Homily on Love & 1st Cor. 13 text today (Jan.30-31)

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time Homily Jan. 30-31

In church we have the Cardinal’s Appeal today, so His Eminence gave the homily via cd to all of us.

However, I did write these words today for the blog and a homily on the second reading today of 1st Corinthians 13.

True love with grace takes us to the high places of human experience where we want to go. This is a description of the God-infused act of love. God, Who is love, enjoys responding to people who reach the point of seeking to receive authentic heart-fillings and who also want to share out meaningful heart-givings. Whether in the romantic marital kind or in other loving relationships, God so much wants to help lift us up into His grace and to afford us our hearts delight. It is what God desires. So He inspires the virtue of faith in us, because without it we cannot really connect into Him, our Lord, Who is Love’s source.

In Christ’ ministry, after introducing repentance and faith to us, Jesus proclaimed Love to be the greatest message of God. It was His teaching about the Greatest Commandment (Mt.22), it was in the deepest parable story He told (Prodigal Son–Lk.15), and it’s in His most dear invitations to us (i.e.”For God so loved the world… Jn.3:16).

Paul’s words in 1st Corinthians 13 confirm the same thing. Love is the greatest virtue and attribute and aspect of God. And, wonders of wonders, God has personally come in His Son to get this love offered to our hearts.

To find this virtuous, higher, graced Love, the lesson that Faith gives is that it is worth all the trust we can muster in God, because it leads us to live and walk with people towards the holy city of God and our hearts fullest satisfaction. Nothing else really compares to a person once they get a real taste of this love of God.

St. Augustine pleads for us to understand that this is where the Church points us all: To Love. He admits readily that he tried other means of love and satisfactions first, but then the heavenly was tasted by him. He then recognized the difference between the limits of the earthly man heart outside of Christ from the Heart in Christ. Augustine then reflected: “… the earthly city glories in itself, the Heavenly City glories in the Lord.”

That’s the difference. The glory of Love is in life that glorifies God. (from his classic work, City of God)Martha_Mary_140

St. Paul in his verses in today’s epistle uses the word love 10 whole times. He’s pleading to his community to practice the grace and love of Jesus Christ as Christianity’s best experience.

Paul’s whole letter to the Corinthians tries to help them see how the fallen man (who is out of God’s grace) will be stuck in a lot of knots, that is, nots. He particularly names seven worldly ways that are not of God. They are envy, boastful arrogance, pride or vain-glory,dishonor, insistent selfishness, quick anger, record-keeping of wrongs, and a delight in evil. Love can’t exist in such hostile territory; the situation needs Christ– Who is Love Incarnate.

As Paul taught the Corinth church community, he differentiated how there is the act, going by the name of love, which is more the living of a short-circuited person whose lusts take over control of them, and it results in a lack of power or ability in them to love. When a person is mostly controlled by their sin or their lustful, self-desires, then it causes them to be fooled into substitutes and detours from their experiencing the true love that is meant for them. They “get” or “settle” for something else in activity, and too often fall short of finding love, because they are not free enough to love. They may not like to know it, but it is due to slavery to sin and to worldliness—in their thinking and acting by a humanistic way devoid of the grace that God intends for our best living.

Read the early chapters of Corinthians, and also read a bit into Paul’s letter of Galatians, and you’ll note these lessons.

How does this happen so–That the heart’s try to love falls short? Simple: Real and deep love is not found in actions or acts which are all caught up in one’s “self.” Freedom is found in the other-centered love, especially when we start in wanting to please the great Other Who is God and loving who and what He loves.

We can be Christ-led and saintly in our loving, and other-hearted about it, OR, we can be indifferent (Pope Francis’ words, Jan. 2016). We have a choice to be a Christian or else the choice to be someone with a Christian name but only one who is complacent and selfish for ourselves or others. What will it be? As St. Augustine said: “For what is the self-complacent man but a slave to his own self-praise?”

The whole first letter of Corinthians is a survey of a church community both living up to God’s love and grace, while with others really struggling as self-indulgent, self-oriented people.

Today’s 13th chapter tells us that Paul spent much of his time teaching the Corinthians of how to live in God’s love. If they could get that right, then much good would follow.

These verses today tell us that they had learned a lot of lessons, about how love is patient and kind and agreeable and unselfish and non-insisting in its ways. He commends the church for practicing this, and puts in a number of love-is-not’s to help them realize that love is not going to work in those former practices (of envy, rudeness,vengefulness, etc.). Evidently, some Corinthian people in the church must have still been struggling with those non-choices of love, those lustful ways of their past.

Paul also noted in his letter that some members were prophesying or speaking in tongues or sharing of their knowledge of God but lacking in love– so he preaches that growing in love is the primary practice for the Church, and not those other things. Without love, Paul says, you are a “noisy-gong Christian,” which isn’t so pleasant to be around.

The Corinth Christian community, though, had come a long way. The seaport and busy city on the Greek map had been a notorious place for sins and for idols and lusting and all kinds of foul activity. It was here where Paul the apostle preached about how much humanity had a sin problem and, because of it, why so many are held in bondage or in some partial form of bondage within themseves.

But he wanted this city to experience freedom in Christ and triumph over sin. So he would emphasize the Love of God message to them. He’d say that repentant and humbled faith could help them find and live this love.

