Jesus heals but ….

In today’s Gospel, Mark 6:53-56, we are told that Jesus cured every disease among the people.  It wasn’t magic and it wasn’t passive.  Mark writes, “…(people) scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they hear He was.”  In other words, people looked for Him.  They sought Him out and brought their sick to Him for healing.  They were people of faith.  Mark writes, “… they laid the sick in the market places and begged Him that they might touch only the tassel on His cloak …”  They were persistent in their entreaties, their prayer.  And Mark concludes, “… and as many as touched it were healed.” 

We need to do the same

  1. seek Jesus out in faith
  2. be persistent in our prayer
  3. and it needs to be humble prayer …. they begged Him!
  4. and we need to accept whatever He gives us/or not gives us.
  5. we pray to be healed according to His Will.
Posted in Addictive behavior, Aging, Bereavement, Christian Faith, General Interests, Jesus, Spirituality, The mystery of suffering, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Death changes life for everyone

Death changes life for everyone:  for the person who has died and for those left behind.

The priest brother of my good friend of over forty years, Sister Joanne DeLaura, Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, Long Island, died suddenly during the night of January 31-February 1.  Earlier that evening, she and her brother, Father Phil, had had dinner together.  Father Phil was retired and living in the family home.   Sister Joanne was staying overnight.  In the morning, when he failed to show up for breakfast, she went to his room and found him unconscious.  Later that day, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.  Sister Joanne’s world changed forever within the span of a few hours.

Life changed for Father Phil.  After seventy-eight years of this earthly life, fifty-three of them as a priest, Father Phil was called home by God.  As Christians we believe that he has entered into the fullness of life as promised by Jesus.  He has achieved the goal for which all of us were made:  life with God forever!

Sister Joanne’s life has also changed but in a different way.  She has no other siblings.  She and Father Phil came from a small family with only a few cousins and many of them have already gone home to God.  She and Father Phil spent much time together.  He was an integral part of her life.  She is blessed with the Sisters in her community, but there is an emptiness that they cannot fill.  No one can replace a loved one who has died.

I felt honored to preside at Father’s Wake Service on the 4th and be incorporated into the funeral Liturgy as a reader on the 5th.  On the 6th, I spent several hours with Sister in her family living room.  Conversation touched upon many subjects but always came back to Father Phil.  I had sat in that living room many times over the years engaging him in conversation.  Now it was different.  Everything in that living room spoke of him but he was no longer physically there…nor would he ever be physically present there again.  Memories saturated the room.  A heaviness weighed down on our conversation.  As a man and a woman of faith, we knew that Father Phil was with God but on a human level we were painfully aware that life had changed for ever.  Sister was still in shock.  Only a few days had passed and she was caught up with funeral arrangements.  The immensity of her loss would crash down on her later when she had dealt with all his affairs.  Grief comes in waves.

I am now back home in Scranton.  Sister has returned to her convent.  Life goes on as it has to – but death has changed life forever.

Posted in Bereavement, Christian Faith, General Interests, Spirituality, stories, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

the death of Father DeLaura

The death of Phil DeLaura came suddenly and peacefully.

His sister, Sister Joanne, a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood, is a friend of mine for over forty years. I had a long conversation with her last night. Through her I came to know Father Phil.

He was a retired priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn and had been at St. Thomas Church, Woodhaven, for many years.  And even though retired, he frequently returned to help out. A good man; a good priest.

Sunday, January 31st,  was Sister Joanne’s birthday.  They celebrated together.  Father Phil had inherited his parent’s home in Jamaica, Queens, and lived there in retirement.  After dinner, they spent time together and then retired.  Sister Joanne stayed overnight.

In the morning he did not come down for breakfast.  She looked in on him.  God had come and brought him home.  Amen! Merciful for him; shattering for her.  Doctors say that it was a heart attack.

The funeral will be on Friday, February 5.  I will preside at a Wake Service on Thursday night. I am grateful that I am not travelling at this time and can be there for her.

My thoughts:  He is at home with the God he faithfully served.  The rest of us are still on journey.  The older I get,  the more conscious I am of my mortality.  We were made for you and you alone, O God, and one day we will all stand before you.  Glory and praise to you, God, our Creator; God our Lover; God who will one day bring us to our true home.


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among the tombs

In today’s Gospel, Mark 5:1-20, we encounter the story of the man who had been living among the tombs.  He was possessed by demons and, he was exceedingly strong.  He was violent and could not be restrained by shackles and chains.  He would simply pull the chains apart and smash the shackles.  He was a tormented person.  Jesus enters his life and expels the demons and restores the man to peace.

Are you – am I – living among the tombs?  Think about it? Are there things/patterns of behavior that chain and shackle you and me?  Jesus can free us and give us peace.  May we let Him enter our lives today.

Posted in Addictive behavior, Aging, Bereavement, Christian Faith, General Interests, Jesus, Spirituality, The mystery of suffering, Today's Scripture Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

consoling thought

The first reading today begins the Prophet Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19.  Consoling words not only for Jeremiah but for you and me this day.  The Lord says to the prophet

“… before I formed you in the womb I knew you …” and later in the reading the Lord says, “They will fight against you but not prevail over you,  for I am with you to deliver you …”

A loving, caring, protective God is with us; has always been with us even in the womb.  And this loving, caring, protective God will deliver us from all Evil. All we have to do is place our hands in His Hands.

Posted in Addictive behavior, Aging, Bereavement, Christian Faith, General Interests, Today's Scripture Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment