Sunday, March 01, 2015

Hidden glory always there (Sunday homily)

There are a lot of mysteries in the readings today. 
What do we make of them?

Mystery number one: 
why would God tell Abraham 
to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice?

It would be fun to go through this passage line-by-line, 
but that would take too long. 
But I would argue that God had no desire 
for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac; 
God had no need for Abraham to do that. 

Rather, it was Abraham who, after a long struggle of faith, 
Needed finally to pass the test of his own faith, 
after having failed it so many times. 
And so, God, understanding that Abraham needs this, allows it. 
Only at the last moment does he stop Abraham and say, 
“I know now how devoted you are.” 

God didn’t learn anything he didn’t already know; he knew all along. 
But what do you suppose it meant for Abraham 
to hear those words from God? 

And that leads to mystery number two: 
what is the transfiguration of Jesus in the Gospel about? 
What does it mean?

Jesus knows who he is. The Father knows who he is. 
But do Peter, James and John? 

This happens after Peter has said to Jesus, 
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 
And yet, when the Lord reveals to Peter 
that he will be crucified, Peter is aghast; he can’t accept that.

An ancient tradition holds 
that this event happened 40 days before Jesus was executed; 
that’s why we read it every year on the second Sunday of Lent.

This revelation of Jesus’ glory was something the Apostles needed. 
They would be shaken to the core by the crucifixion. 
In this they see a promise of the Resurrection.

Again, Jesus didn’t need this; 
but to ask the question I posed about Abraham: 
what must this have meant for these Apostles?

These three apostles would all suffer greatly for their witness; 
Peter would be crucified; James beheaded. 
Jesus wanted them never to forget what they witnessed.

And that leads to mystery number three.
In the Gospel, the Lord Jesus unveils a glory 
that was already there, yet hidden most of the time.
Do you think that is true for us as well?

I tell you that it is! 

All around us is God’s Creation. 

I don’t know if you pay attention to these stories, 
but I notice almost every week there’s an article about scientists 
trying to unravel the mysteries of how the universe began; 
and more than that, what the universe is made of. 

Do you realize that most of what makes up the universe 
is completely a mystery to science? 
They call it “dark matter”—
meaning, its nature and properties are hidden to us.

Still, what you and I do know is pretty marvelous. 
We’re learning more all the time about the complexity of our world, 
including the complexity of what keeps us healthy. 
I can’t explain the wonders of what makes me able to see you, 
or you able to hear me. Most of the time we don’t even think about it; 
yet those wonders are there, all the same.

When God created the world and everything in it, 
he called it all “very good.” 
There is something to be said for respecting and valuing 
the treasures of our environment. 
That doesn’t mean we have to endorse every law or regulation 
someone wants to propose; 
but we must never forget what the word “Creation” means: 
all this was created by God, entrusted to us, and deserves respect.

When God created man and woman, he stamped us with his own image. 
Do you want to know what the face of God looks like? 
Look around you. 
Every face of every human being you ever meet looks like God.

When you were baptized, 
you were clothed in the glory of the Lord. 
The priest puts a white garment over the child; 
but that is merely a poor symbol of the hidden, true glory. 

In baptism we are clothed with Christ! 

Parents, if you could see it, when your child was baptized, 
he or she would radiate the same blinding radiance 
that Jesus revealed to the Apostles.

When you and I sin, we mar that glory; we soil it. 
When I had my first new car, 
I remember how unhappy I was to see the first scratch. 
Would that we were as sorry about the sins that soil our souls!

But that’s all the more reason 
to give thanks for the sacrament of confession. 
If we could see the hidden glory, 
what would it look like when the priest gives absolution? 
Something like the hidden glory of baptism, I think; 
and maybe something like what the Apostles saw. 

Jesus showed his glory to the Apostles 
because he knew what darkness lay ahead for them. 
Are you facing darkness and trial? 
John would stand at the foot of the cross a few weeks after this; 
many of us are standing by family or friends who are suffering. 
The crosses many of us face are pretty harsh; 
it’s so tempting to give up.

