Just finished watching Vietnam documentary… 18 hours… Ken Burns

I am exhausted, but alive and breathing in…

war disfigures our souls especially of the surviving warriors and gold star families

tormented by living in the new normal

it is the silence that roars…

My own experiences of a horrific war

somewhat gentrified

but still eyed as a lie

Evil is in the backline

that bloodies the frontline

Love does prevail at times

the true hero or heroine

are those who traverse after

innocence stolen or beaten out of us

children and siblings returned in bits and pieces

and fragments of enemies now loved

those who fragged, now forgiven

What is it about our feeble memories

failing to avoid our really botched and flawed,

if not diabolical previous choices,

blaming without looking

at our own almost botched choices if not for the grace of Love?

Love have mercy…

ron-self have mercy…

Jesus have mercy…

Buddha have mercy…

            on me

your beloved

who doesn’t always feel so loved or being…

Heal my soul… please!


My own soul haltingly, evasively nears the Vietnam Memorial

that spreads beyond the 58,272 to the 20 at Arlington Cemetery

and 61 and counting souls embraced at their death from Fallujah.

Many more are dying from spiritual heart attacks every day…

“I hate war,” I read on the FDR memorial wall

The fake wall with names like “Lies” and “Arrogance”

along our neighborly southern border,

will not work,

has not worked

in Vietnam, Korea, Berlin, Israel or Confederate/Union

the real though callous wall already built within the American psyche…

a wall that once hoped to keep out hate and racism

Mister President… take down that wall!…

we pray the Vietnam Memorial, the real Wall,

will remind us of who we are,

We as a people are not a wall, but a golden door,

Let us never again keep out

“…your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Let us rather keep out the greed and profiteers of war.

Greatness as a nation comes from

those who fought and reconciled on both sides of a conflict,

not rhetoric nor tweets

nor self-righteousness

nor any political solution.

Healing comes from within

and from the balm of love

that former enemies have for US

and US for them.

Ron Camarda


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(Emma Lazurus ~ New Colossus ~ Statue of Liberty)



Who do I say that I Am?

27 August 2017 ~ St. Monica Feast Day ~ Father Ron Moses


Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20~ Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 

How well do we answer the questions posed by Jesus?

Who is Jesus for you? Who are you?

Jesus asks many questions, but very few really answer them. Sure, Simon answers the question, but the credit doesn’t go to Simon. Jesus tells him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”

Who do people say I Am?

Some say the Christ, Lord, Savior, miracle worker, story teller, prophet, servant, healer, teacher, etc. All of these are correct. Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God!” But what does it mean? In order to answer this question, I believe we need to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” Jesus could only ask his question because he knew who he was. Do you really know who you are as saint and sinner?

Unless we have experienced Jesus loving us in our weakness and failures, we may never understand who Jesus is… or who we are.

Who is the Jesus of your journey?

For all of us, may I suggest that Jesus is the one who washes our feet? This probably makes all of us uncomfortable. Imagine that we are in the upper room for the last supper as one of the apostles or servants. Unexpectedly, Jesus begins to wash your feet.

Breathe in…     Breathe out…

Sensing your dismay and fear, Jesus places his hand on your knee and says, “Do you know what these years together have meant to me? You were being held even when you didn’t believe I was holding you my friend.”

You sense tears rolling down your cheeks. “But Lord, my sins, my repeated failures, my weaknesses…”

Jesus gently interrupts by saying your name, “I understand. Beloved, I expected more failure than you expected yourself.” Jesus smiled. “And you always came back. Nothing pleases me as much as when you trust me, when you allow that my compassion is bigger than your sinfulness.”

But you protest, “But Jesus, what about my irritating character defects—the boasting, the inflating of the truth, the pretense of being prayerful and holy, the impatience with people, and all the times I drank to excess or lust got the better of me?”

Jesus looks into your eyes, “What you are saying is true. But your love for me has never wavered. Your heart has remained pure. What’s more, even in the darkness and confusion, you’ve always done something that overshadowed all the rest. You were kind to sinners.”

“Now I’ll go.” Jesus says, “I’ve washed your feet. Do the same for others. Serve my people humbly and lovingly. You will find happiness if you do. Peace my friend.”

So who are you Jesus? You, Jesus, are the one who wash my feet. You are faithful to me when I am unfaithful to you. You welcome all people, especially sinners, into your loving arms. There are no exceptions. You help me to carry my cross like Simon. You wipe my face like Veronica. You never give up on anyone. You are all compassionate, joyful, kind, merciful and faithful.

You, Jesus, ask me who I am?


