Friday 30 June 2023

The Power of Sneezing


Sneezing is caused by irritation to the mucous membranes of the nose or throat. It can be very bothersome, but is rarely a sign of a serious problem. Sneezing can be due to: Allergy to pollen (hay fever), dust or other impurities entering the nasal passages, and manifests itself as a violent extraction of air from the lungs accompanied often by a very loud noise.

Some sneezes can be so loud that they register very high on the decibel scale of noise measurements. As much as many decibels sometimes. So loud that scientists have concluded that if a man sneezes in a forest and there is no one there to hear it a tree will fall on his head. 

Some sneezes are indeed so loud that they can be heard round corners or even in the dark.

You must close your eyes whilst sneezing or else your ears will fall off.

Once, whilst driving fast on the highway, I sneezed so violently that it blew out the whole car windscreen. It came out in one piece from its frame and floated ahead of me. I did not lose control and continued to drive fast until I caught up with the frame and it fitted right back in the aperture from whence it left. Luckily, it was not a series of sneezes as sometimes happen, other wise the frame would have popped out and in several times from London to Paris, at which place I would have had to sneeze in a different accent.

This is all true, I tell you. As true as I am imagining it right now.

Sneezing can be loud, audible round corners and in the dark, violent and strong enough to blow out your windscreen or even make you break wind, and can be in different accents.

Thursday 29 June 2023

Learning from History


In Roman times emperors and rich people like wealthy merchants used to build big mansions and palaces with high columns so that the building could be seen from miles around, especially if built on a hill. Rome had many hills as you know. It still has.

But inside the building it was all on one level. A huge palace all on one floor. They did not have an upstairs and downstairs because stairs had not been invented.

Until one day, a slave cleaner, a woman called Ella Vator, was vacuum cleaning the great banquet hall when she noticed a spider's web high on the ceiling. She could not reach up there to clean it. She got worried that her master, a rich merchant called Lay About, would notice the cobweb at the next dinner party when he and his guests lay on the floor on large cushions and enjoy a Margherita pizza. (No pineapple on pizza in those days).

As an aside, the Romans ate by lying on the floor because furniture had not been invented. This is because The Carpenters were busy making music instead. But I digress.

As another aside, did you know that The Carpenters used to rub wheat-germ and other grains in their hair?  Hence the song: "Why do birds suddenly appear? Every time you are near?"

You learn a lot from my research, dear readers. But I digress again. 

Any way, Ella Vator got worried about the spider's web so she asked her boyfriend, another slave named Staircasus for help. He brought in various pieces of stones, marble and rocks and put them on top of each other until he managed to climb and reach the ceiling. Unwittingly, he invented the staircase, named after him.

He reached the cobweb which he cleaned and then, using a goblet he trapped the spider underneath it, then slid a piece of parchment paper under the goblet and gently threw the house spider outside. Which begs the question: where did house spiders live before houses were invented? But I digress yet again. I must stop interrupting myself.

When the master came home he was furious to find a pile of rubble and stones in his banquet hall. He called in all the slaves and asked them who did it. No one spoke because they all feared him, and being members of the Slaves Union they protected each other. 

The rich merchant threatened to punish all of them unless one confessed.

So a slave stepped forward and said, "I am Staircasus!"

Then another did the same and said, "I am Staircasus!"

And another claimed, "I am Staircasus!" 

And another and another until they all claimed to be staircases in a one level building with no where to go up to because there was no upstairs to go to. 

So the merchant decided to build an upstairs and rewarded all his slaves for their brilliant idea.

This story was years later made into a film bearing the name of the famous slave "Staircasus".


Please see Bill's comment below. Other History lessons are available in my book "The Soup waved at me!" which you can download FREE from HERE

Or buy in KINDLE format HERE.

“The soup waved at me!” is a unique book in many respects. It is a collection of amusing short stories aimed at making you smile, laugh, or knock your socks off – the choice is yours.

The book is unique in that it has been written slowly to help readers who cannot read fast. It also contains a generous portion of punctuations to enable readers to stop and take a rest in long sentences. The author has also introduced the never used before double comma which looks like this ,, and allows you to stop reading a little longer and take a rest.

“The soup waved at me!” can be equally enjoyed whilst lying comfortably in a hot bubble bath listening to your favourite music, or standing in a warm shower holding your electronic tablet in your hand. Assuming of course that it is waterproof – the tablet, not your hand.

So sit back, or stand up, relax, and be prepared for an experience you’ve never imagined possible.

Wednesday 28 June 2023



There's a great difference between feelings and actions. We may feel certain emotions as a result of certain events, but the way we react to them is up to us - our actions.

Take forgiveness for instance. It is not just a feeling. We do not feel like forgiving someone; but we can decide to do so. An action on our part to forgive the wrongdoings done to us.

