Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The armchair


I may have mentioned that Uncle Herbert from Dundee is very generous and always brings us many gifts when he visits.

He was with us recently to meet Aunt Gertrude from Australia who is staying with us for a (long) while.

After he left to his native Scotland he proved once again that his generosity knows no bounds. I wish it did really …

Being generous is one thing but then it can also go too far and it takes over someone else’s life. I don’t mean to be critical … Yes I do actually; otherwise I wouldn’t be telling you this.

Let me explain.

The other day a large van drew outside our house and they delivered a large box.

"Struth cobber ..." said Auntie Gertrude, "what in a nest of kookaburras is that?"

We weren’t expecting anything apart from a book which I had ordered from the Internet. But this box was far too big for a book ... 

We got the box into the house, Auntie and I, and we opened it to discover that it contained a huge armchair.

Not a normal type of armchair mind you … no, this was an inflatable armchair. And not the kind you inflate with air … it would take ages and strong lungs to inflate something this size. No, this armchair had to be filled with water. It’s like a water bed but armchair shaped. And it’s in the most hideous blue plastic colour.

With the gift was a short note from Uncle Herbert saying “I saw this in the shop and thought of you.”

WHY?

Why would an oversized fluorescent blue inflatable armchair lead a kind, albeit somewhat demented old man, to think of me? Do I look fat and wobbly maybe? I never even wear blue, so what led him to buy it for
us?

Anyway … one has to be kind I suppose, and as Uncle Herbert is visiting again next week, (he seems to like Aunt Gertrude - don't know why), we decided to inflate the armchair with gallons and gallons of water.

"No worries cobber!" laughed Auntie Gertrude, "I'll fix the hose from the garden to the water and we'll soon have this thing floating like a surf board on an Australian wave!"


It must have emptied three local lakes to fill it.

It was placed in front of the TV where our dear Uncle often sits. It wobbles and moves as you sit in it and it makes you sea-sick, especially when the blue plastic reflects the light from the TV set.

Aunt Gertrude tried it a few times and she liked it. She's thinking of buying one for herself to take back to Adelaide.

So there was I yesterday sitting uncomfortably in this huge blue lagoon moving from side to side when I eventually fell asleep. There was nothing good on TV except the dust accumulated by the static.

As I lay there sleeping, dreaming of being on a Pirate’s Ship with Captain Blue Beard no doubt, suddenly my dream turned into Titanic.

Apparently the other day Auntie Gertrude was knitting on the inflatable armchair and had inadvertently lost one of the knitting needles. As I sat on the chair I somehow pushed the needle into the plastic fabric which burst with a slow but steady discharge of water everywhere.

There were gallons of water flooding the living room as I slowly sank down to the ground trapped in the infernal armchair as it folded itself with me in it ...

... and then I shot up violently like a rocket as the water made contact with an electric appliance in the living room.

Auntie Gertrude who was in the room at the time and witnessed the whole event laughed loudly as she said "I always knew your big bottom was too heavy for that chair, cobber!"

Monday, 29 April 2019

Time for Poetry


ODE TO PAINFUL LOVE

Let not our love

Slip through our fingers

You bit my bum

And the pain lingers

I screamed and cried

Like tenor singers … … …



“You ain't nothin' but a hound dog

Biting all the time

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog

Biting all the time

Well, you bit my behind hard and you ain't no friend of mine.”

ODE TO JOY 

Fried fish wrapped in bacon

Served cold with boiled rice

Raspberry sauce and chocolate

Make up gourmets’ delight



A constipated owl

Hooting whilst he roams

Bearing the pain bravely

Of irritable owl syndrome



Then I composed a song

But forgot all the words

I focussed on the music

And then lost all the chords



I close my eyes and think of you

Spaghetti served with cheese

Caressing all my senses

Like a sweet summer’s breeze



The poor owl is still hooting

In the recesses of my mind

Just hand me some more bacon

But cut away the rind



Forsooth sayth the soothsayer

As he shaves another layer

Of crab cake with maple syrup

To the owl wrapped in gauze



If all that doesn’t clear you

Then nothing for ever will

He sayth to the happy owl

Who’s now no longer ill.



