And Now for Something Completely Different

jesus-heals-leper21Let me take a quick break from all the hilarity to share a short reflection on the gospel reading from this past Sunday, Mark 1:40-45 (RSV):

And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once,and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

My favorite abbey homilist, Fr. James Flint, O.S.B. made an interesting point about this passage that’s had me chewing on it for the last 24 hours. Among other things, he suggested that Jesus did a bit of a role reversal with the leper. At first, I was confused by this, but now I think I get it. Let me see if I can explain.

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Take a Listen

radioAs we do from time to time here at Chewing Glass, let me plug one of our regulars.

FOB Jack has a new gig with EWTN Radio as host of the Open Line Show, M-F on your local Catholic radio dial. Or if you prefer to get your media via the intertubes—and who dosen’t, amiright?—check out the link in the sidebar.

Open Line is a call-in show with lots of studio guests discussing a world of topics relevant to our times. Check it out!

The Green-Eyed Monster

No, not this.

I mean envy, jealousy, feelings of bitterness over something someone else has or does. Being a writer, I fight with this little beast regularly, as in:

“Oh, you just got your book of vampire erotica published? Good for you!”

Followed by a sotto voce, “You miserable, talentless hack!”

And I hate myself for it.

As if that were not bad enough, along with being a writer—perhaps because of it—I’m also a deadbeat, which means I listen to a lot of sports radio throughout a typical day. The only upside to this habit is that it gives me plenty of opportunity to peer beneath the nasty under-beerbelly of the human condition.

Well lemme tell you: ’round these parts, there’s been an explosion of green-eyed monsterism on display lately.

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My Cup o’ Tea

Arthur2-1Like Arthur Dent, I enjoy a cup of tea during the day. Unlike Arthur Dent, I’m not that fussy about it. The reason may be that a) I’m not British, and b) I’m not marooned in space. [At least, I don’t think I am.] Or, it could be that I’m American and let’s face it, as a culture, we rarely take the time to pay attention to much of anything.

Hey Kid! Just whip up that Oprah Chai Tea Latte for me, pronto! I’m late for a meeting!

Well, no. Not me. I’m not going to be late for anything. I’m a writer after all. But while I was waiting for my tea to steep (that’s a funny word: “steep”) and wondering if I need a new pair of fuzzy slippers—the ears fell off the left bunny and the right one looks like it has mange—I began to reflect on how different cultures deal with the more mundane aspects of life…like tea.

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Yom Kippur

yom-kippurAt sundown today, begins the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement.

This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.

It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.

And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.

~Leviticus 16:29-34 NIV

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Can I Get a Side of Fries with that?

WARNING: Rob’s got his napalm out again. Reading this post may cause you to send hate-mail. Please read with care.

flamethrower_straightThe US Postmaster recently admitted that the single largest customer of the US Mail is, not you and me dear tax-paying citizen, but the bulk-mail industry. If not for the incessant stream of marketing mailers, catalogs, coupons, offers to sell your house, replace your windows, whiten your teeth, and now that the season is upon us, heaven help us, pleas for money and/or votes to send the next bunch of criminals to state and federal legislatures, the US Post would be kaput.

It’s because of bulk mail that I finally started recycling. From the mailbox directly to the blue bin. Very handy. Very wasteful.

But that’s not why you called.

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You are a Horrible Person, Part II

My post about depression and the suicide of Robin Williams drew some negative reaction which I would like to address. First, let me quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 2281 and following [emphasis mine]:

2281    Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

2282    If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283    We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives. 

Also, I’d like to share the following message by Fr. Apostolos Hill, who says it better than I ever could:

Journal – Friday April 18

What have I done?

They’ve gone and condemned him to death! I thought they’d just give him a stern talking to, maybe a fine and then kick him out of the city with a warning. But instead they’re going to kill him!

Kill him.

When I saw him come from the Governor’s mansion, he was a mess! They beat him to a bloody pulp! I immediately ran to C’s house to try and stop this, but he refused to see me. I made such a fuss that he finally agreed to let me in. The others were there too.

I told them what they’d done to The Boss. I told them I couldn’t take their money. I told them they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain! I never wanted to see him beaten. I didn’t want him to die! I just wanted him, I don’t know, out of the way. I just wanted to be free of him. I wanted him out of my head! But not like this!

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