You and I, too, need to see the hidden glory. 
We need it so we remember what we stand for; 
what we live and die for; what lies ahead for us. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

'Turkey bacon...'

...No, it's not.

Among the items my venerable predecessor left in the freezer, one was a package of "turkey bacon." I avoided it till now; but Lent seemed a good time to use this up.

Here it is, you decide:

Yes, it kind of looks like it; and it doesn't taste that bad. I had it with a couple of eggs fried in the middle of slices of bread -- i.e., "eggs in a basket." (Sorry, no photos of breakfast; I wanted to eat it while it was hot. The photo above was of leftover bacon, just now.)

What do you use as a substitute for bacon? Is there any substitute?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lent is serious business (Sunday homily)

Every year on this first Sunday of Lent, 
the Gospel reading tells the same story, 
of our Lord Jesus being in the desert, 
facing temptation from the devil.

The accounts from Matthew and Luke give a lot more detail, 
but in this account from Mark, it’s very sparse: 
he was “in the desert for 40 days, tempted by Satan.” 

When you hear the desert and the number 40, 
you might think of God’s People in the wilderness, 
wandering before they enter the Promised Land. 
Or you might think of our 40 days of Lent. Both good connections.

But there’s something else this harks back to, 
something much, much more ancient.

Adam in the garden – being tempted by the devil.

Jesus is the new Adam. He takes the path the first Adam did not. 
When Adam was confronted by evil, he remained passive, 
leaving Eve to face it alone. 
Jesus, the second Adam, wades into battle with Satan. 
This is why he came.

Our spiritual battle during Lent 
is not mainly about battling hunger or missing things we gave up. 
That’s only the threshold issue. 
We start there; just as our Lent has only started.

When the Lord was in the desert, he went without food 40 days.
Then he faced the devil.

Doesn’t that tell us that the spiritual battle 
we are engaged in is a big deal? 
It’s not small potatoes. The stakes are huge!

So let me offer this suggestion: Lent is serious business. 
This is about the salvation of our own souls; 
and it is also about the salvation of the world.

Yes, the salvation of the world.

I know what you may be thinking: 
it is Jesus Christ who saves the world, not us. 
And that’s true—to a point. 

It’s absolutely true that Jesus Christ does not need us, or our help, 
in the task of saving the world. He does not need our help.

So let’s ask the question then: 
why does Jesus command us to pray for other people? 
Why does he tell us to help other people? 
Why – if our role is irrelevant – 
does he command us to tell other people about him?

The answer is this: while Jesus doesn’t need our help – 
that is to say, he could do it entirely without us—he chooses, 
for reasons that pass understanding, to include our help in his plan.

It really does seem that the role he assigns to us, matters.

Where you see this most clearly is in the Holy Mass.
As we know, the Mass makes present for us 
the dying and rising of Jesus. 

When we are at Mass, we are really present at Calvary, 
where Jesus died; and we are truly present 
as he offers himself to the Father; 
and we really are present at the tomb, 
when his body comes back to life.

So when the priest stands at the altar; 
when I say the words of Jesus 
and the bread and wine truly become Jesus’ Body and Blood; 
and when I lift up the Body and Blood of the Lord…

What we’re witnessing is Jesus on the Cross; 
Jesus dying; Jesus offering himself to the Father. 
Jesus coming back from the dead. 
It’s all here in this moment.

This altar, and all of us with it, 
become a cosmic “ground zero” where heaven and earth, 
all time, all space, all eternity, are drawn to behold this wonder: 
God acting to redeem his ruined creation.

Why does this happen?

While it’s true this serves to strengthen us, 
the Mass is about a lot more than us. 
It’s about the world. 
When the Son offers himself to the Father, for whom does he plead? He pleads for us all. 

You are never a spectator. 
If you are a baptized Christian, you cannot just “watch.” 
You participate. This is the true “participation” in Mass: 
to join your prayers to the all-powerful prayer of Jesus Christ!

