Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Get Shorty! (Bible Study Recap, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C)



That guy Zaccheus is a lovable scamp, isn't he? Not only does his name challenge our auto-correct, but he's one of those guys you love to tease but would be happy to have a beer with. I love him.

'Course I'm "size challenged," too.

You ever pick the most remote pew in a church and then — usually right after the Sanctus — some HUGE guy plants himself in front of you? Happens to me all the time. Blessedly, I've got the solution…I either stand on the pew (don't tell the Director of the Chapel) or kneel down on the floor…how come?

Because I want to see!!!

So this guy does essentially the same thing, or even more daring…he hops up a sycamore tree!

We had a lot of fun with this Gospel and this guy, sobered up appropriately through the First Reading, floated through the Response, and went right back to good old Zaccheus.

(Did you know that tradition has it that the little guy became a bishop of Caesarea? I didn't!)

For a good time…

Put yourself in that area of Jericho, maybe standing along the curb with your kids or spouse or buddies, waiting for Jesus to come by. (Remember, at this time He had earned quite a bit of fame…and also? He was, as He is now — an Attractive Man.  Okay, so now you see this crumb of a guy (pretend you're living in Jericho and have had encounters of this Servant Of The Roman Government That's Trying To Rip You Off!) scurrying over to the parade route. You're not going to let him squeeze in! Okay, so he gets the message, and like an adept monkey, beats you all by scampering up a sycamore tree to claim the best seat in the house!

You: "See that, Harry?"
Harry: "Yeah…what a jerk."
Your Spouse: "Now just stop that! He's coming!"
Kid: "I'm hungry!
You: "Shh…hon, where is He?"
Spouse: "Well, if you'd open your eyes, for Pete's sake…"
Harry: "Oh, yeah, there He is! Where's my camera?"
You: (laughing) "Check your pockets…the little runt probably stole it before climbing the tree!"
Harry: "Very funny…wouldn't put it past him though."
Spouse: "Put the child on your shoulders so he can see!!!"

Jesus, smiling, nods at you all…and then looks up, grinning even more:


Okay, now you take it from there. :-)

Anyway? These are really, really, rich Readings. Enjoy them…we did…and we prayed for you. Please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly (and for your continuing (or beginning, for that matter!) meditation on this Sunday's Readings…

“There certainly is much truth in a certain saying of a philosopher, “Every rich man is either wicked or the heir of wickedness.” That is why the Lord and Savior says that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Someone may raise the objection, “How did wealthy Zacchaeus enter the kingdom of heaven?” He gave away his wealth and immediately replaced it with the riches of the heavenly kingdom. The Lord and Savior did not say that the rich would not enter the kingdom of heaven but that they will enter with difficulty.”

~ Saint Jerome, Homily on Psalm 83 [84]; in A. Just, Jr., Luke, 290
“Say what you like, but for our part, let us climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus. The reason you cannot see Jesus is that you are ashamed to climb the sycamore tree. Let Zacchaeus grasp the sycamore tree, and let the humble person climb the cross. That is little enough, merely to climb it. We must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but we must fix it on our forehead, where the seat of shame is. Above where all our blushes show is the place we must firmly fix that for which we should never blush.”

~ Saint Augustine, Sermon 174.3; trans. in A. Just, Jr., Luke, 290-91)


 Image courtesy of Diane Leagh Matthews, "Rebel to Redeemed"

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn
Lover of Souls

Our Lord is a lover of souls, the Liturgy shows us today. As we sing in today’s Psalm, He is slow to anger and compassionate towards all that He has made.

In His mercy, our First Reading tells us, He overlooks our sins and ignorance, giving us space that we might repent and not perish in our sinfulness (see Wisdom 12:10; 2 Peter 3:9).

In Jesus, He has become the Savior of His children, coming himself to save the lost (see Isaiah 63:8-9; Ezekiel 34:16).

In the figure of Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel, we have a portrait of a lost soul. He is a tax collector, by profession a “sinner” excluded from Israel’s religious life. Not only that, he is a “chief tax collector.” Worse still, he is a rich man who has apparently gained his living by fraud.

