Monday, February 6, 2017

Salt Shaker

A salt shaker is a device used to spread salt over an object or surface. Most people are familiar with the household table salt shaker - used when cooking or at the dinner table to add small grains of table salt to the food they are cooking or eating. These come is all sizes and shapes - glass with silver and gold tops - ceramic in the shape of animals - figurines - inexpensive cardboard cylinders - for travel and picnics - to name a few. No matter what they are made of - how they are shaped - they accomplish the same goal - to spread salt. Salt - as a condiment - adds taste - zing - to food.  In much larger devices - salt is spread on city streets and roads to improved traction for vehicles in winter - icy - road conditions. There are many forms of salt - sodium chloride - the most familiar - as table salt - used with food. Many other chemicals exist as salts - solid forms - easier to work with versus the liquid form. In so many ways - salts - important to all lives - in daily living.

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus says - "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can be seasoned?" What He was saying - if you lose faith - if you fail to shine like a candle lit in the night - if your life goes flat - empty - how can you be an effective disciple? All of us go through periods in our lives when things do not go the way we would like - loss of employment - loss of heath - misunderstanding between family - friends - loss of faith. It is bound to happen - inevitable. Knowing this - we are called to stand firm - yes be disappointed - but never give up - never lose faith - constantly trust in the Author of Life - because after - exists - the future - when all is made new. Even at the lowest points of our lives - we must remain faithful to Jesus' promises - even when we fail to see them - trusting that God is constantly there - helping - guiding. Only by remaining steadfast may we continue to be salty - to add flavor to the lives of others - as we are called to do. We are the human containers of God's salt - we need to keep moving forward - even when we don't feel like it - to spread His salt every where we go.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blessed Are They

There are a lot of different ideas today - what is a blessing - what is not. One person will speak of wealth as a blessing - another of his popularity - yet another - his position in society - sitting as the chairperson of a large corporation. Some will claim blessings in a team win - a good golf score - an awesome dance performance. Still others - their appearance - good looks - beautiful hair - clear complexion. In reality - everyone - the recipient of a multitude of blessings.  Blessing may be worldly - down to earth - commonplace - spiritual - other worldly - divine. 

For God so loved the world - not as an object - spinning throughout the cosmos - rather -those who populated this planet - the men - women- children - that He gave His only Son to the world. He came in an extraordinary way to ordinary people - like you and I - to people of ordinary means - with ordinary lives - blessed by God in very extraordinary way. God's blessings - flow freely - like rain from the sky - upon all - who believe in Him - in all - who call Him Father - to all - who accept His Son - as the Christ. To each - blessed are they - who believe - not only in Him - the Author of Life - but in His promises. Your blessings whether worldly - spiritual - divine - a gift from the One who loves you.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Going With The Flow

Going with the flow - according to the Cambridge Dictionary - to do what other people are doing - to agree with the opinions of others - only because it is - the easiest - takes less energy - do not have to think for yourself. There are occasions when following the group makes sense - going to the movies together - gathering at the same restaurant for dinner - worshiping at the same church - temple - makes complete sense - for group functions. Thinking for yourself - doing something different - not blindly following others decisions - a better way - when individuality makes more sense - selecting a long distance road bike - purchasing a set of golf clubs - attending a different college - university - studying different topics - voting in an election.  There are many times - reasons - to be an individual - to go against the flow - to swim upstream - go against common wisdom. If everybody did exactly the same thing - thought the same thoughts - ate the same food - cooked the same way - wore  the same clothes - drove the same vehicle - we would be robots - moving and acting - like machines. Those who dare go against the flow - the thinkers - doers - explorers - inventors - creators - making life more interesting - valuable. A priest I heard today exclaimed that we all need to go against the flow - as Christians live lives counter cultural - acting - thinking for ourselves.  The only ones allowed to go with the flow - dead fish.

In a way it's a funny analogy - being Catholic - known fish eaters - to be warned not to be dead fish - to swim upstream - to  live lives more fully - complete. God placed mankind on this Earth for a reason - your reason different than mine - common goals - equality - peace - acceptance - tolerance - safety - nurtured - fed - the good things of life.  There are those who would attempt to take this away from us - naysayers - bigots - motivated by chaos - evil - self. Today to be an honest Christian one must - swim on their own - do it their way - the way led by the true leader - Jesus the Christ. He calls each of us - to be alive with our faith - to share with all - the One God of all.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Winners and Losers

In every competition - there will be a winner and a loser - the entire purpose of the competition - otherwise an exercise of futility. If no winner or loser was anticipated - why hold the competition?  Everyone expects to win - no one to lose - reality check - one will succeed - one will not. The saying - better to run the race and lose - than not to have run at all - gives no solace to the loser. Unhappy - disappointed - angry - hurt - justified emotions - to be expected. Gloating - boasting - overly boisterous - unbecoming any winner. The true test in any competition - how those who participated - handled - success - loss. It is only after the contest had ended - true winners are revealed.

