Thoughts after Southerland Springs 1st Baptist Shooting.
I didn’t want to respond to the violence in Southerland Springs right away. I was mad and frustrated. How could this be and so close. This will be a summary of my homily and for those upset that I am not jumping on the gun control wagon, please look at purpose of what I am trying to do.
Is it the guns?
My opinion is that guns are not the issue. The closest I have come to being hurt in an attach was in Germany, with very strict gun control. There they used a propane tank. Oklahoma City was a truck. 9/11 were planes. Chicago, DC and Mexico have amazingly strict laws, yet shockingly high levels of violent crime. I think it is us…
Are we silly virgins from Gospel parable?
Multiple times in the last year I have had to deal with threats from middle school kids to kill someone. This is in a Catholic school. Yes, we take it more seriously now, but these were kids with a plan. I have watched young kids in less than 10 seconds wipe out a small village in a first person shooter game. That has to have an impact.
I remember the first time I was in the ER as a Chaplain and a chest was opened and the smell and the sound almost made me toss my lunch. After time, I became accustom to it. Are we “virtually” becoming desensitized to violence through movies and games? Or by texting and not talking, especially while in same room.
What about the mental health angle. I have tried to get people help. I have friends that have family members, but their personal rights seem to get in the way of getting them help. Everyone is too afraid to do what needs to be done because they might get sued. How is that being our brother’s/sister’s keeper?
How do we help overworked and under prepared parents?
I don’t have answers, yet. But I am working at finding them. I am hoping this blog starts a discussion. I will not approve any comments stuck on guns. That is not the point here. That is a whole other issue.
How to we regain a sense of godliness or holiness for each other? How do we engender that in our youth?
Some of my ideas:
If you die in a first person shooter game, you are dead, you have to buy the game again.
Make all violent movies and games NC-17. Let the person form before subjecting themselves to these “games.”
If we are going to really fix health care, we need to fix our mental health system. How?
We can’t ban texting, but can we force more interpersonal relationships. We are shifting to more project based education to help facilitate this.
Please take a moment of prayer for all those affected by violence before responding.
Weight-loss and the Relationship you have with your Scale!
For those that didn’t read another blog of mine on weight-loss; I’m a slow learner and this is the third time that I have had to lose a significant amount of weight. Each time I have have lost, I have maintained that loss for at least 10 years and some tragedy or stress has taken me out of my rhythm and I love to eat, so that has been my comfort.
Many popular diet programs say that you need to only see your scale once a week. That has never worked for me. The idea is that you look at the whole and don’t get freaked out about fluctuations. Those variances, however, tell a story.
I need to see my scale everyday…
If I look at my periods of weight gain, they are periods where I have not been seeing my scale. If there are even a few weights together, there is a dip in my weight that follows. When I step on my friendly scale everyday, this is always weight-loss.
Yes there are days and a few times a few days that I have stayed the same or even gained and have not exceeded 800 calories on any of those days. This is where you need to be patient and understand that this is a direct ratio, but there are many factors. Did I get extra salt? Are there certain foods that I shouldn’t eat? More for another blog. Salt is the biggest culprit and the best news when this happens because that means there is a water/hydration issue and drinking more water will fix it. Salt is in many prepared and restaurant foods. I even go off diet and introduce some caffeine and that fixes it in a day or two. There are other tricks, but they are plan dependent.
Remember advice is worth what you pay for it and this advice is from a priest and not a doctor. I have to get on the scale every day. Everyday see the damage I caused the day before. I can’t stand an upward trend and self correct. Even on last maintenance period when I was bad and didn’t get on scale, 2 pounds appeared. Getting on the scale fixed that.
Reverence, how do we or should we show reverence….
I was asked today about how I project reverence. That took me back a little, because I’ve struggled with that question. I don’t really think that working at showing reverence is appropriate. How do we show reverence? Kneeling? Folding our hands? By what we wear? The prayers we say out loud? I don’t think it is any of those things by themselves.
Reverence is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
1 :honor or respect felt or shown :deference; especially:profound adoring awed respect
4 :one held in reverence —used as a title for a clergyman
So what does that mean for me?
On Ash Wednesday, I find the readings challenging. We are told to pray in quiet and not to mark ourselves, and yet we do just that. We put a big black cross on our forehead. I reconcile that because our intent is to show our humanity and frailty, not that we are fasting. We show our dependence on God.
We all see those people doing things to be noticed. The person with the wad a prayer cards or the 30 rosaries dangling from their hands, arms and neck. Any overtly obvious sign to look at them praying or being holy. We have all seen it. This doesn’t apply to all. I think of the widow and the one coin, the woman at the well, the tax collectors and all those Jesus lifted up and they all have one thing in common, they were humble and simple of faith. Simple, doesn’t mean shallow, but unencumbered. Simple faith can be the deepest. We know when we meet those people too.
So how do I show reverence?
By respecting all of God’s people. Whenever I slip and think or say bad things about someone, I feel that I have not been reverent to God’s creation. Same is true with self-talk, we need to respect ourselves. As a priest, it is about being respectful of my duties. It isn’t my Mass, it isn’t your Mass. All our official liturgies belong to the Church. I show reverence, by doing them as closely as possible to what the Church intended. I show reverence by being the best possible priest that I can. Showing reverence is being all of who God created us to be.