But Zacchaeus’ faith brings salvation to his house. He expresses his faith in his fervent desire to “see” Jesus, even humbling himself to climb a tree just to watch Him pass by. While those of loftier religious stature react to Jesus with grumbling, Zacchaeus receives Him with joy.

Zacchaeus is not like the other rich men Jesus meets or tells stories about (see Luke 12:16-21; 16:19-31; 18:18-25). He repents, vowing to pay restitution to those he has cheated and to give half of his money to the poor.

By his humility he is exalted, made worthy to welcome the Lord into his house. By his faith, he is justified, made a descendant of Abraham (see Romans 4:16-17).

As He did last week, Jesus is again using a tax collector to show us the faith and humility we need to obtain salvation.

We are also called to seek Jesus daily with repentant hearts. And we should make our own Paul’s prayer in today’s Epistle: that God might make us worthy of His calling, that by our lives we might give glory to the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

"This `Foreigner'?" (Bible Study Recap, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C)

Saints Denis and Companions
Saint John Leonardi
Blessed John Henry Newman


"Was there no one to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

Hard to imagine Jesus dissing the Samaritan leper — who, NOT incidentally, was the ONLY one of TEN lepers who came back to THANK Jesus for curing him — as a mere "foreigner," isn't it?

But maybe not. According to Dr. Brant Pitre:

The Greek word there, allogenēs, it only occurs here in the New Testament. And it literally means, “someone of another race.” So allow means “other,” genēs means “race,” so allogenēs is this person of another race—in other words, referring to the Samaritan as being of a different race because they were descended from the Gentiles; they were descended from the Assyrians. So after Jesus says this, He says, “Rise, go your way.” What has made you well? Your epistis, your trust, your faith. So another key theme we’ve seen in this chapter is the healing power, the saving power of faith. The Samaritan believed Jesus when Jesus said, “Go show yourselves to the priest,” and he was immediately cleansed. He was immediately healed.

Once again, we find the virtue of faith — remember last Sunday's Gospel about that mustard seed? -- a key in Jesus' message.

But "foreigner?"

Yep. What Jesus is doing is smashing down the barriers to salvation! And that's really, really, exciting!!!

"Kelly. Calm down."

I will in a minute. But this is Just. Too. Exciting. For Words!

We're getting a…well…a bit of foreplay here! (Sorry, maybe the wrong word, but strangely apt to me.) Yes! An appetizer if you want to call it that, for the conversion of EVERY SINGLE NATION ON THIS EARTH to…well, to God!

Just check out Psalm 98!!!

Or…my favorite…Psalm 67 (I mean one of my favorites.) Anyway, both sing the praises of God Who has revealed to the NATIONS His saving power!"

Okay, here's the thing:

From Acts 28:28: "You must know that God is offering his salvation to all the world!"

Yes! Even that guy Naaman got it! (After a bit of reluctance.)

Darn those Liturgy Reading People anyway!

The First Reading for this Sunday omits the entire, and, in my opinion, crucial background of Naaman the Syrian. No matter, though…we went through it and so, may I humbly suggest, should you. It's so cool of a story that Jesus mentioned the guy Naaman in one of his talks…along, by the way, with the folks of Nineveh, which is part of a neat reading from the prophet Jonah we're hearing this week. So, you know, maybe you might enjoy reading the whole thing…it'll give you some background to help reinforce the totally cool meaning of this Sunday's First Reading.

Well, I've held you long enough…thanks for reading. I thank God for sending His Spirit down upon us tonight, and pray for the salvation of every person on earth!

And for you…we prayed for you. Please remember us. Thank you!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---the best="" br="" come="" is="" to="" yet="">
P.S. The connection between Baptism and the healings in this Sunday's Readings is really cool, isn't it? And what about the connection between "thanksgiving" and the Eucharist???

Bruno of Segni (12th cent. A.D.): “They stood a long way off because no one in their
condition dared come too close. We stand a long way off too while we continue to sin. To be restored to health and cured of the leprosy of sin, we also must cry out: “Jesus, master, take pity on us.” That cry, however, must come not from our lips but from our heart, for the cry of the heart is louder: it pierces the heavens, rising up to the very throne of God.” (Bruno of Segni, On Luke’s Gospel 2.40; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 124)


Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn
Returning Thanks

A foreign leper is cleansed and in thanksgiving returns to offer homage to the God of Israel. We hear this same story in both the First Reading and Gospel today.

