Monday, March 19, 2018

Standing Ovation

Everyone who performs - stage - television - sports - in front of an audience - loves it when they receive a standing ovation - acknowledgement of an outstanding - awesome - performance. When anyone puts in great effort - invests time and energy into any project - being recognized by others - an affirmation of ones abilities - talent - worth as a person.  We freely shower those in the limelight with our applause - admiration.

When Jesus spoke before crowds of people - always recognized - not always appreciated - no standing ovations - often the opposite.  Frequently - when speaking the truth - not popular with the crowds.  Nobody enjoys being reminded that they have climbed to a lower level - sunk into the mud and mire of lowliness. Jesus never intended to make people feel bad - rather He wanted them to see that despite themselves - the bad they had done or allowed done - their future still looked positive if they would only see their own potential possible if they listened to God - followed His commands.  This Lent God ask us to reevaluate ourselves - to see in ourselves - what He sees in us.  We are all a possibility - a promise of what can be - our goodness there - waiting to be exposed to  the world - the promise of holiness - rejoicing in His standing ovation.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rise and Shine

Three words that many hate to hear - especially in the morning - rise and shine. Many people value that extra five or ten minutes in their bed - delaying their eventual entrance into the world around them.  Adults and youth alike - love that extra time in a comfy bed - dreading - work - school - daily obligations. For many - hard to fall asleep - stay asleep - once in their happy place - too comfortable to face the upcoming days events - fearing what lies ahead of  them.  When considering work - school - difficult tasks - thoughts most often linger on more pleasurable things - fun - food - pleasing conversations.  
In today's Gospel - Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead - bringing him back from the nether world - to life and all that it held for him.  For his sisters - joy - for His disciples - confusion - for Lazarus himself - resurrection - another day - another chance to get it right.  For the Elect - those contemplating their baptism at the Easter Vigil - new life in Christ. For all of us - continued Hope in the promises of Jesus. Today we begin to seriously pray for those about to join the Church - they in turn pray for us - that we continue to hold to our beliefs - to support them in their journey to New Life in Christ.  This Fifth Sunday of Lent calls us to be alert - to stay the course towards Palm Sunday next week and the start of Holy Week - wakey wakey - rise and shine - now is the time for all.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Green Beer and Little Men

Today all the world is Irish - celebrating Saint Patrick's Day - the myths - the truths - surrounding this holiday.  A day filled with Holy services - public gatherings - green beer - food and festivities - leprechauns.  There is nothing better than people gathering together - celebrating wonders of life. Irish dancers - corned beef and cabbage - shamrocks - celebrating Ireland's most famous saint - celebrating joy - happiness - in the midst of Lent.  I am only part Irish - but enough that this is one ethnic holiday that I happily claim. Anything that brings people together in the name of celebration is worthy of my - your - participation.

Saint Patrick's Day does not always fall on a Friday during Lent - a quandary for Catholics who normally abstain from meat on Fridays. This year very unusual that both Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine's Day - Saint Patrick's Day - a Friday - two special days of the year when most people celebrate with fine dining - very often meat dishes.  Bishops do have the authority to dispense their faithful from the obligation of abstaining from meat on these days - some do - some don't.  Truth be told - one does not have to eat meat - to celebrate well.  Celebrations take many different forms across the world - all celebrations worth noting - for God so loved  the world that He sent His Son - to remind us how much He loves us - how much He cares for us.  With that thought in mind - nothing can diminish our joy on this or any other day in our life.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 16, 2018


I often ask myself what happened to the idea many years ago when the United States was going to give up their measurement system and go metric and fall in line with the majority of the world. Using a number system based on 10s seemed very practical.  I did not think about that until 2012 when my wife and I decided to walk the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain.  Being based in Spain - a country where they use  the metric system caused me never ending concerns when trying to figure out how far to walk - where our final destination would be for  the day - the distance between two points.  I am so use to estimating a half mile or one mile - but try to do the same in kilometers or meters and I become very frustrated.  Even now when I bike I try to follow the metric system - with real difficulty.  I do know that 10 miles is equal to 16 kilometers - but to envision a goal one kilometer away - my eyes just can't do it.  Had we converted to the metric system back when I was in junior high school - it would obviously be second nature by now. 

Many conversions are very difficult for most Americans.  Converting miles - pounds - temperature - the three most common.  The easiest conversion I know - is that of Faith.  Coming to believe in God - His Son - Jesus - the Holy Spirit - a much easier task.  There are no numbers involved - no equation to memorize.  When one meets Jesus - his heart is touched by the hand of God - it becomes a new creation - soft - loving - accepting.  When a person experiences the Love of God - the Forgiveness - things happen - often quickly.  In seconds - hearts - minds are converted.  This Lent - God calls you to a conversion - to become a new person - to start freshly - to re imagine your life.  He waits patiently for you no numbers needed.

Deacon Dale  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Claim The Crown

Recently we viewed the television series The Crown on Netflix.  The series is about Queen Elizabeth II and her early years as Queen of England.  It is interesting that watching  this series one learns that being a member of the Royal Family is not exactly what many members want.  It fairly accurately reveals the struggles that family members face - the loss of privacy - rules - protocols forced upon them - all in the name of protecting - The Crown. It is easy to see that what is important is not the person who wears The Crown - rather the entire concept of what The Crown represents. The Crown is much more than an ornamental piece of metal worn upon the head - it is the symbol upon which England proclaims - maintains - its status among other countries.  The Crown is - authority - power - strength - wisdom - always keeping the Royal Family as a proper role model for the peoples.

