Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The First Few Months

I arrive.  Heat.  Sweat. Dust.  Arrange.  Tired.  Why so tired? Too many appeals.  Get room in order.  A simple sanctuary.  Art. Music.  Words. Faith and understanding. I hope sleep comes.  La Pieta dancing in the night.  Lord, now you let your servant…  Sleep comes.


The race begins.  Schedule.  Schedule. Schedule.  New faces.  New places.  New roads.  Where am I?  Who are these people? Be a priest.  A priest.  Priest.  Forever.  Remember.  Onward.  More.  More.  Mas.  Day off please.  Day off. Finally balance.  Finally.  El fin. 


Enter the houses.  Eating.  Praying.  Praying and eating.  Hustle.  Bustle.  I fall.  He falls.  We all fall.  Where’s the Spirit?  What’s the Spirit?  Who’s the Spirit? I laugh.  He laughs.  We all laugh.  Dancing with stars.  Popping with corn.  Family.  Friends.  Faith.  Community?


The players.  New York.  New Jersey. Mexico. Honduras.  Smiles.  Faith.  They really have faith.  Disappointments though.  And sadness.  So much sadness.  And sickness.  So much sickness.  It’s why we are here.  Why are we here?


The joys.  I want to be Catholic.  I want to be Catholic.  I want to be Catholic.  This class and that class.  We try.  We are trying.  We have tried.  Can I go?  I can’t go.  Let’s go!  You’re invited.  Please come.  Eat this.  Listen to this.  Have this.  Can we help?  Here you go.  Let’s go.


The beauty.  Views.  Leaves.  Rising and falling.  Turning and calling.  Twinkle in the sky.  Glow in the night.  Tunnels of trees.  Trees.  Hills. Mountains of majesty. Majesty of the Majestic.  Thank you.  Sigh.  Sun sets. The setting sun now dies away…  Holy darkness.  Holy life.


The places.  Cities of Johnson and Jefferson.  More towns than Morristown.  Towns of Norris and gaps of the land of Cumber. The villas of Maynard, Nash and Knox.  And even a few Ruts.  Oh and don’t forget Erwin…  Erwin?  Really?


The future.  Land and churches.  Churches or land? Where to wander?  What to wonder?  I wonder and wander.  Pray.  Let’s pray.  Must keep three times a day.  Vision to foresee.  What do we see?  Floating on the sea.  Not mine.  Not yours. Not ours.  His.  It’s His.  We are His.

Christ the King---Given in Erwin, TN

Today we celebrate that Jesus is king.  But I am not sure that we can really understand what it means for Jesus to be king.  What a king really is.  The problem is that we throw around the title king a little too freely in our world today.   Our examples of kings really do not do justice to the kind of king that Jesus is.  Here’s what I mean:


We have the “King of Rock and Roll.”  Elvis could really shake those knees and hips like no one else. And no one can deny the effect of “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender” and “Suspicious Minds.”  But I would hardly think any of us would think Jesus is this kind of King.


Then there is the “King of Pop.” Though he could really dance and hit those high notes, and is probably one of the best known iconic figures all around the world, I don’t think Jesus is the kind of King Michael Jackson was.


And we have the King of burgers.   Those flame-broiled whoppers are to die for.  In fact, I am hoping that Fr. Tom takes me there after Mass.  But I think we would want our king to do a little more than flip burgers and fry fries.


And then there’s the King of Leon for the younger crowd here, the King of the Hill, the King of Comedy, the King of Queens, the King of Boardwalk, and the King of Everything.  But none of these are our king.  None of these are Christ the King.


So what kind of king is Christ Jesus?


Christ the King is a king of peace.  As violence plagues the middle East, as a cease fire barely holds between Israel and Palestine, as thousands are slaughtered in Syria while the international community is unable to respond because of self-interest or slippery diplomacy. As our homes in East Tennessee continue to have some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the United States.  Christ the king is a king of peace who desires to bring justice to those who have been hurt.  A king of peace who brings life to those who are dying.  A king of peace who brings nourishment to those who are hungry.  A king of peace whose iron dome is compassion and forgiveness.  Christ the king is a king of peace.  This is our king.


Christ the King is a king of service.  He is the king that would get down on his hands and knees and wash our feet.  Imagine that: the king washing the feet of the subjects.  He would wash our feet that have been scarred from journeying misguided and mistaken paths of life.  He would wash our feet cut and bloody and bruised from sinful wondering and slothful steps.  He, the master and creator of all things, would stoop down and wash the feet of the creature, so as to show us what it means to love.  He would wash our feet because Christ the king is a king of service.  This is our king.