There were many lepers in Israel in Elisha’s time, but only Naaman the Syrian trusted in God’s Word and was cleansed (see Luke 5:12-14). Today’s Gospel likewise implies that most of the 10 lepers healed by Jesus were Israelites—but only a foreigner, the Samaritan, returned.

In a dramatic way, we’re being shown today how faith has been made the way to salvation, the road by which all nations will join themselves to the Lord, becoming His servants, gathered with the Israelites into one chosen people of God, the Church (see Isaiah 56:3-8).

Today’s Psalm also looks forward to the day when all peoples will see what Naaman sees—that there is no God in all the earth except the God of Israel.

We see this day arriving in today’s Gospel. The Samaritan leper is the only person in the New Testament who personally thanks Jesus. The Greek word used to describe his “giving thanks” is the word we translate as “Eucharist.”

And these lepers today reveal to us the inner dimensions of the Eucharist and sacramental life.

We, too have been healed by our faith in Jesus. As Naaman’s flesh is made again like that of a little child, our souls have been cleansed of sin in the waters of Baptism. We experience this cleansing again and again in the Sacrament of Penance—as we repent our sins, beg and receive mercy from our Master, Jesus.

We return to glorify God in each Mass, to offer ourselves in sacrifice—falling on our knees before our Lord, giving thanks for our salvation.

In this Eucharist, we remember “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David,” Israel’s covenant king. And we pray, as Paul does in today’s Epistle, to persevere in this faith—that we too may live and reign with Him in eternal glory.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

So! You Won the Lottery! What's Next??? (18th Sunday Ordinary Time C Bible Study Recap)

Saint Ignatius of Loyola


Some time ago, after my husband Bill died (please pray for the repose of his soul…thanks!) I went on a cruise. It was wonderful! In — I think it was Barbados — I got off and headed toward what looked like a jolly picnic hosted by some of my fellow cruisers.

It wasn't all that "jolly." It was a Support Group…for Lottery Winners!

Can you imagine? A bunch of people helping each other through the trauma involved with becoming instant millionaires! As a new widow, escaping, for the time being, anyway, the dread of wondering how I was going to even pay for this cruise (I did, don't worry!), I couldn't help myself…I crashed the party.

And got an earful! Among all the groans and sorrows of these people, one statement, from a lady, sticks in my mind:

"My family is looking forward to my death."

Enough for me…I left the party and took refuge on the beach. But I thought about this group tonight on the way home from a terrific session.

Sunday's First Reading…

…can be, if not reading the entire Book of Ecclesiastes, interpreted as simply: "Life Sucks. And Then You Die."

There's so much more to this Book! Do, if you get a chance, read the whole thing. But also? Read — no devour! -- Sunday's First Reading. It'll prep you right good for the Gospel…and not, incidentally, Saint Paul's Epistle!

"Seek the things that are above" we thought, is pretty much the theme this Sunday.

The "Rich Fool" was a lottery winner.

He didn't need the extra dough. We know this because in Jesus' parable, we learn that he already had ample room to store his crops. But then God gave him more. And he didn't get the memo…just like the guy who asked Jesus to "settle" (that is, rule in his favor) the family relative's estate…just as we so often do not. I know I don't. Not always.

We need to remember that we can't take it with us when we leave this pilgrimage. Nor should we want to! Because if we play our cards right — meaning if we live our lives right — these beautiful gifts that God has given us this day needn't be, as good old Qoheleth  says, just a "vanity."

