Friday, March 24, 2017

And no one dared to ask Him any more questions

To-day's Gospel reading is from St Mark:

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Mark 12: 28-34

And from this morning's Loyola press 'Living Lent Daily':

Over a decade ago when I became Catholic, I felt like God lived at St. Gregory’s Church. I’d walk my dog and look up the street, trying to catch a glimpse of its red bricks, imagining God flickering in the sanctuary candle. Earlier, when I was little, I felt like God lived in the trees. Both times it was a sense that God was not far, just up the block or above our heads. But today Jesus tells a scribe he’s not far from the kingdom because he’s understood the centrality of loving God and loving your neighbor. In other words, the kingdom is present wherever love brings what is inside us into communion with what lies beyond. So if only I could hold these things together—my heart, the trees, the church—I think I would not be far indeed.
I too remember the red candle burning at the front of the church every Sunday, and I knew that meant that God was with us. It signified His presence. We who were gathered together at Detroit Greenfield Peace Lutheran Church at the corner of Greenfield Avenue and West Outer Drive were indeed in the presence of almighty God!
Later, and I don't know exactly when, I came to truly associate my quiet time with the Lord and the wildlife He would send near during those times. At the lakehouse there were squirrels and all manner of songbirds, loons, cranes and geese, swans and fish and salamanders and turtles. At our home up north, there were the numerous deer, always not very shy and quite inquisitive. There were the wild turkey calling and showing off their colors. There were eagles there, and hawks - both of which would soar on the air currents. There were little red foxes and precious wood ducks that we rarely saw. (The cats were ours and didn't really count, but they were cute.)
My summers spent in the potato fields brought other delights: grouse and pheasants, more foxes and deer, songbirds enjoying a drink from the growers' irrigating sprays.
At our home in Whitmore, we have chickadee and sparrows, robins and red-bellied woodpeckers, house finches and cardinals, nuthatches and downys and red-headed woodpeckers and hummers. The hawks still soar, and the killdeer's song is an evening blessing in the summer.

Through all these, God is saying to me, 'I am with you, be at peace.'
He gives me the time to pause, and thank Him for the wonders of His creation.

Through Your Spirit, help me to remember that I am not far from the Kingdom of God.
Help me to remember always to love my neighbor.
Help me to remember always to love with all my understanding, with all my strength.
Grant this Lord, unto us all.
Lord, in Your mercy; hear our prayer.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

From Loyola Press, on Unity

Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

I recently read an essay by Holly Taylor, a convert from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism. Her central reason for converting was unity. Many churches fragment over conflict. But she claims that for a community to thrive, it must be committed to those it opposes. “In the mysterious calculus of the divine economy,” she writes, unity “allows the possibility that it is precisely the love, the goodness, even of someone with whom I am at odds at the moment, that brings me to God.”

Salvation happens in community. When that community scatters, we lose bits of ourselves and some of the ways God planned to reach us. So we must gather together, despite our differences, for as Taylor says, “Our best chance may be hanging on to one another’s heels.”


I feel the same way: the unity is compelling. The concept that what I do affects all my brothers and sisters in the faith is so profound. Never was I taught that before. Oh, I knew that wasting water wasn't good for the environment and neither was throwing my McDonalds garbage out the car window. But for years I sang along with Paul Simon:

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

I've built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island

Don't talk of love
Well, I've heard the words before
It's sleeping in my memory
And I won't disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

Dearest Father~
Let me not forget the greatest commandment - to love You and my brothers and sisters.
Let me not miss another opportunity to smile or encourage to-day.
Let me not continue with regrets, but let my heart be softened by the sweet touch of Your grace.

Come let us bow down and worship!
If to-day you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jot and Tittle i j

From Loyola Press, this morning's thought during Lent:

To fulfill means to fill to the full, to supply what is lacking, to bring a promise to completion—and what has he come to fulfill? Everything. The myths, laws, mathematics, civilization, stories, our lives—everything that has always been insufficient and reached out for more. And yet we are not fulfilled.
Those who came before us looked forward in hope. We who have come after look back in faith. We stand, mirror images of each other, around this moment in history. Every lacking, incomplete, promising thing that has ever been is not abolished but reaches out, forward and back, to the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Christ is the fulfillment, but we are here, caught within time. To us he is still being born and still rising, filling up the world like a slow, imperceptible flood.

  Matt 5:17-19:

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I want to say thank you to my teachers who had an impact on my life:

Mrs Kenny who was nice
Mr. Schultz who taught math well
Mr. Blakemore who whipped our asses with his belt
Mr. Debelak who played guitar and let us sing songs during class
Mrs Scharfenberg who taught me what a preposition was
Mr. Fluegge, who made boring government classes fun
Coach Heil, who called our third baseman a woman during a game
Mr. Splitgerber, who taught me to really appreciate music
Pastor Ed Williams, who was a nut and taught math well
Mrs. Finzel, who just seemed to love everyone
Mr. Trapp, who was another nut teaching math
Miss Hedt, who had the balls to be necessarily plain with me: 'Baldner, shut up.'
Mr. Ziele, who taught me to be yourself, no matter what anyone tells you
Mr. Tuomi, who broadened our physical comfort zones
Miss Trapp, who enjoyed Latin and shared that enthusiasm
Dr. Hirsch, who showed me you can be many things
Mrs. Guidemann, who asked me why I miss class so often
Dr. Wang, who taught me a lesson about cheating
Dr. Straw, who taught me about mnemonics

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Recipe #319 - Pork, Taters, and 'Sparagus

I had been waiting all winter to wrap up a nice pork loin and barbecue it - to-day was the day. I had some Aldi asparagus to go with our favorite mashed potatoes; I wanted to have dinner ready right before the MSU -Kansas second round NCAA game.

