Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divinely Merciful

For many - Easter - one day - nothing more - nothing less. For those who understand the Church and its Liturgy - Easter - a Season - Fifty days to celebrate - pray - contemplate the Mystery of Easter. So much happened around the First Easter - unable to really understand - comprehend all that occurred. The Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday - proclaimed by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2000 when Saint Faustina was canonized. The Church speaks about God's Divine Mercy - few understand the scope - depth of God's mercy - exactly what that means.

Jesus - I Trust in You - God's mercy - the forgiveness - acceptance - promise - hope - healing - offered by Jesus to all who have ears - all who will hear -eyes - all who might see - the wonders God has done. In His Divine Plan - God offers everything to each of us - it is up to us - to accept - His Divine Mercy.

Deacon Dale 

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