Mass Times
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September 1, 2013

A man who smelled like a distillery flopped on a bus seat next to a deacon. The man‘s tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick and a half empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his coat pocket.

He opened his newspaper and began reading. After a few minutes, the disheveled guy turned to the deacon and asked, “Say, Deacon, what causes arthritis? The deacon thought to himself that it would be a good chance to give this guy a lesson. “Mister, it’s caused by looseliving, being with loose ladies, too much alcohol and a contempt for your fellow man.”

“Well, thanks” the drunk muttered, returning to his paper. The deacon, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. “I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to come on so strong. How long did you have arthritis?”

“I don’t have it, deacon. I was just reading here that our pastor does.”

Summer is over. Vacation is over. Kids are to be back to school this week. Parents and teachers are ready to journey with kids through a new school year. Office is busier. Phone rings more often. Thanks be to God, it was so quiet in the summer. All the programs in the parish will start again. I guess the attendance of Sunday Mass will pick up too.

Time flies! Once a wise lady advised me, “Days go faster when you are older.” Is it true? I have been in this parish for almost 3 years now. The first day I talked to you in church, I urged you to entrust everything in the hands of God through prayers. And it has been working so far. The parish, I believe, is getting better and better spiritually, communally and financially. Thanks to all of you. I single out those who spend an hour every Tuesday or Thursday or Friday to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament make a difference in our life and in the life of the Church. If you have never tried it, consider this as a project for you. If you are retired, make it late during the night or early during the day. If you are still working, commit yourself at the early evening hour. It works for me; it works for the parish; it works for many people; and it will work for you.

Another priority of our parish is to care for our children. You look after them at home. The parish offers them a chance to learn about God, the Church and community through different programs: “Children Liturgy” during Sunday Mass, First Communion Classes, Confirmation Classes and Equip and Unchained Youth Groups. Check out which one is suitable for your children. Do not forget that children need spiritual food as much as they need nutritional food. One time an old priest told me when we came to visit a new born baby in the hospital,“Look at the babies; all of them were born with beauty and innocence; and how do we make many of them criminals!”

Caring for our children is a very important ministry. We try to offer them the best we can. They are the present and the future of the Church. Another day I read an interesting article “School Needs to Be All-Inclusive” in a News Paper. The author was grouping kids in two: “… (1)Who can’t wait for school to start up again in order to fulfill his/her desire for knowledge and provide an opportunity to show off their smarts, (2) many others dread it.”

Then the author went on to cite some reasons why they feel that way: “Some aren’t academically inclined and view each class as an opportunity to embarrass themselves in front of their peers … For other students, it isn’t the knowledge or learning process they fear, but the wanton behaviors of some of their classmates who enjoy ganging up …Others still find the public educational system completely unchallenging, and dread going to school out of sheer boredom.”

The author then advised teachers and administrators“to take steps to ensure these disaffected students feel welcome. The need to do this is not only for the students’ sake, but for all of society.”

I agree with the author that we should do our best to care for our children. But on their part, they also should show us their efforts, good intentions and cooperation. The success cannot be there if only one side tries and the other doesn’t. The society, parish, schools, parents and kids, all should work together for a better future of God’s created image.

Judge Phillip Gillian of Denver gave some advice to the young people of his community worth repeating. It was an answer to the cry of many teenagers today. “School is boring. Family is boring. Church is boring. What can we do? Where can we go?”

“Go home,” says the Judge. “Hang the storm windows, paint the woodwork, rake up the leaves, mow the lawn, wash the car, learn to cook, scrub the floors, repair the sink, build a boat, get a job. Help the preacher (and your priest too), visit the sick and the poor. Study your lessons. And, when you are through, read a good book. Your parents do not owe you entertainment. Your city does not owe you recreational facilities. The world does not owe you a living. YOU owe the world something. You owe your time, energy and talents so that you can enrich the world. In plain words, GROW UP. Quit being a cry baby. Get out of your dream world and develop a backbone…not a wishbone, and start acting like a man or a lady. You have no right to expect your parents to buy your every whim and fancy just because selfish ego instead of common sense dominates your personality, thoughts and requests. In heaven’s name, grow up and go home.”

What do you think, as parents or teens, when you read these words? God Bless you.