The pork slept overnight in a brine: four quarts of water, a teaspoon each of ground black pepper and granulated garlic, a half cup each of brown sugar and kosher salt, and also several pinches of dried herbs from last years garden.

My whipped potatoes (I always leave the skins on - you don't lose all those vitamins you know) I boiled along with several garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. This makes the house smell very garlicky.
I then mashed and added a stick of butter, a half cup of whole milk, a quarter cup diced onions, and about a half cup of shredded cheddar cheese. 

A few asparagus stalks got wrapped up in the meat, but most of them went in heavy duty foil with a couple pats of butter, a couple garlic cloves minced, and a small can of sliced mushrooms.

The foil packet of asparagus cooked as long as the meat but it didn't need to go that long. 

The meat I butterflied and then pounded flat. I seasoned it with a Montreal chicken blend, then laid in five or six asparagus, some mushrooms, and about half a cup of grated Muenster cheese. The mushrooms and cheese I spread over the entire piece of meat, but the asparagus I gathered at the end I started rolling from. I would do it different next time.

I set up the grill with coals on the south side. When the coals were ready, I seared all sides of the meat over the coals, and then moved it to the north side for indirect heat. I turned the meat every ten minutes or so, checking the temp until it reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

A warm Sunday afternoon, a great day for cooking on the deck


Yestreday morning we had two inches of snow covering everything

I started inside dicing the potatoes for my special whipped variety. About six good size russets, 

a couple cloves of garlic chopped, 

and a pinch of salt in the water. Boil til the fork goes in easily

Aldi Asparagus

Make sure the carving knife is sharp!

I pulled this pork center cut tenderloin out of the brine I had it in over night, rinsed it off, and toweled it dry. 

I made a horizontal cut, then looped back around,

 laid it flat on a broiler pan, and covered it with plastic. Then I beat on it for about five minutes with a huge jar of Miracle Whip (my meat hammer is just way too wimpy for this much meat)

I laid in some asparagus and garlic, 

(Aldi mushrooms, oh yeah)

chopped mushrooms, 

(Kroger cheese, please)

and some shredded orange rind Muenster.

Then I began rolling

and tied it with butcher's twine.

You nearly had me roped and tied, altar-bound, hypnotized

I then lit the fire

and let the remains of our December burgers cook off.

Potatoes boiling, on the stove

Grill temp was about 450 and I seared the rolled loin over the coals before moving it to the indirect side

I wrapped more asparagus in foil, and threw on a couple of chicken legs and a thigh also.

I wanted the inner most temp to get to 135 - it took about an hour all told
I brought the meat in and tented it for almost 20 minutes. Do not neglect this important step.

I then sliced the meat

It was good. 

With the juice from the meat smothering all, it was most excellent.

in my heart and on my lips as I drove to Mass this morning:

song we sang during the Distribution:

song we sang at the end of Mass:

Hymn I wish we would sing more often:

"God Himself Is Present"

1. God Himself is present:
Let us now adore Him
And with awe appear before Him.
God is in His temple--
All within keep silence,
Prostrate lie with deepest reverence.
Him alone God we own,
Him, our God and Savior;
Praise His name forever.

2. God Himself is present:
Hear the harps resounding;
See the hosts the throne surrounding!
"Holy, holy, holy"--
Hear the hymn ascending,
Songs of saints and angels blending.
Bow Thine ear To us here:
Hear, O Christ, the praises
That Thy Church now raises.

3. O Thou Fount of blessing,
Purify my spirit,
Trusting only in Thy merit.
Like the holy angels,
Who behold Thy glory,
May I ceaselessly adore Thee.
Let Thy will Ever still
Rule Thy Church terrestrial
As the hosts celestial.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #4
Text: Hab. 2:20
Author: Gerhard Tersteegen, 1729, cento
Translated by: Frederick W. Foster, c.1826, alt.
Titled: "Gott ist gegenwaertig"
Composer: Joachim Neander, 1680
Tune: "Wunderbarer Koenig"

One of my favorite songs from my Baptist years:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury

O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you…

You are my God and you are my All and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know you…

I have not yet done that for which I was made….
Teach me to seek you…

I cannot seek you unless you teach me
or find you unless you show yourself to me.

Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.

Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My genealogical struggle of late has been trying to connect our McDuffees with the McDuffees/Arnolds I have found so much history on.

Also, where did Jennie Palmer come from?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Post

What's it all about, Alfie?
confusion, fear, lust, facade
disdain, island, anxiety, hate

clueless, withdrawn, isolated, wondering, wishing

Healing hands of God, have mercy on our unclean souls once again
Jesus Christ, Light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever
Freedom means love without condition without a beginning or an end
Here's my heart, let it be forever Yours,  only You can make every new day seem so new

Reese Roper, Five Iron Frenzy