Moral: Don’t have cheese and port before bedtime. 


THE BRIDGE

She stood on the bridge at midnight
Her heart was all a quiver
She gave a little cough
And her wig fell down the river


THE OWL


There once was a wise old owl
Who just refused to fly
Claiming flying hazards
Made it unsafe so he could die.

He thought that wind turbines
Going round and round and round
Upset his delicate hearing
With their unheard kind of sound.

The bright lights in the city
The towns and the countryside
Shone brightly both day and night
Upsetting his big bright eyes.

The smoke from every chimney
And the fumes from every car
Polluting his every senses
As he flew both near and far.

So this learned wise old owl
Walked on foot just everywhere
Avoiding all flying hazards 
And got run over by a bus.

COLOURS

Rose's are red
Violet's are blue
Enid's are green
And Sophie's are pink with white dots

(I've seen them on the washing line)

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Happiness


Join me as Father Francis Maple sings this song.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Forgiveness

You know ... every now and then I thumb through some of my books and ask myself, "Did I really write this?" Sometimes, I don't even remember writing some of the phrases or sayings in my stories.

I was reading my first book "Visions" the other day, and a sentence jumped out of the page and hit my conscience. "This world cannot know peace until it learns to forgive".

"Visions" was written back in 2007, (re-printed in 2016), yet today, the world is still short of peace.

Wherever you look, it seems there's someone withholding forgiveness.

Everyone in this world has someone they need to forgive. That's because we have all been hurt in one way or another. Yes ... including you and me. You have been hurt, and perhaps, deep inside your heart, there is someone you still need to forgive.

What's more, we have all hurt someone in our lives. And we too need forgiveness. Perhaps we never asked. Maybe we were, or still are, too proud to ask for forgiveness. Because we believe we were in the right, and the other person was wrong. So why should we be the ones asking for forgiveness?

You see ... we all need to forgive or be forgiven. No one is immune. Not even me.

I have been hurt really badly in the past, and every day I am reminded of it. Have I truly forgiven? I don't know. I know I've tried, but the memories keep flooding back. So does my forgiveness count?

Most surely I too am in need of forgiveness. But perhaps it is now too late to ask for it. Time has moved on but certainly not the pain.

For the world to know peace it needs to learn to forgive. And this starts with each one of us. One person at a time.

Let us look deeply in our hearts and see if there's someone we need to forgive. Even if we can't do it in person, let us truly forgive them in our heart by handing them over to the Lord. Let us pray for them. Right now. You cannot possibly dislike or hate someone you pray for.

If that person has passed away, then let us not dwell on the matter any more. They have now seen and understand the situation with the help of the Lord. They know what happened which led to the need for forgiveness all round. All we need do now is pray for them.

If we need forgiveness ourselves for what we have done, and can seek it from those we have hurt, then let us do so. Whether it is granted or not.

If circumstances prevent us from seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt, then let us seek it from the Lord.

By starting, one person at a time, maybe forgiveness will slowly create peace in this world, one person at a time.

Friday, 26 April 2019

A Librarian Argument

A strange thing happened at the library some years ago. I was sitting at a table reading silently, as one is wont to do in a library, when suddenly I felt a sneeze coming on. Must have been the dust from the book I was reading. I quickly took out my handkerchief and stifled the sneeze semi-silently.

The man sitting next to me wrote "Bless you!" on a piece of paper and passed it to me. I wrote, "thank you" underneath it and passed the paper back.

The woman at the table with us wrote on a piece of paper, "Can you write silently. This is a library you know!" and passed it to me.

I wrote, "Sorry, I was writing as quietly as possible!"

She wrote back, "And if you're going to sneeze, do it outside!"

I wrote, "Sneezes do not give one advance notice they are about to happen. They just SPONTANEOUSLY happen!"

She wrote, "Do NOT use capital letters. This is shouting. I remind you, you are in a library!"

I wrote, "You just shouted the word not!"

