Sunday, April 16, 2017

He Is Risen!

Those three words - how can anyone follow that up? What more is there to say. Jesus Christ is risen Today! Alleluia!

Happy Easter

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Now What?

Holy Saturday - time of waiting - Jesus crucified 3:00PM Good Friday - in the pit - a quiet day - day for reflection - waiting - what is to come. For the majority of people - routine Saturday activities - shopping - cleaning the house - preparing for Easter Sunday - a busy day. For a few - prayer - preparation rites - RCIA - the elect - the final scrutiny - waiting to be baptized - confirmed - Holy Eucharist - for the first time - tonight at the Vigil. In between - quiet. Those involved with those in the RCIA - prayer - reflection - looking forward to the Vigil. No Mass yesterday on Good Friday - no Mass Holy Saturday - until after sundown - the Vigil - in the dark - waiting for - New Light - the Candle Service - Blessing of water in the font - lots of readings - music - inspiring homily - Baptism - Confirmation - Eucharist. All happening tonight - in the new day - the anticipation of Resurrection - Easter. 

In the time of Christ - nightfall signaled that time between one day and the next - in the darkness - time ceased to exist - a void - emptiness - sleeping - with the hope of another day of light - resurrection - new life. Today Jesus lies in the Tomb - like us - waiting. Waiting - like us - to see what great things God has planned for each of us. Today - Holy Saturday - we wonder - in Faith - now what?

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Holier Than Thou

So I was cruising the net - looking for some input for today's blog and came across an article and a blog that was highly critical of Holy Mass being celebrated in maybe Portugal - maybe Italy. Not sure - as I am not familiar with what was being sung - I didn't recognize the language. If a person with reasonable intellect would stop and look at the video you could see that #1) it was a large celebration #2) definitely foreign #3) crowded church  complete with full staff of musicians #4) lot of servers along with numerous priests. I can not believe the holier-than-thou criticisms. It appears that all those holier-than-thou critics thought they were witnessing Adoration. To almost anyone who knows a few things about Catholic liturgy - easily recognize that it was the end of Holy Mass - Adoration to follow - the celebrant carefully placing the large host which was just consecrated at Mass into the Monstrance - as with the end of any good liturgy - a dismissal song - complete with youth clapping and finger gestures - perhaps signing for hearing impaired. From my viewpoint - a happy celebration of God - very Christ focused. The complaints - musicians with back to altar -  unfortunately with limitations of space - forces musicians to be able to see each other - to perform well - beautiful music honoring God - not first choice - but in Rome. Other complaints - the signing - referred to - as looks like  the chicken dance - maybe those critics needed to learn signing and the local language - the last complaint - two Monstrances being prepared - one to remain on the Altar - the second - presumably for the priest to carry to another location - perhaps to disabled people in the back of the church or perhaps to an overflow crowd in an annex. My thoughts - who are these self righteous people - including some priests - that even judge a video based on a few minutes of run time. I would be the worlds greatest fool if I dared to comment on such small data. As I saw it - what was available - very mediocre video - a celebration - honoring our God - Jesus His Son.

Today Good Friday - the day commemorating when those who thought they knew God - people who were  holier-than-thou  crucified Jesus. He did nothing to deserve it - proclaimed Love - Forgiveness - Acceptance - Tolerance. Here we are some two thousand years later - still burdened with - small minds - self righteous - holier-than-thou people. Many stuck in the past - highly critical of The Church - the language used - which Missal - where to place  the altar - what songs appropriate. Jesus did not die for this - did not die - because of the color of your hymnal - did not die - for what music is selected - did not die - for how many handicapped parking spaces you have. He did not die for any of this. He died because you - I - are sinners. He died because we judge - we criticize - we refuse to help - the untouchable - the outcasts. This Friday when you attend services - when you look at Him on the Cross - remember that it was you and I who put Him there - and still do. Today just might be a Good Friday - if we repent - ask for forgiveness - change  the way we think. Today might be a Good Friday - if we commit ourselves one hundred percent to God.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Three Peat

Three-peat is a term used primarily in American sports to refer to winning three consecutive championships. In a similar vein a hat-trick is when a player - usually in hockey or football - scores three goals in a single game - not necessarily consecutively. According to NBC Sports the term hat trick invented back on January 26, 1946 when Alex Kaleta of the Chicago Blackhawks - needing a new hat - unable to afford one - struck a deal with Sammy Taft - a Toronto haberdasher - for a free hat if he scored three times in one game. Kaleta went on to score four goals - thus the hat-trick was born. Today - in hockey - spectators throw their hats onto the rink when a hat trick accomplished. The hats - given to charities - the player - or put on display.  Today begins - The Triduum - the three-peat of the three holiest days of the Christian year. Today Holy Thursday - tomorrow - Good Friday - Saturday - Holy Saturday - the Easter Vigil - the mother of all vigils.

In these three holy days - the Church - gives us time to seriously reflect on the Gospel message of Jesus - God's Love - Forgiveness - offer of New Life. Tonight's Holy Thursday Mass celebrates the institution of the Priesthood - Eucharist - Ministry to others. Flowing out of Jesus' declaration that His disciples would do as His did - serving others - the creation of the diaconate - ministry to  the home bound - feeding the hungry - clothing the naked - caring for widows and orphans - preaching  the Good News to all who would listen. As ordained clergy - our duty to do as listed above - no more - no less - the rest in God's hand. All of us - ordained or not - called to do the same. Today begins our call to ministry.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Can't Complain

How many times have you asked somebody how things are going and they respond - can't complain. Does that mean life is going well - all is good - or perhaps - cannot complain - nobody will listen - life is rough - who wants to listen to anyone complaining. Complaining is an unconscious incompetency - something that is done without thinking - creating an air - lack - of positive energy. My oldest son speaks frequently about - individual strength - taking responsibility for self - warrior self. My youngest son - also sees complaining as a waste of good energy - directed wastefully - accomplishing nothing. My wife and I have been discussing this lately - bottom line - I am a complainer - not to the public as such - rather to family - close friends. Although I have been in denial - I have to admit that they are correct - I need to change. Everyone complains - I have been doing it to excess - unhappy with my leg issue for which I have been seeking answers - for the past fifteen months. In public I hide my discomfort - privately - with family - in particular with my wife - I complain. I complain that I am on my seventh doctor - at the end of the month I will have completed seven months of physical therapy - having received only minor relief. My real complaint - that this might become a permanent disability of which I want no part. I have been active all my life and not being able to walk comfortably - my complaint. Time to change because - I can walk - although slowly. Other than my issue with walking I am fairly healthy - for my age. I have blessings poured upon me daily that I fail to acknowledge - that I need to admit are there. Turning the corner - moving from the grouchy old man - to a pleasant older fellow - in the works as I write.