Christ the King is a king of self-emptying.  When so many people use their power to promote their agenda, when world leaders go from being democratically elected to being all-powerful dictators, trampling over the very ones they are to protect.  When so many of us work at amassing goods and earthly treasures so indicative of Black Friday, Christ the king emptied himself.  He was filled with the love of his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with all wisdom and grace and power; and he emptied himself so as to become Godforsaken.  In that space of forsakenness he made room: room for our sin, our punishment, our disgrace and our shame.  And he allowed his emptiness to be filled with this cocktail of death so as to take it to the cross and make an end of it forever. Christ the King is a king of self-emptying.  This is our King.


Christ the King is a king of sacrifice.  When so many leaders around us buy their way out of trouble, hire staff that covers up their mistakes and use their authority to live in comfort and luxury, Christ the king handed it all over.  When we compete unhealthily in all things so as to boost our position, our status and our bank account, Christ handed it all over.  When the going got tough he got going.  He got going down that long road to Calvary.  He got going up to the top of that mountain. He got going on to that cross.  He became exposed and deposed on that cross for the entire world to see.  And he did it that each and every one of us might be free.  His sacrifice was for us.  Christ the King is a king of sacrifice.  This is our king.


This is Christ the king.  This is the one we celebrate today.  Not the king of pop, the king of rock and roll, the king of queens, but the true king who came into the world to testify to the truth.  And this king of peace, service, self-emtpying and sacrifice wants to give us all the rewards of his kingdom:  the protection of his grace; the freedom of his forgiveness; the order of his law of love.  But he only asks one thing us:  if we wish to belong to his kingdom, we must listen to his voice.  Listen to his voice.  That’s it.  It is very simple.  But it will ask everything from us. 


To be members of his kingdom we are called to listen to his voice:


Listen to his voice calling us to be a people of peace.  Praying for peace in the world, promoting peace in our families.  Centering ourselves in prayer at the beginning of each day to approach this world in peace.  Turning off the violent games and violent movies if they create violence in us.  To stop amassing weapons and guns and amass forgiveness and reconciliation.  Christ the king is a king of peace and his voice is calling us to live this way.


His voice calls us to be people of service.  Cleaning our rooms even though mom didn’t ask.  Volunteering at the local food bank rather than going to the movies with our friends.  Cooking a meal for our wife when she’s had a long day.  Caring for the town drunk at the grocery store.  Christ the king is a king of service and so his voice calls us to live this way.


His voice calls us to be a people of self-emptying.  Letting go of our will and our way and our control and our desires.  Letting go of being in the spotlight and being recognized and being the best.   Letting go of unhealthy competition and always thinking we are right.  Christ the king is a king of self-emptying and so his voice calls us to live this way.


His voice calls us to be a people of sacrifice.  Sacrificing some of that savings to a good charity rather than buying that extra toy on black Friday.  Sacrificing our time to be with our kids rather than watch the football game.  Sacrificing our own personal preference to make room for other people.  Christ the king is a king of sacrifice and so his voice calls us to live this way.


On this day Jesus says to us: Church, you say I am a king.  If you wish to be members of my kingdom then listen to my voice.  Follow me, for I am the way, the truth and the life, I am the Alpha and the Omega;   I am Christ the King.  Come and live in my Kingdom.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Eyes Fixed on the End Time: 33rd Sunday in OT

Campaign slogans have been used to show us where candidates believe we are going as a country—as a people.  Richard Nixon focused our thoughts “For the Future.”  Jimmy Carter wanted to remind us that he was “not just peanuts” but was “A Leader, for Change.”  Reagan proclaimed that “Its Morning Again in America” while George Bush reminded us that we need to be a “Kinder, Gentler Nation.”  Bill Clinton sang to us “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”  Al Gore promised we would move towards “Prosperity and Progress” and George W. Bush had “Real plans for Real People.”  With recent events, we do not need to be reminded that we are to be a people of “Hope and Change”, that we are to “Believe in America” and that we are moving “Forward.”  But what do these slogans indicate?  Do we really know where we are heading—as a country, as a people?  Are we really sure what progress looks like or to what or whom we should place our hope? 


Approaching the end of the liturgical year with Advent right around the corner, the church invites us to think about these questions—and she provides us guidance.  The answer to our questions cannot be found in any political system, philosophy, political party, candidate or campaign slogan.  The answer is found by looking to the end times.


Ancient monks were concerned with keeping their eyes fixed on the end times.  To do so, they would actually carry a human skull around with them.  Now this probably seems terribly ridiculous and really extreme to us.  But the symbol could not be any clearer: the skull reminded them that their lives were short.  They were but a drop in the ocean of time.  Death was a reality that could not be ignored.  This life was important, but what really mattered were the things of eternity and what awaited the faithful.  Whenever these monks had to make a big decision, they looked down at the skull and were reminded that the decisions they made in this life had bearing on eternity: not only for them, but also for others.  Therefore they needed to keep their gaze fixed on the end times, for everything else was fading away. 