She wrote, "I did not. I just raised my voice a little, that's why it was in italics!"

I wrote, "Raising one's voice in writing is just as bad as talking in a library, or sneezing spontaneously for that matter!"

She got up from the table, went to the librarian and asked for more paper. She came back with a full new notepad.

I hasten to add that, whilst all this was going on, the man at the table who started it all by writing "Bless you" had not reacted whatsoever. He was too short-sighted to see the argument between us.

Before she could use the notepad with another message I wrote her a note saying, "It would be quicker and easier to continue this argument by text. What's your cell-phone number?"

She wrote her number and gave it to me.

I sent her a text saying she is somewhat officious and perhaps she is taking this matter too seriously.

She texted back that she was not officious at all, but she believed that we should all abide by rules and regulations put there in place by those in authority for the benefit of society in general; and without such rules and regulations society would soon break down into utter and total chaos.

Admittedly, she took three texts to say all that.

So I texted back, "Perhaps we should continue this argument verbally over a coffee, because my fingers are getting tired."

So we went out for a coffee.

And that's how I met my wife.

Now ... many years later, whenever we have an argument it is always in writing. And in triplicate too. One copy for her, one for me, and one for the solicitors.

We have files and files of arguments on paper all dated and titled on the cover. Titles like:

Whether the UK should leave the European Community or not.

What we should do to bring inflation under control.

Where in the garden we should place the bird feeding table.

What we should call the new dog.

As an example, using the latter file. When we got a new dog a year ago we could not decide what to call him. Names like "Sit" and "Fetch" had already been used and we wanted something new, spontaneous, and fresh. So we decided that I should take the dog for a walk in the cemetery, and the first gravestone that the dog showed an interest in by raising his leg, the name on that grave stone would be the name of the dog.

We called him "Fire Hydrant".

PLEASE CLICK HERE

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Do you know me?

The wonderful thing about the internet is that you meet a lot of nice people on social media and you get to know about them and you become friends, even though very often, you never meet in person.

I have been blogging for a while now; and I wondered how much you, my friends, know about me.

To remedy the situation. I have written a short resume HERE.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

St Paul's lost litter to the maddern wold


Deer fiends,

I am riting this litter to warn you of the dangers of modern thyme.

Life is moving fast these dais. It is not as when I was round on earth. Back then life was much slower. We wear more care full, especially when talking or writing too each other. We thought carefully aboot what we said.

I used too write with a quill on parchment pepper or thick sheets of papyrus. A quill was a feather I plucked from a mongoose and sharpened its end - of the feather not the mongoose. I tipped the feather in ink and wrote slowly and carefully so as not to make any misteaks.

Now life is much faster with electronique gadgets with there prescriptive sex. You type one thing and out comes an other. Then you press send and the damage is don. What you did not mean to say has been said and the other person can get upset or very heart.

Pleese communication slowly and carefully. Do not heart each other by what you say. Be gentile with one another. I remember a fiend of mines always used to say: Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never heart me. And then a printing press fell on him. Ouch!

So take cake ... care.

I'd better stop now. My quill is getting blunt. I use it to hit the keys on this keyboard and it breaks easily. Not like the olden thymes.

Yours sin cere lee,

Sain PAuL.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Air That I Breathe

As I got out of my London taxi and made my way to the big apartment block, a luxurious car drew by, and the uniformed man at the entrance of the apartment block came out on the sidewalk and opened the door.

Out came a bejewelled woman carrying a small poodle in her hands and a small man carrying her handbag. They were both in their late fifties or early sixties, I would guess. She was somewhat large and what could euphemistically be described as rotund; whilst he was somewhat diminutive in stature and obviously submissive to her demands.

I let them go through into the building first; out of politeness of course. As I followed them in, the other security type person checked my credentials before letting me in. What a cheek!!! Just because I was wearing my red tartan trousers, green jacket and cowboy hat with large feather; there’s no need to suspiciously ask why I was there.

Anyway, moments later we were waiting by the elevator doors and we were joined by a pretty young lady also obviously well to do.

“Hello Stephanie!” said the rotund woman.

