Archive for the ‘Humor’ category

Isaiah 13-15; Matthew 1

March 18, 2018

Matthew 1:25 He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

That “until” trips up a lot of people, because in English we take “until” as inferring a change of behavior when something happens.  For example “Bert didn’t go swimming until his broken arm healed” infers to us that Bert went swimming after he got the cast off.  Not so in the case of the translation of Greek to English; i.e. it is not inferred that Joseph and Mary had relations after she had Jesus.  You can look it up.  Now whether they had a regular bowling night, that’s possible, except on the Sabbath.  Some apocrypha assert Joseph carried an average of about 210, especially liking the low-oil conditions of Lachish Lanes, while some others say he was not that good.  It’s a mystery, as we Catholics like to say.

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O Death, where is thy schwing?

February 15, 2018

I did some Biblical journey off-roading here of late.  I had cancer surgery back in June, and this week met with my surgeon to go over the results of a PET scan and discuss the treatment plan.  I didn’t go quite as I had hoped.

A “hot spot” – a lymph node somewhere in my right hip – showed up on the PET scan.  Further surgery and radiation were thought to not be good options.  So in 3 months I’m scheduled to begin hormone therapy, which won’t cure it but will extend my life.  Dr. G put all the available data into his magic 8-ball, and it gave me 15ish years to live – assuming I don’t hit a deer on my morning commute and one of the idiots who is always tail-gating me doesn’t hit me from behind and crushes me like a grape first.  So I’m basically from here on got the lifespan of a puppy pet schnauzer.

After sleeping on it, I know several men who have had radiation therapy and they seem to have good quality of life, so I think I’ll be seeking a second opinion.  I’d rather go the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI route – maintain a sharp mind and be basically healthy into my 90s until I die from terminal old man cuteness – than in my mid-70s turn into HBO’s CryptKeeper before shuffling off this mortal coil

My understanding of hormone therapy is that the side effects often aren’t a picnic (hot flashes, osteoporosis, weight gain, moobs, hair loss, chronic mellowness), but at least having to call my doctor about an erection lasting longer than 4 hours isn’t one of them.  So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Of course, a lot can change in the next decade, with cancer becoming as serious as having a bad cold.  And being told you have 15 or so years to live isn’t high drama: no one will be weeping and angry and going “Why?! Why?!” about the injustice of me being cut down in my prime.  But it does rob one’s life of a little mystery, like will I be 103 and get interviewed by the local news on what my longevity secret is?  Sadly, doesn’t look like I’ll be able to tell that young reporter “Steaming hot monkey love son, steaming hot monkey love….”

But as Fr. Larry Richards says, we all want to get to Heaven but nobody wants to die.  So it’s all good.

God bless, and have a great Lent.

Tom

 

Oh the Snowmanity!

January 19, 2018

We had an inch of dry, powder snow here in Altanta metro Wednesday morning, which was paralyzing, having our governor considering calling on FEMA for disaster relief.  The county I live in cancelled school for two days.  I had a friend from Milwaukee taunt me in an email about what wussies we are down here.  I can’t dispute it.  Now as children growing up in central Ohio in the early Sixties we were a different breed.  I walked uphill four miles barefoot to Catholic school in waist-deep snow every day with my mates, and we didn’t complain.  Sure, there would be occasional whiteouts and some kids’ tiny corpses wouldn’t be found until spring – often poignantly in a fetal position beside a fire hydrant or a public mailbox – but that’s just the way it was then.  Our pastor would visit the affected families and bless the women praying for their continued fertility, because being Catholic, you were always going to have more if you could.  It was a lot like the settlers in the 1800s:

“Pa, while Clem was plowin’, some Injuns took him!”

“Eh, which one was Clem?”

This whole thing about micro-aggressions and safe spaces….galling.  When my children are very old, and robots do everything and 95% of Americans live on a monthly government check. they will tell their wide-eyed grand-kids how their great-grandpa used to get out of bed before dawn and meet with other people at a large building and engage in something called “work”, where they had meetings, made cool-colored lines and shapes on whiteboards, ate doughnuts (illegal 50 years from now, too many carbs) and did other wonderful and strange things. Those children won’t believe a word of it and laugh at their elders behind their backs.  And that’s just the way it will be.