God created us to live in His world - trusting in Him - no matter what our condition. He created us to be whole - not all are whole. He created us to be happy - not all are happy. He expects us to live as His people - reflecting everything that Jesus taught - accepting downturns - setbacks - without complaining - to be people of Faith.  As we wind up our Lenten exercises and begin the Triduum - the three holiest days of the Christian year - we need to enter into those days with new hearts - new hope - changed people - not healed completely - not complaining. I know I will - not complete - but on the right path - walking alongside the other wounded - hurting people - praising God for all He has done for all of us.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Covering The Bases

Now that baseball has officially started the 2017 season we are watching a lot of games. We had the privilege of watching six spring training games with the Chicago Cubs while in Arizona. It is interesting to watch the plays - the planning that goes into the training - learning just where to throw the ball and when - where to hit the ball - how to place it exactly where you want it to go. Most of the time - executed exactly as planned - often - not - errors - dropped balls - lost games. In this third day of Holy Week - those preparing to join the Church at the Easter Vigil - now going through the plays - what to do - where to be - what to say - everyone a winner - all will complete the play - become full initiated into the Church.

When God set the world in motion - He had all the bases covered - people in the right places - everything planned out. Then things happened - had to deal with - Free Will. In spite of those who chose to ignore Him - He is still in control - covering all the bases for us. He is there - especially as we celebrate Holy Week - to give us special opportunities to touch the Divine - to catch the spiritual blessings - He throws at us. It is up to each of us if we participate fully - give it our best effort - to catch - accept - everything sent our way.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Oil Change

Changing oil is recommended periodically to keep many tools - vehicles- in proper working order. Oil is a lubricant and facilitates the smooth operation of moving parts - protecting them from wearing out - extending their usable life.  In earlier days - athletes would rub oils into their skin - to strengthen - aide them in competition. Many people use oils daily to aide in their health - cod liver oil - olive - canola - corn - peanut - safflower - soybean - sunflower - in cooking - preparing foods. Oils are used in religious services to anoint as in baptism - confirmation - ordination. During Holy Week - in the Catholic Church - the Bishop blesses new - fresh oil - in a special Chrism Mass. These oils to be used throughout the following year - replenishing the supply for all the parishes - around  the world. 

In Holy Week the Church gives us special opportunities to experience the Divine. At the annual Chrism Mass the Bishop not only blesses the three oils to be used while celebrating the sacraments - also celebrates his priests and deacons - together - all renew their promise to serve the Holy People of God - the Church - to the best of their abilities. Attending the annual Chrism Mass - with all its pomp - reminds each of us - how much God loves us - lavishes His love upon all - anointing each of us - with His Love - Blessings - daily.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fingers Hands and Palms

When discussing the anatomy of the extremities - one must obviously include - the fingers - hands - palms. All three are very important parts of the body - used to accomplish a multitude of tasks. Individually they have their own function - combined - still more. The fingers allow us to accomplish tasks such as typing - keyboarding - playing musical instruments - the hands - hold - carry - throw objects - baseballs - stones - rocks - the palm - the cradle of the hand - the pocket - received - carries various objects. When considering the palm with center area - fingers -  thumb - outstretched - looks very similar to a palm leaf - tree. This Sunday - Palm Sunday - the annual celebration in the Christian Church around the world when we commemorate the powerful entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. I have been to Jerusalem - twice - never greeted with palms - the way Jesus was. He - the Christ - the Anointed One - me - a pilgrim - trying to get closer to my faith roots. My internal clock - telling me - maybe - I need to return to the roots of my Christian faith - one more time. Perhaps  that is why we have our very own palm at our Arizona house - a constant reminder of our faith roots - not a crucifix.

Mediterranean Palm at Casa Del Camino

God calls all of us - especially as we begin the holiest week of the Christian year - to go to our faith roots. We are asked to open our hearts - hands - palms - to received from Him the many blessing of this week. As we celebrate the blessing of Chrism by the Bishop - the institution of the Priesthood - Eucharist - Good Friday - the Passion - Holy Saturday - the anticipation - Resurrection - Easter Sunday. There is much to absorb in one short week - a lot to behold - very worthy. We need to walk into this week - eyes wide open - ears listening for His words - hearts - hands encompassing - every blessing sent our way.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Little Things

Everyone gets excited when grand - exciting things happen in their lives. Big surprises - lavish - over the top presents - unexpected windfalls. While those are exhilarating - rare - not frequent enough. In my lifetime I have experienced a few of those moments - the most significant - not what you might think. As I grow older -  reflecting on the joyful moments of my life - more often - the little things. Our youngest son had planned on flying out to Arizona for a short three day visit. He had to work and was not able to take time off while my grandson was on spring break - had to miss a week in Florida with his son and wife - visiting her parents. Luckily - he was able to get a day free which allowed him a long weekend to visit us. As planned - we picked him up at the airport - after putting his luggage in the car - had to dash back to pick up other luggage - our grandson!  In a surprise move - he was able to bring our grandson with him for these three days. This little blessing - an awesome gift that we least expected.