Let’s hear that for ourselves here in Bowie and vicinity today. Let us see God’s love triumph in us, too. 1st Corinthians 13 is our message, too, that God’s love does “never fail” and will inspire a love that “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

1st Corinthians 13 only comes up once every third year in Sunday readings ( this very ordinary 4th Sunday Year C). Or you might hear it at a wedding. In fact, at next Saturday’s wedding here of Musu and Vincent, it will be the proclaimed epistle. For this kind of love in Christ is the main ingredient and power that makes a Catholic marriage work and go and really be blessed. It also is the love that helps the Church work and go and really be blessed.

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Homily: Jan. 24 3rd Week Ord. “Let’s get it started… or re-started”

As I share a homily today about Scripture reading and praying, I begin with a Bible joke.

A religion teacher of sixth graders gave three straight lessons about the general Bible story of the Jews. At the end of the third lesson, he asked them if they had any questions. The student Joey said he was confused, and asked: “You taught us a lesson that the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?” The teacher nodded. Joey continued: “And that the Children of Israel strengthened and elected a king and build the Great Temple, right?” The teacher nodded, and Joey finished: “You said then that the Children of Israel sinned and were exiled to Babylon for their loss of faith, too, right?” The teacher was pleased how much Joey had been following the lessons. He said: “Very good, Joey, you seemed to get it all, but what’s your confusion?” Joey said, “With all these lessons about the Children of Israel, I just want to know where were all the adult Jews during all that time? Everything is about the kids!”
IMAG0165_1. the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to bring good news…
We are twenty four days into 2016. Did you make any resolutions for ’16? If so, are you keeping any? If not, then here’s a resolution worth making and keeping. Read and pray the Word of God (more).

Consume the Word! Consume it as a hungry person for righteousness! Take it in for communion with God and for nourishment. Don’t let your Bible collect dust or stay in mint condition. Use it and live more by it.

We take in some much trivial information and so much news and communication–which shows our capacity is great for storing knowledge–so we know we have room for it. So enrich your diet (for better mind and heart food) and receive the Word.

Reading and praying the Word: Let’s get it started…or re-started.

This Sunday gives us two of the four Scripture readings which are about hearing and receiving the Word. Let’s probe the Gospel lines first. We go to Luke 1: verse 1 through 4, and then verses 14-21. Luke tells Theophilus (the circulator of the gospel) that here is the eyewitness narrative of the events of Jesus and it contains His certain teachings. In this big Lukan opening, it tells of Jesus holding a Scripture scroll in his home synagogue and (by paraphrase) saying: ‘This Scripture from Isaiah about a future moment of God being among you has become fulfilled. It’s about Me.’ In summation, Jesus is announcing here that He is the Living Word, and that all Scripture is from Him or about Him. He is God among us. He is the Anointed One to speak to our need and help and save us by His Word. (that is what is meant by His saying The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me). Or, to put it in a modern phrase, Jesus is proclaiming: “Let’s get it started!” He is saying The Word is Alive because it is a Person Who is Alive, and it is Me, the Blessed Son of the Trinity. Luke is saying that The Bible is the Person of Jesus who “taught in our synagogues” and out on the street level to people: God’ Word is come.

So, think of it, the Person of Jesus is the Word among us and He teaches in our churches and He speaks to us one-on-one to us for knowledge and wisdom and guidance for full human living: We have the Bible to afford His meeting with us. Let’s get it started! Luke starts the Good News with Jesus holding the Scripture scroll and saying: This Word is alive! I am its story.

And it can be a story in us.

Do we have a love for the Word?

The first reading today is about the time of return for the Jews to Jerusalem after a time of forced exile. Nehemiah and Ezra gather the returnees home in the middle of a rebuilt holy city and they have all-morning service of the Word. There were tears and emotion and deep feeling and spirit in this gathering, because the Jews thought they had lost it all. They thought their faith was done, but it was not. Some hidden scrolls of the Word had surfaced (after being hidden for years during the Babylonian exile) and the people delight in hearing them, and they really want to live by them again.

This Scripture of Nehemiah 8 is a very dramatic one of the Old Testament, and I hear a big phrase in the midst of that rebuilding-the-faith crowd: It is let’s get it re-started! They will live again by the Word.

These two readings send us the messages: Let’s get it started or let’s get it re-started. What is “it?” A love for the Word of God.

Closing comment: Do you think in all this snowed-in time right now that many Catholics will say to themselves: Oh good, here is some obvious free time made for me to read and pray the Word.

There is probably time for some to read and pray the whole book of Nehemiah–when is the last time you read the whole story of it?

The “Roe” in Roe V. Wade switched to pro-life

Norma McCorvey was “Jane Roe.” She’s the Roe of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on this day 43 years ago. You never hear about her from Democrat candidates, or much ever from liberal media sources– this living so-called champion of ‘rights to abortion.’

That’s because she repented. She is pro-life now and sorry for her past.

So this landmark figure of the Supreme Court case that turned everything toward a permissive society for taking babies’ lives away in the womb–Norma (aka Jane) is saying that it all was a big mistake. Plus, she never actually aborted her child in that Texas case long ago. But she was a woman that was definitely used for asking for one, so to open the dike.

The above-mentioned people who favor abortion rights don’t want to hear from her at all now.
Because– as we know– they don’t want to hear of the Truth that she found.