Hey, we prayed for you! Please remember us in your prayers, including,

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <--extra br="" coming="" stuff="" up="">
Basil the Great: What do we find in this man? A bitter disposition, hatred of other people, unwillingness to give. This is the return he made to his Benefactor. He forgot that we all share the same nature; he felt no obligation to distribute his surplus to the needy. His barns were full to the bursting point, but still his miserly heart was not satisfied. Year by year he increased his wealth, always adding new crops to the old. The result was a hopeless impasse: greed would not permit him to part with anything he possessed… You who have wealth, recognize who has given you the gifts you have received…You are the servant of the good God, a steward on behalf of your fellow servants. Do not imagine that everything has been provided for your own stomach. Take decisions regarding your property as though it belonged to another. Possessions give you pleasure for a short time, but then they will slip through your fingers and be gone, and you will be required to give an exact account of them. “What am I to do?” It would have been so easy to say: “I will feed the hungry, I will open my barns and call in all the poor…” (Basil, Homilies on Riches [trans. E. Barnecut], p. 104-105)

# # #

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

The Fool’s Vanity

Trust in God - as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus.

Like the Israelites we recall in this week’s Psalm, we have made an exodus, passing through the waters of Baptism, freeing us from our bondage to sin. We too are on a pilgrimage to a promised homeland, the Lord in our midst, feeding us heavenly bread, giving us living waters to drink (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

We must take care to guard against the folly that befell the Israelites, that led them to quarrel and test God’s goodness at Meribah and Massah.

We can harden our hearts in ways more subtle but no less ruinous. We can put our trust in possessions, squabble over earthly inheritances, kid ourselves that what we have we deserve, store up treasures and think they’ll afford us security, rest.

All this is “vanity of vanities,” a false and deadly way of living, as this week’s First Reading tells us.

This is the greed that Jesus warns against in this week’s Gospel. The rich man’s anxiety and toil expose his lack of faith in God’s care and provision. That’s why Paul calls greed “idolatry” in the Epistle this week. Mistaking having for being, possession for existence, we forget that God is the giver of all that we have, we exalt the things we can make or buy over our Maker (see Romans 1:25).

Jesus calls the rich man a “fool” - a word used in the Old Testament for someone who rebels against God or has forgotten Him (see Psalm 14:1).

We should treasure most the new life we have been given in Christ and seek what is above, the promised inheritance of heaven. We have to see all things in the light of eternity, mindful that He who gives us the breath of life could at any moment - this night even - demand it back from us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LOL with Scripture (Bible Study Recap)

Saint Sharbel Maklof

Flashback to about 2,000 + years ago…

[insert dreamlike harp music here]

Kid: "Daddy! I'm HUNGRY! Please fix me an egg!"
Dad: (eyes on his scroll)…"What's that son?"
Kid: "I wanna EGG! I wanna EGG!"
Dad: (absently reaching into his robe) "Here ya go, son."
Kid: "EWWW…this ain't no egg! It's a SCORPION!"
Dad: (hunting for the sports page) "Uh-huh, ask your mother to fix it for you…"

SHEESH! If anybody doesn't crack up at this Sunday's First and Second Readings, there's a humor deficit here!

'Course the whole theme is prayer…but a beautifully put, laced with humor, sort of lesson.

"Take Abraham…PLEASE!" :-)

A rabbi once told me that Genesis 18:20-32 was the first official recording of chutzpah  ever. Reading it, reflecting on it, putting ourselves in the center of this marvelous conversation, we weren't convinced that Rabbi Ben was right…funny though it was, and is.

The thing is, Abraham, as Catherine wisely pointed out, trusted God. And, if you haven't done it yet, try to put yourself in the scene of this conversation…yes, life and death was at stake, but how beautiful it must have been to amble along with God, making, or trying to make, a deal. As Pat remarked: "God was pleased with Abraham's concern."

Prayer shouldn't, perhaps, always be "fun." But it should always be filled with love, and comfort, and yes, often, humorous. It is, or should be, an intimate encounter with Abba…our Dad…Our Father.

A wonderful session, all around. If you want some good stuff on this Sunday's Readings, shoot me an email and I'll send you a PDF of Dr. Brant Pitre's commentary.

And good news!

Russell's a GRANDPA! Little Russell Nelson was born to his daughter Maria last week!

Pray for us…we pray for you all the time.

Your humble scribe,


The Catechism on “Unanswered” Prayer

“In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we asking God for `what is good for us'? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants. (CCC 2735-36)

# # #

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Asked and Answered

Though we be “but dust and ashes,” we can presume to draw near and speak boldly to our Lord, as Abraham dares in this week’s First Reading. 
But even Abraham - the friend of God (see Isaiah 41:8), our father in the faith (see Romans 4:12) - did not know the intimacy that we know as children of Abraham, heirs of the blessings promised to his descendants (see Galatians 3:7,29).