“Good morning Mrs Flabbergast,” replied the young lady, “how is Bijou this morning?”

“Bijou?” I thought, that’s a stupid name for one’s husband.

“Oh he’s all well again,” replied the rotund woman, “Mr Flabbergast and I have just been to the vet for his injections!”

“Why did her husband go to the vet for his injections?” I thought, “maybe he’s caught something from the dog!”

The elevator arrived and we all got in.

“We’re going to the penthouse, young man” said the rotund woman to me looking down her nose.

I smiled and pressed the buttons as the young lady said “17th floor for me please!”

The elevator went up smoothly for a minute or so and then stopped with a jolt.

“Perhaps you didn’t press the buttons properly!” accused the rotund woman.

I mean … what an insult … There’s only one way to press an elevator button, and I did just that. I pressed 17, Penthouse and 21, the floor I was destined to. And now here I was stuck in an elevator with high society looking down on me.

The diminutive man said “They’ll soon let us out dear … these elevators automatically inform the engineers when something is wrong!”

“Oh do be quiet Gilbert …” she responded, “Bijou is getting upset!”

“There’s an opening in the ceiling” the young lady pointed out, “if you lift that flap there you can go through, and there’s a lever that opens the doors. I’ve seen it done in the movies!”

I looked up and said nothing.

“You don’t expect me to get up there?” said the young high society, “not in my mini skirt, I won’t!”

“Gilbert suffers from vertigo” said Mrs Flabbergast, “and I certainly will not climb up there in this new dress. So it’s down to you young man!”

“Or up to you …” said Gilbert with a smile pointing upwards.

“I am not going up there.” I said authoritatively. “I may press the wrong lever and things would get worse. I’m sure the engineers will soon let us out. Let’s be patient for a while.”

We remained patient for about five minutes or so. Silently looking at each other nervously and smiling politely. And then it happened …

Someone … (cue in dramatic music) had cowardly broken wind!

It was one of those silent wind breakers that turns the air a darker shade of grey as it slowly suffocates your every breath and presses your eardrums outwards.

I don’t know about you … but I think breaking wind in an elevator is totally wrong on so many levels.

They all looked at me accusingly. I resented that. I knew it wasn’t me but how could I prove it? If I objected it would have been taken as admission of guilt. I said nothing and looked at my watch, pretending not to notice their accusations or the distinct lack of air in this suspended cage.

“Would you like some chocolates?” said Mrs Flabbergast trying to deflect the silent conversation to another subject.

She opened her handbag and brought out a packet of chocolate drops which she handed round to the young miss and her husband. Neither took any.

I took a couple, out of politeness of course, and to show there were no hard-feelings regarding the false un-spoken accusations.

She pulled a couple of drops out of the bag and gave them to Bijou.

“Chocolates can be harmful to dogs,” said the young lady with a smile.

“Oh … they’re not chocolates!” replied Mrs Flabbergast, “They’re specially formulated chocolate substitutes for dogs. The vet just gave them to us!”

Before I could say anything the elevator smoothly moved upwards and took us to our destinations.

Lately I’ve often had this urge to scratch my ears violently with my feet and lick people in the face. Very embarrassing … especially when on a bus!

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter Lies and Truth

As we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord let us remember that this particular event gave rise to many speculations and rumours all those years ago, and indeed over the years since then.

Let’s consider the facts as we know them.

A man claiming to be the Son of God was crucified and died a most horrible death.

After His death, His followers claimed that He rose from the dead as He had said He would.

Now let’s look at the rumours and the conspiracy theories.

It is possible that Christ’s disciples and followers stole and hid the body of Jesus to perpetuate the story that He is the Son of God and that His Father raised Him from the dead.

But if that were the case; what benefit is there to them to disseminate this story knowing full well that it is a lie? Why suffer persecution, imprisonment, torture and death for something you know to be false? Would you do that?

The other theory is that the Jews, the Sadducees or Pharisees, removed the body in order to stop any beliefs that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God.