God bless, get off my lawn, and have a great day!

Catholic diocese suspends ‘sign of peace’ due to flu

January 12, 2018

I’m going to take a break from the Scriptural journey, as my camel is flagging, and needs some R & R.  Revelation is a tough trip, with its ten-horned beasts, fire-breathing lamp stands, and scarlet harlots (“Frankly Scarlet O’Harlot, I don’t give a durn.”).  This article caught my eye: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-42596020.  Me personally, I would not lament the “Kiss of Peace” being suspended permanently; i.e. I could live with the priest saying “The peace of the Lord by always with you” and we responding “And with your spirit” and moving right into the Agnus Dei.  Father just gave everyone a massive peace bazooka blast, we don’t need to engage in small-arms peace fire with each other.  Granted, it gives the deacon less to do, but he’s already overtaxed, poor dope.  I’m open to being persuaded otherwise by a grounding in Scripture, a papal encyclical, or that the practice irritated Martin Luther – but that “it’s just a nice thing to do” doesn’t sway me.  Could be I’m forever scarred by that time I bowed instead of extending my hand to the 8 year-old with his finger up his nose most of the Mass and his mother looking at me like I was Charles Manson, or that I’ve been negatively influenced by my spiritual director Grumpy Cat.  Jesus entered the locked room and said “My peace be with you”, and there is no record of the apostles hugging and high-fiving, or doing the wave.  I had a friend who is a convert say if we were going to do away with the Kiss of Peace, we should before the processional do the Protestant-flavored “Please turn and greet those around you”, but if choosing between the two, I’d choose the Kiss of Peace.  I believe the former sets the wrong tone for the Mass.  Check out chapters 4-7 of Revelation: it’s not about you or the people you are with, the Mass is about the worship of God.  I do agree with my friend that making people feel welcome is something most Catholic churches could do a better job; maybe have fruit or fat-free yogurt for the terminally weight-conscious along with the doughnuts after Mass. (Yes, I’m a visionary.  It’s a gift.)

Those are my thoughts, I welcome others.

 

Psalms 138-140; Hebrews 11

October 27, 2017

Psalm 139:21-22

Do I not hate, LORD, those who hate you?

Those who rise against you, do I not loathe?

With fierce hatred I hate them, enemies I count as my own.

Just another example of good old Old Testament sentiment.  I wonder if King David and those Edomite and Philistine kings he warred against are now toasting each other at the Heavenly banquet, laughing about “Yeah, that time you cut off my thumbs and big toes – that was medieval man!  Which was amazing when you think about it, because the Middle Ages were still a long way off.”

My “Top Ten” Mass Peeves

April 2, 2017

I’m going to take a side trip from my Biblical journey and wander about in the tall weeds to talk about my Mass pet peeves.  These are not necessarily in order from least to most peevish; some you’ll may go “Right on Shaft!” and others you may go “Get a grip bro.”  But keep in mind these are my peeves, not necessarily those of your Archbishop, although Pope Francis has probably said something in the back of a plane about them.

“Turn and greet and introduce yourself to those around you.” Not the stuff of which great human problems are made, but a Protestant-flavored attempt before the opening hymn to make everyone feel “welcome”. The Mass is a recreation of Christ’s Paschal sacrifice, where heaven meets earth, not a social event.  And I don’t necessarily relish shaking hands with little Billy right after he wiped his nose with his right hand during cold and flu season.

“Take a moment of silent prayer to prepare our hearts and minds for holy Mass.” This is one particular to my parish – which I love in so many ways – but it takes more than 5 seconds to prepare one’s heart and mind for holy Mass. Get your butt in the pew at least 10 minutes before Mass begins to do some serious praying and prepping.  Families with young children are excused: I laud you for getting there on time or close to it (I’ve been there).