The mystery of prayer, as Jesus reveals to His disciples in this week’s Gospel, is the living relationship of beloved sons and daughters with their heavenly Father. Our prayer is pure gift, made possible by the “good gift” of the Father - the Holy Spirit of His Son. It is the fruit of the New Covenant by which we are made children of God in Christ Jesus (see Galatians 4:6-7; Romans 8:15-16).

Through the Spirit given to us in Baptism, we can cry to Him as our Father - knowing that when we call He will answer.

Jesus teaches His disciples to persist in their prayer, as Abraham persisted in begging God’s mercy for the innocent of Sodom and Gomorrah.

For the sake of the one just Man, Jesus, God spared the city of man from destruction (see Jeremiah 5:1; Isaiah 53), “obliterating the bond against us,” as Paul says in this week’s Epistle.

On the Cross, Jesus bore the guilt of us all, canceled the debt we owed to God, the death we deserved to die for our transgressions. We pray as ones who have been spared, visited in our affliction, saved from our enemies.

We pray always a prayer of thanksgiving, which is the literal meaning of Eucharist. We have realized the promise of this week’s Psalm: We worship in His holy temple, in the presence of angels, hallowing His name.

In confidence we ask, knowing that we will receive, that He will bring to completion what He has done for us - raising us from the dead, bringing us to everlasting life along with Him.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Love Got to Do with It? (Bible Study Recap)


Howdy, neighbor! :-)

First? Please, in your charity (or mercy or love) keep Maureen Hall, Maureen Sullivan, and all the Bible Study Buddies in your prayers…we pray for you all the time. Thanks!

Actually, "love," or "charity" or "mercy" has everything to do with it, as the Readings for this Sunday emphasize:

Deuteronomy 30:10-14: The Commandments of God (Only you know? Read the whole chapter…it's short.)
Psalm 69—Turn to the Lord in Your Need


Psalm 199—Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Col 1:15-20—The First Born of Creation
Luke 10:25-37—The Good Samaritan

Praise God, it was a great session tonight!

Except Pat was LATE!!!

Pat's never late. Other people are late but Pat never is!!! Sure, she messaged me and all that, but still — she was LATE!!! Sheesh!

I found out, on the way home, why…

She was helping out a friend — a subway musician  — he needed help — before trotting over to the Pru. Good for Pat! (And…uh…bad for me for even wondering why she was late. This is a frequent fault of mine.)

And…I was determined to go into tonight's session with evidence — EVIDENCE! -- to PROVE that the priest and the Levite were wrong, wrong, wrong!

That was wrong of me…the whole point of the Law, as Moses tells us in Sunday's First Reading? It isn't rocket science! It doesn't require all sorts of lawyers and apologists and brainy folks (not that there's anything wrong with thinking and reasoning) to figure out the difference between right and wrong. We're gifted with that ability. It's simple — maybe not easy but simple.

Wish we could've gotten into Paul's Epistle…but we were so into what God was saying to us, we forgot about the time. If you'd like the notes, please shoot me an email.

May God continue to bless you.

Oremus pro invicem!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---good br="" coming="" for="" reading="" stuff="" thank="" up="" you="">
The Living Tradition

Catechism: Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies” (Rom 5:10). The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself. (CCC 1825)

Augustine: “The whole human race, you see, is that man who was lying on the road, left there by bandits half dead, who was ignored by the passing priest and Levite, while the passing Samaritan stopped by him to take care of him and help him….In this Samaritan the Lord Jesus Christ wanted us to understand himself.” (Augustine, Sermons 171.2; trans. E. Hill, cited in Gadenz, The Gospel of Luke, p. 213).

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Hey, hey, Mister Shea, know I love you anyway!

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Hey, Mark Shea,

Now what in blue blazes are you up to now? Seems like you got some Catholic folk so all fired up, they're shoving beans up their gosh darn noses, they are!