God works in strange and mysterious ways. So many people miss the everyday - little things - God does for them - looking constantly for grand - outrageous blessings. Here in the Sonoran Desert flowers are fairly rare - at certain times of the year. Most people think of the desert as a bunch of rocks - sand - lizards. When you take the time - in the right season - the otherwise boring green saguaro cacti - among others - produces a beautiful flower on its head. Even more interesting is when you see a bird sitting atop this cactus loaded with very sharp needles. You would never touch a saguaro - yet - a bird - sits comfortably on top. It is these little things - to be appreciated - contemplated. Why did God make this possible - what is the reason - who will benefit from such beauty - tucked away in a desert. Like a surprise visit from a grandson - God is full of surprises. If this surprises you - time to get to know God better.

Deacon Dale  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Grand Son

If a person is blessed with a son who is polite and considerate of others - might refer to him as a good son - nice person. Every parent hopes that their sons - daughters - will grow into fine young mature adults. The bonus when those sons - daughters - become parents themselves - bless their parents - with their own children - grand sons - daughters. In my particular case - blessed with two sons - not good - rather great - grand. God has blessed my wife and I with two sons who have grown into very respectable - grand persons. Both have families of their own - similar - different - always interesting - never boring. Being around our sons - grandchildren - always a grand moment.

When God created man and woman - His design - holy families. Families of men - women - children - grandchildren - living in harmony - peace - challenging each  other - always in love. God's plan - healthy men - women - families - not perfect - not angels - rather people coping with the everyday issues of life - complete with successes - failures. It is in the family - that we support - love - help - grow - in appreciation of our own lives - their lives - the lives of other families around us. It is in the context of family that we journey through these last days of Lent - seeking spiritual growth - for ourselves - our families.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Looking For Love

Everyone that I have ever met has been looking for love. Little children - seeking to be affirmed by parents that they are loved - teens - looking for the - first love - of their lives - young adults - seeking to find that special partner - the love of their life - mature adults - looking for love - lost - never found. Animals - love - at least we think they love us - some sort of attachment - curling up in our laps - sitting by our sides - tails wagging when we return home. Defining love - difficult - an intangible - unable to hold - touch - yet we say we feel - loved -in love - lost love.
God so loved the world  that He sent His only Son into  the world to share His Love with us. To teach us how to love - to feel love - to be love. Many people feel unloved - alone - abandoned. In Lent we drive deeply into our self - to exam who we are - what we are - to seek - the depth of the love - buried inside. Unfortunately - many - feel - no love. Truth be told - we are loved - period. God - His Son - Jesus - has loved us from the beginning of time - even before we were created - born - They loved us - still do. Going against common wisdom - we need to understand that first of all - we must love ourselves. No matter what we have done - how we have lived - love - ourselves. God created us in His image - to be good - not God - to be the love that He has for us. Understanding that we are the physical embodiment of His Love - we know then that we are Love. Start with yourself today - then start loving others - in doing so you will find the love you seek - need.

Deacon Dale  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dining Alone

Recently it was reported that the Vice-President of the USA has a rule about dining alone with a female that is not his wife. He has been criticized by people on both sides of the debate - respecting his wife - not trusting himself with other women. I can understand that he does not want people to speculate his motives for dining with a woman - not his wife. What about not dining with a man - not his father - brother. The argument could go both ways - these days. So many gay men - out of the closet - openly dining with their partner. Same with two women. Bottom line - just who really cares? If I chose to meet a female - male - friend for lunch - I could care less who would see me. Speculating about - the deacon - dining with a young man - could be my son - nephew - grandson - a young lady - niece - granddaughter - co-worker. It is really none of anyone's business - nor what the relationship is. Better that - they - focus on their own lives - how they live - their life - leave others up to their own.

Jesus does not judge us - that is for His Father - on judgement day. Until then each of us is called to live honorable lives - treating ourselves - others - as God wants us. In Christian charity - loving relationships - caring for each other - helping others. In Lent we give up the task of judging others - leave those concerns at the Cross of Jesus - just where they belong. We can dine with whomever or whatever we wish - it is our choice - nobody else's.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cranky Franky

We have all experienced people like - Cranky Franky - people who are always in  a bad mood - complaining - ill tempered - no fun to be with. They drive cars and blow horns at everyone - overload their shopping carts - then complain it takes too long to check out their purchase - impatient - always in a rush - living life one curse after another. It is easy to pick on the Cranky Frankies of the world - not knowing them - what is going on in their lives. The man whose wife is slowly dying in the hospital - the lady who just lost her job three years before retirement with no hope of finding affordable health care - the fat kid who never gets picked for any of the teams - even after losing fifty pounds in the last six months - the girl whose life is miserable and wants to commit suicide because she can't deal with her recent rape. Yes - these are some of the Cranky Frankies in the world - others for many other reasons.

God loves all of us - even the Cranky Frankies of the world. His love is not only for the lovable - also for those that are miserable. Often those - more loved - because they need it more. God calls each of us to love - as He loves - not making judgments - rather loving when loving is very difficult. To show God how much you love Him - find a Cranky Franky today and show them His love - through your love.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Home Management

A very important part of managing a home is seeing that various systems are properly maintained - electrical - plumbing - heating - security - to name a few. It is important that all homeowners periodically inspect the different systems in their homes to avoid major issues. Verifying that electrical circuits are not overloaded - hot water tanks are periodically flushed - water softeners disinfected - furnaces checked for cracked heat exchangers - security - contacts - batteries all functioning. Marking a calendar to remind to do an annual inspection - one very good tool in the process. One reminder that is published for the public yearly is to check smoke - fire alarms to make sure batteries are fresh - time to replace units over ten years old. We recently had one of our smoke alarms go off - inspecting that one unit in our Arizona home alerted us to the fact that it was time to replace all the units. Reviewing Phoenix building codes we learned that all hard wired units - which the majority of homes have - now required to be replaced with a sealed unit with a ten year lithium battery. Replacing the units involved a slight re-wiring issue but it was simple to do and new units now meet current building codes - home in good shape. 