I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. Still You hear me when I’m calling, Lord, you catch me when I’m falling. And You’ve told me who I am. (Song by Casting Crowns)


I am yours. I am yours!

Who shall I fear? Who shall I fear? ‘Cause I am yours. I am yours.

I am precious in the eyes of God, the Father.

I am precious in the eyes of Jesus and his community.

I am Good News! Amazing!!!!



(Reflection on washing of feet adapted from Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus: the stranger to Self-Hatred (HarperCollins Publishers, New York), chapter 2, pp 23-50)

Homily for 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

IMG_6409You, the beautiful people of St. Monica and St. John communities have invited me to dine with you. You have set me up with a little room with a bed, table, chair, lamp, computer, and Putnam County hospitality in order that I may stay with you. You are wonderful stewards of your community, love for the poor, faithfulness, small faith communities, thirst for wisdom, and Eucharist. All of us have been baptized into Christ Jesus. We were baptized into his death. Here, we learn to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus.

Bishop Felipe has invited me to stay awhile with this community just like Father Amar was urged to do three years ago. And so I have come to stay with you, break bread with you, and love ya’ll.

Jesus has told me that whoever receives me, receives Him. And whoever receives Jesus receives the one who sent him… God alone. Amazing!

Since I received First Communion, we have come up to this table with this short prayer on our lips. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

And yet we often love father or mother, son or daughter more than Jesus. We don’t always take up our crosses and follow after Jesus. We are not worthy of Jesus. I certainly am aware that I am not worthy to be your pastor. But here is the really Good News: If we give only one cup of cold water to one of God’s little ones to drink, we will not lose our reward. We are worthy because Jesus says so. His blood and love make us worthy. What a punch line!

Thank you for your cold cup of water and oh so much more. I see Jesus in you.

Once we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus we receive Jesus and God into our bodies and souls. Potential converts look at us and say, “See how they love. I want what they have!” Then we give others the opportunity to invite Jesus into their souls and give Jesus a cold cup of water. It is too easy to focus on our setbacks like our crosses, our abusive upbringings, our brokenness, our war stories, or our addictions. These are setbacks. But if we can focus on the truth that we are God’s sons and daughters, then the cross we carry becomes our joy and Good News today! We cry out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus responds to our kindness, our cold up of water; “Today, my beloved, you will be with me in Paradise.”

As Father Amar has reminded us so often, “Why are you so stressed, if I am not? I am not attached to anything, just as long as I am with the Lord.” We are not only with the Lord, but the Lord is within us! O my!


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

Gospel of St. John 11: Now A man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. So the sisters sent word to him saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” ~ When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days…


When Martha acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world… she would pay the price and no longer be welcome in the synagogue, but she would no longer be frozen in the fear of death.

Last week we heard that the Jews had already agreed that if anyone recognized Jesus as the Christ, they would be expelled from the synagogue. The man who regained his sight was thrown out when he acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, but his parents chose to remain in their fear rather than rejoice with their son. In many ways they were dead.

The religious leaders were corrupt and didn’t want to be exposed. They were divided about how to actually love God, neighbor and their way of life. They were poisoned by greed and power. They were divided about who was in the synagogue legally and who should be deported. Jesus was their enemy. They concluded that, “It is better for one man to die rather than a nation to perish.” They weren’t bad people, just afraid, lost and blind. Jesus says of them from the cross, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Martha and Mary were healed of their fear of death by the love of Jesus and their love for Jesus. They knew that Jesus could heal people, but they didn’t realize yet that he could bring their brother back from death. He could also help them to understand that if they live and believe in Jesus they will never die.

The religious leaders recognized that fear of death was big business and made gross amounts of profits. Having wealth and security is not a problem, unless we neglect the poor, the orphans, those fleeing war, the hungry and the oppressed. The United States is well-known as the world’s biggest spender on arms and weapons systems. Catholic bishops have regularly denounced as moral scandal a defense budget measured each year in the hundreds of billions. (America Magazine Jesuits, April 3, 2017)

Less noticed is the nation’s status as the world’s top merchant of arms and the government’s role as facilitator in that market.

In a historic address in Washington on Sept. 24, 2015, Pope Francis told congress:

Being at the service of dialogue and peace… means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world… Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade. 

Congress applauded Pope Francis, but they spent more on exported weapons. We are divided in politics, but mostly in defense of our profiting from war.