A just society would not kill its own children. So that makes the USA blood-red guilty. So many Americans have killed fellow Americans (of the womb) that we have lost far over 50 million here in the USA just since the Roe v. Wade decision allowed for open, legalized abortion. And very little has ever been done for welcoming and providing for the crisis-pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy children in any other solution. That is, except among some dedicated pro-lifers, who have funded and staffed homes for these needy or helped support crisis pregnancy aid centers.

Norma McCorvey now says that abortion is always wrong. She wants others to know that. She converted first to Christianity and then to become Catholic in the 1990’s.

As one media source reported this week of her(coinciding with the Jan. 22nd anniversary), McCorvey first took her case to court in Dallas as a pregnant 21-year-old woman. She had no job, no husband and was many months pregnant with her third child. She also had no home and was in much conflict already with her parents over her promiscuous bi-sexual lifestyle (with two children before this third) and that there also was abuse in her home. The lawyers who took her abortion case to court would try to pose it as a life-threatening one, and Norma also lied in saying it was a rape pregancy.

From this Texas’s abortion case her lawyers Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee took her case to the Supreme Court. She won one of the most contentious decisions in history, but the decision came too late for her to terminate her pregnancy. She later gave the baby up for adoption. That child would now be 45 years old. Noone is talking of who or where they are today.

It was in 1980 that Norma McCorvey published a tell-all book, “I Am Roe,” detailing her journey through the world of reproductive rights, her relationships with women and her work in pro-abortion advocacy. Yet being out in the public about it also brought her out into the Light of God. She faced the reality that the abortion rights movement had begun much upon her case and the America that was aborting 3000 children a day since then, even matter-of-factly.
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She met a Christian in Operation Rescue who helped her realize her need to repent and change. She was baptized a born-again Christian in 1995. Her complete turn-about saw McCorvey quit her job at a Texas abortion clinic, disavow her lesbianism, and begin going to church. She began working at Operation Rescue, a strong anti-abortion group. Eventually she founded her own organization, Roe No More Ministry.

Just a few years later she became a Catholic.

The Mercy story here was that person who most symbolized abortion in this country was brought in to Amazing Grace. That story is little heard in American media. (McCorvey was briefly in the news in arrests at high profile protests versus abortion–the media did want to tell that news, but not about her conversion).

Despite a book and a few speaking engagements today in 2016, McCorvey lives just getting by day-to-day and she’s still dealing with issues of her life that have been difficult. Pray for this fellow Catholic and in thanksgiving that the Roe in the landmark case (still being debated across America) regrets ever being against life or against God. She pleads in God’s Mercy.

Pro Life Prayer in DC 1-22-16

IMAG0158. Steve Angrisano and musicians play and sing and lead us in worship. IMAG0151_1. Cardinal Wuerl leads the Mass. Fr. Chris Seith (Bowie raised)– the homilist.IMAG0145 I am with the concelebrant priests, deacons and bishop clergy for the Mass. Priorhand, many of us heard two hours of continuous confessions. Meanwhile a rally with a concert and then a pre-Mass rosary was going on in the center. IMAG0150_1. And the Verizon Center has worshippers all about.
IMAG0161_1 The March for Life 2016 takes place– pre snow-storm.

News-the Middle East front: Someone’s Trying to obliterate Christianity, even its past.

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In this Nov. 7, 2008 file photo, U.S. Army chaplain Geoffrey Bailey leads soldiers on a tour of St. Elijah’s Monastery on Forward Operating Base Marez on the outskirts of Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. St. Elijah’s stood as a place of worship for 1,400 years. The Catholic and other Christian faiths that had prevailed in Iraq have lost almost everything now.

It’s 2016 now. U.S. troops are not here any longer. This monastery is no more. Enemy hands have destroyed it.

The enemy of the Church presses on. The evil one has been using terrorists, in the misguided name of the Islamic religion, here, to do away with Christians and with all their history associated with this land. Not content with wiping Church people out, the terrorists want to take out all past Christian association. It’s a hateful passion of their movement. It’s stinks of the accuser of the brethren’s work (1st Tim. 4.13; Rev. 12:10).

This past week it was confirmed in satellite images over Iraq that this oldest Christian monastery there has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of the Islamic State’s relentless destruction of ancient cultural sites. They have been in this practice for some time.

For 1,400 years the compound survived assaults by nature and man, standing as a place of worship recently for U.S. troops (photo). In earlier centuries, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches and prayed in the cool chapel. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ’s name, were carved near the entrance.

Now satellite photos confirm the worst fears of Church authorities and preservationists — St. Elijah’s Monastery of Mosul is gone.

This movement wants to do this to the Church globally. We pray that God’s light dawns on them to see whom they serve, the evil one. We pray that good Moslems today speak up loudly for what is authentic religion with them, and how it is peacemaking to humanhind, as to show then what then instead is a sham in these terrorist Islamic/Muslims and their barbarous, sadistic acts. The good people of this monotheistic religion need to speak up. The violent, world-conquering crowd for Allah is drowning out “the good ones.”

I am looking and listening for what voice the people of Mohammed will have ahead. Faith and peace, or war and violence? Which will it be?

And how Christians help the good prevail?

We Christians do not have a blameless record by any means of being non- violent, not so, and we have made our own sins while in the name of Christ and God in our religion. Let’s pray we have wised up now, to true religion and faith, as we see the difference in that the devil is obviously working over these people who think Allah is served in their deadly means. Far from it!