Many areas of our lives are regulated by rules - regulations - codes - for personal safety - for community safety. There are those who hate these codes - guidelines - ignore every chance they get. Most others - follow the rules - regulations as listed by reliable authorities. The most common signs we see - traffic signs - lights - informing us when to stop - go - how fast we may travel. In Lent the Church sets down guidelines for us also - specifying fast days - days of abstinence.  Although many do not understand - most comply with these regulations. It is for our benefit that all these rules are posted - everyone informed. As we continue into this fifth week of Lent - these regulations now very familiar - not an issue. No longer on our minds - focusing instead on how well we manage our spiritual homes - our relationship with God. Happily for us - with God - all things possible. 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lent 105 - Camel Jockey

The Fifth Sunday of Lent - celebrating New Life. In today's Gospel we hear about Jesus raising Lazarus of Bethany from the dead. My first thoughts - I have been there - in Bethany - my wife rode a camel there! We laughed as we watched the camel try to give her a kiss. What a memory - modern day - happy times. Anytime the Scriptures mention places in the Holy Land where we have visited - it brings back many great memories. Today's Gospel should bring all of us to similar happy memories. We have been told countless times - those who believe that Jesus is Lord will never die - our own resurrection - foretold by Scripture.

This Sunday in the Church - around the world - the Third Scrutiny is being celebrated - final examination of the Elect - preparing to join the Church at the Easter Vigil. The last three Sundays have been baptism liturgies focusing on the three elements of Water - Light - New Life - all which is experienced on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil. God does not call us to ride camels - resurrect from the dead - anything else. He simply asks that we approach Him with honest open hearts. Honest as to who we are - what we have done - good - bad - open to Him - to accepting Jesus as Lord - receiving all that He has to offer in the initiation rites to be celebrated at the Vigil. For those already members of the Church - we are asked to walk with the Elect - to pray for them - as they pray for us - that all may be one in Christ.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

No Fool

At this stage in my life - no use for April Fools. Been there - done that - the need to pull pranks - make people feel foolish - no longer a necessity. Although most April Fools pranks are done in a spirit of fun - too many today - mean spirited. Too often I see things that get people's hopes up - only to cause major disappointments afterwards. On occasion some pranks intended strictly to embarrass - ridicule - others. I do not understand why some have to be involved with that - not mature - not being a good Christian. 

Nobody is against good clean fun - when everybody can share in the laughter - games - joyous moments. Making another person look dumb - the fool - gains nothing - for anyone. Often those who pulled the prank - later regret their actions. Unfortunately there is a ripple affect - for each and every reaction - an equal and opposite reaction results - according to Newton's Third Law. Most often we never know just who we affected - how far it went - who was built up - torn down. Lent asks us to reflect on those moments - originally thought to be light hearted - reality - not so much - hurtful. In Lent we pray - search for forgiveness - to purify our hearts - minds - that we may be the people God intended us to be.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Moving On

It is the last day of March - moving swiftly into April - getting closer to Palm Sunday - Easter. Time flies - very quickly - Lent quickly passing by in front of our eyes. Winter officially over - temperatures starting to rise - daylight savings - more hours of sunshine. With better weather - more time spent outdoors - playing - golf - riding bicycles - gathering with friends - outdoor house work - planting - fertilizing. Spring has sprung - for the most part. Black soil soon to burst forth into a new green - life starting up - the cycle of life renewing itself. This is the time of year when people begin to come alive - getting more active - moving out of the house - back into the world.

As we continue through Lent - we too move into a different stage. We go from slow starts to more activity - parish missions - retreats - prayer services. In Lent the Church is getting busy - planning for Easter activities - celebration of New Life In Christ - welcoming those who are preparing for baptism - confirmation - first communion. This is a good time - to move on with purpose - to move forward - including Jesus - God - in our plans.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

And God Created Man

There is a common error shared by many regarding the statement that - God created - Man. Many seem to think that the word man refers to the male of the species. Rather - in scripture - when that statement is read - refers to mankind. When we are told that God created man - He did not stop there. The entire process of creating humans - mankind - a two step process. First create the one - then - create the partner - making sure that - although not identical - complimentary. Therefore the creation of the genders - male - female. Similar - but different - opposites - that attract - work together - to create - basis of life. Neither alone - can procreate - neither can self inseminate - continuing the species involves - both - male - female. One - the larger - hunter - gatherer - protector - the other - smaller - the child bearer - the nurturer - caretaker - both - equal responsibility - for well being of the family unit. Men are not greater than women - women not greater than men. Shared existence - shared responsibility - together - working as one - through different ways - means - to accomplish the one goal - life.

Holy Scripture tells us that when God created mankind that He was pleased - happy with the beings - created by Him - for Him. In God's eyes - we are all good - created for good -not evil - not to compete with each other - to work with each other - to build up - not monuments to Him - the Author of Life - not monuments to ourselves - monuments to life - celebrating life as experienced - as family. This Lent we look deep inside - how well we nuture ourslves - our partner - our family.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Great Expectations

Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel written by Charles Dickens - depicting the personal growth - development of Pip - an orphan. This is a story of poverty - wealth - opportunities - jealousy - rising above temptations - life - in a nutshell. Most of us possibly would relate to Pip - opportunities taken - missed. Our personal story - also one of youthful development - maturing into adults. We all share many common losses - gains - failures - accomplishments. Expectations placed on us by parents - siblings - teachers - employers - self. Usually the harshest critics of our development - our self. Many people beat themselves up for not achieving everything they wished for - accomplishing great skills while failing to attain the number one position.