Love may start as a feeling. We are attracted to someone. But eventually, loving someone else, or loving one another as a community or as a world, is a decision; an action. We decide that we will be kind to someone else no matter how obnoxious they are.

Anger is a feeling. Is it a negative feeling? There are no such things as negative and positive feelings. They are just emotions. Part of our make up. How we react to feelings is an action taken by ourselves. Sometimes anger is a justified feeling if it makes us stand-up against wrongdoings and evil. It's the action and the reasons behind it that is negative or positive. Not the feeling.

Humour is a feeling. It is a disposition which portrays our personality. Are we jovial in our attitude to life or do we spread doom and gloom wherever we go. Humour gives rise to laughter which is contagious. Laughter is a build up of pressure that starts in the abdomen and rises up the asparagus and comes out as a loud noise out of a hole in your head. From anywhere else and you're in trouble.

Humour can be a positive feeling if shared around kindly and wisely.

Monday 26 June 2023

Have I offended you?


The preacher approached the lectern and asked, "hands up all those who are going to Heaven!"

Everyone raised their hand. They were enthusiastic and glad to be saved. Everyone except one man sitting three rows on the left. The preacher noticed him and wondered, "what a humble man, he does not presume he'll be in Heaven."

He asked him, "why did you not raise your hand?"

The man replied, "I'm not sure I want to go to Heaven if all these people will be there!"

What I'm trying to say is that a lot of Christians are hypocrites. They are Christians in name only. Christianity to them is a badge, not a way of life. You know some of them. In your church, your community, your family even.

I don't know any of you. I notice who visits here and comments regularly and I am very grateful for your encouragement and support. But I also notice those who, for some reason or other, have stopped visiting. Perhaps they're busy. Perhaps they no longer Blog. Perhaps they're ill, or sadly for us, they  have moved on to another life with Jesus.

I sometimes visit their Blogs and notice it is still live. I leave a message. But they do not return the comment.

So I wonder ... have I offended them in some way? 

Have I ever offended you?

Come on, be honest and let me know. In private if you wish.

I don't set out to offend people; and I know perhaps sometimes my humour does not travel well. 

However, if something I said in a Christian post has offended someone then that's different. I try to be very careful in what I say in my Christian posts. So if what I say there offends someone, I don't mind offending them if it saves them from hell.

It is our responsibility, all Christians, to spread the Word of God as best we can. Through our writings, our Blogs, our church, the way we live and the way we treat each other kindly and with respect.

We should not be afraid to speak our truth as taught in the Bible. If it offends someone, then that is their business. At least they've read what we had to say and reacted to it.

When we read the parable of Jesus about the sower and how some seeds ended on the footpath, and others on rocky ground, and others among thorns and only a few on good ground, we think of the Word of God spread amongst many who would not listen. (Luke 8:4-15). 

The Word of God is meant for everyone. We have a duty and responsibility to evangelise and spread the Word of God to everyone, far and wide. Not to just Christians.

If the Word of God was meant for just Christians we would dig a long furrow and make sure that the seeds are planted one by one carefully in the furrow and none are wasted. But Jesus does not say that in this parable. He spreads the seeds far and wide and if people do not want to listen that is their problem. Not ours.

Sunday 25 June 2023

Do not be afraid


Matthew 10:26-33

'So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.'

‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.'


Thursday 22 June 2023

Permission to speak freely


Look folks ... this article is likely to be controversial. Let me have your views.

Many people approach God with fear and trepidation as if addressing a superior officer or an omnipotent monster who is likely to get angry and destroy them at a moment's notice. I feel this is wrong.

We should speak to God with respect and reverence, not in dread for our lives and well-being.

I think there's nothing wrong with saying to God, "Permission to speak freely ..."

And then telling Him, politely, how you feel. Telling Him that you don't feel like praying right now. There are people who spend hours praying, reciting the Rosary or whatever, and no doubt giving God a headache. It is all right to tell Him you don't feel like long prayers right now and to thank Him for things as they are.

It is all right to tell God that you feel disheartened, discouraged, abandoned, alone and afraid. There are many people with problems and difficulties right now. Perhaps medical issues, financial matters or whatever else. Me included. We pray and we get discouraged. Why not tell God about it? Why not tell Him precisely how we feel? He knows anyway.

It is OK to share our frustration and anger even. He can take it. He took all our anger when hanging there on the Cross. 

Tell Him precisely what you are concerned about and how it is affecting your faith and your trust in Him.

He will understand and will hear your prayers from the heart. Honest prayers. Polite prayers.

Who do you think God would rather have in Heaven? Someone who is there because he is afraid of going to hell? Who has gone through life in fear of God and always on his knees? Or someone who has tried his best to love and obey God but has failed often, and fallen many times, and has always persevered and kept going on.

Personally, I think God wants both of these in Heaven, because He loves all His creations. But He appreciates that some of us fail often, and try again and again.