Jesus said for us to pray for our enemies. We pray the violent people of this other religion come to The Light. They need big change.

We pray for ourselves to best shine in that Light of God, as to lead others who are gone astray. A moral path of God is in all the midst of this…

Pray the Snow

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So here’s some precipitation
The frozen variation
Rather than be rendered cold
Pray the snow and God behold
HE’s in this wintry white
Blowin’, fallin’, in day and night
Whether you do like it or not
Icycles,snowflakes, slippery what-not
Covered over the frigid ground
Grace like snow, mercy all ’round

Remembering “Gilligan’s Island” tv days!

As I look at some new TV shows on the air, I wonder about “Lucifer,” which is a Fox show based on the angel of darkness. Then there is the NBC show “Angel from Hell.” ‘Really?! These two don’t sound promising. CBS is offering a new show called “You and Me and The Apocalypse.” With those other new shows about ‘friendly’ dark angels, maybe the apocalypse IS around the corner!

I JEST.

So maybe those silly shows from the 60’s weren’t half-bad, after all! Like Gilligan’s Island.

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Now if you watched Gilligan’s Island way back when, then you may like this memory lane visit and some trivia on the show.

If not, then you might want to drop out here. It’s a lot of trivia coming.

My point in the end of this says: as upsettingly irreligious and ungodly some of these new shows are today, they make me long for yesteryear in American tv’ s more innocent times.
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I have over 50 years of watching television, and Gilligan’s Island (GI) had to be one of the silliest and screwiest shows I ever saw!! While many of us did not call it v(GI) our favorite show, it’s amazing how many adult people still can remember its theme song words. — so, sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started on this tropic isle, aboard this tiny ship!…
If you are one such person, then you may like the rest of this blog on GI trivia. If not, bye!
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There were seven characters on this show, each mostly called by first name or title, but if you saw all the episodes or movies, then you heard their full names used once or more. There was: Skipper (Jonas Grumby), Ginger (Grant), Thurston Howell III, Lovey Wentworth Howell, Professor (Roy Hinkley), and Mary Ann (Summers). Finally there was Willie Gilligan, though he was always just Gilligan. No one called him Willie.

The Howells acted as the high class of the island,so the others afforded them some props in their way being addressed. Interestingly, though, the island was clearly named for its simplest inhabitant Gilligan!

The Gilligan character was played by actor Bob Denver. Do you old tv buffs remember what other show he had previously starred in? (Well, you can peak to the right.) It was “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” and he played the beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on it. It was a tv hit from 1959 to 1963.

Of the seven actor/actresses from the show, only two are still living. One is Tina Louise, who played Ginger. Her character’s name “Ginger Grant” is thought to be contrived from the names Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant. Tina Louise was born Tatiana Josivovna Chernova Blacker (or Tina Blacker) in New York City, the daughter of a candy store owner. She was a 5-9 redhead who had won a Golden Globe in 1959 for the movie “God’s Little Acre.” She would be in 40 films (but mostly minor ones all the way up to 2015’s “White Lillies”), but Louise did have a main role in “The Stepford Wives.” Tina is 81 now.

Dawn Wells, who played the role of Mary Ann, is now 77 years of age. Dawn Wells is her real name. In 1959 she was Miss Nevada (hailing from Reno) in the Miss America pageant. While doing tv and film sometimes, Wells has mostly done musical theatre on stage for her career. I hear she taped a You Tube imterview on behind the scenes anecdotes of the show, but I haven’t seen it.
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The island shown in the opening and closing credits of the tv show is actually located in Kaneohe Bay, about a mile offshore from the island of Oahu, in Hawaii. The lagoon set was located at the CBS lot in Studio City, California. (If sequences there were filmed too early or too late in the day, microphones would record rush hour traffic noise from a nearby freeway!)

The S.S. Minnow craft, used in the series as the doomed ‘ship,’ was actually a 37-foot twin-diesel, mahogany Wheeler Express Cruiser boat. The water craft was not named for the fish, but after the FCC Commission president Newton Minow who had called tv “a vast wasteland.” Thus the naming of the show’s boat was an inside joke to tease at Minow.

In the opening episode, the Minnow is sailing out of a normal port in America somewhere. The flag is at half-mast. Can you guess why? The show filmed its pilot on the real day Kennedy was assassinated, Nov. 22, 1963.

The GI show aired for just three seasons. When it did, some people actually thought it was a real situation and they called the Coast Guard to help the stranded people off of the island.

In the first season’s “Marooned” episode, the seven Minnow castaways on the island beach see a plane fly overhead, so they use fish to spell out the word HELP on the beach. Gilligan apparently ruins their rescue hopes by constructing the letter P backwards. However since all the remaining letters are correct, don’t you think any pilot seeing those letters from the air would be able to decipher the word HELP? Well, we guess not!! Viewers of GI were asked to put their brains in neutral for a half-hour.

One had to wonder how the seven did not find rescue of any of the several times someone actually visited the island. It’s a question that’s asked from season 2 episode 15 when a lady announcer actually visits the island, and she conducts an interview about the castaways on her live radio show. Yet, in this episode, the announcer Erika gives few details that these are the shipwrecked seven on her show, and then she leaves off the island, and it leads to no rescue ever coming back for the seven castaways. Things like this are preposterous, yet, in this episode there is a perfect explanation for her omission: Erika was played by Zsa Zsa Gabor (in her normal, ditsy self-absorbed kindcif role)! So, that left the seven islanders doomed. Zsa Zsa would move on to Green Acres and forget all about them!

