Monday, December 25, 2006

The Empty Stocking

Today I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and gifts.

But especially with gifts.

You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled...

all, that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up.

The stocking for the Child born in a manger.

It's His birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most and then let each put in his share: loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched-out hand of tolerance.

All the shining gifts that make peace on Earth.

- Re-printed w/o permission from the movie "The Bishop's Wife" (1947)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

To Support and Defend the Constitution...

Virgil Goode Jr (R-Va) is an idiot.

Unfortunately he does raise an interesting question. How to conduct the swearing in of new Congressmen. Is is more important to follow the established norms for this ceremony (i.e., swear on a Bible) or honor the faith tradition of the nubile Congressman?

So I pose the question: How was Joe Liebermann (Senator, I-CT) sworn in? Joe is Jewish. Did he swear on a Torah or a Bible? Or more importantly, did he ask? Did he care?

If he asked to be sworn in using a Torah, and was told no, then Rep. Ellison shall be sworn in using a Bible. That would only be fair.

If he didn't care, and he feels the instrument used to swear someone in is immaterial to the actual oath, then by all means allow Rep. Ellison to use the Koran for his ceremony.

Is this being done as a political statement? Only Rep. Ellison knows. I hope his motivation is his devout belief in the teachings of Islam, not a chance to see his name in the national spotlight.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

From National Review, 6 Nov 2006, page 16:

"Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a 25-year-old Navy SEAL, saved the lives of three comrades by throwing himself on a grenade in the Iraqi town of Ramadi. The grenade had hit Monsoor's chest and fallen to the floor of the sniper hideout the SEALs occupied. 'He never took his eye off the grenade,' said one of the survivors, 'his only movement was down toward it.....We owe him.'"

Clearly he never studied hard or finished school, because if he had he would have known that falling on a live grenade is usually fatal. Actually if he had good grades he probably would not have had to join the military at all. Right, Mr. Kerry?

Mr. Kerry: how a man of your integrity was ever allowed to have command of anything is beyond my powers of comprehension. You, sir, forfeited your right to make any political capital from your military service when you accused American servicemen of atrocities in Vietnam they did not commit (and for which you were taken to task over 30 years ago) and separately threw your decorations over the fence in protest. You do not speak for me as an active duty officer. You do not represent me as an American. And, sir, as long as your prestige and opinions hold sway in the Democratic party I will never support the Democrats at a national level. The jackass is an appropriate symbol for you.

I don't know which political party PO2 Mansoor supported, and I don't care. We lost a brave, courageous man when he died. His teammates owe him, and so do all of us who are free.

Requiescant In Pace.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

So... let's begin by recounting a story from my distant childhood.

I attended a moderately famous institution of higher learning in PA - you know, the author of the last sports championship the city of Philadephia celebrated? Anyway, as a good (?) Catholic youth attending a Catholic university (any clearer now?), I would attend mass on Sunday. Occasionally. When I wasn't too hung over.

This one particular Sunday, a kid - who happened to play water polo for the school (and BTW, water polo is the toughest sport to play of them all. Period. All the passing demands of basketball, the speed of soccer, and oh yes, the added joy of your defender trying to drown you as a method of denying you the ball. Let's see D-Wade make that jumper while coughing up a lung-full of chlorinated water. Wimp) - appeared in the communion line wearing a 'STUDY NAKED' t-shirt.

Very Funny.

But, for some of the uber-conservative LL Bean wearing crowd (who had filled in the pews around me. Thanks, guys) this was an Affront to God, and required the frowining of a lifetime (Oh, look at him, that's disgusting).

Why do I mention this? Because today I appeared at church clad in my finest softball regalia. Right from the diamond. (we won 12-10, I went 2-3, thanks, thanks for asking). And was greeted with some of the same looks I remember were presented to that kid with the 'STUDY NAKED' shirt.

Believers are asked to keep holy the sabbath day. For all God has given me, I don't think spending an hour in church is too much to give back.

Do you really think GOD CARES what I wear to church?

I'm quite sure, should I get to the pearly gates, St. Peter isn't going to say, "well, you lived a reasonably good life, but you wore those smelly gym clothes to church, OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!"

Focus on what's being said. Pray for an end to the suffering rampant in the world. Concentrate on that, not my smelly Samarzdija jersey.