Archive for May, 2024

The DCC 6-2-2024

Thursday, May 30th, 2024

In the November 1998 issue of Food & Wine magazine, writer
Gerri Hirshey tells the story of her grandmother’s “special ministry” to
her family:
“As a child, I often watched my tiny Italian grandmother,
Geraldine, board a city bus cradling a mason jar of hot minestrone. This
meant that someone – Uncle Carmine, Aunt Antoinette – was down. It
didn’t matter whether they were felled by the flu, a feisty gallbladder or
the evil eye. Having heard the alarm, Nonnie (our name for grandma)
tied on an apron and started banging soup pots.
“For nearly half a century, Nonnie was the Designated Soup
Carrier (DSC) for a sprawling Neapolitan network of family and friends
in Stamford, CT. Somewhere between a field medic and a shrink, a
DSC is found in many cultures and is usually female. In the midst of
crisis, her prescriptives are basic and sustaining: Stop a minute. Taste
this. Life is good.”
Nonnie’s daughter Rose – Gerri’s mother – eventually became the
DSC for her brothers and sisters and their families; now, granddaughter
Gerri has assumed the duties of DSC for her generation. The Designated
Soup Carrier’s in Gerri Hirshey’s family model Jesus’ vision for the
Sacrament of the Eucharist. Nourished and sustained by the food we
have received, we become nourishment and sustenance for others. Out
of love, Christ gives us himself in bread and asks us to become, in our
love, bread for others – Designated Christ Carriers (DCC).
Here are several examples:
A. He was old, tired, and sweaty, pushing his homemade cart;
stopping now and then to poke around somebody’s garbage. I
wanted to tell him about Eucharist, but the look in his eyes, the
despair in his face, told me to forget it, so, I smiled and I said
“Hi” and I gave him Eucharist.
B. She lived alone, her husband dead, her family gone, as she
talked at you – not to you, words, endless words. So, I listened
and gave her Eucharist.
C. He sat across my desk – very nervous. He finally said it, “I
have AIDS” – by God’s grace, I did not say, how did you get
AIDS?” – I said “How can I help?” I gave him Eucharist.
I close:
As you, as we – say our Amen today at communion time – let us
remember and take to heart these words – “We receive Eucharist – to
become Eucharist for others. Let us remember and take to heart this
challenge – the work of proclaiming God’s reconciling love belongs to
every one of us, whether we collect taxes, teach math, manage a Fortune
500 company or shine shoes for a living – may we possess the greatness
of spirit and generosity of heart to be ministers of the Gospel –
Designated Christ Carriers, in whatever place we are in, whatever time
God has given us. Amen. “We receive Eucharist – to become Eucharist
for others.”

Trinity Sunday 5-26-2024

Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

The people who ask the most questions about God are children and
theologians – and their questions are surprisingly similar. Does God
exist? Where does He live? What does He look like? Where did He
come from and how does He spend His “time”? The search never stops.
When one inquiry is answered, it usually triggers others.
Actually, the deep mysteries of religion are not answered but only
commented on. Even Jesus didn’t give direct responses most of the
time. He replied with a story, a parable, or a comment. “What is the
Kingdom?” they asked, and He responded, “It’s a net full of fish.”
“How about the Church, what is it?” “A mustard seed.” “How can you
tell if a person is wise or foolish?” “One builds a house on rock, the
other on sand.” These are not complete answers but enlightening
comments designed to make people think.
Trinity Sunday presents us with some real puzzlers. Can you
explain the Holy Trinity? No! But we can make a comment: it’s like a
triangle, a shamrock or something that is three and yet one.
Religion is well supplied with a multitude of unfolding mysteries
of which the Trinity is only one – a major one. It’s no real
accomplishment to ask a question which perplexes the experts, for we
have millions more good questions than good answers. People often
think that the priest, bishop or pope, is the “answer man.” Not so.
These persons are expected to have some penetrating insights, but
basically, they cannot answer religious mysteries. Their best response is
to make an intelligent comment in the form of a symbol, story or
perhaps a simple act of faith.
The mysteries of religion are not the kind which are waiting to be
solved. Rather, they are to continue as mysteries and be acknowledged
and appreciated. The Trinity is saying something to us about God’s
inmost nature. Although it is beyond human explanation, we will have
our own “answers” but they will all be incomplete. God is too big and
complicated for our little minds to grasp completely. But even though
He cannot be fully explained, we can always admire and believe God.
On a more down to earth level.
A high school teacher was talking to her students about the Trinity.
After her presentation she gave her class a writing assignment on this
question: “Which person of the Trinity do you relate to best at this time
in your life?”
I’d like to share with you three student answers to that question.
One boy wrote:
“My father and I have a zero relationship. I need a father right
now, and since I can’t turn to my own dad, I turn to my Father in
heaven. I sometimes talk to him about my problems, the way I would
like to talk to my dad about them.”
One girl wrote:
“My brother lives with my father, and I live with my mother. Ever
since my parents’ divorce two years ago, we hardly ever see each other
anymore. I never thought I’d miss my brother, but I do. So now I’ve
kind of adopted Jesus as a brother.”
Finally, another boy wrote:
“Just recently I began praying to the Holy Spirit. I’m going to
college in a year, and I have no idea what I want to take up. I hope the
Holy Spirit will enlighten me. Anyway, I’m praying to him for
I find those comments refreshingly honest. I also find that they
make me ask myself, “Which person of the Trinity do I relate to best?”
I close.
God, you are profound in your mystery, and you never cease to
amaze me; I sometimes come to think that I have you figured out, and
then you zap me, and remind me that you are beyond the limitations of
my insight.
As I search for the words, titles, songs and images that attempt to
corner you, help me to know that you are beyond my words, deeper than
any effort to be “inclusive,” because what really matters, is that you
exist and that I see you present in your creation.

The Power of the Spirit 5-19-2024

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my
class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked
like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would
anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my
friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They
ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he
landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the
grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible
sadness in his eyes.
My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled
around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed
him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get
lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile
on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it
turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him
before. He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We
talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out
to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football
with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I
got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same
of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of
books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build
some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just
laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we
were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on
Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be
friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a
doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about
being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys
that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually
looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls
loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous.
Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about
his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy,
you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really
grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began.
“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through
those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a
coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a
friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell
you a story.”
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first
day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He
talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have
to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and
gave me a little smile.
“Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy
told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and Dad looking
at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I
realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. Never underestimate
the Power of God’s spirit working through us. With one small gesture
you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse.