Wednesday, July 29, 2009

feelin' groovy

"slow down, you move too fast.
you got to make the moment last.
just kicking down the cobble stones.
looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
ba da, ba da, ba da, ba da ... feelin' groovy."
(Simon & Garfunkel - Feelin' Groovy, 1966)
who remembers the Brady Bunch? well, i don't either but i do remember the reruns! a favourite line of mine was always, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" this is what Marsha's younger sister, Jan, would often say, complaining about this or that. where am i going with this?

well, today we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha. another favourite line of mine is found in today's Gospel, Luke 10:38-42, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things." (v.41) of course Our Lord Jesus Christ was not complaining about Martha as Jan was about Marsha. but i always enjoyed the similarity, and everytime i read this particular verse i can read it no other way than, "O Martha, Martha, Martha."

the sister of Mary Magdalene, who we celebrated a week ago, and the sister of Lazarus, Martha was known for her hospitality. however, she did worry and was troubled by many things. some considered her a perfectionist. the Gospel continues that Mary, her sister, had chosen the better part - listening to the Lord, and that Martha should focus on finding the same balance.

"O Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan." why do i worry so, and why do i let this and that bother me, trouble me, irritate me? the Lord was not diminishing what Martha was doing, but rather underlying the importance of being rooted in the Word of God, and of course being rooted in prayer. just like Martha, i need to worry less about my work - not to imply that i don't do my best, and give it my all, but rather at one point to say enough is enough, put it in the hands of the Lord, and trust all will go fine. i don't have to go over my homily a 1000times, i don't have to rewrite this or that to make it perfect - whatever that means. indeed, i don't have to exercise, pray, work to the point that i've lost the meaning of why i was doing any of it in the first place. all has their place, all of it is needed for a balanced life, a healthy life. Our Lord was simply reiterating that fact today for Martha (and for me).

as i finish my time here at the Cathedral, i am preparing myself, packing a few boxes and moving everything over to Annunciation to begin my new assignment - i move on Friday. i'm fighting the temptations against being worried and distracted because of it. indeed, i'm entering into a new family, and that is nothing to be worried about, rather i am very joyful, and i can't wait. now, i'm off to finish my on-call ministry, read the paper, and to worry about whether or not i'll have a chance to do some biking tomorrow morning. peace out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

don't cry

"don't you cry tonight
I still love you" (GNR - Don't Cry, 1991)
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us. today we celebrate the memorial of one of the great disciples of the Lord. she was known by many as a great sinner. however, though her sins were many, she is forgiven because she loved much!(Lk 7:47) indeed, Our Lord humbled many through Mary's humility, including many who were at table with Him that evening.(Lk 7-36-50) many seminarians have a special place in their hearts for this Saint.

the girl at the mirror, by Norman Rockwell, seems to tell us a bit about St. Mary. he always knew how to portray humanity. mirrors often lie to us. they'll tell us what we want them to say. it was only when St. Mary looked into Our Lord did she recognize who she really was. she recognized Him who recognized her. she knew herself as a sinner, yes, ... but a forgiven sinner! indeed, this passage from Luke is about God's love for sinners! however, the following is more from GNR:
"talk to Me softly
there is something in your eyes
don't hang your head in sorrow
and please don't cry
I know how you feel inside I've
I've been there before
somethin' is changin' inside you
and don't you know
don't you cry tonight
I still love you"
i can relate. i may have fallen, and continue to, but in Christ i have been forgiven. we are forgiven sinners! in the mirror i see what i want. i have rules about how i should be as a man. how i should live as a Christian. how i should live as a priest. if i only look in the mirror, i will surely fall. it's only when i look to Christ do i understand my vocation, and direction in life. indeed, it's only when i look to the other, rather than myself, do i begin to feel that peace which comes by living in Christ. however, i can't forget that i'm on a journey, ... a journey of becoming more human, more Christian, indeed, more Christ-like. if i've failed you, failed to be present to you, i ask for pardon.

today, the Church couples St. Mary's encounter with the Risen Lord (Jn 20:1,11-18) with a powerful reading from Song of Songs (Song 3:1-4). St. Mary Magdalene was tired of living a lie. the love she had for the Lord moved her, compelled her to continue to search for Him. though she wept, she was overjoyed by the encounter. she no longer needed to live by false ideals. she now lived by the will of the Father. at peace with herself, she exclaimed, "i have seen the Lord".(Jn 20:18) let us pray to her, asking her to see as she did.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

knockin' on heaven's door

"mama take this badge from me
i can't use it anymore
it's getting dark too dark to see
feels like i'm knockin' on heaven's door"
(Bob Dylan - Knockin' on Heaven's Door, 1973)

many people have asked me how things are going. how is life as a new priest? how is ministry going? by the way, what exactly do you do? etc., etc., etc. at the moment, i'm learning. that's what i tell everyone. learning how to celebrate the Sacraments (daily mass - Eucharist, Reconciliation, Sacrament of the Sick, and i just celebrated a wedding this past weekend!). learning how to offer some hope and consolation to those dealing with death and dying. finally, simply learning to be a priest. good thing i have the Sacraments to support me.