If I recall, the last time we communicated, it was when that "apologetic" guy -- did I get that right? -- put up some dang fool post on Facebook (silly pastime, when you get right down to it, but helpful...staying in touch with family and all 'n spreadin' the Word) saying you was dead for Heaven's sake! Well, if you recall, I didn't have much truck with that and told him so...ain't heard from him since.

Anyway, what I did was -- and this was 'way before the above incident happened -- I did some finagling with that Facebook thing and made darn sure I wasn't hit by your darn fool (that's just my opinion, know no disrespect is intended) barrages against me and my kin (who am I kiddin'? Not kin, 'cept for my husband) who did vote for the President, Donald Trump. I didn't do what they call "unfriend" (silly word, ain't it?) you, no not at all! Just fixed it so I wouldn't be socked every second I went on the app for voting for the man. (Hey, one day let's get together and talk about this guy...or maybe not, if you're not willing. No offense taken.)

So, here's what I'm befuddled about...why in God's green earth are they up in arms agin ya now? 'Course, I could go back and read everything you've written in the past couple years, but man, I've gotta work and you are a prolific writer, ain't you?

Proud o' you for that, by the way.

Anyway, I've been reading that you're:

A. Insane
B. In Need of Prayers (which, while a nice sentiment, is also what folks tend to say when they disagree with a body) :-)
C. A Prophet (well, I pity the fool who said that, sheesh!) :-)
D. Insane (guess I mentioned this before)

So, my friend, I end as I started...what in tarnation are you doing now? You know how to reach me, if you want to.

Meantime? Much love to you and your folks.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Our Lady, Help of the Helpers!


Dearest Mother!

Your Son told us all to love one another.  Inspired by His delightful command, we ask you, Blessed Lady, to guard and help those who help your children in any way...especially those who help those in danger. Through your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Our Lady, Help of the Helpers, pray for us!


(Inspired by Mister Fred Rogers, 1928—2003, who said: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." Mister Rogers, a Presbyterian, was a great friend of the Catholic Church.)


Image Credits:


Crossing Guard:



Community Help:


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Jesus' Prayer, Stephen, and Flight 93. Let's Roll. (Bible Study Recap)

Eve of the Ascension
Pope Saint Paul VI


"That we may, Abba, Father, be one, as You and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One, in Jesus' Name. Amen."

A favorite prayer of mine…in fact, I pray it every day. And I'm confident it will be answered. When? I don't know.

When we prayed over Acts:55-60 — the death of Stephen — I was reminded by two things that I heard this past Monday — Memorial Day:

"…in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me."
And In his homily, Father Jim Doran spoke about the final minutes of United Airlines Flight 93, September 11, 2001. Here's the last part of the transcript of the tape:

Passengers calling from the plane are informed by people on the ground about the synchronized suicide hijacking attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Flight 93's passengers and crew decide to storm the cockpit.

One of the more storied calls comes from passenger Todd Beamer of New Jersey, who has a long conversation with a GTE Airphone operator, Lisa Jefferson. The call was not taped.

"Are you ready?" a fellow passenger asks Beamer toward the end of the call. "Let's roll," Beamer replies, according to Jefferson's previous account.

Run on cockpit

The passengers' counterattack on the cockpit begins at 9:57 a.m., the recording reveals.

"Is there something?" a hijacker asks in Arabic. "A fight?"

"Yeah," another replies.

Hijackers grab an axe to scare away the passengers who might peer through the cockpit door's peephole.

Jarrah makes a hard turn to the left, banking the plane. For the next minute, he rapidly pitches the plane from side to side, left to right, over and over again.

"Oh, Allah. Oh, Allah. Oh the most gracious," an Arabic voice inside the cockpit says.

Outside the cockpit, voices are heard saying, "In the cockpit. In the cockpit."

A hijacker says in Arabic, "They want to get in here. Hold, hold from the inside. Hold from the inside. Hold."

At 9:59 Jarrah points the plane's nose down, then jerks it back up. There are sounds of shouting and breaking glass.

"Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" a hijacker asks in Arabic.

"No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off," another hijacker responds in Arabic.

'Roll it!'

The passengers then make another run for the cockpit.

"In the cockpit! If we don't, we'll die," a male passenger says.