When, like me, you feel very low in life, tell God about it. Tell it as it is. Tell Him that you're out of your mind with worries, pain, uncertainties, or whatever else is troubling you. Tell Him to come to your aid.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you." (John 16:23)

"Trust [Believe] in God, and trust [believe] in me" (John 14:1)

Jesus said, "When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 'Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:7-15).

Wednesday 21 June 2023



Many animals teach their young. Birds, lions, cats and so on. But did you know that meerkats actually hold classes for their young and make the lessons more difficult in order to teach their young?

They first give their young a dead scorpion and teach them to attack it and kill it. Then they give them a live scorpion with the sting removed so they can actually fight it with no danger to the young. Then they give them a live poisonous scorpion and supervise the fight to protect their offspring.

Now I wonder, how many human parents teach their children of the difficulties and dangers they will encounter in life?

Monday 19 June 2023

That's life ...


Life is confusing at the best of times. I try to make sense of what people say and I get it wrong; especially when it's my wife speaking.

The other day she looked at a magazine and there was a picture of this magnificent coat. She looked at it for a while, and then hinting at me, she said, "I wish I had this!" So I cut out the picture and gave it to her.

She said I was insensitive and started crying. I thought I was kind and sensitive cutting out the picture so carefully. She said she wanted the actual coat, not the picture of it.

It was a very expensive coat. I thought the money could be better spent buying a new (second-hand) car; since our car was beyond repair. 

What would you do? Buy the coat, or get another "already used" car?

We compromised. We bought the coat and we keep it in the garage.

Honestly, I seem to get it always wrong. For our wedding anniversary I bought a water bed. Now we're drifting apart.

So I bought another bed, one with those new memory mattress. Now the mattress is trying to blackmail me.

I was told the secret to a happy marriage is to go out for a meal at least twice a week. So we tried that. She goes out Tuesdays and I go out Wednesdays.

I think all my bad luck in life stems from a deprived and impoverished childhood. We lived in a small cold and very damp house. So damp we went to bed with a periscope.
I remember at Sunday school, it was the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. You know, the one who loved animals and nature. The teacher asked us to write a nice story about our pets. I wrote about our dog, Spaghetti. When she read my story she said it was exactly the same, word for word, as the story my brother wrote. I said, "it's the same dog!"
Anyway, as I was saying, "that's life I suppose". Funny old world we live in. Things are changing so fast these days that the good old days was last week.

Saturday 17 June 2023

Side-walk Psalm

I was walking in town. I had plenty on my mind. These last few weeks have not been exactly brilliant.

Anyway, there's a church in town with a large bookcase outside just by the edge of the side-walk. The bookcase is made of wood with a glass front. I've never been to that church; but somehow I felt inclined to stop and look at the bookcase. 

It had an open Bible. Someone had marked with a highlighter pen the following from Psalm 121

The LORD will protect you from all danger; 

He will keep you safe.

He will protect you as you come and go

now and for ever.

Friday 16 June 2023

1 Corinthians 6:3


This is primarily a Christian Blog, although I do from time to time post humourous articles to amuse myself and my readers, and to attract new ones.

As a Christian community, we are here to support each other, and to learn from each other by asking questions and exchanging views and opinions. However, at this point, I must stress that I am not a priest, vicar, minister or whatever else. Just an ordinary person with personal opinion.

Recently, SANDI asked me about 1 Corinthians 6:3 where Paul writes:

6:1 If any of you has a grievance against another, how dare he go to law before the unrighteous instead of before the saints! 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

On the face of it, Paul is saying why go in front of a judge when you can go before the saints. In the Bible, "saints" means God's Holy people. Christian people to use the modern equivalent. People who believe, love and obey God. Like you and me ... 

So we, at the end of the world, will be judges on those who do not believe, love and obey God. 

And if we are worthy of such an honour by God, then we are surely competent to judge trivial worldly cases instead of going to the Courts and judges.

Then he adds, that we will also judge angels.

In here, I believe Paul means we will also judge the fallen angels. Those who rebelled against God and left paradise. Satan and his devils, the evil spirits who roam the world trying to take us away from God.  

What do you think?

Also read HERE.

Thursday 15 June 2023

A Horse's Tail.


Judging from some comments on yesterday's post I get the impression not many people believe me about the horse episode and throwing him over the fence. Well ... here's a description of what happened with photographic evidence.

First, my wife and I turned the dead horse on his back, like an upside down table, with his legs pointing to the sky. We tried to lift him by the legs but he was too heavy.

So we turned him upright, standing up and leaning against a tree.

The idea was that I would get underneath him and lift him up, like a shepherd would lift a small lamb on his shoulders and across the back of the neck. But the horse was too heavy for me to lift alone.

My wife tried to help, but we did not manage to lift him.