Perhaps The Joke of the whole show is that these seven were never leaving! It was, after all, a comedy about being stuck there!
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In the 2000’s, another hit show copied the idea. “Lost” was about people stuck on an island. The show ran from 2004-10. Those people didn’t leave the island either, while most of them mysteriously died on it. Yikes. Gilligan’s Island was safer.

IMAG0134_1After Gilligan’s Island (1964-67) went off the air, it had a big following in reruns. There was a nostalgic demand for a movie to be made to have the people on Gilligan’s Island rescued. Thus, in 1978, a film was made: “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.” In 1979, another film was made: “Castaways from Gilligan’s Island.” An unbelievable third film then followed: “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.” The show’s producer Sherwood Schwartz had plans for even a fourth movie in which the castaways learn that a nuclear war has destroyed human civilization. Bob Denver (Gilligan) describes the premise: “The seven of us think it’s destroyed and we get married. Gilligan marries Mary Ann and they have a baby boy. The Professor marries Ginger and they have a baby girl….They heard it (world’s end) on the radio, and Gilligan broke it just before the disclaimer came on.” Denver explains that years later Gilligan’s sails off and finds the whole planet of people never were list at all. Wow.

The show lived on in reruns long past its 1967 close. Actress Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) was the only cast member to receive great financial compensation from the show’s syndication. It has long been stated that the entire cast never received residuals beyond the first four reruns of each episode, yet Wells was married to her agent, and he worked out a better deal for her. Sherwood Schwartz, who ran the series for television, also had a sweet deal on the rerun compensation.

The show begged many questions. Here’s one key one: Why did the Skipper character put up so much with the Gilligan character—even calling him as his “little buddy?” As a episode revealed, it was because Gilligan had saved the Skipper’s life in WWII on a Destroyer mission. A depth charge got loose and rolled down the deck. It would have crushed the Skipper if Gilligan had not pushed him out of the way.
(But, I have a better answer: How about the real Alan Hale Jr.’s appreciation for a 99 episode tv show run with the star Bob Denver as Gilligan? The success took some pressure off Alan Hale Jr.’s career, living in the shadow his dad Alan Hale who had a major 100 film career.

In the backstory of the show, there are amusing things. The Professor had taken the three-hour tour to relax before he began writing a book, “Fun with Ferns”. Wow, what exciting read that would have been! Not.
The professor liked to keep clued in to the world. “The radio” seen in many episodes was a Packard-Bell AM Radio, Model AR-851. The small silver handle and telescoping antenna were added by the prop department (despite the fact that AM radios do not use telescoping antennas). The antenna was likely added to lend credence to the castaways’ ability to pick up radio signals far away from civilization. What a comfort to know that the Skipper still could get current Navy Football scores on the radio sports reports, even if stranded!

There has always been the debate of who was the more popular of the woman figures of the show: Ginger or Mary Ann (or Mrs. Howell). Mrs. Howell is the clear third-place winner. In places one and two, Mary Ann had the younger fans liking her most, while older fans like Ginger (Tina Louise) more. In the category of men’s votes, Ginger won going away (as she played a sexy, movie star fantasy character). Tina and Dawn are the only cast members alive today, at 81 and 77.

In the show’s script, all the men and women behaved morally and properly with one another. If told in a modern tv soap story today, then all would be in an immoral mess! Thank goodness for goodness in a 60’s tv show on regular tv.

The actress to play Mrs. Lovey Wentworth Howell (Natalie Schafer) had a contract which stipulated that there be no close-ups of her in the show. The reason was that producers knew her real age, which was 13 years older than Jim Backus, who played her character’s husband, Thurston Howell III. Backus was a comedic actor in the 60’s and his unique voice was also used for the cartoon character of that era called Mr. Magoo.

In the opening song of the show, in its initial season, some characters are named, but others are just sung as “and the rest.” Who are those two minor characters getting the low billing at first, with less scenes in the pilot season? It was the Professor and Mary Ann. That later changed in the song.

Sherwood Schwartz, the show’s producer, claimed that, contrary to popular belief, “Robinson Crusoe” was not the inspiration for the series, even though it was one of his favorite books and was referenced in the closing song. The show idea was more inspired by the 1939 film “Five Came Back” starring Lucille Ball. The characters in that film included a wayward pilot and co-pilot, a botanist and his wife, a sultry woman with a shady past, and a rich playboy and his homespun wife.
IMAG0140_1. The tv show writers seemed to have license to make up anything they wanted on the scripts, as in their having episodes with a cave man found living on the island, a former enemy downed pilot found hiding there, as well as a Martian, a lost pop music group, and a troublesome lion and ape discovered in their camp on various episodes. But–no mind–they could handle it!

It has often been observed that although they were on “a three hour tour,” the castaways had an awful lot of supplies on board. Mary Ann and Ginger seemingly never worn the same clothes twice, nor made any native island clothes. Professor has an extensively library, and the Howells have myriad luxury items. Funny.