But if that were the case; then why not produce the body once the disciples said that Jesus rose from the dead and invalidate the story of the Resurrection right from the start? Isn't that what one would expect in such circumstances?

Another hypothesis is that Christ never died at all. He just lost consciousness or was in a coma, and He woke up once again and walked out of the tomb.

But the Romans were very thorough people. They made sure that those crucified were indeed dead by breaking their legs whilst hanging there. They did not do so to Jesus because when they checked He was already dead. Even so, they did pierce His side with a spear just to make sure.

And then; there is of course the fact:

Christ died on the Cross and rose from the dead.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

EASTER

HE IS RISEN

Friday, 19 April 2019

This Man

Imagine you’re a person of authority in a Court of Law. 

The judge, the final arbiter, whatever you say happens. 

And they bring to you a man. He is fairly ordinary looking and they accuse Him of saying He is the Son of God. And this is blasphemy according to the Law and He should be put to death. 

Before you make such a momentous decision on the man’s life, you decide to do some investigations. 

You check and you find that this man has been around for about three years or so. He has been travelling up and down the land, and He has indeed said several times that He is the Son of God. He preaches to people and He tells them to repent from their sins and to follow the Way of the Lord. 

So you wonder about this and you think “Well, maybe if I can prove that this man is mad, I could let Him off. I could tell the people that He is insane, and they should let Him go, and I could warn Him not to repeat what He says because it would get Him into deep trouble”. 

So you check on the man’s sanity and you find that indeed He is not mad at all. Many people can testify to the fact that he has preached in the temples, and He has debated with religious elders, and shows no sign of being mentally insane whatsoever. Indeed, He is very wise. 

And you also find that this man seems to have some supernatural powers because He has healed many people up and down the country. The blind can see, the deaf can hear, the dumb can talk and the lame can walk. And there’s plenty of evidence for what He has done. There’s even a Roman Officer who can testify that He has healed. What better evidence do you want? 

And also, you understand, that apparently He has raised people from the dead. Now that’s very strange. No one has ever done that before. But again there’s plenty of evidence of that. There’s the family of a man called Lazarus who apparently had died and had been entombed for a few days yet Jesus raised him from the dead and raised other people from the dead. 

And when He preaches He says to people “Your Faith has saved you” whatever that means. And He heals them. 

He doesn’t charge at all for what He is doing. He just wants people to repent and follow the Lord. 

So you wonder whether He’s some sort of trickster, some sort of charlatan. So you order your soldiers to beat Him up and to rough Him a bit to see whether He admits to being a liar, a cheat. 

Your soldiers torture Him, beat Him up, they put a crown of thorns on His head because He claims to being a King of some sort. But after all that the man still does not say anything in His defence. 

So you give up. You think, “Well, He is one of their people. He is not one of us. So what’s it to do with me if they want to kill Him.” 

So you give orders for Him to be put to death. 

Your soldiers put a Cross on His back and ask Him to carry it all the way to the place where He is nailed to that Cross and left there to die. 

And just before He dies He asks God in Heaven, to forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing. 

What’s more strange is that three days later this very man is Himself raised from the dead.  And a lot of people see Him and can testify to his Resurrection. 

Now I wonder. Is this enough evidence that this man is really the Son of God? 

Because it is for me.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Washing of feet


This week, many churches re-enact the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet before the Last Supper. The priest washes the feet of 12 people representing the disciples. You can bet that the chosen 12 have ensured that their feet, (or foot, because usually one foot is washed to speed the whole procedure), are/is as clean as could be, to avoid embarrassment during the re-enactment.

At the time of Jesus, however, things were different. Streets were not as modern and clean as they are now in our towns and cities. They were dusty, muddy if it rained, and no doubt full of deposits from horses, camels and cattle. People wore sandals or even walked in bare feet.

So when they entered a house as guests washing their feet must have been an essential task rather than the symbolism it is in today’s churches. A task left to the servants to undertake.

When Jesus offered, insisted even, in washing His disciples’ feet He was teaching them, and us, a very important lesson.

Here is God Himself, born in poverty, raised in poverty, living in poverty, submitting Himself to perform a task reserved for servants.