So our friend came along with his wife and the four of us got under the horse to lift him up. I did not appreciate that I was the one standing by the tail end of the horse.

We lifted the horse up the fence and he is now stuck in a bush by the fence.

Here's the photographic evidence.

 NOTE: This article has been written for comedic effect only. No wives have been asked to lift a dead horse over a wooden fence; or any other type of fence or wall or hedge or ...

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Advice Please


I am guessing that most of you have a fence in the back garden separating your place from the neighbours'. Over here, fences are usually made of wood and are about six feet high, thus providing visual privacy and also stopping your pets from running into other peoples' property. Although I noticed it has not stopped cats coming into my garden.

Anyway, I need your advice.

What would you do if you went in your garden and found a dead pigeon? Would you throw him over the fence into your neighbour's or would you bury it? It's not as if it was a beloved pet, is it?

What if it was a dead fish? One of your fish is found floating on the surface of your pond dead. Would you throw him over the fence or bury him with the family standing all around?

What if it was one of your pets? A hamster, gerbil, rabbit or cat? Or even a cat that does not belong to you is found dead in your garden. What would you do?

Or what if it was your dog that died?

The reason I am asking this is because our horse has died and he is too heavy to lift over the six feet high fence.

He was one of a set of six I use when playing polo. Yesterday we played water polo and he drowned. 

What do I do?

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Strange World


We live in a strange world. You never know what is going to happen next. Lots of things are happening around me that I cannot understand.

For example, I've just bought myself a new brand of aftershave. It said on the label that it smells of breadcrumbs. I was suspicious, but I admit that the birds love it.

Who would have thought it! Whatever next? Bubble bath soap that smells of sweat? Or garlic? 

And another thing. There was a knock at the door. When I opened it there was a man standing there dressed like the Grim Reaper. I fought him off with my vacuum cleaner. Talk about Dyson with death.

A friend of mine is totally confused about police advice. His wife has been missing for over a week now. The police have told him to prepare for the worst. So he went to the charity shop and bought all her old clothes back.

Anyway, there I was yesterday driving in heavy traffic. But first I called at the Mall to buy a new pair of shoes. In the car park I found my friend Fred lying on the ground. "Are you all right?" I asked, "Have you fainted?"

"No," he replied, "I found a free parking space and I sent my wife home to fetch the car!"

After I finished shopping I rejoined the heavy traffic. It was all start and stop, start and stop. I was going to the supermarket about a couple of miles away.

I noticed in the rear view mirror this couple in the car behind me. They too were following me in the start and stop routine. The man seemed to be singing to some music from the car radio. The woman did not seem too happy. I could see in the mirror they were arguing.

Suddenly, as we stopped again at a traffic light for road works, I could see the woman get out of the car and walk forwards towards me. She opened the passenger door and got in and sat beside me. I was bewildered and beside myself at what had just happened. That made three of us side by side. Her, me and me beside myself.

"Are you going to the supermarket?" she asked, "I have seen you there many times!"

"Yes ... yes ..." I mumbled.

"Good, can I ride with you?" she asked, "my husband is playing Country music on the radio. I hate Country music. I like Barry Manilow instead. Can we play Barry Manilow on your radio as we drive?"

"Eh ... actually ..." I mumbled still bewildered and beside myself, "I don't like Manilow so much. Country music can be good though!"

"In that case I suggest you go sit with my husband and I'll drive your car to the supermarket!" she said without hesitation.

She was masterful. Without hesitation, me and the one beside myself got out of my car and took a ride to the supermarket with her husband.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Body and Blood of Christ


The Gospel reading in church today is:

John 6:51-58

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever."

What does all this mean? Should we take it literally? Or is it all symbolism? 

In John Chapter 6 Jesus repeats this several times. So much so that some of His listeners decided not to follow Him any more and they left.

Jesus did not stop them. He did not call them back and tried to explain.

John 6:67 onwards:

So He asked the twelve disciples, "And you - would you also like to leave?"

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. And now we believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God."

Well ... I guess that now, many years later, we too have to decide whether we believe this or not.

Friday 9 June 2023

Father Ignatius Collection


Thursday 8 June 2023



Hello everyone. There I was the other day visiting Father Ignatius at Saint Vincent parish house. In my imagination of course.

We were enjoying a cup of hot chocolate drink and ginger marmalade on toast. I know, you'll think that chocolate and ginger marmalade don't go together but in my imagination they do and they tasted quite nice.

There we were enjoying our breakfast; Father Donald was also there and Mrs. Davenport of course. And it suddenly occurred to me that I was in the midst of great intellect and simplicity at the same time.

The two priests are very well educated and Mrs. Davenport has a way of looking at things in the most innocent way, in her own way shall we say. You know, I shall never forget the day when a young pupil doing his science homework at parish house asked her "if a person is in a vacuum can you hear him speak?" And she replied, "well, it depends whether the vacuum is switched on at the time and how much dust is in the vacuum bag".