As a priest, I am truly unworthy of this. 
I tremble for my soul when I consider just how unworthy I am. 

Many people admit they “zone out” at Mass. It’s understandable.
A lot of the time, it’s because we don’t know enough about the Mass.
That’s why I’m explaining this.

But we must admit it’s also human weakness.
When people say, “I’m bored,” what they’re really saying 
is that it’s just too hard to be attentive; 
it’s too much trouble to bring to Mass, 
to the altar, the cares and needs of other people.

Imagine, instead of coming to Mass, 
you were invited to the first Good Friday. 
You were invited to be there. 
And Jesus told you, bring anyone you want, 
and place them at the foot of the cross. 
Put them there, so that they will be covered by my mercy.

Wouldn’t we be embarrassed to tell the Lord – on the Cross – 
“I’m sorry, Lord, I couldn’t think of anyone to bring”? Or, “I forgot?”

That in fact is what we are invited to do. 
To bring everyone who needs God’s mercy right here at the altar.

In the old form of the Mass – 
which we have every Wednesday morning, 
and on First Friday evenings – 
the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer in silence. 

While it’s great that, in the new Mass, 
we can hear the words of the prayer, 
one advantage of that silence 
was that the faithful had the opportunity to focus on all those people, 
and problems and needs, that they wanted to bring to Jesus at Mass.

People will criticize the older form of Mass, and say, 
oh, there were so many people who didn’t pay attention.
Well, that’s still true, isn’t it?
The problem isn’t whether the prayers of Mass are out loud or silent; 
the problem is whether we take our role seriously or not.

So back to my main theme: you and I are engaged in spiritual combat. 
The problems of our time? 
They only make sense when understood as spiritual combat. 

Who is it that wants abortion on demand? 
Who wants to mangle the reality of marriage? 
Who is eager to destroy the family? 
Who is determined to see the Catholic Church knocked down?
Who rejoices to have pornography in every home? 
To have films like “50 Shades” depict degradation as love?
Who delights to see the Islamic State on the march? 

There is great good in the world; but there is evil, too; 
and a great battle is underway. 

No, Jesus can win without us – except that he has chosen to involve us. 
He has – amazing to say! – chosen to rely on us. 
The battle is raging. The alarms are sounding. 
You’ve been summoned. Souls are at stake. Are you ready?

Lent is serious business.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Be made clean of your leprosy (Sunday homily)

The emphasis on skin diseases in the readings might seem a little odd. But let’s look at it.

Why would this even be in the Scriptures?

Let’s recall that the Book of Leviticus 
is part of the Covenant that God made with his people at Mount Sinai. 
At a website called “The Sacred Page,” 
I read a good article by Dr. John Bergsma, 
who teaches Scripture at Franciscan University in Steubenville. 
As Dr. Bergsma explains it, 
Leviticus “was a complex system of symbolism 
aimed at teaching about the contagious nature of sinfulness 
and the connection between sin and death.”

Skin diseases were a serious health concern in Moses’ time; 
and the rules about keeping those with a disease away 
was for the good of the whole community. 
All the same, having leprosy or other skin illnesses 
not only meant separation from family and friends, 
but also from worship in the temple; 
it meant separation from communion with God.

So even though leprosy wasn’t a sin, 
and those who it weren’t bad people, 
in scripture, it becomes a powerful image of what sin does to us: 
it can spread like an infection; 
and it also separates us from one another and from God.

And let me give credit here: all that drew on Dr. Bergsma article.

Now this got me thinking. 
We believe as Catholics that if we commit a mortal sin, 
that separates us from the community. 
It doesn’t mean we can’t come to Holy Mass, 
but it does mean we refrain from receiving Holy Communion 
until that rupture has been healed. 

It’s called a mortal sin because it kills the life of God’s grace within us. 
We go to confession and receive absolution 
to restore that life within us.