Perhaps the disciples didn’t understand the significance of what Jesus had just done. Maybe we don’t understand it ourselves right now.

Yet, He was preparing for an even greater submission and humiliation for us.

Dying a most horrible and painful death on the Cross.

Just for us.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Judas Question


Father Ignatius was chairing the monthly “Any Questions” meeting at the Parish Hall. This is an event he had initiated some time ago whereby parishioners and their guests gather of an evening, and after refreshments of tea, coffee, hot chocolate drinks and cakes, they sit in cinema fashion and ask him any question totally un-prepared. Usually the questions are about the day to day running of the church, or the two Catholic schools nearby; but more often than not there are some questions about Christianity and the Catholic Faith.

Father Ignatius was convinced that the hot drinks and cakes were the main attraction; but he was assured this was not the case.

His curve ball came from a young lady sitting at the front.

“Father,” she said, “I can’t help feeling sorry for Judas. What chance did he really have? He had to betray Jesus; because if he didn’t do so, he’d be going against God’s will. So what choice or free will did Judas have?”

The priest put down his cup of coffee and cleaned his spectacles; a trick he had learnt in order to gain time.

“Would it help if I say I don’t know the answer to this?” he said eventually.

After a short pause the young lady continued, “well Father, I don’t understand the difference between our free will, or Judas’ free will, to do as we wish, and pre-destination to do what God has determined will happen.”

Before the priest could answer a man put up his hand and said: “Oddly enough, I was reading about this the other day. In John Chapter 17 I think it was. When Jesus was praying for His disciples He says to God something like ‘I kept the disciples safe. Not one was lost except the one who was meant to be lost so that the Scriptures may come true.’ This implies that Judas had no choice. He was pre-programmed as it were to betray Jesus.”

A few of the audience murmured at this; perhaps they hadn't read or heard about it.

“Free will and pre-destination are matters which have taxed many a learned brain over the centuries,” replied Father Ignatius gently, “and no doubt they will continue to do so.

“I am not God, and so I do not have a definite answer for you. But I assure you I will ask Him when I get to meet Him.

“In the meantime, let us consider the question a bit more.

“When God created us He had two choices.

“He could have created a species of robots. All pre-programmed to obey Him, to love Him and to do His will without question.

“And how trouble-free that would have been! No sin, no rebellion, no satan.

“But God loved us so much that He gave us a precious gift. He gave us the gift to choose. He allowed us to decide whether to love Him back, or not.

“When He invited us to return His love for us, He did so with no coercion whatsoever from His part. Love given freely by Him, and returned freely by us; but only if we want to.

“Hence our free will to choose.

“We are free to decide what we do with our lives. To love and obey Him, or to go our own way.

“Yet having said so, there are instances in the Bible where God does lead, or encourage, certain people in some direction. Look at the way he nudged Paul on the way to Damascus for instance.”

The audience laughed.

“You may well laugh,” continued Father Ignatius, “but God may have seen some good qualities in Paul which could come useful in furthering God’s Word on earth. And how right He was!

“After all, why should the devil have all the good talent?”

The audience laughed again.

“So …,” went on the priest after they had settled down, “whilst on the face of it there is some evidence, in our eyes, that God does lead us in some direction it is somewhat presumptuous on our part to try to analyze when this is pre-destination and when it is free will.

“But this so-called evidence is in our eyes only. Because we try to understand God in human terms. Something we should not do, in my opinion, because we are humans and He is not.

“By analyzing Him in human terms we bring Him down to our level. And this is wrong.

“God does not want us to understand Him and analyze His motives. He wants us to love Him and to dare to obey Him, in blind Faith, in the sure knowledge that He knows what He is doing.

“Can we do that? Dare to obey Him without question?

“And not want to serve God in an advisory capacity. But as obedient children, trusting His every word and action.”

The priest stopped for a second and sipped his coffee.

“Let Him be God and let us be humans. And let us always be willing to listen to Him when He leads us in a certain direction” continued Father Ignatius.