God has expectations for each of us - on a much lower scale. He does not expect us to be the greatest doctor - teacher - musician - athlete - parent - that ever lived. He expects us to attain life - not as famous people - rather people who appreciate and live life to the fullest. Appreciating all that He offers us - smart enough to see the opportunities He places before us - to accomplish the little things in life. Being a good person - an honest friend - loyal member - faithful worshiper. His expectation for us - true followers of His Word. Celebrating life as His disciples. In Lent we seek to attain that which we need to succeed as God counts success - not as the world does.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Walls and Barriers I Have Met

Walls are structures designed to keep something - someone - out or in. Constructed of various materials - steel - wire - wood - concrete - cement blocks - they provide enough structure to contain or repel - various things - people. In our Arizona community each subdivision - neighborhood - surrounded by cinder block walls - six foot tall walls - most solid block - a few - iron fences - allowing a view of the desert terrain. There are many reasons for these walls - protection from desert animals - coyote - bobcats - bears - mountain lions - snakes - scorpions - nosy neighbors. For all intents and purpose - privacy the primary reason - followed secondly - safety from the danger lurking in the many Arizona swimming pools - keeping - especially - young children out. These barriers - although beneficial - a roadblock to creating relationships with neighbors. Those who cannot be seen - difficult - to communicate - build a relationship.

Jesus told us that He came to remove barriers - to tear down walls - especially - between people. Today we have a common problem - barrier - between all people - fear of the unknown - fear of gender - fear of ethnicity - fear of beliefs - fear of cultures - fear of language - fear of whatever exists - on the other side of those walls. One of our wall sections was starting to lean - Homeowners Association to the rescue - removed and rebuilt that section. A new wall - a new - renewed barrier. Lucky for us we already have relationships - with those on the other side - no barrier with them. In Lent the Church asks each of us to look - not outwards - rather inwards - to barriers that exist - between us - Jesus - God. Thankfully - Jesus - always there - hand outstretched - helping us to overcome any barrier we have - with Him - His Father. This week - this day - we pray - Lord - remove any barrier that keeps me from having the best relationship possible with you - Your Son - Amen.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bible Study

During Lent - one of the options that many people elect - is to join a bible study group. Gathering with people of like minds to study Holy Scripture can be very beneficial - learning what is written - who the author was - the target audience - the culture of the people of that time. On occasion - studying scripture may become very confusing - especially if someone schooled in scripture is not in the group.  Although well intentioned - errors may be introduced into the bible study - misinformation shared - faith disturbed. In these groups - best if a person who knows what they are talking about - leading the group - at least using a proven study guide.

God gives us many tools in order to get to know Him - His Son. Learning words alone - does not guarantee legitimate education. There is also a difference between head knowledge - heart knowledge. Many people trained in scripture study - know only the words - may be able to quote chapter - verse - without fully understanding the real meaning behind the words. To best learn about God - His plan for you - how His Son relates to you - a study of the heart more than that of books. Prayer - one of the best tools in this case - developing a personal relationship - a prayer life - before delving into the written word. Faith inspires education - education fortifies faith.  In all - prayer the best tool to use.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lent 104 - Rose Day

The Fourth Sunday of Lent - Laetare Sunday - half way through Lent - when the priest and deacon wear rose colored vestments. Laetare from the Latin - to rejoice - a happy marker in this Holy Season. Happy because this season of fasting - discipline - alms giving is half over - half way to the celebration at Easter. Changing from the typical purple/violet color to a more cherrie rose color - reminding everyone that in all seasons of life - you can find joy. As the Second Sunday when the scrutinies are observed - checking with those preparing for baptism at Easter - seeking full reception into the Catholic Christian community. 

Last week - this week - next week - from a long drawn out observance of the baptism liturgy. Reminding all that with the Water of baptism - they experience the Light of Christ - New Life - a new birth into God's family. The real focus of Lent - new life in Christ - not just for those to be baptized - also for all of us already baptized. Reminding us to celebrate the awesome gift received when we officially became children of God. 

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Who Am I - The I of God

Who am I - I am me - you - us - as an individual - I exist as I and I alone. I live my life - I choose how to act - respond. I make decisions - commitments - honor such - fail on occasion. My  intent is to live an honorable - productive life - following the rules - once in awhile - I am unable to follow through  - make mistakes - choose to do wrong. I think - speak - keep quiet - sometimes - periods of silence. No matter what I do - it is I alone who makes that decision. I am not you - you are not I - unless you choose to be the I - then I become the you. In all of this I am an individual - me - myself - I.
God created me - to be an I - an individual. He did not make me to be a copy - an alternate version of myself. As such He loves me just as I am - since He created me to enjoy my personal relationship with Him. I am His creation - I am - I worship - adore - my creator. I draw myself closer to Him - in Lent - I seek - to be found - to become all that I may be. I am I - the I of God.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Holding Hands

Holding hands - parent with child - caregiver with patient - lovers - young and old - just dating - longtime married. Holding hands with another person is possibly one of the easiest ways to say - I care - I love you. I love to see people holding hands with each other - it reminds me that in spite of all the bad stuff in the world - there is always hope - always the chance that somebody cares. 

In Isaiah 41: 13 we read   "For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, Do not fear, I will help you". Just as our parents held our hands when we were children - just as caregivers offer us their hands in support - just as those close to us - spouse - children - lover - holds our hands in times of need - so to does God. As we slowly work our way through Lent - Jesus - is there - offering you His hand - helping to guide you through this Holy Season.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


According to the dictionary a partner - person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others - especially in a business with shared risks - profits. Selecting a partner takes time - patience - developing a relationship - learning to trust - establishing ground rules - operating under the same ideals - goals. Many business ventures fail due to poorly thought out - created - partnerships. Rushing into a partnership - failing to properly plan - poor communication - sets the stage for failure. Many marriages - relationships - a partnership. Following some basic ground rules - keeps lines of communication open - ensures a long lasting partnership.