In the make-believe world of Gilligan’s Island (G.I.), the three follow-up made-for-tv movies helped us resolve what ever became of our seven tv islander friends. They do get rescued (movie 1) but a tsunami hits the island. Still, it survives and the Howells build a resort vacation spot there with a hotel (movie 2) and the other five ex-castaways benefit financially. Nice. Then, the island gets on the tourist map enough to host a Harlem Globetrotters game on it (movie 3), while a valuable and rare mineral supply is found on the island and an evil man (played by Martin Landau) tries to get it and ruin the G.I.resort, but he fails. Good. Still, the disappointment of these three films is that a fake Ginger is played in these movies (not Tina Louise) so Ginger fans are left disappointed. They wonder what becomes of Tina Louise until she turns up in the Stepford Wives film and some spots in tv shows.

Some other cameo appearances to the island, as characters there in the show, were from Don Rickles, Kurt Russell, Jack Sheldon, Richard Kiel, Phil Silvers, and Larry Storch. Each of these fine actors in their sudden appearances on the island also later seemed to ‘forget’ to bring rescue to the poor seven stranded islanders. Maybe they thought it would be bad for the show?! Consider the alternative show: filming Gilligan as a lifeguard in Laguna, the Howells on Wall Street, and the Professor as a Fern Shop manager, etc. No, that’s just not as compelling a tv show as with 7 co-stranded islanders!

I never saw the Gilligan’s episode with Don Rickles, but I can imagine him leaving the island in his typical face of disgust, and swimming a mile alone to the Hawaiian shore, and saying to someone: ‘Remember those seven missing people three years ago from the Minnow? Those seven Hockey Pucks are just a mile away on that little island offshore, thinking they are stranded! But I just swam from there 10 minutes ago. It was easy! Yeah, I have to say, those missing Minnow tourists over there are real intellectual giants! You can see the Hawaiian mainland from their back shore, and still they think they’re 200 miles into the Pacific! Just how far can a 3-hour tour boat get offshore anyway?! That so-called storm they had was probably a tequila storm and not any actual weather storm. And what a bunch of complainers! Most people would be grateful for a no-cost private island life, but not those seven! All they ever say is “We want to leave! We want to leave this place!” That’s all they would say. Well, dummies, how about swimming a few feet home! I say, leave those numbskulls over on that island, until the Professor can tighten all of their loose screws. And another thing, if he thinks he’s so smart, why are they all still deserted over there?!” Can’t he see he’s a half-mile from port?!’

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So——let’s forget about these new 2016 TV shows like “Lucifer” on FOX or “You and Me and The Apocalypse” on NBC or “Angel from Hell” on CBS tv. There are better reruns on!

Jan. 17 Homily “A Cana Miracle”

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Early on in His ministry, as our Gospel of John chapter two tells, Jesus attended a wedding. He wasn’t there as the official witness or rabbi figure, but was coming as a relative, coming along with His mother Mary. He was coming as “family” to the Cana couple.

Going to a family wedding was a nice thing for Him to do, but the headlines became of what He did there for a bridegroom and bride, which was to offer His first public miracle for them. What He gave and unveiled from His Heart was the famous changing of water into 180 gallons of exquisite wine for their celebration. God in Christ Jesus unveiled Himself as a minister of mercy and generosity in this account.

It was a wonderful gift to offer a young Cana couple, who happened to be running out of wine at their celebration. Jewish weddings tended to last more than a day or day-and-a-half, like some modern Church ones, but rather these ones of that time went for a whole week or more of family gathering. To be running out of wine at a Jewish wedding back then was seen like an omen of more problems to come for the couple; surely, it would be taken as a bad sign. Jesus took care to remedy that problem. And, He made enough for the whole present need.

It was His mother Mary who noticed the situation, and called it to Jesus’ attention. She also called over the main wedding steward and introduced him to her son, and pointedly said: ‘Here is your problem solver, my son, Jesus. Now, listen to Him, and do whatever He tells you to.’

I would have suspected that this steward and others were freaking out beforehand behind the scenes. I imagine how they might have been saying to themselves just before: ‘Oh, no! This wedding reception is about to be partially ruined. The wine wasn’t delivered or collected. This is going to be all our fault. It will be humiliating. We’ll never live it down here in Cana. That couple will be affected in a bad way by all of this.’

Mary and Jesus were not told about this kitchen crisis, but somehow “knew” it was taking place. They had extraordinary perception and sensitivity in their being free of sin. The head steward is introduces to their concern, and he realizes now how the looming crisis is now revealed. Yes, there’s a terrible wine shortage. Yet the steward is relieved that these two relatives of the couple are not there to blame or criticize or ridicule him, but to offer help. He asks to himself, perhaps: If this Mary and Jesus are so perceptive to notice the looming disaster, might also they be so wise as to see a solution to keeping it from occurring? He is helpless in his pickle.

The timing of this situation is interesting, in that, Jesus had been invited to this wedding event some time ago, but recently He had been occupied, up far off in the Judean hills and at the Jordan River for His Baptism and Ministry start, and Jesus had just completed 40 days in the wilderness beyond the Jordan, including much testing and trails, and now He had just returned back to Galilee. Jesus was surveying where to start proclaiming the kingdom of God to people of His home area, and to include an opening call for repentance of sin. Jesus wanted to bring Israel back to peace and love with God.