Seconds later, another passenger yells, "Roll it," a possible reference to a drink cart passengers might have used to ram the cockpit door.

"Cut off the oxygen," one of the hijackers says in Arabic, repeating the order three times.

Jarrah resumes pitching the plane from side to side.

Inside the cockpit the hijackers decide to crash the plane. "Pull it down. Pull it down," an Arabic voice says. The jetliner heads downward and rolls upside down.

"Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest!
" one of the hijackers shouts over and over. (emphasis mine)

The tape ends at 10:03 as the plane nose-dives at an estimated 580 mph into a reclaimed coal field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles from Pittsburgh.


Okay. So Jesus was right, both in Stephen's day and in ours.

So, what do we do?

We pray. That we may be one. Hey, Stephen's prayer worked for Saul! And Jesus taught us how to do it in this Sunday's Gospel!

Lots more — the Holy Spirit blessed us with a fruitful session.

May He, and the Father, and Jesus continue to bless you always.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---scott better="" br="" hahn="" it="" says="">

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Perfection as One

Jesus is praying for us in today's Gospel. We are those who have come to believe in Him through the Word of the Apostles, handed on in His Church.

Jesus showed the Apostles His glory, made known the Father's name, and the love He has had for us from "before the foundation of the world."

He revealed that He and the Father are one (see John 14:9).

Jesus is the "first and the last" (see Isaiah 44:6), the root of David (see Isaiah 11:10; 2 Samuel 7:12), as today's Second Reading declares.

Wrapped in clouds and darkness as God was at Sinai (see Exodus 19:16), He is "the king...the Most High over all the earth," as we sing in today's Psalm.

Exalted at God's right hand, as Stephen sees in the First Reading, the Lord calls to us through the Church, His Bride.

He calls us to "the tree of life," to communion with God. This is the goal of His love, His saving purpose from all eternity - that each of us enter into the life of Blessed Trinity, be "brought to perfection as one" with the Father and Son in the Spirit.

The story of Stephen, the first martyr, shows us how we are to answer His call.

Listen for the echoes of the crucifixion: Stephen, like Jesus, sees the Son of Man in glory and dies with words of forgiveness and self-offering on his lips (compare Acts 7:56-60; Matthew 26:64-65; Luke 23:24,46).

We, too, are to commend our spirits to the Father, to pray and offer our lives in love for our brethren, awaiting His coming in judgment. We renew our vows in every Mass, coming forward to receive the gift of His life.

We answer His call by crying out a call of our own: "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!"

And in our communion we answer our Lord's prayer: "That they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You."

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

TASTE the Fattened Calf! (Bible Study Recap)


Wow! Many thanks to Father Michael Warren et al for helping tonight's Bible Study be a SMASH!

God be praised! Last Saturday at Mass, Father Michael preached on the Gospel — the same one we're privileged to hear this Sunday! Only appearing in Luke, this Sunday we hear what is probably Jesus' most famous parable. Popularly called "The Prodigal Son,"  others have suggested alternative "titles," such as  "The Merciful Father,"  "The Two Sons" (Cardinal Ratzinger), and "The Lost Son,"  (Brant Pitre).

But let's concentrate on that "fattened calf" that the father (Father) had killed to celebrate his son.

Here's what I learned from Father Michael's homily last Saturday:

In Jesus' time, only the very best calf was kept in the barn, while the others were sent off to pasture. This calf was fed on only the best…in fact, by the same food the people of the house feasted on. What's more? Kids were encouraged to give the calf treats of their own…anything to A) make the calf happy but more importantly B) to fatten that calf up with scrumptious stuff and make him the most delectable thing ever eaten. Why? Because "the fattened calf" was to be saved only for the time an amazingly delicious feast would be held…for the visit of some REALLY important dignitary! Like, you know, the President or somebody!

Now, imagine this kid — the older brother — dutifully and probably joyfully trotting off, since childhood, to the barn…oh, I don't know, maybe on his way to school and then as he got older to his chores? You know what I mean. Everyone did it…and wondered with each delectable thing they gave they calf, who would be the next VIP to grace their fattened-calf table? I mean, gee…it could've been, if The Donald wasn't available, Mother Teresa! Or Tom Brady! Or…or…George Washington, maybe! (Okay, I'm straying a bit from Father Michael's homily, but you know what I mean.)