Luckily for us - we are all winners - in the contest of life - when choosing Jesus as your running mate. There will be falls - bumps - along the course of life. In the end - all win - not necessarily to the same degree - not gathering up the same accolades - each in their own individual way - a winner.  When you come to the end of your race - you are a winner - as long as Jesus is with you. Run the race alone - without God - you end up alone - run the race with Jesus - never a lonely moment. We all run the race of life - who you choose to run with - your choice.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 13, 2017

You Can't Follow Jesus

As Pope Francis recently preached - you can't follow Jesus - if you are standing still. This is true in every sense - unless you are willing to - move - mind - heart - feet - you cannot follow anything. Great ideas come and go - all the time - making a decision to act - another issue. How often have we come upon a new concept - idea - suggestion - we think we would like to try - engage in - only to fail so poorly - because we never started. When we discover these pearls - we have to move beyond discovery - explore - investigate - make the decision - engage. New job opportunity - better hours - more pay - potential future advancement - laying at our fingertips - fail - never move - made a commitment. All of us - guilty - failing to take that first step.

Jesus knows us so well - never angry - often disappointed - because we did not act. So often He lays opportunities at our feet - opens doors - removes obstacles - levels the rough road - clears the path - only to have us - do nothing. Time and again - He repeats His efforts. Time and again - we stall - stuck in the same time and space. Thankfully He is much more patient than we are ourselves. His offers - always there - waiting for us - to act. Every day is a new opportunity - another chance to follow Him - into a new - deeper relationship. Every day He invites us to follow Him - to move from loneliness - pain - suffering - despair - to a new life in Him - to wholeness - comfort - joy - hope. Jesus' footprints do not have to be the only ones in the sand - yours can be there alongside Him - following Him to a better place. Take the first step - the rest will be easy.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Passing The Torch

Passing the torch - a metaphoric expression - alludes to an ancient Greek race in which a burning torch was passed from one runner to another - viewed at opening ceremonies for the Olympic games. Today - a change of duty - passing on responsibilities from one individual to another - receiving a promotion at work - retirement - leaving someone else in charge. A rite of passage - for some - leaving one set of duties behind to accept new obligations. In a few days this ritual will be observed as our current President leaves office and the new President-elect takes over. In the process the winds of change will fan the flames of that particular torch - how it will affect the United States - yet to be seen - too many self proclaimed prophets - confusing this ritual. This particular ritual - occurring every four or eight years - always generates a lot of interest - quite often an unwarranted amount of misdirection - a game played in particular by politicians.
When Jesus said He had a fire to ignite on the Earth - He did not mean He would be passing any torches. Rather His fire - the flame of His love - for each of us. He wanted people to come alive for God - to share their faith - to deepen their relationship with Him and His Father. He wanted people to make a firm commitment to accept Him as Lord of their lives - to follow God's commandments - to love one another - as God loves them. Once committed to Jesus and His Father the light of  that relationship would be visible to all - the flame of God's love would shine throughout their very souls. Jesus calls each of us - today - to accept His love freely and completely - to let it fill our hearts with warmth - light - to grow in us - that we may - pass the torch - to all we meet.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sunshine Superman

You have to be older - to even know what Sunshine Superman - was. In the mid 1960's - July 1966 - a number one hit on the American music charts - sung by Donovan - a Scottish singer-songwriter. Basically a love song - trying to convince the focus of his attention on his qualities - "Superman and Green Lantern ain't got nothing on me" - a classic line in the song. Love songs such as this are what made music of the 60's so great. Walking down memory lane - a fun journey - with the right people. Most younger adults have no idea what they missed - not living then. Life was simpler - still complicated - education - jobs - family - drugs - sexual revolution - the draft - Vietnam - marriage - religion. Back then - through everything - most people still had faith - attended church - professed belief in God. Today - much the same - except the latter point. Church no longer relevant - an idea whose time has come and gone - now it is all about self - personalized - lonely - disbelief.

Through the ages God has always been there - for all of us - even when we fail to acknowledge Him. Throughout the ages - His people either pay attention to Him or ignore Him - the Gift of Free Will. God will not - does not - force our attention on Him. When the time is right - everyone eventually makes a conscious decision to acknowledge the Author of Life. As we strive to honor New Years Resolutions - failing time and again - another promise fallen by the wayside - God waits - patiently - Jesus standing next to you - holding Your heart in His hands - with Love.

