Picking up the Cross

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16:24) That is a key verse in today’s gospel. Part of the American idiom is having a cross to bear but I thing it most often points to the presence of a difficult responsibility or burden that someone must handle on their own or just tolerate as best as one can. But has the expression lost its sense of pointing to or working for the glory of God. Continue reading

Pandemic and Prayer

Four months ago, Florida announced its first coronavirus cases. On Sunday, it broke the US record for the number of cases reported in one day — 15,300 with positivity levels almost 20%. Reuters noted that if Florida were a country, “it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases a day behind the United States, Brazil and India.” Continue reading

Naval Deployment and Pandemic

Here is an interesting link to an AP-wire story by Lolita Bador on how the pandemic is affection naval deployments: “The two U.S. warships in the Middle East weren’t aiming to break a record. But when the coronavirus made ship stops in foreign countries too risky, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS San Jacinto were ordered to keep moving and avoid all port visits. On Thursday, as they steamed through the North Arabian Sea, they notched their 161st consecutive day at sea, breaking the previous Navy record of 160 days. And they’re on pace to crush it, since they won’t hit land again until they get home to Virginia later this year.” You can find the entire article here.

Essential Service

President Trump recently announced “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.” While his powers to do so were questionable to say the least, I am glad that he considers houses of worship and their religious services essential. I would not disagree on that particular point, but would note that a large percentage of citizens do not attend weekend worship services at all plus another group of of households that participate irregularly. My Church has its own C&E Catholic faithful (that’s Christmas and Easter only – although to be fair, Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday are also part of that particular mix). So, while I would agree on the essential nature of Mass and worship services, obviously they are not essential in the minds of all. Continue reading

What else could happen?

2020 – what a year! When the year began all kinds of people made all kinds of prediction. It is almost like a cottage industry. One of my favorite was that there would be a meteor the size of Mt. Everest that would strike the earth on April 29th. I am pretty sure that did not happen. And besides we were ready. We already had a game plan, in fact… we made a movie out of it starring Bruce Willis. It has a wiki page! Spoiler alert:  we live, Bruce dies. Who could have predicted that? Continue reading

Living stones

I heard someone once refer to us as a “tourist church.” At one level that is certainly a compliment to the grandeur of the church structure, its architecture, and art. When you enter the church, there is no doubt that you are “in church.” At another level, given our proximity to the downtown hotels and the Port of Tampa, we have tourists and all manner of visitors – and you know what – they are all most welcome. If a “tourist church” means that we are known for welcoming the visitor, the stranger, the alien, and the tourist – that is a good thing. Continue reading

What thoughts come…

…in the early morning when the house is still, the day has not yet begun, and for many in this time of pandemic, even when the day begins it will may only move a few steps from room to room. And that may trace out the whole of the day in quarantine, self-isolation, stay-at-home, and all the other phrases that have become part of the lexicon of our times. Continue reading