Whenever someone makes a TV show or a film about the Bible, 
and if they include anything about leprosy, 
they always show it with great drama: 
the lepers crying out “unclean, unclean!” 
and folks reacting with horror. 
If you ever saw the old movie Ben Hur, you know what I mean. 

Let’s ask the question: do we feel horror toward sin? 
If someone showed up in Russia with Ebola, 
I think there would be a lot of concern, and probably some real fear. 
There’s a lot of legitimate concern about measles. 
But how concerned are we about “catching” sin?

We make a distinction between mortal and venial sins, 
with venial sins not being so deadly. 
But that doesn’t mean they are nothing to worry about. 

Let’s put this in the context of a relationship. 
There are lots of things that can happen between us 
and a friend, a parent, or a spouse. 

Little things; we don’t call quite as often; 
we don’t talk as much as we used to. 
A sharp or sarcastic comment here or there. 
Too few times we say “please” or “thank you.” 

But what happens when those things accumulate? 
Maybe it’s an argument; 
and suddenly it’s not a “little thing” any more. 
Or it’s a gradual drift. 
We go from seeing or calling a friend or relative 
every few days to every few months, to every few years, 
to…we can’t remember when.

And that is exactly how some people who used to be active Catholics become ex-Catholics. 

Saint Louis, King of France, had this advice for his son: 
“My dearest son, my first instruction 
is that you should love the Lord your God 
with all your heart and all your strength. 
Without this there is no salvation. 
Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, 
that is to say, from every mortal sin.” 

I would add that if we don’t mind the company of venial sins, 
we’ll soon find mortal sins don’t bother us so much either.

This helps us understand what Lent is for. 
More than anything else, penance is about conversion. 
If you give up something you love this Lent, as I plan to, 
it’s not because beer or chocolate 
or video games or golf are bad things; 
we do it so that they don’t have too much power over us. 
When we fast this Ash Wednesday, and we feel that hunger, 
the value of that is so that our stomach doesn’t rule us. 
And we have the opportunity to offer it in prayer, 
being mindful in particular 
of the many people who are hungry every day. 
Instead of buying ourselves food we don’t really need, 
we can give that money away for those who are in real need.

Lent begins Wednesday. Now’s the time to make our plans. 

Will you do any spiritual reading this Lent, 
instead of time on the Internet? 
Will you try to attend daily Mass? 
Give up certain things? 
Try to make the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet 
part of your regular routine? 

No more delay: it’s time to commit yourself, if only to yourself. 
Write it down; even if only you sees it.
A plan you follow half-way will certainly get you farther 
than no plan at all.

In the bulletin today, you’ll find a handout with lots of ideas. 
But above all, that handout will point out 
all the many opportunities for confession. 
Because when we get that sin really is something to horrify us, 
then we realize what a miracle the sacrament of confession is. 

Imagine looking at your arms, and seeing scabs and sores and infection; 
but when Jesus says, “Be made clean!” 
You look again, and you’re clean, pure and clean! Completely clean!

That’s what confession does. It feels really, really good.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mommy, Jesus called me a 'dog'!

At today's Mass, we hear this Gospel reading:

Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. 

Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. 

He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”

Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” 
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone (Mark 7:24-30).

It reminded me of an interaction I had online the other day, in which someone made the claim that Jesus viewed Gentiles as "dogs," and had only come for Jews; the Gentiles would have to wait for the crowning of Israel's Messiah, was his argument (as I recall it now). It's not a new argument; and in fairness, this passage and a few others do lend support to it.

Nevertheless, as I explained in my homily this morning, this is not what our Lord had in mind. I think this passage is often misunderstood.

To point out the obvious, it's necessary to look at any passage of Scripture in context. Here's a good rule to apply: anytime an interpretation of a particular passage sets that passage at odds with everything else, look again. Or to put it another way, an interpretation of a passage should solve problems, not create them. When God -- or really, any individual presented in Scripture suddenly seems "out of character," that's a good time to back up and ask why that might be so. There may be a good reason for it.