The devil doesn’t want us to believe that he exists. The biggest fear of the Beast (the Devil) is that we believe in the Jesus who says, “I am the resurrection and life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

When we don’t fear death, when we don’t care if we are even rejected by our parents, we truly live in the freedom of God’s Kingdom today. Jesus is looking for followers who are brave enough to see him crucified without giving into despair. Jesus is counting on each of us to answer the question he asked Martha. Then, and only then, will we truly be free and be instruments of God’s peace and love. Do you believe this? If you do, you are Good News!


5th Sunday in Lent

April 1, 2017 ~ Queen of Peace Catholic Community

Ezekiel 37:12-14 ~ O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them

Psalm 130 ~ With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.


I was blind, but now I see!

We are all blind from birth. Jesus spits on the ground and makes clay with the saliva, anoints our eyes with the clay and sends us to wash in the waters of Baptism. The Spirit of the Lord rushes upon us like it did for David.

Whenever we are confirmed in the Spirit (Baptized in water and the fire of the Holy Spirit), the same oil of David is used. But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” How can a man born blind teach us anything?

            The man who was truly joyful for being able to see for the first time was quite innocent in his approach. He thought that everyone would want to rejoice with his miraculous healing of sight. He thought they would want to find and follow this man called Jesus. But they could not seek Jesus because they were blind. The religious leaders ridiculed him for his fast growing faith in Jesus. Then he made the works of God visible.           

The religious leaders could not see the person before their eyes. They could not see his love and courage. They clung to their traditions and old wineskins. Their own authority blinded them. Then they threw him out.

All of us are desperate for community, and sometimes we go against our values just to be part of the gang, the synagogue, the team, or to be famous. We avoid being “thrown out”. This man born blind, who from no fault of his own, was miraculously healed. He wasn’t prepared for his parents wanting to be part of the religious community more than the joy of being with their son who could now see. This is not that far fetched from our reality today. I have seen people healed of their drug addiction or alcoholism, go home only to discover that their spouse and children and parents preferred to deal with them as addicts because they were used to the insanity. They become blind to their own resistance for healing.

Jesus came specifically to heal our blindness.

But the really good news is that when Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, Jesus found him. Jesus is looking for each of us.

Jesus finds us and knows that we feel persecuted, lonely, insulted or thrown out, “Do you believe in the Son of Man, the Light of the World, the God of mercy, love and sight?” We might be looking right at Jesus and not recognize him. “Who is he, sir, that we may believe in him?” Jesus answers our prayer; “You have seen him in the poor, the orphaned, the oppressed and the blind. The one speaking with you is he.”

“We do believe.”

And miraculously we no longer feel thrown out, but part of the team of Jesus that launches a most joyous buzzer beater..

We have advanced to the Elite Eight…Let us worship and rejoice!



4th Sunday in Lent

March 26, 2017 ~ Queen of Peace Catholic Community

1 Samuel: 16:1-13 ~ Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.

Psalm 23 ~ You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Ephesians 5:8-14 ~“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light!”

Gospel of St. John 9: “Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, an smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” –which means sent–. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.”

Don’t Worry and Sister Death

26 February 2017 ~ 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time


1st Reading: Isaiah ~ Even if your mother should forget you, I will never forget you.

Psalm 62 ~ Only in God is my soul at rest; from God comes my salvation.

2nd Reading: St. Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians 4:1-5 ~ Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34 ~ “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” Jesus


A child does not worry all day long whether his house will be there when he gets home from school or whether her parents will have a meal for her that evening. Children do not worry about such things, because they trust their parents. In the same way, we as Christians should trust our heavenly Father to supply what is best for us. *

And although our country says, “In God we Trust”, many children are now worried about whether their parents will be there when they return home. All of us have ancestors who were undocumented at one time. This is against our Gospel principles and love itself. Solutions need to be thought out and prayed about.

Death was walking toward a city, and a man stopped Death and asked, “What are you going to do?” Death said, “I’m going to kill ten thousand people.” The man said, “That’s horrible!” Death said, “That’s the way it is; that’s what I do.”

As the day passed, the man warned everyone he could of Death’s plan. At the end of the day he again met Death. He said, “You said you were going to kill ten thousand people, and yet seventy thousand died.” Death explained, “I killed only ten thousand. Worry, anxiety and fear killed the others.” *

Left to our own, our anxieties can cause wars in our own family and beyond. Let us trust in Jesus when he tells us, “Do not worry about your life. Your heavenly Father knows your needs. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”*

* Taken from Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, edited by Michael P. Green, 1989, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Epiphany Prayer

Isaiah 60:1-6 ~ Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.

Paul to Ephesians ~ Brothers and Sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.

Gospel according to St. Matthew: After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.


How often has the most profound prayer

come amidst upheaval or crushing poverty or oppression?

