About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle, VA

A good life, a good ending

The story of Abraham and Sarah is a story that should begin, “Against all odds….”  It is a pretty amazing story of perseverance, endurance, and life lived for a mission greater than one’s self. Abraham and Sarah persevered and endured the long journey from modern-day Iraq to Israel on to Egypt and back to Israel. Even as they reached their older years, they continued to hope for a child of their own. They believed in the Lord’s promises even when his timeline was a whole longer than their timelines. They bore the hopes and expectations of all the people they led. Certainly, they lived out St. Paul’s message from 1 Cor 13:7 “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.Continue reading

The Carina Nebula

The Carina Nebula.Credit…NASA
https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages

This is what a stellar nursery looks like. The “cliffs” in the image are 7 light years tall, just in case you wanted to know. You read more about this image at NASA.gov  Below is an embedded image from gettyimages. The cost for the image is $150-$750 (other than non-commercial embedded image).  Given that the original is Public Domain, I am wondering on what basis they are able to license it?   Did they enhance the image in a way that allows them to commercially benefit from the image? Copyright laws makes sense in most cases, but (to my mind), not so much here. This picture ran in lots of online news sources. Did they license the gettyimage? I know that several national publications also claimed copyright protection on the image – seemingly with themselves has the holder of the license.

Somewhat as a consolation, Getty does provide for the ability to embed images in non-commercial site such as this and does so without cost.

Embed from Getty Images

Unintended consequences

Although often cited, but rarely defined, we are generally familiar with the “law of unintended consequences. Prohibition in the 1920s United States, originally enacted to suppress the alcohol trade, drove many small-time alcohol suppliers out of business and consolidated the hold of large-scale organized crime over the illegal alcohol industry. Since alcohol was still popular, criminal organizations producing alcohol were well-funded and hence also increased their other activities. Similarly, the War on Drugs, intended to suppress the illegal drug trade, instead increased the power and profitability of drug cartels who became the primary source of the products. Funding of the Afghan Mujahideen and the destabilization of Afghanistan contributing to the rise of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The introduction of exotic animals and plants for food, for decorative purposes, or to control unwanted species often leads to more harm than good done by the introduced species – think rabbits in Australia and kudzu in the Southern USA.

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A glimpse

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. It is a feast we celebrate every August 6thbut it is also a reading we hear every 2nd Sunday of Lent. In the gospel on those days, both Matthew and Mark starkly report: “And he was transfigured (metamorphōthē) before them.” The underlying Greek word means to “transform, change completely.” Luke uses the more mundane heteron (change) and limits the description to his face. All the accounts agree that the clothing became a brilliant white; Luke using the word that sometimes describes the white flash of lightning. Continue reading

Debut of the World Wide Web

On this day in 1991 the World Wide Web (www) made its public debut. Not to be confused with the Internet that has been developing since the 1960s or with the “birthday” of www, but when the underlying technology and software was made available outside of CERN* where it was proposed and quickly developed with a goal of being a document management system for CERN researchers.  It became much more. For those old enough to remember here are some early web essentials: Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, Java and the used-to-be dominant Internet Explorer from Microsoft


CERN – a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world – located in Switzerland.

A Reflection on Christian Leadership

This coming weekend is the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we considered the steward who is neither faithful or prudent – and the associated culpability for failing to do the right. The disciples of Jesus are to be ready to open to the Master “immediately when he comes.” The answer to Peter’s question (v. 41) directs the discourse toward the Christian leaders especially. Continue reading

Mysteries

In Bible studies and classes I have often advised that mysteries of our Faith and sometimes best stated and leave it at the that. Scripture has revealed it, so believe it and try to avoid our natural urge to explain it all in logical details – or even offer analogies. The most likely outcome of your attempt will be one the heresies that the Church has already condemned in the first five centuries.  The very nature of mysteries is that they are mysterious and beyond explanation. Want an good example? Explain the mystery of the Trinity – or rather take a moment and watch this video. Enjoy.