1

28 July 2021

NLC Partnering with HomeFree-USA to Strengthen Financial Protection for Minority Homeowners

The National League of Cities (NLC) is collaborating with HomeFree-USA, a Black-founded nonprofit and HUD-intermediary that is focused on building financial strength and home ownership for people of color to connect HomeFree-USA members to the mortgage finance industry and government programs. The initiative is designed to create new homebuyers, sustainable homeowners, affordable homes, and revitalized communities, as well as to help prevent eviction for renters.

HomeFree-USA works to stabilize communities by minimizing evictions and foreclosures by addressing the needs of renters and the landlords as well as the homeowners and the banks. Working with residents, landlords, and banks, HomeFree-USA partners with communities to leverage federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and other government programs.

Background information:

National League of Cities


Ornette Coleman Quartet: "The Blessing"

It's time for some jazz, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "The Blessing" by the Ornette Coleman Quintet:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the graces You give us as we meet whatever is before us each day.

Fr. Longenecker on the Desert and the Mountain in Our Spiritual Journey

"Not being able to sleep I got up at 3 am and spent a fair bit of time meditating on the spiritual journey.

"As I get older the life of prayer seems to get more difficult, not more easy. Temptations continue and one of them is the temptation to give up. Not to do anything radically wicked, but simply to give up in the spiritual quest - to drift if you like."

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Greenville, SC) reflected on the presence of the desert and the mountain in one's spiritual journey.

To access Fr. Longenecker's complete post, please visit:

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: The Desert and the Mountain (28 JUL 21)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Wally Amos

"It doesn't matter how many say it cannot be done or how many people have tried it before; it's important to realize that whatever you're doing, it's your first attempt at it." - Wally Amos

27 July 2021

Central Islip High School Concert Choir: "My Lord, What a Mornin'"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of the Central Islip, NY, High School Concert Choir presenting Harry T. Burleigh's arrangement of "My Lord, What a Mornin'":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of those who care for livestock.

Br. Macarius Bunch, O.P., on Our Calling to Be Sheep on Fire

"There are plenty of references to Jesus as a shepherd and his followers as sheep in the Gospels. Jesus compares sinners in need of repentance to lost sheep. God is sometimes spoken of as a shepherd in the Old Testament as well. The parallels are not accidental, and neither is the image.

"This image of God as shepherd and his people as sheep is valuable for understanding our relationship to God in part because it is earthy and relatable. From it, we get a sense of God's tenderness and closeness to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. It shows us that God protects us from evil, provides our shelter, heals our wounds, and gives us nourishment. It shows us that God brings us back when we wander away from him."

In a recent commentary, Brother Macarius Bunch, O.P., reflected on the portrayal of sheep in Holy Scripture and on our calling to be sheep on fire.

To access Br. Macarius' complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Sheep on Fire (21 JUL 21)

Reflection Starter from M. Scott Peck

"You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time." - M. Scott Peck, M.D.

26 July 2021

Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

The month of July is being observed as Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, a U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designed to highlight the potential for motor vehicle theft, preventive measures vehicle owners should take, the importance of addressing the vehicle theft problem, and its significant economic impact.

For more information related to this observance and to vehicle theft prevention, please visit:

NHTSA: Consumer Alert: July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

NHTSA: Vehicle Theft Prevention

Breaking Point: "When Will I Be Loved"

It's time for some barbershop harmony, a genre of music I enjoy. Here is a presentation of "When Will I Be Loved" by Breaking Point:


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Yourself in the Bread of Life.

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P., on the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish

"Can the multiplication of loaves and fishes be scientifically explained? Or is today's Gospel really a miracle? For some modern minds, this passage is an obstacle, one requiring study and interpretation. 

"Some have tried to altogether sanitize this passage, explaining it as 'a miracle of sharing.' . . . Rather than believe that Christ performed an extraordinary feat, these and other demythologizers argue that the crowd that gathered to hear Jesus simply shared their resources.