I have been quite blessed;

I never worry about my food

better shelter than my Lord, Jesus

The poor struggle, but still fast and sacrifice better than I

In Iraq, in Africa, in Korea, in Okinawa, in Cuba, in death of loved ones,

All places of my upheaval,

and yet I had prayer and pondering most exquisite

like a great wine,

still savored.

Praying in chaos…

“Walking beneath the moon and utter hatred in Fallujah

You, o Beloved, grasped my hand if not my heart and soul,

and saved me from despair.

You nurtured my burnt ashes and You fixed my broken compass.

Changed direction, or at least calmed my temper tantrum.

Discovered resources on my ship that I failed to recognize

Fished for desperate food

and then fished for sport and amazement

Jesus, you are wonderful to travel with.

When I was overjoyed at seeing your star…

basically only the light of your reality and truth,

I thought I saw the best of You.

But then when I saw you, like the wise ones,

for the first time all over again,

Baby in the manger with Mary, your mother…

I went prostrate and did you homage

and then opened the treasury of my heart and soul…

that inmost treasure you gave me out of love,

And offered it to You, my Beloved.

Your hand firmly placed on my shoulder

“Do not be afraid!”

And we walked down the mountain together as brothers and lovers

We returned to our home another Way


O my!”



Wisdom is the refulgence of eternal light,

the spotless mirror of the power of God,

the image of his goodness,

And she, who is one, can do all things,

and renews everything while herself perduring;

And passing into holy souls from age to age,

she produces friends of God and prophets.

                                                            Wisdom 7:26-27


Looking for Christ in Christmas

Gospel St. Matthew 11:2-11 ~ When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.

What are you looking for this Christmas?

Where are you looking?

Have you ever considered looking Christmas in Easter?

In both celebrations we are looking for something special below a tree, one an evergreen and one a cross. Below both trees the mother holds her child. Below both trees… the light shines out through the darkness.

John the Baptist was looking for the Messiah all his life. John and his disciples were looking for God in all the right places, but did not find him. It reminds me of the movie, “Finding Nemo”. The little fish was attempting to find the ocean when he was swimming in it.

Jesus began his ministry as an adult. He entered the synagogue that he grew up in. He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah that he had practically memorized. The people looked for the Messiah but did not see him before their very eyes. Jesus told us his mission statement:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me                                                                                                                   because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

God sent me to proclaim liberty to captives,                                                                                             recovery of sight to the blind,                                                                                                                                    to let the oppressed go free                                                                                                                                     and to proclaim a year acceptable to God.”

I have been on over 12 missions to poor places like Haiti, Honduras and Africa. I was looking for Jesus in the poorest of the poor. I don’t speak the language of the peoples, but I can hear and see what Jesus is doing through wonderful and dedicated people. A Frisbee or soccer ball brings about unimaginable healing in the people I come to serve and especially in myself. The blind see the poor as equal to us. Queen of Peace missions have literally done what Jesus begs us to do. They have helped people walk again, waters to be cleansed, surgeries to give new life, devastations to restore, an attitude of gratitude, and the materially poor and spiritually poor have the good news proclaimed to them. So much more to do.dscf9317

Christmas is about receiving gifts from God, nurturing them responsibly, sharing them lovingly in justice with others. This is the gift we return with increase to God. We receive the baby at Christmas, but we return the Body of Christ in our bodies at the foot of the genuine Christmas tree. We offer our tears and our brokenness. We also return our fruit from the gifts God planted in our souls. The more we share the Gift of the Holy Spirit and our fire with others in justice; the more fruit God channels through us; fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, self-control and faithfulness. This is the best Christmas gift we could ever imagine giving to God. We give the gift every Christ Mass wrapped in our Mission Statement.

As Christians we receive God’s gifts gratefully,

cultivate them responsibly,

share them lovingly in justice with others,

and return them with increase to the Lord.

Jesus could say to them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see in my followers:

They were blind but now they see, they were paralyzed in fear but now they walk in truth, they were impure with sin, but now forgiven, love has broken through their deafness, and they now breath in… hungering and thirsting for more.”


My gift to Jesus this year is an instrument… an instrument of peace.

What is your Good News? What is your Gift? You still have time.


Awareness & Intimacy

Morning grogginess and resistance to get out of bed

this time of year… sun doesn’t come up until 7:12 am

my soul really, really wants to be taken to the beach

thirsting for God or love or higher power or something…

O so tired… possessive of my sleep time, food for my brain

rationalizing the sacred wrestling with the sacred.