          Now I am not suggesting that we walk around with a skull. But I would suggest that we would do better as a society if we kept our gaze fixed more on the end times, and less on matters of this earthly life.  We would do well to be reminded exactly where we are progressing. For, in this country, we really seem to fear death and aging.  We fear thinking about the end.  No one wants to look in the mirror and be reminded that we are aging—that our bodies are wearing away.  So we do all we can to preserve our youthfulness: nipping and tucking and sucking and pulling and dying and stretching.  And no one wants to be reminded of death.  So we have places to keep those who are very close to the end.  We hire people to care for the dying rather than doing it ourselves.  And we glorify science for its prolonging our lives just a few more temporal moments.  But anyone who has sat with a loved one who has died, or anyone who has survived a terrible time with sickness knows that there is a wisdom found in being reminded of the end.  There is a wisdom found in keeping the reality of death front and center as we make our way through this earthly life.  But with our eyes fixed on the end, what do we see?


We see the elect, those who will spend an eternity with God.  We see our aunt whose feet always smelled like moth balls. We see our brother who always pulled our hair and pinched our arm.  We see our sister who stole our boyfriends and our boyfriend who stole our heart. We see that girl in school we always picked on and even that boy who always picked on us.  We see our neighbor who never cleans up his yard and whose donkey wakes us up every morning.  We see democrats and republicans, we see socialists and fascists, we see revolutionaries and we see pacifists.  And yes, we even see Baptists!  We see white people and black people, we see grey people and brown people.  We see red people and yellow people and we even see a few green people.  We see our grandmother whose cookies we have smelled baking in our minds every day since she died.  We see our son whom we never thought we would see there and we see our unborn child with whom we were never able to offer care.  We see the prisoner whom we never thought could be redeemed.  With our gaze fixated on the end times, we see the elect.  And we are surprised.  We are surprised because God’s grace and forgiveness was great enough to even include the people whom we never thought we ourselves would see in the end.  We were certain that this or that person would not be there.  But, with our eyes fixed on the end we start to truly see.  And we see that somehow we ourselves are there, too.


With our eyes fixed on the end we see that we are ourselves are there, but being there we also see ourselves more clearly.  We see how much we toiled in this life for meaningless things.  The treasures we stored up for ourselves that sadly we couldn’t take with us.  We see the opportunities we missed to love those around us.  We see the sadness of broken hearts and broken spirits.  We see how insignificant we were and how significant we thought we were.  We see how our decisions impacted others, how we let them down, how we hurt them and how we left them hanging.  We see the oaths we couldn’t uphold we see the vows we broke.  We see lies we told and the truth of who we really are.  We see all these things and how far we fell short.  We had our eyes fixed too much on ourselves and our worldly concerns rather than on the things of Heaven.  And so we are saddened.  We are almost given to despair.  


But in our sadness we hear that Heavenly chorus begin to sing.  We see the light pierce through the darkness and the night is no more.  We see the angels and archangels, the cherubim and seraphim.   We see what no eye has seen and hear what no ear has heard.  And like a trumpet blast we hear the words: Behold the Lamb of God, Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the lamb.


With our gaze fixed on the end, we see the Lamb.  His glory shines with the brightness of gold and diamonds.  His justice pierces through our night.  We hold a moment of doubt in our hearts that perhaps we shouldn’t be here.  But we see the wounds on his hands.  We see the pierced holes on his feet.  We see where the lance wrecked his side.  We see where the thorns crowned him king.  And that is why we are there.  We and all of those around us really do not deserve to be here.  But he welcomes us in.  He has transformed us and reformed us out of our weakness and sin.  He offered that one sacrifice that all the priestly sacrifices before him were never able to compare.  That sacrifice that gained us the vision of heaven even though we never, never, ever deserved to be here. 


Our political candidates can proclaim hope, change, vision, and progress.  But we as Catholics, with our eyes fixed on the end, have only one slogan we can proclaim.  And so with that heavenly symphony, that drama of the heavens, that angelic chorus, we say together: Holy Holy Holy Lord, God of Hosts. Heaven and earth is filled with your Glory.  Hosanna in the Highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vivir Sin Ellas--El Senor de los Anillos--32 Domingo

En la película, el señor de los anillos, Lord of the Rings, el personaje Smeagle, tiene un anillo.  Este anillo tiene mucho poder.  Y él protege y guarda este anillo con toda su vida.  Él nunca lo regalará.  Es la cosa más importante en su vida.  Es todo lo que ama.  Es su precioso. Pero el anillo empieza a controlarlo.  El anillo cambia al Smeagle.  El Smeagle empieza hacer cosas malas.  Él no tiene amigos.  Él vive solo.  Incluso, él mata a un hombre.  Porque él no puede deshacerse el anillo, el anillo controla toda su vida.  Al final, por el anillo, el Smeagle se muere.  Solo.  Triste. 


