Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The joys of democracy: my vote against Trumpism

I cast my vote for John Kasich in today's Pennsylvania Republican primary.   I did not need the testimony published months ago by a group of conservative Catholic leaders who labeled Donald Trump as "manifestly unfit to be president".  They criticized him on a host of issues some dear to conservatives and others dear to those like the Pope who, as he said, can understand fences but not without bridges.   But I had already made up my mind. I purposely voted against Trump and attempted to choose 6th District Delegates to the Convention who pledged not to vote for Trump on the first ballot.  (This delegate system is a confusing element of the Pennsylvania Republican primary process!)

Without doubt Trump will win the majority of the delegates in Pennsylvania.  This number will probably contribute to a first ballot victory at the convention.   Could it then happen that the many Republicans who have openly used such phrases for Trump as "manifestly unfit to be president" turn around and support him?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

FROM THE ARCHIVES: William J. M. Moody, S.J. (Mar 7, 1940 - April 23, 1974)

William J. M. Moody, S.J.,  (March 7, 1940 - April 23, 1974)
With his mother on the day of his ordination in 1972    

Bill was able to serve as a priest for only a short time.  He died of sepsis during his first priestly mission, a faculty member at Saint Joseph's Prep.    The future Cardinal Avery Dulles, S. J. spoke of him at his funeral Mass as dying of an enlarged heart, not defining a medical condition but describing the kind of man he was.   

 There are still eleven of us Jesuits surviving  who joined the Society of Jesus with Bill in 1959 at Wernersville.   Three others ordained among us, F. Scott Howell, Phil Rosato and Gerry Fitzpatrick, are with Bill in God's embrace.   I am in no hurry to join them (I have no words to describe the reunion that is part of Christ's promise.)  But I will have a chance to visit the graves of Bill and Phil this afternoon.  Scott is buried in Tokyo where he served at Sophia University and Gerry is buried in Philadelphia.  Their memory continues to strengthen those of us they left behind.   (P.S.: Joining them in death in June of 2016 is William Miller, scripture scholar and educator.   So there are ten of us surviving.)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Good Shepherd Sunday April 17, 2016



........I wonder what image Jesus would use today in our culture.    Since we know little about sheep and their predators, the title that Jesus adopts as good shepherd has little impact on us.  In our daily lives, rather, our anxieties center both around small matters such as the dependability of our automobiles and also around global matters of terrorism and global warming.     We need good auto mechanics, we need good homeland security, we need good scientists to support us and guide us not only in everyday life but when we consider the world that we are leaving to our children. 

I will let your own imaginations create Jesus' “I am” phrases of protection and enlightenment that best accompany today’s culture.   Admittedly “I am a trustworthy auto mechanic, my customers know me and I know them” might not ring as appealing as the biblical phrases but if we are on a long journey we might want such a Jesus in the back seat.   Back seat, front seat! Such placements recall a short poem, an insight by a high school student picturing himself and Jesus on a bicycle built for two.   The poem came to the conclusion that it was better by far to have Jesus in the front seat steering while the poet on the back seat simply pedaled as well as he could. Should the poet allow, Jesus says clearly, " I am a front-seat driver."

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Trees of Jesuit Center and Wernersville

American Sycamore


Weeping Beech

"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."  Joyce Kilmer

The weeping beech doesn't look lovely but in summer it provides a cool, shaded cave around its trunk.

Friday, April 15, 2016

St. Joseph's Prep Kairos 150 Leaders

This week this great group of student and adult leaders helped forty St. Joseph's Prep juniors begin their Kairos experience.   Kairos 150 for SJP!   Over 6,000 grads are "living the fourth"!

Friday, April 08, 2016

"April Showers" phenomena at Jesuit Center Wernersville

(5 PM Thursday, April 7)

By the time the photographer got his camera in the right spot, the full rainbow had faded  but this a harbinger of things to come.  (Yes, I know it looks like it originates on the Jesuit Center property!)  

(11 AM  Saturday, April 9)

Temperatures above freezing have protected the spring flowers so far!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Second Sunday of Easter; Doubting Thomas

Spring in the Cloister Garden

…….The risen Jesus sent the Spirit and two extraordinary convictions grew among his followers.   The first conviction: As clear as it was that Jesus died, Jesus is alive.   That conviction came even to St. Paul …. in some way a light dawned on him, he reports an experience with Jesus that convinced him that Jesus is alive.    The power of his encounter with the risen Lord shows in his stunning transformation from a persecutor of Christians to becoming an apostle.

The second conviction: Jesus shares the power of resurrection with those who would come to have faith and hope in Him.   This gift we call salvation. 

How enlightening today would be Thomas’ first person report…Did he really raise the stakes so high?    “I won’t believe,” the account reads, “unless I can put my hand into the wound in his side.”   What kind of sorrow moved him to make this demand like a belligerent adolescent?.... How did he even know that Jesus’ risen appearance included wounds?   And how did his companions react to him?   Were they annoyed and even jealous that he was getting such personal attention from Jesus?  

The story as it is told represents clearly the faith of Thomas and his community.  They came to understand that God’s exaltation of Jesus consoled him after his physical suffering and humiliation on the cross.  His wounds became the sign of that consolation.  His wounds became badges of honor.  His wounds encourage all of us who suffer in our humanity.   Thomas touched these wounds.  We imagine this and remember the words that Jesus had spoken during his life:  Blessed are those who mourn…blessed are those who suffer persecution…Blessed are the merciful…

Thus Jesus invites Thomas and all of us, too, to share in this victory and to spread the good news by our lives.