When Jesus enters our lives - He offers us a chance to become partners - in our future. How we will live - control - manage our lives - relationship with special others - with God - number one priority. As in all partnerships - failing to plan - planning to fail. All relationships must be well established - thought out - nurtured - in order to survive. The time we invest in our partnership - one of the best investments we can make. Jumping in - both feet - whole heart - becoming one hundred percent involved - the right way to proceed. Even if you have not yet begun to focus your life on Lent - there is still plenty of time. Make a commitment - now - with God. Join His team - Jesus waits - to be your partner. 

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taxing Times

It is mid March and high time to get working on the yearly income taxes - a much dreaded task. I know some of you have already received and spent your tax refunds - then there are those - like me - who wait until the end gets close.  I have always done my own personal taxes and as much as I hate doing them - would never think of paying somebody else to do a task that I can do myself.  There are so many good tax preparation programs available these days - should be a simple task for most. It amazes me - the number of people with only a W-2 and claiming the standard deductions - who pay others to do their annual taxes. Perhaps the whole concept scares them - dealing with the government - making an annual recap of income and expenses.  Perhaps one day - tax time will be eliminated - a straight tax - equitable deductions for all - weekly - monthly deductions from paychecks - would bring relief to a very large number of people. Until that time - a task to be completed.
It is not only the annual income tax reporting that creates taxing times for people. Money - a big issue - relationships - with family - friends - neighbors - God - another. So many different issues with which to contend - cope - solve - improve.  Relationship issues - often much greater than money.  How we relate to each other - how we speak - think - act - respond - depends a lot on emotions - versus facts. When overly emotional - excited - angry - communication comes to a halt - progress stops - situation develops. As with all things worth doing - improving our relationships - a top priority. In Lent we seek to work on our relationship with God - His Son - Jesus - The Holy Spirit. We are asked to go to a quiet space - to focus our complete attention on the - Divine. Although difficult for many - a task that is possible - with eyes - ears - open wide - hearts open to the impossible - minds ready to accept the unbelievable. In quiet meditation - contemplation - your relationship with God - need not be - a taxing time.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars is a very popular television show - well trained dancers partnering with various celebrities in an effort to win the dance competition. Some celebrities - much more celebrity than dancer.  Some are awesome dancers - others - not so much. Last night Chicago Cubs fans got a peek at former Cubs catcher David Ross as he attempted to convey his 2016 World Series home run hit into a world class score on the dance floor. It will take a few weeks to see how well he sustains last night's performance. For the average guy or gal - dancing with the stars - a real treat.

When God enters your life He takes control - guides you across the dance floor of life. There will always be dips and twirls - slow baby steps - fast tippy toe movements - as you adjust to your new relationship with Him. As you grow and evolve in your relationship with Him - you will quickly learn that His moves are smooth - gentle - helping you constantly along the way. Dancing with God - you have to let Him take the lead - He knows all the best steps - steps to move you from where you are to a better place in life. What better way to observe Lent - than dancing your way into God's heart.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dinner Date

One of the pleasures of adult life is the - dinner date - taking your special companion out for dinner - just the two of you - together - alone as a couple. The two of you sharing a special time - together - at a favorite - new - restaurant - eating favorite entries - exploring - new menus. Perhaps an evening celebrating a special event - an anniversary - birthday - new job - promotion - date night - away from work - kids - spending needed time alone as a couple. All couples need a time of respite - time away from obligations - rediscovering each other - reconnecting as individuals.

Jesus loves dinner dates - especially when it is just the two of you - Him - you - together - gathered around His table - altar - sharing bread - wine - Mass - celebrating His gift to you - the world - to all who call Him Lord. Unlike other couples - you can meet Him on a daily basis - always there waiting for you.  As we continue in Lent - as we pray - fast - we look forward - in these special days - when we can share His meal - together.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lent 103

The Third Sunday of Lent - Water Divine - a precious resource - available to all - for free - unless you buy it bottled. Water rains freely from the sky - anyone may collect it - use it - drink it - bathe in it. Our bodies are 50% - 60% water - the rest is all the good things - bones - muscles - fat -brain tissue.  Although seen as insignificant - we cannot live with out water. We can skip meals - avoid food - but we can only last so many hours without water - before serious damage sets in.  Water is the oil - grease in our joints - the liquid that lubricates our eyes - makes tears - aids digestion - controls our inner furnace - fuels the thermostat of our bodies. It is so important - divinely inspired - that we use it constantly in our daily lives.  In our spiritual traditions - water - used to cleanse - baptize - purify - wash away sins - impart blessings - nourish our spirits - souls. 

For the people of God - water gushed forth from rocks in the desert - saved the people fleeing Egypt - washes away impurities - sins - prepares one for prayer - to name a few. Water is an important element in many religious practices. In Lent - specifically the Third Sunday - water points to the baptism of converts to be celebrated on Holy Saturday when they will be baptized at the Easter Vigil Mass. Water - one of three major focuses in Christian baptism.  As we begin our third week of Lent - we who have been baptized - reflect on what our baptism means to us. For those looking forward to baptism at the Easter Vigil - the focus is on hope - a new life in Christ.

Deacon Dale  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Frequently quoted - a rose by any other name would smell as sweet - from William Shakespeare's - Romeo and Juliet - is taken to imply that no matter what you would call a rose - it would still have the same aroma - pleasing smell. Juliet - in defense of Romeo's name - stating that the name of a person or object - does not define the characteristics - qualities - of anyone or thing.  On this point Juliet is correct - after all - a name is simply a name.  It takes years - decades - for a name to become common enough that certain characteristics are implied by a name.  When Shakespeare first wrote Romeo and Juliet - it was simply a new play - to be attended - investigated - critiqued - enjoyed - at that time - no significance - importance. Four hundred and some years later - Romeo and Juliet - a classic tale of love and tragedy - a name known around the world.