When Jesus went through His trials - temptations - final judgement - hung on a cross - He was given a Crown - of Thorns.  This Crown - not regal in any manner - placed upon His head - mockery of His lack of power - authority - an embarrassment to His followers.  He accepted this Crown - for you - me - the world.  He took upon Himself our sins - our faults - our short comings - that you and I would not have to.  Many would love to be a member of the Royal Family - to wear a Crown. In this Lent - ask yourself which Royal Family you would belong to - the Royals of England - The Royal Family of God - which crown you would wear and why?

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Final Destination

When people travel - their focus primarily on their final destination - time of arrival - who or what is there.  Plans are made to accommodate - meetings - family - events.  Looking forward to whatever it is that draws them to their destination - what they wish to accomplish - who they want to meet - things they wish to do.  Side trips during free time - viewing - visiting local attractions - dining at special places - experiencing local cuisine - speaking with people from that area - to gain additional insights of the region.  Many miss the real experience - focusing only on the departure and arrival - missing everything in the middle. The saying - getting there - half  the fun.  Every trip has a beginning and end - but what happens between those to points?  When flying - usually restricted to the flight and time on the airplane - on connecting flights - where is the connection - is there time to investigate that location - experience more?  When driving - walking - lots of opportunities to stop - take a break - visit attractions along the way - fill your travel experience with so much more. Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain - 500 miles from start to finish - never a straight line - thousands of opportunities to stray from the path - making the journey even more than just a long hike.

Life is a journey - all start in the cradle - end in a grave - the journey itself so different for everyone.  As we journey through Lent our focus - on our life - where we have been - where we are going - focusing on Jesus - His birth - life - death - resurrection - what it meant to Him - what it means to us.  This Lent - walk on pilgrim - enjoy the journey.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Flight Time

Whenever I have to take a flight somewhere - one of most important things is the flight time - time of departure - time of arrival - length of flight. If it is not a non-stop flight - then the connecting time between flights - also important.  To me and many others time is very important.  I do not want to wake up at 4:30 AM in the morning to be able to board a flight that leaves at 6:30 AM - nor do I want to arrive at my destination in the middle of rush hour - too late to find a hotel - having to drive an hour or more at mid-night.  When flying with a connecting flight - time between flights has to be a minimum of one hour.  First flight risk of being late and leaving a small amount of time to exit one gate and get to the second gate - in a crowded airport - the two gates at opposite ends of the terminal.  As is said often - timing is everything. 

God is eternal - outside of time.  With God one day is as a thousand and one thousand as one day  (2 Peter 3:8 and again Psalm 90:4).  God is not bound by the limits of time since He is the one who created time - the author of the system which we use to mark days - weeks - months. He calls each of us and waits - no time limit - giving us all the time we need to move closer to Him.  In Lent we take 40 days - 30 days - 10 days - maybe less - to reflect on our lives - our relationship to Him - with His Son - Jesus.  Take all the time you need - He can afford it - but - can you?

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Playing Dominoes

We were introduced to the game of Dominoes a few years ago and one thing we have learned - one game where the rules seem to evolve as you play.  With one group of friends - their rules - with another group - different rules.  Recently we gathered with four family members and as we advanced through each round - the rules kept becoming more and more complex. In an effort to explain one rule - we developed a new additional - revised rule. During the course of thirteen rounds - rules modified at least six times. To say that it became very interesting - an understatement. 
When God created the World - when He revealed Himself to His people - simple rules - 
I will be your God - you my people - do as I say.  Jesus clarified those rules - after they had become more complex with so many do's and don't do's - Love the Lord your God with all your heart - mind - soul - and your neighbor as yourself. What should be so easy - simple - we have made complicated. This Lent uncomplicate your life - get back to the basics - do as God - Jesus - said.  Your Lent will be much more meaningful.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Laetare Sunday

Today is Laetare Sunday - the Sunday when clergy wear pink/rose colored vestments at Holy Mass.  We are now at the halfway point in Lent - half way done - half way to the finish line - a joyful marker in the season of Lent - half way to fulfilling our Lenten exercises. Many at this point - still waiting to begin their Lenten preparation.  No matter what one thinks - always better to have a glass half full than one that is completely empty. Even at this point in time - still plenty of time to have a meaningful Lent.  One only has to start - quit with the excuses - just start now. 

The Church provides this Season in the liturgical year to pause - reflect - examine - our lives - where we have been - where we currently are - where we are heading.   Jesus - always ready - when you are - waiting patiently for you to start - not to chastise - belittle -  offer a hand up - to help you get moving.  Simple prayer - Jesus I trust in you - if He can heal the man born blind - he surely can heal the blindness of your heart - today..

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Optical Illusions

We have all been fooled by optical illusions - images that look one way until you blink - then reverse - different image appears. Most common those in print format - in books - magazines - web pages - less common - those that appear in nature.  Driving on a dark highway at night when the space under an overpass appears to be a truck trailer turned sideways - in the middle of a very hot day - when it looks like water on the road - heat waves instead.  Sometimes people create their own optical illusion - acting like one person - hiding their real personality - the proverbial - sheep in wolf's clothing.  Those who intend on deceiving  - passing themselves off as honest persons.

When one comes to the Lord - God does not look at the face - external features - those are important facets of our lives - only one facet.  Instead - God looks at our hearts - what is inside - the true person that we are. In Lent we are asked to look at the world around us - not with our normal eyes - rather the eyes of our heart - to look beyond the obvious - to see the possibilities that each of us are - to see in us what God sees.

Deacon Dale