at the seminary i as somebody. i lived in a room on the second floor. i was a 4th year seminarian (to be feared, or ignored, take your pick). many envied us since we rarely went downtown for classes, thus reducing our commute times exponentially. at the seminary, i was at the top of the ladder. today, i begin once again at the bottom. i look up the ladder afraid of taking the first step sometimes. the first step is always a doozy! when i left home for the first time (to Pittsburgh). when i bought my first house (and sold it 8months later). when i entered the seminary. transition periods in life are not to be minimized! i always underestimate them. i always try to hurry through the process, looking for a shortcut. i want to be in control, confident, and at peace. what's the hold up already?!?!

there is nothing wrong with being lost. at least i know the direction - Our Lord Jesus Christ! however, i lose focus even on God when life gets the best of me. because of my sin, it gets dark, too dark to see sometimes. that's why i return to the confessional, time and time again. i wonder if God is bothered by me knocking so often? i go to the Sacrament asking for pardon, peace and strength to continue my journey - where ever that may lead me. He always gives me peace, hope, and reorients me on the right path. God is good! indeed, he forgives me, and helps me to be a witness to him.

at the moment, attentive to the pager on my hip, i begin preparations for this weekend. my last weekend here at the Cathedral. yep, here comes another transition. i'm off to my new parish, Annunciation of the Lord, in less than two weeks. my arms are wide open, and looking forward in meeting my new family. peace out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

walking on sunshine

Norman Rockwell:  He's Going to Be Taller Than Dad, 1939

"i'm walking on sunshine , wooah
i'm walking on sunshine, woooah
i'm walking on sunshine, woooah
and don't it feel good!!!"
(Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine, 1985)
after jumping in, i find myself measuring the progress (picture = Norman Rockwell: He's Going to Be Taller Than Dad, 1939). i think it's a bit early to do that, for obvious reasons -- i'm a new baby priest! i need to give myself some time before i can change the world. i need to drink milk before eating meat. the other realization i have come across is that i will not change the world, rather God will do all the transforming. all i can change is my heart.

like Katrina and the Waves though, i am walking on sunshine. despite the mysteries of the road less traveled by, i am at peace for the first time in a long time. so, yesterday, my day off, i decided to live it up. not one, but two sports. i played an hour or so of ultimate frisbee with the gang on Parliament Hill. then, after a short break, drove up to Orléans to play squash. i lost, both games. oh well. who's counting though? oh, possibly the youth at Annunciation of the Lord parish. i've been hearing there is ultimate frisbee every monday night as well. well i'm practising, hopefully i can keep up with you all!

i'm off to prepare the wedding i'll have on Saturday. peace out!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


"Might as well jump, jump!
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. jump!
Go ahead, jump." (Van Halen - Jump, 1984)
hmmm, say what? excuse me? here i am, two months into the priesthood and i feel - how do i say "holy crap" in a pastoral way. i've barely begun my ministry and i can't help but feel grateful for this wonderful gift. however, i also see the great responsibility that comes with it.

Van Halen said it best. you've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real. i haven't seen much yet, but it has been an eye opening experience to say the least. last night i was called into the Civic Hospital to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick, anointing, for a woman who was on her last breaths. the family needed consolation, and they got me. ready or not, life has found me, and i'm getting ready to jump right in!

i never liked diving. i remember learning how to swim and i always was afraid of that high tower thing-a-ma-gig! in fact, i never enjoyed the small diving board, let alone diving off the side. ouch! after six years of formation at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto, i am now a new baby priest of the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The High Board by Norman Rockwell seems fitting, no?

more on my journey thus far, since this blog is in it's 4th or 5th edition. for all those are used to my old website, i apologize for the major change. i would have liked to continue using my text editor and coding my site from scratch - which is what i have been doing for the past 10years. however, it seems that i do not have much time any more. i still would like to keep my thoughts flowing somewhat, so hopefully this format will help. i'll see what i can do in transferring some of my old content. until then, however, it seems that we have a brand new start. peace out.