Well that's Mrs. Davenport for you. But this led me to think, how does God deal with great intellect and simplicity? Some people in this world are very learned and indeed very clever, whereas some others are not. Does God expect more from the clever ones?

Like in the parable of the servants and the talents. Does God expect more from those that have learned theology, that have learned religion, compared to those that have not? For example, how does God deal with the way we live our Christianity and the way we live our lives?

Some people, like our friend Mrs. Davenport for instance, would perhaps go to church, say her prayers and light her candle every now and then. Something which have done many times myself. Is that enough for God I wonder?

And how about our faith? Some people have much faith; much much more faith than others. In my life I have known people who have suffered great hardships, with many illnesses and disease, and some have been in great pain, yet their faith remains ever so strong. They're an example to us all and they make me feel ever so humble and ever so small, because I stumble at the very first hurdle and fall whenever things get difficult and whenever things get hard for me. And I fall quite often believe me.

How does God view my weakness in faith? How does God view the weakness of people's faith? 

Just like the disciples, I've asked Jesus many times “please give me more faith!”

I suppose He smiled and said, “you can't handle the little faith I have given you already.”

I supposed to me it's a great comfort to look at Saint Peter and see how often he too stumbled. You remember he tried to walk on water yet lost his faith and nearly drowned. And despite being with Jesus for three years, and witnessing His divinity on earth, he still denied Him three times, and God forgave him.

I hope when we all get to meet God and see Him face-to-face He'll be forgiving and loving towards those amongst us who have little faith and who fail time and time again and keep on trying.

Thank you very much for listening. God bless you.

NOTE: Fathers Ignatius and Donald, and Mrs Davenport, are characters in my books.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Can you have faith for someone else?


Can you have faith for someone else?

Let's say you know someone who has walked away from God, or has never known or believed in God. And you pray and pray for them. Can you have faith on their behalf?

Tricky one this. So let's analyse it carefully.

Yes, you can have faith on their behalf. This means you have faith in God that God loves them as one of His creations, and that He dearly desires that they return to Him and spend eternity with Him.

So, by having faith on their behalf, you are actually opening a channel through which God can respond to your prayers. God listens to you and is aware of your pleas on behalf of someone else. So your prayers are answered by God creating opportunities for that person to return to God.  

But this bit is important: God creates opportunities for that individual to return to Him in response to your prayers. But God never controls that individual. He never forces that individual to return to Him. God merely shows him the way. But the final decision to return to God or not rests with that individual.

Thus it follows that yes ... you can have faith on behalf of someone else. Your faith, (sincere belief), is that God will answer your prayer by calling your friend back into the fold. Remember Christ saying that He would leave the ninety-nine sheep in search for the one that is lost? So, God will call back that lost sheep, but He will never force him back.

It is worth repeating: Through your faith you pray for another person. God hears your prayers and responds by allowing/creating opportunities for that person to return to God, or find God in their lives. God does not force that person in any way. To do so would be forcing His will, (and yours), on that person. The person must always be free to make his own decision. Your prayers and your faith are a channel and a plea to God on this person's behalf.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Left holding the baby

Father Ignatius had finished his weekly shopping at the supermarket. He jumped into his car and drove to the gas filling station across the road.

It was one of those self-service stations where drivers were expected to fill up their cars by themselves at the pump. The priest got out of the driving seat and began his purchase when he was approached by a young lady in her early twenties pushing a baby in a pram.

“Are you a priest?” she asked.

He was wearing his white collar at the time so he nodded and replied “Yes, I am. How can I help you?”

“It’s an emergency you see …” she said, “I have to go to the toilet quickly. Can you look after my baby for a few minutes please?”

“Well I …” he hesitated.

“I can’t wait …” she cried and ran across the street towards the supermarket, narrowly avoiding a car by inches. Within seconds she was out of sight behind some bushes and trees in the supermarket’s car park.

The priest looked down at the pram at a child who was about to start crying. He leaned down to the child and that was the signal for it to howl loudly.

“There … there … little one,” said Father Ignatius trying to soothe the child by shaking the pram gently. But the more he tried the more the baby cried louder.

By now other cars had queued behind him to get their gas. One or two impatient drivers tooted their car horns. Another opened his car window and let out a profanity only to realize who he was speaking to and then apologized profusely.

The priest looked at his watch and towards the supermarket. The young lady was nowhere to be seen. He ushered the drivers to use another pump.

He waited and waited but the mother never arrived. The baby continued to cry louder and louder. So he decided to pick it up and it was soon obvious what the problem was.

The baby smelled to high heaven having answered the call of nature.

“What do I do now?” thought the priest. “Changing diapers is not something they taught us when I trained for the priesthood.”

