Sirach 40-42; Revelation 16

Posted February 18, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Sirach 41:1-4

O death! How bitter is the thought of you for the one at peace in his home,

For the one who is serene and always successful, who can still enjoy life’s pleasures.

O death! How welcome is your sentence to the weak, failing in strength,

Stumbling and tripping on everything, with sight gone and hope lost.

Do not fear death’s decree for you;

remember, it embraces those before you and those to come.

This decree for all flesh is from God;

why then should you reject a law of the Most High?

Whether one has lived a thousand years, a hundred, or ten,

in Sheol there are no arguments about life.

Sirach echos a plaintive, resigned attitude towards death typical of the Old Testament Jews.  How in much in contrast to St. Paul’s ringing paean of 1 Corinthians 15:55 Where, O death is thy victory? Where, O death, is thy sting?  This is the Christian victory, Christ’s sweetest promise.


O Death, where is thy schwing?

Posted February 15, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith, Humor

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.



Sirach 37-39; Revelation 15

Posted February 8, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Sirach 38:9-15

My son, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to God, for it is he who heals.

Flee wickedness and purify your hands; cleanse your heart of every sin.

Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and memorial,

a generous offering according to your means.

Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; you need him too,

For there are times when recovery is in his hands.

He too prays to God

That his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure.

Whoever is a sinner before his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor.

 Sirach’s take on the medical profession is interesting.  I remember the parish priest of my childhood giving a homily and him stating that to disobey a doctor’s orders – e.g. refuse to take the medicine he or she prescribed for you – was a serious sin.  He even had a term for it, but I couldn’t find anything in the Catechism specific to that.  It is obviously a sin of pride to disobey your doctor; not a sin of pride to get a second opinion.  I assume today though it would be presumptuous to assume your doctor prays to God.  Make sure you pray to Him – God, not the doctor, although I’ve met some who seemed to think they were deities (I tease I joke kindly physicians – don’t reject my insurance). As I age my cadre of doctors is getting to the point I could field an NBA team, albeit one that probably wouldn’t win many games – although my 5’6” Korean cardiologist may have explosive point guard potential.  But I digress….


Sirach 34-36; Revelation 14

Posted February 6, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Sirach 35:10-13

With a generous spirit pay homage to the Lord, and do not spare your freewill gifts.

With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.

Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.

For he is a God who always repays and will give back to you sevenfold.

The fifth precept of the Church is “You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”, meaning the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability (CCC 2043).  When I experienced job loss the temptation was to reduce my giving, but an expression of tangible trust in God is to keep giving according to your means.  Pleasures and hobbies need to be axed (for me it was golf, Starbucks), not support of the Church.  Sirach’s “spirit of joy” is the key part though.  No matter what one’s circumstances, gratitude for the gifts of God must remain paramount.  And it didn’t seem like it at the time it happens, but looking back I realize losing a long-held job was a gift from God, as I needed to learn some humility.  And believe me, losing a job during 2008-2009’s economic implosion and being over 50 years-old were my entrance requirements to working on my graduate degree in humility.  But I digress….

Sirach 31-33; Revelation 13

Posted February 2, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Revelation 13:16-17  It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.

I’m in IT, so it is highly conceivable to me how a government could enforce this.  It would take nothing more esoteric than a government-issued ID card that you have scanned before checking out your purchases.  But here’s a fascinating article where in China they are moving in that direction:

Here we have our FICO scores, which companies use to either grant or deny us credit.  But in China they are using “social credit scores”; e.g. commit a crime and it impacts your social credit score, which could lead to the denial of certain social services.  But what’s even more fascinating – and disquieting – is that their system works like Facebook, in that who your “friends” are is important; e.g. one of your connections commits a crime and it can negatively impact your social credit score.  Communism, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Sirach 28-30; Revelation 12

Posted February 1, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Sirach 28:2-7

Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you;

then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.

Does anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD?

Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself, yet seek pardon for one’s own sins?

If a mere mortal cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins?

Remember your last days and set enmity aside; 

remember death and decay, and cease from sin!

Remember the commandments and do not be angry with your neighbor;

remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.

Jesus ben Sirach is prefiguring our Lord with a strong “love thy neighbor” statement.  No grudges will be allowed to be brought into Heaven!

Sirach 25-27; Revelation 11

Posted January 30, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Sirach 27:12  Limit the time you spend among fools, but frequent the company of thoughtful men.

Well guys and gals, examples of time among fools might found in beer commercials seen during televised football games, or by watching reality shows.  Frequenting the company of thoughtful men can be sought at Bible study, men’s or women’s spirituality groups, or curled up with a book by C. S. Lewis or any number of other Christian writers.  I do know you don’t want someone contemplating this Scripture, thinking of you and then saying “Definitely need to spend less time around that person.”  I’m alone as I write this…hey wait a minute!