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Reflections

January 26, 2014 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Only a month out from Christmas, and already the slow turn of the earth toward the sun has yielded more daylight. Commuters can now feel less like moles in a tunnel when they dash to catch the outbound 5:10 train. Children can stay out a little longer before the supper call. Older folks are less intimidated driving. The march to spring can now begin in earnest.

All of these thoughts and others crammed my mind as I observed the ordered steadiness of nature and caught in conversations the yearnings of people tired by now of long nights. We should recall that darkness, like most realities in life, has two sides. True, darkness is an enabler of crime and sinister behavior by us creatures with free will. But it is also the necessary backdrop of the stars. It hides the color of flowers for a time, but it reveals the glow of candles.

January 19, 2014 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Two elderly gentlemen from a retirement community were sitting on a bench when Jim turned to Slim and said: “Slim, I’m 83 years old and I’m just full of aches and pains. I know you’re about my age. How do you feel?” Slim answered, “Well, I feel just like a newborn baby.” “Really? Like a newborn baby?” “Yep. No hair, no teeth and I think I just wet my pants.”

What you see in Slim’s answer is the elusive virtue of humility. For our purposes, we should note how the saints of the Catholic calendar (and those not on the calendar) reflect this virtue as a chief facet of their makeup. Certainly John the Baptist is one of them.

January 12, 2014 – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Double talk is a form of speech in which inappropriate, invented or nonsense words are used to give the appearance of knowledge to the amusement of an audience. Comedians like Danny Kay, Jackie Gleason and now Kevin King use it extensively. One such is Irwin Corey, still alive and well after years perfecting his act. Here is a sample of Corey, in a speech given after he accepted a writing award:

“This award is an edifice of the great glory that has gone beyond, and the intuitive feeling of the American people, based on the assumption that the intelligence not only as H.L. Menchen once said, “He who underestimates the American public will not go broke.” This is merely a small indication of this vast throng gathered here to once again behold and to perceive that which has gone behind and to that which must go forward into the future.” Now if you can make sense of that, you are a better man than me! But if you think it sounds learned despite the nonsense, you have caught the comedy.

January 5th, 2014 – Epiphany of our Lord

Over many years of pastoring parishes, I yielded to the wishes of both priests and decorators who wanted accuracy in the display of the Christmas crib. Since they came to Christ later than Christmas Day, that meant that their statues could not be displayed at the scene until the Epiphany. Sometimes the three statues slowly “crept” closer to the stable over the proverbial twelve days. They followed the lines of the altar rail (where one still existed!)

At other times, the three men and their camels were left dangerously exposed to toddlers way back in the vestibule until they magically made it up the aisle to be at the crib in time for the Epiphany.