He decided to lock his car and made his way, baby held tightly in his arms for fear of dropping it, towards the small shop where you pay for your gas purchases.

It was quite a sight when he entered the shop with a howling smelling baby.

A young dude said: “Hey man … I thought you folks are meant to be celibate. What have you done?”

One or two others laughed as the priest approached the shop counter.

“Your baby stinks …” said the young cashier.

“I know …” replied Father Ignatius gritting his teeth. “Can you please call the police?”

“Why …”

“Because I asked you to ... Hand me your phone … This is an emergency.” replied the priest losing for a brief moment his usual calmness and serenity.

About fourty minutes or so later the police arrived.

Obviously they did not consider the situation an emergency as the priest had described. By then the baby had stopped crying as he slept in the priest’s arms. All the time Father Ignatius mind was focused on the large tub of ice cream melting gently in his car. “Funny how your mind wanders at moments like this,” he thought to himself.

The police officers took their time taking the details of the situation. They recorded his name and address and asked him to describe the young mother. He couldn’t remember much of the brief encounter but helped as best as possible under the circumstances.

Eventually, over an hour and a half since he’d first met the young mother, the police officers decided to take the baby away with them, as well as the pram which by now had been soaked by the rain pouring outside.

Father Ignatius drove back to St Vincent Church and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning ice cream from the back seat of the car.

That evening the priest sat down by the fireside to reflect on his afternoon adventures when the door bell rang.

It was the police. They advised him that they had found the mother and re-united her with her child. She wanted to see him at the hospital.

“At the hospital?” asked the priest.

“Yes sir. Apparently on her way back from the supermarket to collect her child from you she slipped on something and was concussed. An ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital. When she woke up she told us what happened and we re-united her with her baby.”

The priest visited the mother at the hospital that same evening and met her husband as well as other members of her family.

The mother’s wish was for Father Ignatius to baptize their baby.

The young family is now members of his congregation.

Monday 5 June 2023

The man and the ostrich


A man and an ostrich

The man goes into the bar and sits down, followed by an ostrich. The barman comes over. The man says:  I’ll have a beer. The barman looks at the ostrich who says: Same for me, please.

That’ll be £5.20, please. The man puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out the exact amount and gives it to the barman. The next day, the man and the ostrich come back and exactly the same happens.

Every evening the same routine happens. - The usual? asks the barman. - No, thanks. I’ll have a double scotch this time. - And the same for me, adds the ostrich. - That’s £5.80 then. Again, the man puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out the exact amount of money.

At this point the barman just has to know why. “Excuse me for asking, but how do you manage to pull out the exact amount of money every time?”

“Well, it might sound funny but I was clearing my attic and I found an old lamp. I rubbed it (as one would) and a genie popped out and gave me any two wishes.”

My first was to be able to pay for whatever I wanted to buy simply by putting my hand in my pocket and I would always have the correct amount. “Very clever, smiled the barman. Most people would have asked for a million pounds, or something like that, but you chose a way of being rich for ever”.

Absolutely: whether it’s for a newspaper or a Porsche 911 the exact amount is always in my pocket.

So what’s the story about the ostrich, then? - That’s where I messed up as, for my second wish, I asked for a chick with long legs …

Sunday 4 June 2023

A serious question


Pay attention now folks. This is serious ...

If you knew for certain, no hesitation, no doubts, that Jesus was returning to earth next Wednesday at 10:15 am as it says in the Bible ...

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11

If you knew of His return for certain ... is there anything you need to do? 

Are you ready to meet Jesus?

Are there any things in your life still left undone? 

Sins long forgotten or hidden which need to be repented on and confessed?

People whom you need to forgive truly and fully?

People from whom you need to seek forgiveness?

Wrongdoings which need to be put right?

Are you really really ready to meet Jesus next Wednesday on Judgement Day? Or next Tuesday? Or tomorrow? Or now?

Just asking ... ... ...

Saturday 3 June 2023

What were you in a previous life?


Years ago when in London I knew this well-to-do young lady who was quite wealthy, (or her dad was), and she lived on a different plain than myself. I was a young manager struggling my way up the hierarchy and she was not. She loved the high-life and went to posh restaurants, horse racing events, and other things rich people do.

She also loved to go to a therapist, a fashion stylist, a life-style guru, a dietician, a fitness coach and other such counsellors and advisers to help her in her meagre existence as a rich person. 

She once told me that her therapist hypnotised her and she went back in time and discovered that she was the wife of a Roman Senator in a previous life. I smiled politely and said nothing.

She suggested, insisted even, that I go to her therapist and discover my real self. I had no intention of doing so. I knew well enough who I was by looking at the full-length mirror when I got out of the shower every morning.

She said, "OK ... how about going to a different therapist rather than mine?"