2 suicides- one day. Please get to those maybe thinking of suicide
Modified a little, this was on Facebook last week. But with funerals this week, decided to also post here.
I’m sitting here a bit dazed. I’ve been a chaplain at a level one trauma center and am usually pretty unflappable, but today has me thinking and praying! 2 people working or attending my parish lost siblings to suicide today. So please, if you, or someone you know are at risk, please know there are people that care. Even people you may not know, care. The incredible pain this causes those who your life has touched is immeasurable.
If you are not sure if you can take another day, or know someone that might be feeling that way, call a church, call the suicide hotline or go to an emergency room. Always better safe than sorry!
No matter what you think right now, your life does matter. If you truly believe that no-one cares, know you were created for a purpose and ending your life in noway serves that purpose.
Here is the number for the suicide hotline. They have a chat option too in case you can’t call privately or can bring yourself to talk about it. Just google suicide hotline or call…
St. Pius X Parish Festival – Celebrating 60 Years of Service!
Don’t miss out! October 8, 2017. 11Am – 6pm. This will be a great event. BBQ dinner tickets go on sale this weekend after all the masses. Only 700 printed and remember last year we sold out! This is 60 years of service, and the St. Piux X festival gets bigger each year.
Rides for the kids. Amazing live and silent auction items. Games that all can enjoy including BINGO! Sit and enjoy the live music, eat, drink and be merry!
The raffle this year has 10 prizes and is only $5.00. Look at what you can win.
Join us for a great day and a chance to win thousands of dollars or a Diamond Necklace or 65″ Samsung Smart TV.
Call parish at 210.824.0139 for more info or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot of the press if you are reading this in August. Here are the details of St. Pius X and friends pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Some questions answered:
Who is eligible? Anyone with $2900 that wants to go on pilgrimage to Holy Land.
Do we have to fly out of from Houston? Yes, seats are booked, but if you live in other part of country all you need to do is get a ticket to either San Antonio and take bus, or Houston in time to meet us before flight.
Do I have to be Catholic? No. It is, however, a Catholic pilgrimage with Mass every day and focused on the Christian sites. There is not requirement of anyone to attend Mass, but there will be no transportation to other places.
Is it safe? I purposely picked a tour company that specializes in the Holy Land. The company owner is from there and his brother still lives there. They have sent thousands of people there and they have all returned safely. That is there livelihood. We are actually paying a little more to reduce our travel and avoid delays, which again increases our safety. Please come to meetings and meet Moses and he can discuss this further. (yes his name really is Moses)
Our next Pilgrimage is the Holy Land. We will be leav
ing St. Pius X at 10:30AM on Sunday March 11!
A bus will take all but me to Houston, where I will meet you after the 10:15 mass. We will check in and be met by local tour representative and check in for our Lufthansa Flight to Frankfurt, Germany. T
hose that went to Ireland, we have gone from probably the smallest transatlantic plane to the largest. Looks like we will be on at A380, which is a full two story plane. Looks like it will be 3 seats on outside of aisles and 4 in the middle. (Unless you upgrade to the top floor!) We will then board another Lufthansa Flight to Tel Aviv on what looks like an Airbus A 321, 3 seats either side of the aisle. I am assuming we will have similar planes on the way home. We get a bonus night in Frankfurt on the way home and we can get a great German dinner to prepare us for re-entry.
Do you have to be a St. Pius X, Parishioner? NO
Do you have to be Catholic? No, all are welcome! FYI, We will celebrate mass most days.
What is itinerary? We are going at a busy time, he is working on it.
What if I want more info? There will be an info night next month, watch for dates. We may stream it live on Facebook.
How much will tipping by? Included
How much will food be? I don’t know, depends on how much you eat, but breakfast and dinner are included and will be more buffet style to facilitate quicker meals most nights.
We have set aside 44 seats. I have taken one of them. This will be like last time, first come with $300 to hold, first saved.
Price should be around $3000 each and 4 hotels including one in Germany.
If you are interested and want to be adding to mailing list please watch for more info! Once I have details they will be posted here like last time!
With family and friends to help celebrate, including three US Air Force Chaplains that had been with me through formation, my Bishop ordained a priest. Things were amazing. I felt like the luckiest person in the world.
Then things changed. I found myself on the outside with a bishop that believed my education was all wrong. We were to become warriors, to bring the light of TRUTH into the next millennium. We had to judge people sinners, tell them what they were doing was wrong and that the difficulties in their life were their Calvary and to basically offer it up. There didn’t seem to be any compassion in this and the idea of the individual conscience as the primary agent in a moral decision was gone.
I didn’t see a way that my vision of priesthood and my bishops could ever come together. Disillusioned, I saw no way back. I had a good life, I did some amazing things, but there were periods of huge darkness where I was very angry. Last Sunday’s Gospel was that the yoke is easy and burden is light. I would get angry at words like that. It wasn’t easy and the burden wasn’t light.
God always works, even through our mistakes…
Through out our salvation history, God comes to us in threes. I had 3 priests that were with me through all of this. One I met in high school, he was the first I talked to about being a priest and he is now a retired bishop. Another was chaplain when my parents were in Omaha while I was in College, and the last I met while in the Theology; he supervised me as a chaplain candidate and also my parent’s priest in New Jersey. The were all with me and sort of took me as I was. Most of my friends in my diocese dropped me and that was partly probably my attitude, but it still hurt.