“I really cannot tell you whether Judas was pre-programmed, as you put it, or not. Did Judas really have a free choice? Could he have decided not to follow his evil instincts and not betray Jesus? In the Gospel of John he tells us that Jesus gave a piece of bread to Judas, to point at the one who was to betray Him, and at that instant 'Satan entered into him'; signifying perhaps that it was the devil who betrayed Jesus, and Judas was only an instrument in all this. I really do not have an answer to this, but I trust God to know the answer to that question and to have dealt with it with compassion, fairness and love.

“Finally, I wish to say this.

“I did not fall out of bed one morning and decide to become a priest. At the time, I felt led by God to follow the path to priesthood. It was a gradual process, it took time and it took a lot of thinking and praying … and eventually, I knew that He was calling me.

“God may well be calling some of you these days. Not necessarily into the priesthood, but to listen to Him and His will for you.

“I pray that you’d be listening when He calls you to do whatever He asks of you in this life.”

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

For whom the cock crows


Sunday Mass was over and everyone had left. Father Ignatius was clearing up in the Sacristy when Arthur, a young Altar Boy, came in sheepishly.

“Are you still here?” asked the priest.

“Yes Father … can I ask you something please?” replied the young teenager.

“Fire away …” encouraged the priest as he sat down.

“I think I committed a sin yesterday … and I took Communion today.”

“You think … are you not sure? What did you do?” asked Father Ignatius gently.

“I was at the Karate Club yesterday. I go every Saturday. During break some of the boys were talking about Jesus and they were mocking and laughing. They were telling jokes about Him and saying bad things!”

“I see … and what did you do?”

“That’s it …” hesitated the young lad, “I did nothing. I didn’t want to tell them about Jesus in case they laughed at me. I just kept quiet and smiled.”

“I understand …” said Father Ignatius pausing slightly, “have you told Peter about this?”

“Peter Marsden?”

“No … not Peter Marsden! Who is he anyway?” asked the priest frowning a little.

“He is our Karate Instructor … we call him Sensei …” replied young Arthur.

Father Ignatius smiled.

“I meant St Peter …” he continued, “you know him? We have a large statue of him at the back of the church.”

The boy nodded.

“What do you know about him?”

“He was a disciple of Jesus,” said Arthur.

“That’s right … and like you he was a little hesitant when asked about Jesus. When Jesus was arrested Peter denied knowing Him three times. And then the cock crew and reminded Peter of what Jesus had said … do you know the story?” asked Father Ignatius.

Arthur nodded again.

“The important thing to remember Arthur,” continued Father Ignatius gently, “is that Peter was sorry at what he had done; and Jesus forgave him. And Peter went on to become head of the Church.

“I quite understand that you felt a little intimidated yesterday. Jesus understands it too, and He forgives you just as He forgave Peter.

“But remember this Arthur … as you grow up there will be other occasions when you’ll be faced with the same situation. People will mock Jesus, God or your religion. This is the way of the world I’m afraid. Jesus has many enemies in this world, despite all He has done for us.

“It’s at those times when I pray and hope that you’ll have the courage to stand up for Jesus and for your beliefs.

“What happened yesterday is understandable in the life of someone so young as yourself.

“The sad tragedy Arthur is that grown-ups often deny knowing and loving Jesus for fear of what others might say. In a free society as we enjoy these days, compared to the times of Peter, grown-ups still shy away from knowing and loving the Lord. They keep their heads down in embarrassment.”

Father Ignatius looked at the child in the eye and asked.

“You’re learning Karate you say?”

Arthur nodded.

“Good …” said the priest, “that’s a defensive martial art. Isn’t it?

“You should remember always to defend the Lord, Arthur. Not with your fighting skills, but with your wisdom, your pure soul and by the way you live.

“The Good Lord will help you to know what to say and when to say it.

“You’re the Karate Altar Boy … defending the Lord with your soul!”

Arthur smiled broadly.

“Now you’d better hurry home before your parents start worrying about you.”

As the young boy turned to leave Father Ignatius added, “and don’t forget to pray for me … I need prayers too you know!”