She was not very bright and had not worked out that I had no intention of visiting any therapist and had no desire to discover who I was in a previous life. Without consulting me she booked an appointment with another therapist. I was very annoyed but she was the big boss' daughter so I put my foot down and agreed to go.

Damn ... turned out I knew the guy from the golf club. I knew him vaguely but we never actually spoke.

I thought I'd go in disguise. First thing I did was to shave my beard. Then I put on a fake beard. This made me look exactly as before. So I took off my glasses and wore my spare ones. I still looked the same. I changed my normally sober tie to a bright yellow one with red spots. That did the trick. He'll never recognise me in this disguise.

He said he was going to hypnotise me and find out who I was in a previous life. I scoffed politely. He said, "Don't you believe in re-incarnation?"

I replied, "What? Come back as a tin of condensed milk?"

I don't think he understood me. I hope you have!

He said, "If you were to be re-born in a future life, what would you like to come back as?"

I said, "A chicken!"

He asked, "Why?"

I said, "If I were in a room with those very long curtains that come down to the ground, I could hide behind a curtain; then if anyone might see my feet they'd never guess it was me! They'd say, what is a chicken doing behind a curtain?"

"OH!" he said as he wrote is down on his note pad.

"Or a duck," I continued, "no one would recognise me with ducks legs. And I could waddle away into a nearby pond. Or a kangaroo, although my feet would protrude too much from under the curtain ... no ... forget about the kangaroo. What animal would you like to come back as?"

He did not reply and said our time is up.

I learnt later that my therapist had gone to see my girl-friend's therapist. They consulted each other, hypnotised each other, and convinced each other that they were Tom and Jerry.

Friday 2 June 2023

Are our priests Christian enough?


By priests, I mean all denominations, not just the Catholics of whose Church I belong. 

It seems to me that there is a trend, here in the UK at least, for priests, (vicars, ministers, pastors and so on), to be trendy, modern, fashionable, likeable/lovable rather than being Christian and proclaim Christ's message as He meant it to be.

You see it often on TV where people of the cloth propound their own personal opinion on subjects not directly pertinent to Christianity. They talk on matters of politics, the environment, saving the planet, even Brexit, and so on in a personalised manner rather than focusing on the true message of Christianity.

I am not saying that the Church should not be political.

Christ was political and suffered death as a result. But the important difference is that His politics was based on God's Word primarily focussing on the Commandment to love God and to love one another, including our enemies. 

At no time did He pronounce on relationships between the Jews and the occupying Roman forces. When tricked by the Pharisees and Herodians about paying taxes, He uttered the immortal phrase “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Mark 12:17

This is often seen as an unambiguous message to the extent that it commands people to respect state authority.

Today, it seems that our modern priests have wandered somewhat from this path and they air their opinions on matters of economics, government policies, ecology, immigration, education and many others. 

No one's suggesting that priests should not have a personal opinion in these matters. Of course they should; it is an obligation in a democracy to have serious opinions on issues of the day. But I do not think that the Sunday pulpit, or TV and radio, are the place for such opinions to be proclaimed.

When a priest stands in church on Sunday, (or on the media), and questions government policy he has immediately divided his audience (congregation). Some will agree with what he says, and others will strongly disagree. As a result those who disagree will see him in a new light and will, subconsciously at least, feel (or be) distanced from him. 

This does Christianity no good and does not serve God well.

By being political and by siding for or against State matters such a priest can no longer serve two masters - God and his personal political and other beliefs. 

Instead of preaching politics from the pulpit, I would like to see our priests talking about sin, hell, Satan, greed, adultery, abortion, euthanasia ... ... ... Gather the sheep, Father; don't divide them!


Thursday 1 June 2023


 Father Francis Maple
Homily from Fr Francis for the 26th Sunday of the year.

Mark 9: 38-43, 47-48

I was once giving a parish Mission and I remember knocking on the door of one home. The moment I entered I sensed a very unhappy, cold atmosphere.Something wasn't right. If I spoke to the husband, the wife didn't exist. If I spoke to the wife, the husband didn't exist. You could sense that there was no communication between them. There was a coldness and hostility. After being with them for 15 minutes I decided to move on to the next Catholic home. The husband saw me to the door and said, "Father, do you ever preach on Hell?" I said, "I do." "Then whenever you preach on Hell in the future always use the example of my wife and I, because in this house there is no love. It is a living Hell. We live our separate lives under one roof. We just can't stand each other's company. We cook our own meals and eat on our own. I have my own living room and bedroom and she has hers. We decided to live like this for the last twelve years. We agreed that going through a divorce is too much trouble. I tell you, Father, living like this is like living in Hell. So when you next preach on Hell use us as an example because there is no love in our home. That is precisely what Hell is! There is a complete breakdown in our relationship."