So let's look at this passage. And let's set it side by side (not literally; I don't know how to do that with Blogger) with the like passage in Matthew 15: 21-28:

Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” 

But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”

He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”

He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” 

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Here's what's going on. Our Lord is preparing the apostles for a renewal of Israel; and in this renewed Israel, the promise God made through the prophets will be fulfilled, namely: of Israel being a light to the nations. You will find this in many places in Isaiah, but also elsewhere. Consider Malachi 1:11: "From the rising of the sun to its setting, my name is great among the nations..." And the whole of the book of Jonah as well.

The Gospel of Matthew is very explicit in presenting this theme, literally from beginning to end: the opening genealogy of Matthew includes several Gentiles in the supposed family tree of Jesus -- I say supposed because Jesus himself is not a member of that family: the line comes down to Joseph, and Jesus is not kin to Joseph; Joseph must adopt Jesus. So consider that: even the Lord God, our Messiah, must be grafted in, just like the Gentiles! And then, at the conclusion of Matthew, the Lord tells the Apostles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..." (28:19). And in between, there are repeated episodes consistent with this theme: the arrival of the Magi, the battle with the scribes and Pharisees over the ritual law, and many, many encounters between Jesus and outsiders, including Gentiles.

In Matthew's account of the encounter with the Canaanite woman (Mark calls her "Syrophoenician"), a key to this is what the Apostles say: "Send her away." And in that context, our Lord's comments make far more sense as a reply, not to her, but to them. He is saying out loud what they think; and in doing so, also eliciting the woman's response. It's a masterful turn, because in the end, the Gentile woman, by her own words, demonstrates a better grasp on what Jesus wants than his own disciples.

Notice what Jesus says to her, in Matthew's account: "O woman, great is your faith!" Contrast that with what he said to Peter, just before (in Chapter 14), when the Apostles were in the boat: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Someone might say, OK, that's Matthew; but is Mark presenting it the same way? To which I offer two responses: first, it's the same Jesus; but, second, I think if you look at the text of Mark, you'll find a similar theme, if not as pronounced.

Let's note, first of all, the so-called "Messianic Secret" in Mark. This is the curious way that Jesus tells people not to say anything about who he is -- i.e., keep it a "secret." Why does he do this? To keep people from misunderstanding just how he is the Messiah. The prevailing notion is a political Messiah, who will raise up an army and drive out the Romans. That's not who Jesus is. The Lord, however, is very willing to tell people he is the Messiah, once they understood it means he will conquer through suffering on the cross. See Mark 8, paralleling Matthew 16, where Peter proclaims Jesus "the Christ"; and then the Lord reveals to them that he will suffer and die.

Also, notice in Mark, as in Matthew, Jesus is reaching out to outsiders: lepers, women, and Gentiles. And he likewise is challenging the scribes and Pharisees about not over-emphasizing ritual purity. There's an encounter in Chapter 5 that's noteworthy: Jesus heals a man who lived in the "territory of the Gerasenes," and also who also "lived among the tombs." This is a double-whammy: this was a Gentile area; and the man lived among tombs: that's ritually unclean. Can you imagine the reaction of the Apostles as Jesus drags them there? It's very clear: it says "they came..."--he brought them along.

In fact, it's a triple-whammy, because the man also had "an unclean spirit."

This passage is so striking once you look at it. The man sees him from a distance, but doesn't keep his distance as anyone, frankly, might wish; he runs to Jesus and falls at his feet.

Next in Mark is a woman with a hemorrhage. This is yet another example of ritual impurity. Then a dead child; another impurity. Doesn't it seem curious that the Lord just "happens" to run into all these ritually unclean people? What must the Apostles be thinking?

And this continues after this encounter with the Syrophoenician woman: Jesus is back in the Decapolis area -- a Gentile area -- and there he performs healings, and even multiplies the loaves for the four thousand.

