Saturday, December 30, 2006


This pictures the turn-around point of one of my usual 2-mile walks. Running I must do on the university track but walking off the edge of the campus and to this small Merion Park is a quick refresher. The mild winter to this date allowed me to pack in some December miles and I will have completed 600 miles for the year 2006 by midnight tomorrow. If I wanted to walk and run these miles all at once, I could make it to Detroit in less than six days!

My doctor tells me that this is great exercise and works wonders for my blood pressure and cholesterol count. But still, when I asked about how much ice cream I could eat, he replied, "Keep walking away from the ice cream." Alas! This exercise is like a treadmill. I don't dare get off because I'd gain 60 lbs. next year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Warm Christmas greetings to all those parents, grandparents and adults who love their children more than themselves. And to the children whose dignity demands a world free from violence and filled with opportunity for their talents of love and service.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

" Christmas is acomin' and the geese are getting fat. (So am I. ) Time to put a penny in the old man's hat."
But we still have a week to get ready. Just a few words based on Luke 3 that we read last week:

Second Sunday of Advent. Luke 3 John the Baptist

In the sixth year of the presidency of George W. Bush, when the leaders of the Senate and the House are in transition, when Rendell is reelected the governor of Pennsylvania, when John Street is the mayor of Philadelphia, when Justin Cardinal Rigali is in the fourth year as Archbishop of Philadelphia, when the nation is at war in Iraq, I celebrate Advent for the sixty-seventh time. And Advent never seems to lose its power. Some years are years of waiting and watching filled with confidence that a child shall lead us. Some years are years of worry because the darkness threatens to overwhelm us. Some years are years of only blind hope over against this enduring age which some have called the age of our abandonment by God.

Pablo Gargallo, a Spanish sculptor of the last century, fashioned a stark and strident hardened-steel image of John the Baptist now displayed in a sculpture garden in Washington, D. C. The Baptist opens wide his mouth; he knits his brow; he places his stolid feet firmly on the ground; he raises his right arm to accentuate his words; his interior organs are empty spaces and his bodily limits rimmed in a prickly way. Only cult followers would go out into a desert to see such a figure. We need to thank God that John the Baptist is not he who is to come and that he is only the announcer.

His lifestyle may not be appealing to us but the Baptist shows us a path to follow. As it is written: “The word of God came to John…in the desert. He went throughout the whole region of the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." He announced the one who is to come.

We sometimes think of Advent as a time of waiting. But this is very far from the idea that the Baptist had. No advent of waiting for John the Baptist! He did not wait in some secluded cave along the Jordan for something to happen. He was an activist. There is a sense in which his activism propelled Jesus into the ministry that the Father planned for Jesus. Like the disciples, like Mary, like Joseph, the Baptist is essential to God’s plan. If he had not begun a movement of baptism of repentance, if he had not allowed himself arrest and early death, Jesus himself may have stayed in the background somehow unaware of the fullness of His father’s plan.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thanks, Frank and Jeanne, for a great party to celebrate Frank's birthday. Keep the Faith.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tree and Sympathy: Some days are better than others.