That man went to the heart of the matter of Hell when he said it was a place where no love exists. I have heard some Catholics say there is no Hell. How can a loving God create such a place? We Catholics must believe that Hell exists. Jesus Himself refers to its existence when He says, "Fear Him, (meaning God,) who has power to cast body and soul into Hell." Hell is the home of Satan and his fallen angels. Is there anyone else in Hell? We just don't know, but Jesus in His parable of the Sheep and Goats warns us that we could find ourselves in Hell if we don't love. He described the sending of those to Hell in these words, "Depart from Me into the fire of Hell prepared for the devil and His angels." Those words indicate that there has been a complete breakdown in people's relationship with God and their neighbour.

What is Hell like? No one knows exactly, because no one has ever come back from Hell to describe it for us. Jesus speaks of Hell in terms of everlasting fire. It is not the fire we see at a barbecue or a bonfire.That fire could not afflict the soul, which is a spirit. To be thrown into fire causes extreme pain and fire is mentioned to indicate the extreme suffering one will experience in Hell. The real excruciating suffering in Hell is the pain of loss. The pain of loss is the eternal separation from God, which constitutes the worst of Hell's suffering. The persons in Hell know that the only Person who can make them happy is God and yet they hate Him. Hell is being fully aware that God is waiting for us with open arms and we can never be with Him through our own fault because we have rejected him. It is similar to the ache in the heart of lovers who are separated. All they want is to be with each other, but this is impossible. That pain is nothing compared to the pain of never again being able to love and possess God.

There has to be a tremendous loneliness in Hell, hating God, hating everyone and hating yourself. It is no good thinking if your friend goes to Hell that you will be able to enjoy each other’s company and console each other. You will be hating each other, wishing you could just turn back the clock and be given another chance to love God and your neighbour. My Mum used to tell us, in Hell there is a clock, which ticks and says, "Forever and ever! Forever and ever!" No picture can paint the reality of Hell. May God forbid anyone of us going there!

I love this illustration of the difference between Heaven and Hell. A man dies and was first shown Hell. He saw everyone sitting at a sumptuous banquet with the finest food and drink, but was surprised to see that everyone was starving. Then he noticed a weak man trying to feed himself. He couldn't, for the forks, spoons and knives were all six foot long and he couldn't get the food to his mouth. Next he was shown Heaven and there he saw exactly the same scene, a sumptuous banquet. But here no one was starving. He noticed when anyone was hungry the person opposite just picked up their spoon and fed them. In Hell there is only hate and selfishness, but in Heaven there is only love and thoughtfulness.

To deserve to go to Hell, we must have broken our relationship completely with God. Let us take an example. The Church, knowing the tremendous worth and God's wish to be adored by all Catholics through Sunday Mass, teaches that deliberately, and without good reason, to miss Mass on Sunday (or on the Saturday evening instead) is a mortal sin, and you can't go to Holy Communion again unless you first confess that sin in Confession and receive absolution. To commit any mortal sin requires three conditions to be present. These are, one, that the sin must be of grave matter. The Church considers that missing Mass on Sundays is a grave sin breaking one of God's Ten Commandments - “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day”- and turning down God's invitation to worship Him with His children as He wants. The second condition is that you know it is a serious offence against God, and the third condition is you deliberately commit the sin.

Supposing you were to die the next day after missing Mass and without repenting, then according to moral theologians, those who die in mortal sin will go to Hell for all eternity. But my own personal thought is that this would be unlikely to happen because to be condemned to Hell for one failing seems too harsh a punishment! For missing Mass once on Sunday does not necessarily entail a complete breakdown in our relationship with God. However, the danger is that having missed Mass without good reason once, it will be easier to miss again and again, and then again…until not going to Mass becomes a “normal” part of life as God’s Commandments are forgotten which, in time is likely to lead to a complete breakdown in the relationship. That is why it is not okay to miss Mass even on the odd occasion. I repeat it is a mortal sin, a great offence against God's love, and you cannot receive Our Lord in Holy Communion until you have confessed that sin with sorrow in your next Confession, which you should make as soon as is practicable.

I think of a life as a tree. If a tree leans in one direction when it dies it will fall in that direction. It is not going to fall in the opposite direction. So, too, with our lives. If all the time we are leaning towards God, very likely, with God's grace we shall fall into His arms when we die. But if our lives never point to God, it is very likely that when we die we shall die in enmity with God.

In fact I would advocate that you try to attend daily Mass as the best way of expressing love for God. If you want to avoid Hell make sure you have in your heart love for God and your neighbour. Remember that each of us is one of God's children. He never wants to lose any and would never send anyone to Hell. If someone goes there it will be because of the life which that person has chosen to live. Should we go to Hell it must break His heart. Knowing this a prayer I like to say very often is, "Heavenly Father, do not consider what we truly deserve, but forgive us our sins and lead us all to Heaven to be happy with You forever."