Here in Cana, and in this moment at the wedding, Jesus was standing ready to reveal His identity, with plans for the use of signs or specially-timed, meaningful miracles. Now, suddenly, there is a need right in front of Him. Save this wedding. It is all so natural that Jesus’ first miracle will be to just be a concerned relative in the back scenes of this wedding. Mary His mother notices something serious and she prompts Him to get involved behind the scenes is saving the situation. It leads to the moment in today’s Gospel as Jesus is asked privately by the head steward for a solution to the wine situation. Jesus gives the answer, knowing it will lead to a miracle.

To the steward, the counsel Jesus offered to him sounded pretty off on its first hearing. ‘You want me to get all the stone jars and fill them up with water?! Ok. I guess our serving of some water will hold the thirsty and partying wedding guests off for a bit, until we come up with finding some wine…’

When the steward and his helpers did what Jesus asked of them, then the miracle came. That is one of the key lessons of this Gospel. Yes–When the steward and his helpers did what Jesus asked of them, then the miracle came. They did as Mary pointed out, and trusted to turn to Jesus. They brought the filled water jars in, and watched Jesus bless it, and the head steward was asked to taste it, so he did, right before they would begin serving it to guests. It was at that moment that the head steward noted, quite amazingly, that the water had turn to a very fine wine.

Jesus smiled and watched as they invited people over for a cup of wine. He moved back and saw the delight. The wedding reception carried on without any trouble. It was a happy time.

This opening miracle of Jesus was done in a manner where it did not call immediate attention to Himself, but was offered for the pressing need of a couple. This was likely the nicest wedding gift ever given. I think it may be the point I like the most in this account, that, Jesus is so very modest in this opening miracle. The miracle is not about attention on Himself, but it is about a couples’ need, and Jesus is very generous to them. Jesus was so like that in all His Gospel accounts. He thought of others first. He is merciful that way. The miracle is so modest, that some don’t realize in that party what had occurred. They might have thought the couple had saved all of this rich wine as a surprise serving to the guests. Yet John’s gospel gives us the truth of it. Jesus did it.

Here are a few other points of the story to study and apply: We note that it was the obedient and open compliance by the steward to Jesus that opened up this moment to be miraculous. We need to be like that steward: trusting Jesus and even trusting Mary’s prior intervention. Even when God seems to have a silly idea, His silly ideas are better that our wisest ones. So says the Scriptures in 1 Cor. 1:25.

The next point… As John is noting in his gospel beginnings, for Jesus, this couple likely represented a needy Israel, desperate for some intervention of God to save them from a heartbreaking moment. As the groom was called over, after the miracle of the wine, that newlywed realized the bad situation that had been going on, and he was shown how his Nazarene relative Jesus had turned it all around for a blessed time. He was grateful. That’s a lesson for you and I. All of humanity is a similar place of the story’s groomsmen, but worse, in that, we are living somewhat obtuse in this world (slow to understand) in our poor realization of all the behind-the-scenes troubles going on in our lives. For everyman, we live in a world separated from God’s friendship, and all that is going on in a broken world from God is set up for man’s disaster–in our dying in sin and then of any possible love between God and man to be lost– but this gospel says that Jesus comes around to offer us rescue and hope.

Another point…. Just when our supply is running out, such as our realizing that our time living on earth will run out, God comes in with gallons of eternity to offer in relationship with Him–even right now. He comes not with condemnation and judgment, but with salvation and love and life. What a God we have!

This wedding story really is our own. We can become saved and “wed” to Him in an eternal wedded love of happiness. Like the Cana couple getting off to a good start, God wants to get you and I off to a good start with a reborn existence, plunged into Mercy, and with much grace and favor to follow. Jesus saw this couple in Cana as representative of everyone. In a like fashion, He saw the blind men (which He healed) as the blindness to faith of people Israel. In a like fashion, He saw the man with a withered hand as being like a fulfilled prophecy (“If ever I forget you, Lord, let my right hand wither (Psalm 137:5).” Jesus gave healing to Israel who admitted that they had forgotten God, and with mercy He healed them.

This wedding story then represents Jesus wanting the love relationship between God and humankind restored, and for even the basic family model, of husband and wife, to become restored to order. This miracle shows God’s help to that happy fulfillment. It shows how He had all this in mind even in the Old Testament times and plans, as Isaiah 62 shows God’s Heart and reveals His Heart Words:
“…you shall be called “My Delight, and your land “Espoused.
For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you.”

Thank You God for having such merciful plans for us!
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Champion Christian coaches

IMAG0124_1IMAG0113_1The college football national championship game matched coaches on opposite sidelines who shared in something strong in common. Both are active Christian men and make no bones about it. Coach Nick Saban for Alabama is a practicing Catholic who brings in his faith in many aspects in his life and with career and relationships with his Tide team. Coach Dabo Swinney for Clemson is a practicing Christian of another denomination who is outspoken about his love for living according to the Bible, which leads him to publicly stand for issues such as traditional marriage and family life and high moral standards in following the Way of Christ Jesus.

It’s really something to see that example from the two coaches at the pinnacle of College Football. All teams want to end up in the national championship BCS game. These two ones did.

The final score of Monday night’s game was Alabama 45, Clemson 40. It was a thrilling game.

Both coaches walked away a winner at that game– for being disciples of Jesus Christ. IMAG0121_1IMAG0118

Baptism of the Lord Sunday Homily “Take the Plunge!”