All this and more besides makes abundantly clear that the Lord has no issue with bringing healing and salvation to Gentiles. After all, it plainly says he went to the region of Tyre -- a Gentile area! Who did he suppose he would meet there?

Here's one more thing to help understand this passage, particularly the seemingly sharp way Jesus speaks to the woman.

What we see here is a fairly common literary device, if you will, in Scripture. Instead of God being the one to speak the truth, God so guides the discussion that he elicits the "right answer" from the human being to whom he's speaking. If you look back at the experience of Moses and God's People in the wilderness, you see this many times. Here's an example:

Then the LORD said to Moses: Go down at once because your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way I commanded them, making for themselves a molten calf and bowing down to it, sacrificing to it and crying out, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 

I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are, continued the LORD to Moses. Let me alone, then, that my anger may burn against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, “Why, O LORD, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent he brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning wrath; change your mind about punishing your people.

Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,g ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’” So the LORD changed his mind about the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people (Exodus 32:7-14).

Now, it could be that God actually needed Moses to explain all this to him; but what do you think? Doesn't it make much more sense that God sees value in eliciting from Moses these words of mercy? Can you see how this becomes a real epiphany for him? Moses, after all, would from time to time complain to God about these very people -- and it was God who told him Moses to be a father to them. In this instance, God turns it around; and by doing so, draws out Moses' faith.

Jesus does the same thing -- in this case, drawing out the woman's faith, and in the process, rebuking the disciples' lack of faith.

Arguing that Jesus looks down on this woman forces you to suppose the Lord has some sort of multiple-personality disorder. It makes more sense to see this is a way Jesus draws both the woman and the Apostles to deeper faith.

Note: I want to give due credit to Father Tim Schehr, who explained all this to us in my classes at Mount Saint Mary Seminary. But if anything's amiss here, that's on me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The old man talks to the kids after school

A couple of our kids came by the parish office just now; and the conversation found it's way, as oft is true with old people talking to young people, to how things were "back in the day."

I offered to show the girls what the computer I used in college looked like. Here it is:

FYI, this is a Royal #10, circa 1914. Note the beveled glass panels! And I wasn't kidding. I used one of these all through high school and college. I didn't get a PC at work until 1985, and I remember how much memory it boasted of: a whopping 40 megabytes! Windows had just become available for IBM-style PCs.

And here's what our phone looked like -- a Western Electric Model 500, circa 1960:

In Cincinnati, the "phone company" was in charge of everything: the actual telephone service (local and long-distance), the wiring and the phone set. You didn't own the phone; Cincinnati Bell did; we paid to lease the equipment; and if something went wrong, they'd come and fix it. I still remember what a big deal "call waiting" and "call forwarding" were.

I also asked them, do you know what the first cell phones were called? "Cellular phones!" they answered, astutely! (These are bright girls!)

But not astutely enough. "Nope, I said; we called them car phones."

Here's a particularly stylish example:

The girls were very polite and didn't roll their eyes. At least, not around me.

Various projects...

So what am I up to?

I've been working on a few projects today.

1) My admirable predecessor had created some handy confession handouts for the various grades, that we use when we bring the kids over -- from the government school, hah! -- for the sacrament. I've been tweaking his good work, reflecting my own way of doing things.

2) This morning, I spent some time reworking and updating the article I wrote in 2011 about "same sex marriage" and the related questions of what the Catholic Faith teaches about same-sex behavior, and related questions. Then I passed out copies of my draft to several staff members for their comments.

3) I'm planning to have at least one, and maybe two, seminarians in the parish for the summer. To that end, I've been trying to determine just how much work we may have for them -- will it be enough? They won't be paid just to sort paper clips.

In between a few phone calls, emails, visits, papers to sign; I have some mail to go through and I should start thinking about Sunday's homily. I have other items I simply don't want to think about at the moment; nothing bad, just tedious. And in the spaces between, I've been looking things up online, and catching up on some reading. (Keeping up on current events helps my homilies, I think. What do you think?)