God not only knows how many hairs are on our heads - our name as well - each and every one of us. There may be millions of people - but each is significant - important - to God. We may share names with other people - no two people are identical - even among twins. When we come to God - He knows exactly who we are - what we are about - what we need. He waits for us to speak - quietly - gently - giving us time - to ask - to receive. In Lent - in the quiet of our hearts - dare to speak your name to God.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Wearing Green

Saint Patrick's Day - time for  the wearing of  the green - showing your Irish pride - ancestry - genealogical roots - connecting to Irish ancestry.  Unfortunately the only green shirt I have - not in the laundry - says "Italia" not "Ireland" so could not wear that today.  Acknowledging that today is Saint Patrick's feast day - not a requirement to wear green. 

Today everyone wants to be Irish - to have an excuse to celebrate - gather with friends - with food - drink - joining together as one - enjoying life. That is as it should be - holiday not required - saint or not - people should be gathering every day to celebrate - life - the possibilities that exist - when two or more are gathered. God asks us to celebrate His creation every day - even during Lent.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tearing Down Walls

Last year our Home Owners Association in Arizona sent out a request for homeowners to notify them if they had any issues with property cared for by the association. We have a cinder block wall that surrounds our home and the majority of it is cared for by the association. I notified them that I thought there was an issue with one section which seemed to be tipping inwards toward our property. They finally responded - after 10 months - that they would look into this issue.  Happy to report they were out in a matter of a few days to inspect the wall from our side - the community side had been inspected last October.  The decision - tear down a twenty foot section and rebuild at no cost to us. Now we wait and see when this will be done - as we wish to be here during that process - either April this year or January 2018.  When they do the work they will remove the wall - block by block - tearing it down to its foundation - then rebuilding - back up six feet.  The entire work to be done will be completed easily in one day - hopefully straight in line with the remainder of the existing wall.

As we journey  through Lent we are asked to examine our lives - to see where we have built walls - keeping others out - locking sins in - putting up barriers to our relationship with God. Time heals all things - so we are told - and in time - most things are healed.  Unfortunately some will not live long enough for time to do its work. As we spend time in prayer - meditation - we need to look inward first - at our lives - our relationships - our walls - before we can start the process of restoration - tearing down - building up. Removing barriers in our lives should be simple - one of  the most complicated tasks known to man. Attitudes - feelings - past history - often confuse the real issues.  Through prayer - patience - perseverance - walls can be torn down - removed - opening us up to everything hidden on the other side.  Need help - ask Jesus - He is awesome at removing - healing all barriers.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Barking Dog

Although the Barking Dog is a great name for a doggie daycare center - a barking dog may very quickly become a nuisance.  I know - I have a dog who loves to bark. Bark to go outside - bark for food - bark to warn when somebody is on our property - bark when his canine cousins come to visit - and almost any other reason he can find to bark. I cannot allow myself to be angry at his barking - that is how dogs communicate. Sure they sit at your feet and beg with those big loving eyes - sometimes they cruise over to you and ask you to scratch their back side - and yes - rolling over on their back so you can scratch their tummy - yes that is all legitimate communication with you -  their best friend. To many people - barking dogs are a pain - no time to accept them for who they are - what they are trying to communicate - only anger at a sound  they cannot understand.

Sorry I Only Speak Dog 

To many people - when Christians talk about God - Jesus - Holy Spirit - Bible - Holy Scripture - accepted with as little understanding - respect - as for a barking dog. Confused by - Church Speak - Salvation - Confession - Forgiveness - New Life - Living Water - Heaven - Hell - nothing more than yapping puppies around the food bowel. For those of us - guilty of Church Speak - patience - demanded if we are to share  the Good News of Christ. Lent gives us that time - to hone our skills - to speak clearly about  that which we have received - to speak in Love - with patience - that all who have ears might hear - the Good News.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Who Is Billy Baker?

So I ask again - who is Billy Baker? No one that I know personally - I recently ran across an article he wrote - Read Article - all about middle aged men. No - it was not about religion - spirituality - fathering - rather about loneliness. According to this gentlemen - men - specifically middle aged men - so overwhelmed with work - family - children - responsibilities - have no time for themselves. At one point in his article - click "Read Article" above  - he mentioned how women can maintain healthy long distance relationships with their female friends via a phone call - whereas men -  not particularly fond of long phone conversations - cannot. He also mentioned that when women talk to each other - they do so face to face - men on the other hand - stand side by side - looking out at the world together. My wife constantly tells me to look people in the face when I talk to them - I am guilty of also doing the side by side conversation thing - a bad habit I picked up years ago while working in the pharmacy - one eye on the computer - task at hand - while fielding questions from patients standing on the other side of the prescription counter - usually at an angle away from me. Bad habits are hard to break - but - in time - hopefully they do go away.
In Lent Jesus - God asks us - men and women - to take time out of our busy lives to talk with Him - face to face - not side by side. Jesus wants to look into our eyes - into the windows of our hearts - to let us know that He sees much deeper into our souls that we can ever imagine. He does it gently - not judging - seeking to heal our troubles - issues - buried deep within. He cannot do this while you are texting - talking on a phone - driving your vehicle - your complete attention is required. This Lent - give yourself a gift - spend some quiet time - alone with Jesus. Go to your prayer closet - sit quietly in Adoration - before the Blessed Sacrament - light a candle - focus your attention - on the Light of Christ. You will find Him - buried deep inside your soul.  Just like Billy Baker - God is real - and is waiting to form an everlasting friendship with you - where you will never be lonely.