Reluctantly rising… at least my soul,

start the obnoxious grinding of my coffee maker… excited

pushing and pulled by my body to take care of duty

then no excuses… bike pushed out of garage

silence getting louder

body catching up to the desires of the soul


coffee in hand, seated on bike…

first surprise

waning moon just two hours from setting

peddling in the cool but warm shadows of morning

intoxicated by the moment before sunrise

my soul like a dog distracted by the smells or squirrel

letting go of seeing the sunrise

appreciating the moon… the feel of the bike beneath me


So much, no video, no photo, no story could understand

my ride to the beach was like eternity

gifted to me…


filling up with intimacy and flowers bursting from the sand


little pricks to my senses like

fire in the distance

bug crawling along my ear and hat line

clouds blocking the sunrise… but a blessing

I was late and would have felt cheated

reluctantly left my bike on the path to the beach


breathing deeper

no longer fighting the tiny ants on my path

noticing the sound of the waves crashing louder with every step

silhouetting clouds

disjointed waves

delicious humans and dogs enjoying the same by different perspectives

feet finally in the water, soul thanking my body

sandpipers and dolphins skirting and frolicking

aware, alive, alone and one


o so much more,

but not the energy to express

ya’ll need to experience your own morning

even if ya don’t get out of bed…

how beautiful the yawn and stretch

the smells and creaky bones

encounter of your beloved, if only in your memory


borrowed a few shells from the shoreline

to share with my friends at Wekiva

beautiful friends

healing and stabilizing

as the mind, body and soul wake up to

awareness and intimacy


let us pray

let us hope

let us be aware and intimate

with our day, body and soul


breathe in…

breathe out…


We Are A Banquet of Love 22nd Sunday ~ St. Augustine

Then Jesus said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14: 7-14

Erica and Robert "True Joy"

Touched by Jesus

Upon my return from the war raging in Iraq in 2005, Jesus invited me to join him for a banquet that he was invited to in Haiti. Father Jeff was also going to bless the Home for the Elderly named Queen of Peace after this community. Queen of Peace is constantly inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind to this table through their stewardship of the first 10% of your collection. Just like the Gospel passage we heard, none of the people we help could repay us back. Just by being a member of Queen of Peace Parish Community could be the first step to a really nice seat at the Table in Heaven and Earth.

After the blessing of this home, the small group of us Queen of Peace Missionaries and Jesus were invited to celebrate. Then Jesus invited Father Jeff and I to a home for the malnourished children in a town called Aquin. This was the most amazing place I have ever seen. Parents or family must stay with the very malnourished child and learn skills to keep their children healthy and avoid having to come back. Many times the mothers sit at the perimeter. On this occasion, Jesus had a little girl about 3 or 4 years old on his lap. She was licking a lollipop. Before I could save Jesus from what was unfolding, the little girl gleefully took the lollipop out of her mouth and forcefully thrust the lollipop into Jesus’ mouth. Jesus seemed to delight in the generosity of the little girl. I on the other hand was aghast.

Then the little girl who had invited Jesus to her own little banquet showered Jesus with another unexpected and humbling gift. When the good sister lifted the child off of his lap, the little girl had baptized Jesus with a generous portion of piddle. When I looked into the eyes of Jesus with my own horror, he simply smiled and had this look of radiance, acceptance, humility, love and great gratitude for this little girl’s gifts.

Beloved, all of us can invite people to a banquet or luncheon. We have been invited to this great banquet where Mary, the Queen of Peace is the hostess. We receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. We become what we eat. We have everything we could ever possibly desire. Do you remember when Peter and John were going into the temple and came upon a crippled man? They said to him, “We do not have anything of value to give you, but what we do have you can have. In the name of Jesus, rise and be healed!” He sprang up. Peter and John invited the crippled man to the Banquet.

Let me tell you a secret. This is a true story, but it was Father Jeff who was really sitting with the little girl with the lollipop. It was Fr. Jeff who received gifts. Jeff was invited to Haiti as a guest of the poor and sat at the lowest place. He was humbled by the generosity of the little girl. He was the one whom I tried to save, but the little girl beat me too it. And she did it with a splash.

Let’s keep doing it. Let’s keep inviting the poor in body & spirit, the crippled by grief, and those blind to God’s infinite love. Let’s continue to invite them to the Table of Plenty where saint and sinners are friends. Let us become what we eat and invite people to this Eucharistic Banquet. Let us give from our want, not from our surplus. We need to love those we share our gifts with.

We are one with God. We inherit God’s love. What could we fear?

Tithing isn’t about repaying God, but rather it is an opportunity to invite others to share in our abundance of love with a splash and joy.