Most of the hymns written after Vatican II, especially those written by Marty Haugen. “Gather Us In” (the lame and the stinky?) and “All Are Welcome” (Nazi Satanists too?) are Haugen classics of tonal and lyrical insipidity. Somehow blissful marijuana-fueled hippie-dom took over Catholic music.  I want songs of spiritual struggle, where you shoot Satan with a .44 and the like.  But that’s just me.

Priests who think they are Bob Hope or David Letterman. This takes the form of post-Communion stand-up where vacation slides of the parochial vicar laying on the beach are shown while the pastor does an engaging (he thinks) monologue. Father, in your spare time head out to open mike-night at the comedy club, but spare us at Mass.

Applause. I guess clapping for Bob and Sally after their two-minute post-announcements pitch for the WEDS ministry is OK – took a little courage to get up there. But clapping for musical performance – like a post-Communion Flugelhorn solo of “Ave Marie” – is never appropriate.  It’s Mass, not a concert.  Any music performed is not for human praise, but for the glory of God.

Showing words to songs and parts of the Mass people should know by heart like the Creed on the back wall of the sanctuary using a projector. I’m sorry, but I was taken to Shakey’s Pizza as a child several times, where they had guys in old timey dress playing the piano and the words to songs like “Down By the Old Mill Stream” projected on the wall so you could sing along. Blame this on Shakey’s Pizza.  My parish years later still has idiot cards in the pews: c’mon people, make some kind of minimal effort to learn the prayers.

Irreverent/casual communicants. Dudes and dudettes: you are about to take the body and blood, soul and divinity of the Creator of the Universe into your corpus. Don’t act like you are getting a flu shot or in line at the DMV.  Especially don’t wave at your friends or exchange pleasant banter as you process by their pew.

Recorded music. I experienced this recently at a Mass in Ohio during Communion. Creepy, and a violation of canon law.  Made me feel like I was at Applebee’s or something.

Homilists who require audience participation. (How many of you say grace AFTER meals? Put your hands up!)  Also homilists you just repeat the readings to you.  (We see that Abramafter being told by God to go to a distant land, does so without question.)  Dude, try to make some kind of connection with living life today, try to make me have a “V-8 moment”.  Deacons are especially egregious in this regard, probably because the diocese keeps them on a tight rein.  Occasionally one goes rogue elephant, snaps his tether and kills a coolie, and that’s always a pleasure.

Special appearances by Santa at Christmas Masses. One time the priest processed in dressed like Santa going “Ho! Ho! Ho!” I love priests, but keep in mind Father what Jesus said about scandalizing little ones and that millstone necktie.

Actually I have many more, but these are undoubtedly more reflective of my sinful shortcomings than the shortcomings of others.  I long to be present purified at the heavenly worship described in Revelation 4 and 5.  But that’s just me.  God shower His grace on us all!

Judith 13-16; 1 Corinthians 8

February 23, 2017

(As promised, the dramatic conclusion of “Judith”, as seen on the Hallmark Channel, starring Andie McDowell as Judith, Rhea Perlman as the maid, and Alec Baldwin (the best actor ever!) as Holofernes)

Judith 13:6-10  She went to the bedpost near the head of Holofernes, and taking his sword from it, she drew close to the bed, grasped the hair of his head, and said, “Strengthen me this day, Lord, God of Israel!” Then with all her might she struck his neck twice and cut off his head. She rolled his body off the bed and took the canopy from its posts. Soon afterward, she came out and handed over the head of Holofernes to her maid, who put it into her food bag. Then the two went out together for prayer as they were accustomed to do.

Drinking more alcohol in one day than since the day you were born seldom ends well, but it ended particularly badly for Holofernes.  Here is a link to Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, which should be a staple hanging on the wall in every Christian child’s bedroom:

http://www.caravaggio.org/judith-beheading-holofernes.jsp

At least Holofernes received the best hangover cure there is.  What I love about this painting is you can read the maid’s mind, which is obviously “I didn’t sign up for this.”

Simple lesson: don’t mess with God, especially when He can send a beautiful but bad-ass sword-wielding woman to even the score. Amen.