And, instead, who gets to eat this incredible delicacy?

The creepy brother, sheesh!

I know…amazing, isn't it? But it get's even better!

Catherine nailed it when she pointed to my Crucifix and said (I'm paraphrasing): "Him!"

Yes! Yes! And Yes again!

Jesus is the "fattened calf" and the father — far more "prodigal" than the so-called "Prodigal Son" --  celebrated the return of his repentant son with it (Him)!!!

How cool is that? I'll tell you!

On my way home, I passed by Saint Francis Chapel — and the light was on, as it is every Wednesday during Lent…and the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were there, waiting for the return of each one of us…no, more than waiting — actually looking out always, for the return of the penitents! To rejoice and celebrate and feed them the "fattened calf" as the VIPs they are!

Well…as usual, I'm getting carried away. :-)

We actually did get to the other readings…and prayed. Especially for Tony, Lori's cousin, Eddie, Maureen's friend, for all the Elect who are preparing to come into the Church this Easter…and for you. In your charity, please remember us in your prayers.

And, in the words of Rocket J. Squirrel? "Now here's something(s) you'll really like…

Check out a beautiful reflection on The Solemnity of the Annunciation by Father James Doran, O.M.V.:

Pope Francis:

Let us never forget that to be confessors means to participate in the very mission of Jesus to be a concrete sign of the constancy of divine love that pardons and saves... Every confessor must accept the faithful as the father in the parable of the prodigal son: a father who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he has squandered away his inheritance. Confessors are called to embrace the repentant son who comes back home and to express the joy of having him back again…May confessors not ask useless questions, but like the father in the parable, interrupt the speech prepared ahead of time by the prodigal son, so that confessors will learn to accept the plea for help and mercy pouring from the heart of every penitent. In short, confessors are called to be a sign of the primacy of mercy always, everywhere, and in every situation, no matter what.

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn 

Found Alive Again

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).
Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.
In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.
Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.
But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us - like the prodigal -  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.
God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”
The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.
Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.

Your humble scribe,


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Bible Study Recap: Good News!

Saints Paul Miki and Companions


"Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!" is a favorite exhortation of priests at the conclusion of Mass and with good reason…and this Sunday's Readings enrich this command.

We relished Isaiah's vision, his theophany, the purging of his sins, and his calling in the First Reading. Especially, for me, anyway, a sinner, his purging, and the gloriously anticipatory verses which we hear every time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Response to the First Reading — particularly the lines "I bow down toward Your holy Temple," and "The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me" certainly echo this. As does Paul's sacred authorship of the Creed in his Letter to the Corinthians.

Peter's call by Jesus grabbed us firmly. Peter's humility, the miracle of the catch…yes, the person to choose to sit in the Barque of Peter.

These Readings are a wonderful reason to be rejoice in being Catholic!

Like Isaiah, we are purged by the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And the Mercy of Purgatory.

We are called, like Isaiah, Peter, and Paul, to "announce the Gospel of the Lord."

We are shown, by Jesus and by His disciples, not to be afraid, but to "catch men…" to become fishers for Jesus!

It was a blessed session, and thank God for that! And we prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

The Living Tradition

St. Augustine: Christ says, Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him: once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him…. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first. He is the best person to win over an emperor. Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled fisherman. In this nets cast throughout the world he has the task of catching this nation as well as all the others. (Augustine, Sermon 43, 5-7; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 79)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Into the Deep

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.
Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see  also Revelation 4:8).

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nick Sandmann's Statement: Either read it, or shut up. Thank you.

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I didn't not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should rethink his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech. I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.


This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be
answering individual media inquiries.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Epiphany Proclamation 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of His return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: His last supper, His crucifixion, His burial, and His rising celebrated between the evening of the Eighteenth of April and the evening of the Twentieth of April, Easter Sunday being on the Twenty-first day of April. 

Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed
by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the Sixth day of March. 

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on Sunday, the Second day of June or Thursday, the Thirtieth day of May.

Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the Ninth day of June.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the First day of December, 2019.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God,
in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. 

To Jesus Christ, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.