As the Christmas season closes today, we celebrate another special revelation of Jesus Christ, as His ministry life begins at His Baptism in the Jordan. That ministry is come to save us. Signs come of the whole Trinity’s part in this inaugural event. Today on the Baptism of the Lord Sunday we also take note of the Gift He has given us, of Baptism, in the action at the Jordan which would be completed at the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This Baptism Event of Christ and His Sacrifice on The Holy Cross are closely linked.

In both of these bookend events of JESUS, you and I were offered our participation into the Paschal Mystery, for a spiritual rebirth and a life of renewal in the Holy Spirit, just as our Bible reading from Titus declared today.

In Jesus Christ we were offered forgiveness of sin, so to no longer be separated from God by it, nor have to die in that state of disgrace, but rather be offered new life in Jesus so to be led as sons and daughters of God by the Holy Spirit. As John’s Gospel tells it today, we are put into the Spirit to be in communion and friendship with God, and we are given the light of life, the fire of God’s indwelling.

This event we honor today –to close up Christmas time– speaks of how Baptism gives us what we need to live in human dignity and purpose under God. Hello child of God! Are you living in your baptismal grace today?
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Baptism is the Gift of Mercy from God to help humanity to begin again. It’s a gift even to put us into a God-given innocence to live and love as we should.

Jesus asks us to plunge into this experience!

The word “baptism” means just that! In its original Greek it means “to plunge into.” Into what? To dive into the shared life of Christ, and to live it among others.

We begin by diving into the Divine Mercy. We need to be immersed in the Blood of the Lamb and the Mercy of God. Over and over again.

Another thing I think of when I hear the word “plunge” is of professional or Olympic swimmers and divers. They can really amaze in their talent. Michael Phelps of Maryland has won many gold medals in the Olympic swimming pools. The way he dives into the water and moves can only be described as a man with much passion for doing it. (He also has had much talent, dedication and training.) The cliff divers of Acapulco in Mexico is a spectacle to see, so I was told by a parish group who went there on a cruise for a school fundraiser in my last parish. The divers plunge into the Pacific Ocean after a descend of 35 meters (112 feet) off the cliffs. They really take a plunge!

Perhaps even more startling, though, is what I will relate to you in Divine Mercy plunges. People trust God even to “dive” or “jump” into amazing situations and in belief in God’s immense goodness. I was with a Rwandan born priest yesterday, and I was touched by the depth of his heart and Catholic faith, all knowing what had happened in his homeland two decades ago. In 1994, Rwanda had a conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsi peoples in that land. It escalated to extreme violence, in the name of cleansing out the other different tribe, and a million people died in just 90 days there. It was a terrible atrocity. It was genocide.

For that priest encounter, it led me to learn about a man who had an inspiring story through the Rwandan conflict. That man’s name was Jean Paul Samputu. He would experience the Divine Mercy while through the pain and aftermath of this terrible genocide. He was a Tutsi man who was away from Rwanda at this 90 day period of the killings. Jean Paul was a popular singer in Africa and doing out-of-country concerts. When he came back to his village in Rwanda, he saw that most of his family was killed. And they were still lying around, too— his parents, his brothers and his sister. Worse yet, he learned that the killer of them was a childhood buddy named Vincent, of the opposite Hutu people. His close buddy was the enemy now, and such hatred filled the air, and without ways of retaliating now. But his heart was terribly angry for it. The evil was so atrocious in all of this.

As Jean Paul tells his story, he really lost his mind over this event. He was nine years in a daze of incomprehension of such pain and evil. To numb the pain, he turned to alcohol and other substances for escape. His performance career was nearly wrecked, as he would even sometimes get arrested in places for drug possession, and have to serve some time. Then, while in Uganda for a concert, he met someone who saw his evident deep pain and knew how to deliver him from it, if J.P. could consent to it. That person asked to pray over Jean Paul (J.P.) and call on the Lord’s help and to deliver him from darkness and to bring light and healing and a new beginning to his life.

About 3 months after this laying on of hands, J.P.’s life was turning around. He was open to God’s power in him to be over his out-of-control spiral. He had a conversion to Christ-heartedness. As time went on, J.P. matured to a place where he wanted to meet Vincent, his ex-friend, the murderer of his family, and he wanted to bring Christ along for the encounter. As he eventually met Vincent, J.P. pardoned his former friend and village mate. He said that he wanted to give Christ to the man, and not death. The Divine Mercy had amazingly plunged this man J.P. Samputu into that new place. Later on, Vincent responded in kind to the point that they joined together for a Christian reconciliation ministry.

Jean Paul continues on in a pop singing musical career where his faith is always in the middle of every thing he is doing.

In this Year of Mercy, and our close of the Christmas of Mercy, I encourage you to find where next you will plunge into your baptismal grace and new life in Christ in that “renewal in the Spirit bath” of your rebirth in Jesus Christ (of which Titus chapters 2 and 3 talk about today). If this man’s story sounds quite too remarkable, then just let it help you believe that your next experience in the Divine Mercy is very possible!

We need to get to who we are in our baptism as a saved child of God. We shall find there how love triumphs over hatred, freedom wins out over fear, God’s shared goodness and light wins over the darkness, and discipline wins over the impulsive, ever selfish acts that we call sin, venial and grave. The disciple of Christ delves into the life of the Spirit put into them. That’s you and me. Happy plunging in 2016.