Monday, 15 April 2019

Why no one asked Jesus

Father Ignatius tried something new with his congregation. He suggested they held an “Any Questions” meeting whereby members of the audience would ask him and Father Donald any question, totally unprepared and unscripted, and they would try to answer it.

It was the first such event held at the church centre and that evening in question was well attended. At first the questions were somewhat tentative and easily dealt with by either priest, mainly relating to the running of the church, Mass times in winter, and the diminishing amount received in Sunday collections.

But then a young lady stood up and asked the top table, “May I read something before I ask my question?

“While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head. Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, ‘What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!’ And they criticized her harshly.

But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me.’

“This is from Mark 14 3-7,” she concluded.

“My question to you Fathers is," she asked hesitantly, “why did Jesus say ‘You will always have poor people with you?’ ”

Before either priest could answer a man at the front said; “Good point … Is Jesus saying poverty will be with us always? Is He saying that all our efforts to help the poor are in vain?”

“Might as well not bother,” mumbled another man sitting beside him.

The two priests looked at each other. Father Ignatius cleaned his glasses slowly and said nothing at first.

“Of course we should bother …” declared Father Donald, “it is our duty to help the poor. Jesus was making the point that He would soon be Crucified and gone from the people, whereas the poor will always be with us. Don’t you agree Ignatius?”

“Well …” replied Father Ignatius slowly, “two thousand years later and we still have poverty in this world. So Christ was not far wrong with what He said.

“But let us look at what Jesus said in a wider context.

“Could He perhaps be talking about something more than just material poverty?

“Is He maybe reminding us that there will always be someone worse off than us? Someone who is poor in material things, someone poor in spirit, poor in health, poor in education or even poor in Faith. This may be miss-interpreting Him perhaps but still worth considering.

“We all have a responsibility towards those in poverty in one way or another. No matter how their poverty manifests itself.

“We should always readily recognize our blessings and share them with those less well off than us.

“If we are fortunate to be financially rich, we should give to those who have not.

“If we are in good health, we should help those who are sick. Visit them at home or in hospital, and give a hand when needed.

“If we are clever or intelligent we should be more tolerant towards those not as bright as us and help educate them where we can.

“And if our Faith is strong, we should help and pray for those who falter and fail in their walk with the Lord.”

“Wow … I never saw it this way …” commented the original questioner.

“We’ve all been given some talent or other” added Father Donald, “and we should use them for the benefit of others.”

“So I suppose Jesus could be referring to poverty in the wider sense, as well as physical poverty of course,” continued Father Ignatius, “and such poverty, whatever it may be, will continue with us as a permanent reminder of our responsibilities towards others as well as towards God Himself.

"And with this responsibility comes a greater and more onerous one. That is to answer to Him when He asks us, “And what have you done with the riches I gave you?”

"Our talents are to be used for His glory to help others.”

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Lenten Reflections

PLEASE TAKE SOME TIME TO LISTEN AND REFLECT ON THIS
(10 minutes long) 

Friday, 12 April 2019

Ladies - Please Fight Fair

LADIES !!!
PLEASE FIGHT FAIR

It says so in the Bible.

If two men are having a fight
and the wife of one
tries to help her husband
by grabbing hold of
the other man's genitals,
show her no mercy ...
DEUTERONOMY 25:11
So there !!! 

Thursday, 11 April 2019

ARSONIST AT LARGE



BREAKING NEWS

LONG-HAIRED ARSONIST SETS FOXES ON FIRE

It's in the Bible.

Samson went and caught three hundred foxes.
Two by two,
he tied their tails together
and put torches in the knots.
Then he set fire to the torches
and turned the foxes loose
in the Philistine cornfields.
He burnt not only the corn harvested
but also that in the fields,
and the olive orchards as well.
 JUDGES 15:4-5.

This is terrible behaviour.
Someone should report him to the Animal Protection people.
Not only is Samson cruel to animals
but he is an arsonist too.

He destroyed corn fields and olive orchards.
No wonder olives are so expensive in the shops.

And I like corn dogs too!!!  
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