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October 2011



I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes... I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes..
Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
'Hello Barry, how are you today?'
'H'lo, Mr. Miller.. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'
'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'
'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'
'Good. Anything I can help you with?'
'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'
'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.
'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'
'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'
'All I got's my prize marble here.'
'Is that right? Let me see it', said Miller.
'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'
'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.
'Not zackley but almost.'
'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.
'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.
When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man.

A short time later I moved toColorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.
Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.
They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size.....they came to pay their debt.'
'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..'
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
The Moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh beverage you didn't make yourself...
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.... Green stoplights on your way to work....
The fastest line at the grocery store....
A good sing-along song on the radio...
Your keys found right where you left them.
Send this to the people you'll never forget. I just did...
If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur.

Thanks to my brother Mark for sending me this.


Feast Day of My Favorite Childhood Saint

Photo Oct 19, 5 46 59 AM

My Favorite...St. Isaac Jogues


S John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions, Priests, SJ

October 19

Between 1642 and 1649 eight French missionaries (six of them Jesuits) were martyred in North America by members of the Mohawk and Iroquois tribes. The first Jesuit missionaries arrived in Quebec in 1625. At first, they worked among French settlers and traders and began evangelising native peoples in the vicinity. But they soon expanded their missionary work to the Huron tribes about 1,200 km west of Quebec and about 160 km north of present-day Toronto. They visited the scattered tribal villages and were hospitably received by the families among whom they lived. But then the Iroquois, enemies of the Hurons, began attacking supply routes between the mission station and Quebec. It was during these hostilities that the missionaries were martyred.

Feast Day ofMy Favorite Childhood Saint

Feast Day ofMy Favorite Childhood Saint

Just arrived today

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

You, who worry about democrats versus republicans -- relax, here is our real problem.

In a Purdue University classroom, they were discussing the qualifications to be President of the United States . It was pretty simple. The candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age.

However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen..

In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president.

The class was taking it in and letting her rant, and not many jaws hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating, "What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?"

Yep, these are the same kinds of 18-year-olds that are now voting in our elections!

Fall has arrived. This morning needed the fireplace turned on for a short time. Windy and cool for the first time in months. Today it's really cold. Only 77F. Ha. Visit my website

28th Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A

My remarks will be published by Thursday


Click here to review the readings for this Sunday


In the first reading, Isaiah addresses God's people who have had all kinds of difficulties.  Basically they have turned away from God at times.  They can't understand how God can be allowing all the problems and difficulties in their lives and so they turn to idols, to pagan gods, that will give them momentary pleasure.


Photo Oct 02, 7 49 49 AMIsaiah tells them that on the mountain God will provide everything.  He tries to give them courage to see that God has chosen them and that He will provide.  

I use to do a lot of backpacking up the mountain.  The trip up was awful, all kinds of switchbacks.  What a trip and with a heavy pack.  But once up the mountain, wow! What a banquet!

The reward of God's beauty made it worthwhile, and soon I forgot the trials and strains of the hike.

Truly for a brief moment God provided.  I think of this experience often when I have to journey in my daily life to the mountain.  I have to journey in the difficulties, in the rejections, in the misunderstandings, etc. We are all on that journey to the mountain, to the place where we will experience eternal life.

But we, like the Chosen people, get tired of the journey.  We want the rewards of pleasure now.  And, like the Chosen People, we turn to idols, to those things that give us momentary pleasure and take away the struggles of the journey.  And yet, the Lord continues to show us that the journey is worth it; that He has a banquet prepared for us. His invitation goes out to us everyday, again and again.

Photo Oct 02, 7 36 36 AM Paul writes to the Philippians from prison.  He knows that at times there were difficulties and struggles for him, but also there were times when he had abundance.  He knows that it is not in the pleasures, in the abundance of the moment that he will find eternal life.  So he writes to be an example for this Community.  He wants to give them courage and hope when things seem so difficult.  He knows he, like us, has been invited to the banquet of eternal life.



In the gospel we hear that many are called to the wedding banquet.  Again and again we are called.  


Photo Oct 02, 7 39 20 AM

Each day we are called to experience the banquet of the Lord.  Are we willing to come?  Are we will to make the trip to the banquet?

 For sure, some days will be hard and difficult, but we hope that we do not give up and refuse to go to the feast that God has prepared for each of us and instead turn to idols for momentary release from the struggles.


At our baptism, we were given a white garment, in a sense a wedding garment, that will prepare us for the invitation that will come each day, to journey to the wedding feast.

Photo Oct 02, 7 38 46 AM
If we refuse to attend the daily invitation to the banquet, let us pray that we recognize what we are doing, and turn to the Lord for the grace to turn from our pleasures, our selfishness, and then pray to be able to accept the invitation the next time it comes in a particular difficult situation.  


And it will come.

 Be ready.

Photo Oct 02, 7 42 14 AM