May 27, 2015

Welcome to the Liar's Club [ACNM]

Thank you for your interest in joining the Liar's Club. You have been approved for membership. I would introduce you to the other members, but it would take an awfully long time to meet seven billion people. Don't worry. You don't have to learn everyone else's name. Just call each of us Pinocchio.

I discovered the Liar's Club during the Easter season. When I was looking at the Mass readings for the third Sunday of Easter, the second reading (1 JN 2:1-5A) really stood out, especially one sentence in particular which I will bold for emphasis:
My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, "I know him," but do not keep his commandments are liars; and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.

Did you catch that? John just called me a liar. And he called you a liar too. That is very powerful. If you say you know God but do not keep his commandments, you are a liar. Now you can see why the Liar's Club is so crowded.

The third Sunday of Easter was also the day of my monthly volunteer shift to assist with communion services at the county jail. I had the opportunity to give a brief reflection about the day's readings and took some time to stress that bolded sentence from the second reading.

I cannot read minds, but based upon my observations of the expressions, nods and other body language in the room, I am quite sure that the statement about being a liar if you say you know God but don't follow the commandments resonated profoundly with several people, just the same way that it did for me.

Most of us already know that we are sinners, but for some reason the phrasing from that reading really put things into serious perspective, and I kept thinking about for several days.

Then a few weeks later that same Bible verse crept back into my mind when I attended a men's ACTS retreat* coordinated by my parish. While the particulars of my experience are not for public discussion, I can tell you that I need to work harder not to be a liar. We are all the same in the eyes of God and we all need to get to know Him better.

So now that you are in the Liar's Club, you probably want to get out as quickly as possible, don't you? The good news is you can cancel your membership at any time...

[To read the rest of this post, please click over to Austin Catholic New Media.]

May 22, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Vol 117 (Crest conversion, haircut revival, bad back and more)

ONE: Suddenly I feel like my faith life has come full circle. I always knew that my late grandfather owned a movie theater in Wilmington, Delaware sometime in the 50s and/or 60s. But I never knew until my Aunt mentioned it recently that my grandfather sold the Crest Theater building to a Catholic church which is still there today. You see, my grandfather was Jewish, and I'm Catholic, so it was kind of fascinating to have learned this.



As best I can tell from Google maps, my grandfather's theater is now part of St. Matthews, although this does not look like the same building.

Credit: Google Maps


TWO: From Thursday to Sunday I attended a men's ACTS retreat coordinated by my parish. I can't really tell you anything about it except that if you haven't been on an ACTS retreat you should absolutely go on one as soon as possible.

THREE: My old Introvert's Guide to Haircuts post from a couple of years ago got some new life recently. The "Introverts are Awesome" Facebook paged posted a link to it, and suddenly it became one of the most viewed posts on my blog.

FOUR: I think we've reached the point where weather forecasts are too specific. I suppose on a day like this one, the best time to go out is 6 a.m. when the rain chance dropps to 99 percent.


FIVE: Somehow in my family we accidentally mailed a card without a stamp on it. A couple of days later it came back marked "Return to Sender - Insufficient Postage." When someone mails a letter without a stamp I wonder if the people at the post office hold it up and laugh at it before sending it back.

SIX: The strange tale of the billiard club (or "billard culb") with two typos has come to an end. I discovered the other day that the place is closed and the sign has been pained over. You can see what I previously wrote about this place here and here.

Yes, I know it doesn't quite look like the same building. I think the brick and the walkway roof must have been redone since the original photo was taken.

SEVEN: My eight year old told me that she is almost old enough to be at the point where her back hurts when she sits on the floor. I told her, "Welcome to adulthood."

EPILOGUE: For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum.


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