"The first problem with the rationalist account is: that's not the apparent meaning of the text. The Gospels report no availability of food, such that it would cost 200 days' wages to purchase. The mere five loaves and two fish are miraculously multiplied to provide for the assembly. They weren't a little short . . . there was no food.

"But there is a greater problem lurking in the rationalist interpretation. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Father Patrick Briscoe, O.P., reflected on the multiplication of loaves and fish as proclaimed in the Gospel according to St. John and on how it reveals more to us about God than we might think.

To access Fr Patrick's complete post, please visit: 

Aleteia: Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP: 3 Lessons from Loaves and Fishes (25 JUL 21)

Reflection Starter from Albert Einstein

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

25 July 2021

"Let us Break Bread Together"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "Let us Break Bread Together":

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are 2 Kings 4:42-44, Ephesians 4:1-6, and John 6:1-15. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 145 (Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18). 

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel reading is as follows: 

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near.

When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little."

One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. but what good are these for so many?"

Jesus said, "Have the people recline."

Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted."

So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, "This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world."

Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time July 25, 2021

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 25, 2021)

Crossroads Initiative: Hidden Meaning of the Loaves & Fishes

St. Paul Center: Bread Left Over: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College: This Sunday, A Boy Outshines the Church and Astonishes the World (22 JUL 21)

Word on Fire: What You Need to Know about the Catholic Mass (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 17)

National Catholic Register: Sunday Guide: The Feeding of the 5,000 and Loving the Whole Person (23 JUL 21)

Spirituality of the Readings: The Call (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

In Exile: Feed the Hungry (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Glancing Thoughts: What Do You Need? (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

The Perspective of Justice: Feeding the Hungry (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Let the Scriptures Speak: The Prophet-King Will Shepherd His People (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

The Word Embodied: The Bread of Life (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

Historical Cultural Context: A Need to Know (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B) 

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Augustine (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year B)

World Day for Grandparents and Elderly

Today is being celebrated by the Church as the World Day for Grandparents and Elderly. This is the first year for this observance, which is to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July, near the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.

Related Message from Pope Francis:

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

Related media reports:

Vatican News: Pope establishes World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life: In prayer with the Pope from all over the world

Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life: A great need to celebrate

'A Blast from the Past'

From "a number of years ago": the shade from the tree is a factor here (and the focus is a little off), but myself with siblings (possibly mid-1960s):


Belated Birhday Blessings, Dawna!!!

Belated birthday greetings to sister-in-law Dawna (Jim's wife), whose celebrated her birthday yesterday!!! May each day of the upcoming year be filled with the Lord's choicest blessings!!!

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of grandparents.

Msgr. Pope on Things Often Being Not as They Seem

"We are currently reading the story of Moses in daily Mass. The story reminds us that not all things are as they appear, and that God’s ways are not our ways.

"Moses' early years are marked with clear signs that he is gifted and chosen. Drawn from the water by Pharaoh's own daughter, Moses' very own mother is chosen to be his caretaker and is paid for that privilege by getting to live in Pharaoh's palace. Pharaoh pays for Moses' diapers, his food, and his education. And he is unwittingly preparing and equipping his nemesis. God can be very sly!

"But at age forty, Moses gets ahead of God (never a good idea). He grows angry at an Egyptian who is oppressing a Hebrew and ends up killing the Egyptian. Moses has to flee.

"Now why has God let this happen? From our perspective, Moses was in the prime of his life. At forty, he has experience but has not lost his youth. He is educated, gifted, and has access to power and lots of connections in Pharaoh's own palace. Moses is in a perfect position to lead the people out of slavery! Or so we think. Except for one problem: God doesn't think so."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on how Not as man sees does God see (1 Sam 16:7) and on thje importance of being careful how we assess our life's worth.

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

Community in Mission: Things Are Often Not as They Seem - A Lesson from the Life of Moses (18 JUL 21)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Only a heart that is not taken over by hastiness is capable of being moved, that is, of not allowing itself to be caught up in itself and by things to do, and is aware of others, of their wounds, their needs. Compassion is born from contemplation." - Pope Francis