Deacon Dale  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Wearing Thin

I must be getting old - reading news articles that make my blood boil -  When did it become acceptable to take others to task for doing what is normally done and socially acceptable. I am referring to a  group of American youth who while attending a sporting event at their school - chose to wear red- white - blue items on what was promoted as - USA - day. Some uninformed - uneducated - teachers from the very school that sponsored the event forced the youth to apologize to the guest school at the competition -  because - that school has students who are refugees. I am sorry but in my dictionary a refugee is someone who has escaped from a place - location - group - which professed - practiced things - which harm those who lived there - residents who - escaped - to the - USA - where they would no longer be oppressed - allowed to live their lives as they chose - freely. For the host school to wear red - white - blue - is more a sign of welcome - support - as opposed to exclusion.  After all - if the refugees were not welcome at that competition - why would they be there in the first place? How does wearing a shirt that proclaims - USA - exclude anyone? As a person who has traveled to many foreign countries - and actually talked with the ordinary people who live there - more than once - have I heard - we love the USA - we love the American flag - they offer us hope - welcome - security - a chance at a better life. So some American teachers think their students are oppressive.  Perhaps they need to think - by their actions - how oppressive they have been not only to their very students - but to those who were invited to the competition. By saying NO to red- white - blue - they have proclaimed that this is NOT for everyone - that the USA does not welcome refugees - foreigners to our soil.

God calls us to be His people - not just Americans - not just Polish - not just Italian - not just German - not just Syrian - etc.. In our diversity of cultures we share the beauty of all God's creation only when we openly - freely share what we have with others. If - we have more - we share - that is what being Christian - American - is all about. It is our legacy as followers of Christ - to go among all the people of the World - to share - our faith - our lives - our school events - to all who will walk through our doors. In Lent we need to stop and ask ourselves - do I welcome all - and if not - why not?

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lent 102

Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent - our focus on the Transfiguration of Christ before His disciples. This event not only confused - but also scared - His disciples. Who was this man - who changed before their eyes - did amazing things - unseen by others. I can imagine that you and I would be just as confused - concerned - wondering just what was going on before our eyes - and why. I doubt any of us would just say - oh - a miracle from God - rather - slowly inch away - waiting to see what followed. 

God does not expect us to blindly accept everything that happens right in front of our eyes - there are those who would deceive - manipulate what was happening. That is a lot of what is happening right now in world politics - people - misleading - misinterpreting events - to draw us into their mindset - to make us believe - their truths. Today we heard in the Gospel - watch and listen - great advice for each of us. Using our days of Lent to read - listen - ponder - think - reflect - will bring us to the truth - which is Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 11, 2017


For many people - Lent is a giant period of counting the days - hours - minutes - until Lent is over. Sadly - so many people fail to recognize the gift of Lent - seeing it as a burden - an intrusion on their daily life. Rather than using these 40 days - to slow down - reflect - take time - to focus on themselves - their focus is on the world and all around them. They see what they are giving up - not what they are gaining. They see bondage to rule - not the freedom offered by meditation - contemplation. Day after day -  they mark their calendars - one less day to endure the discipline of Lent - missing those blessings poured upon them by a loving God.
Jesus spent 40 days in the desert - fasting - praying - not for Himself  - for each of us. He walked in the desert - freeing Himself from the world around Him - to focus on us - our futures - our lives - in the world. What He gave up - He never lost - what we gained - everything freely because of Him. In Lent we countdown only those days left until we celebrate Easter - savoring our Lenten days as the gift they are.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Meet Less

During the Fridays of Lent - Catholics are asked to fast and abstain from meat. To go meatless - substituting fish - vegetables - anything - in place of meat. As they give up meat on these fast days - they are encouraged to offer this sacrifice - as a sign of penance - reflecting instead on their life and what abstaining means to them.  Fast days are asked of us by the Church so that we may empty ourselves - making room in our lives for God - His presence - His Son - His Holy Spirit. When our lives are filled with everything else - when our day is consumed by worldly things - we will deprive ourselves of being able to meet our Lord - to be meet less - with Him.

Jesus asked all to come to Him - especially all who were hungry and thirsty.  He did not specifically mean those whose bellies were void of food or drink.  He meant those who lacked the real substance of life - that which would nourish  them forever - into the next life. He called those hungry for the Word of God - those thirsting to drink at His fountain of salvation - those seeking New Life - in God. As we pray - fast - give alms - during Lent - we open ourselves to His presence. We meet Him in the emptiness of our souls. In Lent we wish to experience more of Jesus - not less.  Jesus calls each of us by name - wiling to meet us exactly where we are - exactly as we are. He does not want to meet less - He seeks more.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Focal Point

When one sets out on a quest - hunt - task - they set their sights on one or more goals. Keeping themselves focused they attempt to accomplish whatever goal - task was in mind. All goes well as long as they stay focused. However - once distracted - eyes off the target - things often do not go as planned. A doctor loses focus during surgery - distracted - a slip of the scalpel - a cut not intended - minor error - critical wound. In some things a slight distraction only causes a slight issue - others - like the doctor example - life threatening. Best practice - learning how to stay focused - until task completed.

Jesus never waived - never lost focus of His mission - to do the Father's Will - to proclaim the Good News to all the people. His focus - New Life - Salvation. As we journey through these days of Lent we also need to keep our focus - not lose sight of the task at hand. If we persevere - hold fast - not lose sight of our goal - we too will achieve what we seek.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Eye Candy

According to - Eye Candy is slang meaning someone or something that is visually attractive or pleasing but is usually considered to lack worth or merit. An example might be an automobile priced at $249,00 which a majority of people could never afford and being realistic - does nothing more than any normal vehicle  - that would take you from point A to point B for $225,000 less. Vehicles such as this become nothing more than Big Kids Toys - things obviously meant for only the very wealthy.

Anyone can appreciate the beauty around them - appearing naturally in nature - in hand crafted pieces of art.  When that beautiful object become the sole focus in our lives - something has gone wrong. Although available for us to admire - nothing to lust after. Man - woman - machine - art - all offer temporary pleasure. The real object of our focus should be our relationship on Jesus - on God.  In Jesus only will our souls find peace - rest - true pleasure. Knowing that we are known - loved - by the Author of Life - much more pleasing than earthly pleasures. In this Lent we refocus our eyes on the real treasures placed before us. Our eyes seek that which is beyond ordinary beauty - we gaze upon the Mystery - the reality that is God and His plan for our life.

Deacon Dale