Deacon Dale

Sunday, January 8, 2017

An Epiphany

So this Sunday we celebrated the Epiphany - the revelation of Christ to the Magi - in modern days - to those who know nothing about Jesus. My personal epiphany - I missed saying Happy New Years to all my readers. Sorry - not justified - been very busy since the end of the year traveling from the cold Illinois winter wonderland to warm sunny Arizona. Most moves not always to plan - of course - neither were ours.  However - in just 10 days - we are here - and have accomplished quite a bit.  Now back to blogging - praying more intently - seeking God's will for us while we are here. You know that being avid Cubs fans - our first priority - securing some tickets to the Cubs spring training games.  That accomplished - we are set for four games - we turn our attention to other less important projects. The yard here all spruced up - yes even gravel needs some care - small projects around the house almost all done.  The bigger issue - my leg and difficulty walking - hiking - biking.  It has been a very slow process - not happy with the outcome so far - but in His time - not mine.  I am now on my seventh doctor and third round of physical therapy.  If the exercises don't kill me - I think I will get a handle on what is happening with my body - and they call these the Golden Years.

You know the saying - into every life a little rain must fall - and fall it has.  With Jesus holding an umbrella over my head - it is tolerable - one day the rain will stop.  For most of us - we know what that is like - things go pretty well - then a bump in the road - a diversion - a hiccup in our plans.  Being faithful to God - being faithful to yourself - goes a very long way. As long as we have life in our bodies - as long as we have air in our lungs - the battle with life continues. All we need is a positive attitude - trust in God - willingness to hang in there - no matter how long it takes.  With God - all things are possible.  May each of you have a Blessed and Healthy New Year.  May 2017 - be your year!

Deacon Dale 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Countdown To Christmas

The Fourth Sunday of Advent - the last week of prayerful preparation - waiting for Christmas - the second coming of Christ. For three weeks we have prayed - reflected - spent time assessing our lives - what we have done - should be doing. Now in this final week we bring this time of preparation to completion - hoping that what we have done will be enough - for now - to be welcomed into the heart of Jesus - into His Father's heavenly kingdom. In a few short days all our preparation efforts - for ourselves - for the Christmas Season - will be brought to completion. 

Jesus calls us to Himself -  to become incorporated into His heart - to be wrapped in the blanket of comfort and joy - prepared for us - since the beginning of time - by God. Many find it difficult to believe that this gift is offered to each of us - for free - no strings attached. Those who do believe - have faith - faith in God - faith in Jesus. In this last week of Advent - look deep inside - discover the faith in you.  It's there.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

In The Pink

The Third Sunday of Advent - at this point we are - in the pink - literally. Pink - more specifically - rose - is the color assigned to the Third Sunday of Advent. In our parish we do not have rose colored vestments - instead we wear purple. We were given a vestment a few years back - not rose - definitely pink - not a favorite of most priests. Purple is acceptable - thus that is what our priest and deacons wear. Why the rose color in the middle of Advent - you ask.  The focus in Advent is hope - hoping that we are not as bad as we think we are - hoping that we will be accepted into the Kingdom of God - when our days have ended - hoping that through serious reflection and prayer - we may become the people God intended us to be. Four weeks reflecting on your life -  straight through - is taxing on many people - in its wisdom Mother Church tells us to lighten up a bit - switch from purple to rose - reflect on the joy of the season quickly approaching. Focus on the joy one will experience at the end of Advent when we have made ourselves into better people - focusing more on others and less on ourselves. Saint Paul reminds us - rejoice in the Lord always - in all ways - today we heed that advice.

When God created the Earth and all the creatures and plants and humans - he knew - because of His gift of Free Will - that we would go astray - from time to time. Stretching our wings - so to speak - to try things on our own - even when we know better. He knew when in times of stress and trouble - we would try - to do it ourselves - relying on our skills and knowledge - forgetting to invite Him into our lives - to help and bless us.  Whether it is misdirected or just uninformed intentions - we offend God - we become gods - failing in our efforts. The good news - He knew - He understands - He forgives. On one hand He must be proud of us - His children that we wish to take the initiative to be better - yet - at the same time - disappointed that we don't realize that He - is there at our side - constantly - waiting for us to ask Him into our lives - to make things better.  Quietly - like a sentry - armed with everything that we need - He waits.  If you are seeking joy in your life - turn to God - turn to Jesus - invite Him to be a part of your life.  He waits - for all.

Deacon Dale