Thursday, October 27, 2016

Walls aren't Answer to People Fleeing War

Walls aren't answer to people fleeing war, climate change, pope says: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Closing doors to immigrants and refugees is not the answer -- in fact, it only helps encourage the crime of human trafficking.

This article emphasized the pope's plea to help our brothers and sisters.

Look Me in the Eyes

We were shaking hands goodbye– but he didn’t let go.  “I have to tell you something.  We’re friends, right?”

“Yes.”  He finally let my hand go and continued to explain.

 “When we were shaking hands, you weren’t looking at me.  You were looking behind me.  Is there someone more interesting there?  More important?  Look, I know you.  I know that you’re not that kind of person.  You’re too kind and thoughtful and caring to be like that.  But your body language is telling people that you don’t value them.  When you shake hands with someone you need to look them in the eyes. 

What could I say?  Of course I apologized.  He wasn’t being mean.  He was trying to be helpful. 
Still.  His words (helpful as he said) were embarrassing. 

Was he right?  I thought about it.  It didn’t take me long.  I could replay the last few moments of saying goodbye to him and shaking his hand, in my mind.  And I could feel my eyes looking at the crowd behind him. I did do that.  I do, do that.  I do.

Why?  Well, after thinking, I dunno, I reflected deeper. 

Is it possible, that I’m just shy?  I was extremely shy as a child.  Haven’t I outgrown it?  Do people ever outgrow it?  Of course they do, but is a part of me still afraid of people?  Well, it is possible. 
What can I do about it?  Just look people in the eye, Silly.  Well, yes. 

Is it also possible that I wasn’t paying attention to him and was looking for someone more interesting?  I don’t think so.  I was leaving, not staying. 

Well, whatever!  I hearby resolve to look people in the eye. 
                        I will give the person I am talking to all my attention.
                        I will make them feel attractive, interesting, and valuable.
                        I will engage them for as long as needed.
Actually, my resolution willprobablly improve the quality of my interactions with others.  And that’s certainly a good thing.  Eyes may not literally be windows to the soul, but they do speak emotionally.  I hope my eyes speak sincerety, honesty, and kindness.  And with a smile!  Smiling eyes are the best conversational accessory. 

But I have to look at you to convey all this.  And that’s what I resolve to do.

P.S.  It's been a couple of weeks now since I made this resolution and you know what?  I'm looking people directly in the eye but most of them do not look me in the eye!  Most of them look down.  

Why do you think?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

House Blessing

Father Chris Bae came to bless Ester's new house.  Ester is a member of Our Lady of Hope Prayer Group and she invited all of us to the house blessing.  Once all of us were present, Father Chris poured a little salt on a napkin and some water in a cup.  He then blessed the cup and salt and poured the salt into the cup and blessed it.  He prayed out of a Book of Blessings, which also included some readings.  Then we all followed Father Chris walking through every single room, blessing it by sprinkling holy water in every nook and cranny.  He blessed each person, too.

Everyone ate and socialized.  Father Chris, too.

This picture is Father Chris blessing the salt and holy water.  Ester is watching from the stairs.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Easy Action for Syria

Dear anti-genocide activist,
As you know, the situation for civilians in Syria is dire. 250,000 civilians remain in besieged Aleppo, trapped and bombarded by Russia and the Assad regime. In only one month since the breakdown of the September 19 ceasefire, nearly 500 civilians have been killed in Aleppo alone. Hospitals and civilian sites continue to be targeted.
Please make an easy phone call to help. The Syria Civilian Protection Bill, HR 5732, helps alleviate violence and promote accountability for those perpetrating atrocities in Syria. The bill calls for targeted sanctions on individuals with ties to the Assad regime and an assessment of the potential effectiveness of safe zones and no fly zones.
Join this easy action (from STAND and Students Organize 4 Syria) urging Congress to make civilian protection in Syria a priority and to hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable.

Call your Representative, 9am-5pm, via the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121, press 2 for the House, then enter your zip code to be connected to your Representative. Suggested text:

“Hello, my name is _______, and I’m calling from [Town], Massachusetts. I'm calling to ask [Representative X] to co-sponsor and support H.R. 5732, the Syria Civilian Protection Act. It's a bi-partisan measure introduced by the Representative Engel, the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Representative. Royce, the Committee Chair, is co-sponsoring the bill as are two Massachusetts Representatives, Keating and Moulton. Please ask [Representative X] to join his/her colleagues and co-sponsor this bill. Thank you."
If your Representative is either Keating or Moulton, please call and thank them for supporting the bill.

Eric Cohen
Chairperson, Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur

* Our website is

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Perfect Sunday Lectio

Discover the Lectio Divina #800
Monday, October 24, 2016
The Perfect Sunday
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.(LK 13:10-17)

The cure of the crippled woman on the Sabbath and the controversy that results shows a parallel to an incident that will be reported later, in Luke 14: 1-6—the cure of the man with dropsy on the Sabbath. A characteristic of Luke’s style is the juxtaposition of an incident that reveals Jesus’ concern for a man and one that also reveals his concern for a woman.

If the Jewish traditional law allowed for the untying of bound animals on the Sabbath, how much more should this woman who had been bound by Satan, be freed on the Sabbath? Yes, Satan is blamed for infirmity. Imperfection is taken as evidence of Satan’s hold on humanity. The healing ministry of Jesus reveals the gradual wrestling from Satan of control over humanity and the establishment of God’s kingdom.

Do you wonder what the leader of the synagogue was thinking? V. 17 He was humiliated. Perhaps not as much as you think. Jewish dialogue took place in the synagogue when discussing the Torah. The synagogue leader is reading the Torah correctly. But he’s “cherry picking.” He chose a section from the reading. Jesus agrees! But Jesus continues on reading V. 15 the legitimate allowances of restricted kinds of “work” on the Sabbath. Jesus also argues for the appropriateness of healing especially on the Sabbath. Then Jesus frees the “daughter of Abraham” from Satan.

Not only did Jesus win the argument, He also freed the crippled woman from her infirmity. Note that the woman never asked for healing. She was just a part of this congregation V. 12-13. Jesus asked her if she wanted to be healed. So this was part of Jesus’ lesson plan in the temple, from the beginning. Although we don’t know what the woman said, I can imagine her praise of thanksgiving was mixed in with the crowd’s rejoicing. Don’t you love it when your plans come together? We thank God, too!

Dear Lord, we praise and thank you for prayers that are answered, for the support of family and friends and the many blessings you have given us. We especially thank you for healing those who were sick, suffering from various illnesses and are in remission from cancer. There is so much sickness in this world. We appeal to you for healing, especially spiritually healing so that all may come to know and love You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday is dedicated to Our Lord.  All thought, prayer and work should be for the greater glory of God.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Trolley Problem

The trolley problem and the presidential election: There is a thought experiment in moral philosophy, made famous by Philippa Foot, called the trolley problem. Imagine you are the driver of a runaway trolley that you can steer but not stop. Up ahead, are five workers you are heading to kill.  On the right side track, is one worker on the tracks, that you would kill.  What do you choose?  The lesser evil?  But one cannot choose evil for a good.  That's the problem.

Friends Feeding Families

Friends feeding Families campaign: Recently released census data that shows that poverty in the United States has declined for the first time since 2007, down 1.2 percentage points in 2015 from 2014. The census data also notes that the median income is declining.  These are the working poor and need supplemental help to make ends meet.  Read this article to see how you can help.