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Archive for February, 2007

Last week I drove across town to NW Washington, DC for a funeral Mass, then to the other side of town to Fort Lincoln Cemetary, around the Beltway from Montgomery to PG County, to a deanery meeting with Archbishop Wuerl, after which we had dinner and a penance service, and then after being on the road all day, my car breaks down in my parish church’s driveway.  Boy!  My angel must have been watching me! 

The engine died.  I could start it up again, but each time it immediately died.  My brother who is a mechanic has had it at his garage for a week and despite taking apart the entire front-end of the engine, can find nothing wrong with it.  It just will not go.  Meanwhile I have been borrowing a car from my sister and her husband. 

Maybe my car needs some holy water splashed upon it and a deliverance prayer or two?  Speaking of such things, what is left of this van (truck?) in the picture below might need some kind of spiritual intervention.

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Goodness!  Look at it go, and hey, what is with its wheels!  Funny!  …and there’s only two of them!  Where’s the other half of it?  Sure glad it is not my vehicle.  Of course, unlike my car, at least it goes.  It would also quickly be the talk of town… particularly with the police.

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Susan asks:

Father Joe,

What do you think of Catholic School?

I am having a hard time because I chose to send my son to Catholic School. Where I live there are not a lot of choices and I have to drive 1/2 hour each way to send him. I want him to have the spirituality and religion in school and feel that with all of the things kids today are bombarded with, it would be good to have my values reinforced in school. But, on the flip side, it is stressing me out to make this drive on a very busy interstate to get there, which in a sense has made me less Christian because I become irritable. It also has the added stress of the financial burden because we are not wealthy and this is really stretching our budget.

I guess I’m wondering in the long run if it is worth the effort and money?

FATHER JOE RESPONDS: Years ago when Catholic education was virtually free, Catholic families were often obliged to put their kids into Catholic schools. However, as the population grew, the schools, even in their heyday, could not hold them all, and so we saw the growth of CCD programs (usually on weekends) to supplement public school education with Catholic religion. I have a definite preference for good Catholic schools, but must also admit that I have been highly impressed with homeschooling efforts. Speaking for myself, I was the oldest of seven. We were poor but the religious sister in charge of the parish school said she would take my brother Mike. However, she told my mother that I was “too sickly and stupid”. Mother told her that if she could not take one then she could not get the other. We all went to public schools and went to CCD, first on Saturdays and later on Sundays. My public school first grade teacher did not think much of my abilities either. Halfway through the year, I recall her telling my mother in the hallway adjacent to the classroom, “your son Joey is retarded and needs to go to a special school.” Mother raised hell and another teacher took charge of me the following year– yes, I repeated first grade! I was always very studious about religion and later this got me into trouble. Because I was often able to correct my high school CCD teacher, he called my father in one morning and told him that I did not have to come anymore. Yes, you heard me right, I got kicked out of CCD!

Hum, maybe I am the wrong person to whom to ask this question?

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Susan writes:

What do you think of James Camerons new Documentary?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 — Mary Magdalene: The Ringo of Jesus’ Tomb?

The BBC has more news on the claims of world-renowned theologian James Cameron that he has proved that Jesus never rose from the dead.

The new information is scant, but here’s the gist: Cameron believes that he has proven that the tomb filled with ten 2,000 old coffins was actually that of Jesus’ family. What’s his proof? Even though all of the names carved into the ossuaries were common Jewish names at the time, he’s putting all his cards on the fact that “Mariameme” (Mary Magdalene, apparently) was buried with “Jesua” (Jesus).

Unveiling his documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus, Mr Cameron said the chances of finding that combination of names together was like finding a grave marked Ringo next to others marked John, Paul and George.

“Mariamene is Mary Magdalene – that’s the Ringo, that’s what sets this whole film in motion,” he said.

Except, well, wait. Why are we meant to believe Mary Magdalene is the same person as Mariamene? She was simply called Mary in the New Testament. In the Talmud, there’s some argument that Mary Magdalene is the same as “Miriam Megadla se’ar”, a woman who gave birth to a person called “The Son of Stada” in Sabbath 104.2. This is an apocryphal Talmudic passage though, and there’s nothing else to link the two.

If that’s all Cameron has to go on, he’s not going to make a very strong case to anyone besides the skeptics who want to destroy Christianity. Yet what will be so ironic about skeptical acceptance of such paltry evidence will basically be that it will involve cynics swallowing many basis Christian beliefs (such as the Bible’s reliability and the existence of Jesus) that they have always sneerfully eschewed.

FATHER JOE RESPONDS: I thought about writing a post but have been battling all day with the installation of a new Nortion Security system. It just does not want to work! Took hours to fix! Anyway, Cameron is in it for the money. He is a sensationalist, not an archeologist or biblical expert. He has a couple of paid goons to parrot what he wants as experts and expects the rest of us to buy it. The ancient testimony is overwhelming. Jesus died and rose from the dead. His name was a common one, as was Mary. There was a movie with a similar pliot called THE BODY (2001). It starred Antonio Banderas as Father Matt Gutierrez, a priest-expert sent to investigate a tomb purportedly that of Jesus. Everyone seems to jump to the conclusion that the tomb is really Christ’s, although the priest’s faith refuses to allow him to accept this. Ironically, an explosion at the tomb destroys a hidden inscription that identifies the tomb as belonging to one who followed Jesus. However, only the movie viewer is given this inside information. Only fools, the ignorant and the faithless will be swayed by Cameron and his so-called tomb of Jesus. We should tell him to go back to his wife and stop preaching to the rest of us.

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It is always the one you least expect who ends up monkeying around.

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Hey, the cat a couple of posts back might need dentures, but this smart mouse still has his own teeth and brushes after every meal! Eek! Eek!

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Ever play with a yoo-yoo?  It takes a fair amount of practice and patience.  I used to find that it helped me to think.  Some days I would be dog-tired, but that yoo-yoo would help keep me awake until I acomplished what had to be done.  The weather and church attendance is a topic that has dogged me lately.  Dog-gone-it!  Temperatures go down and fuel bills go up.  There is sleet, rain and snow outside right now as I compose these few words.  There goes the collection, again! 

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Either DNA gene-splicing has gone too far or grandpa is missing his teeth!

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