Hay cosas en la vida que pensamos que no podemos vivir sin ellas.  Pero, cuando no podemos sacarlas de nuestra vida, ellas empiezan a controlar nuestras vidas.  A veces, ellas acaban nuestras vidas.


Pienso que todos aquí tienen un anillo.  Y si nosotros queremos vivir libres y alegres, necesitamos sacar los anillos en nuestras vidas. 


¿Pero, cuales son los anillos en nuestras vidas?





Para algunas personas, su anillo es el dinero.  Ellos ponen el dinero debajo de la cama, en el cajón, en el banco.  Ellos no lo comparten y de vez en cuando, el dinero empieza a poseerlos. Si, es bueno ahorrar para el futuro.  Pero, cuando una persona solamente puede pensar en el dinero, confiar en el dinero, es un problema.  Este es su anillo.


Para algunas personas, son los narcóticos o las cervezas.  Ellos no pueden dejar de consumir narcóticos o cervezas. Ellos hacen daño a su familia.  Ellos violan la ley.  Ellos no lo pueden dejar.  Y los narcóticos controlan su vida.  Este es su anillo.


Para algunas personas, es popularidad o position de clase.  Ellos hacen lo que sea necesario para mantener su clase o popularidad.  Incluso hacen cosas malas.  Ellos mienten.  Ellos chismorrean todo el tiempo.  Ellos hacen cualquier cosa para mantener su position.  Este es su anillo.


Para algunas personas, es el tiempo.  Ellos quieren usar el tiempo solamente para ellos mismos.  Ellos no quieren compartir su tiempo.  Ellos descansan cuando quieren descansar, mirar el partido cuando quieren mirarlo, y hacen cosas con sus amigos solamente cuando ellos quieren hacer cosas con sus amigos.  Ellos no tienen tiempo para Dios, su familia, y para ayudar a otras personas.  Este es su anillo.


En el evangelio de hoy, los escribas tienen un anillo.  Este anillo es su poder, posición, y honor en frente de la gente.  Ellos manipulan todo para mantener su posición y guardar su poder.  Pero Jesús es muy, muy fuerte con los escribas y él dice: Estos recibirán un castigo muy riguroso.


Pero, el ejemplo que es bueno en el evangelio, es el ejemplo de la viuda pobre.  Todo lo que ella tiene, todo lo que ella tiene para vivir, existir, sobrevivir, ella lo puede dar a Dios.  Ella tiene confianza completamente en Jesús.  Ella tiene confianza que Jesús va a proveer por todo.  Ella puede tomar sus dos moneditas—sus anillos—la cosa que ella necesita para vivir, y ella puede dar estas cosas a Dios. 


Nosotros ya tuvimos una elección de presidente este martes pasado.  Yo no hablo sobre del resultado.  Pero, ahora, y es igual para Obama o Romney---pero ahora el presidente tiene una decisión: que va hacer el, con el poder de presidente?  Él va a usar este poder para él—como los escribas?  En la manera que el guarda su poder y usarlo para su interés.  O, él va usar su poder como la viuda pobre: echar su poder a Dios y usar este poder con generosidad para ayudar a los pobres, mantener la definición tradicional del matrimonio, proteger los embarazos, trabajar por la paz, proteger a los inmigrantes, terminar el aborto, y tener una opción preferencial para los pobres. 


Cuando una persona puede dar o confiar todo lo que tiene a Dios, esta persona puede vivir.  Esta es la sabiduría de la viuda pobre: ella puede confiar todo a dios, porque ella tiene confianza completamente en Dios.


¿Que vamos hacer con nuestros anillos?  Darlos a Dios y vivir.  O guardarlos y usarlos sin Dios?  Una manera es una vida llena de alegre y libertad.  Otra vida es una vida llena de  castigo y dificultades. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Lost Sheep and Our Shepherd: After the Election

It is that feeling that sucks all the air out of your chest:  your heart falls and you begin to panic as no one around you looks familiar.  You can’t find your mother.  Your father is gone.  Your siblings are nowhere in sight.  You are once again a child at the mall, and you find yourself lost in a large crowd of people.  The fear sets in.  The tears begin to fall.  You wonder how you ever got to this point. Then a familiar hand softly touches your shoulder.  With tear filled eyes you turn around.  Your mom is standing there with her arms wide open.  You embrace.  You are safe.  You were lost and now you have been found.


After this election Tuesday, regardless of who you voted for and regardless of who won, I think we as Catholic Christians in this country have reason to feel much like lost sheep.  Over and over and over again we find ourselves lost.   Lost in a desert of compromise on matters of our faith with which we should not and one should even say with which we cannot compromise.  For on the same ticket we saw two Catholic vice-presidential candidates with almost completely different viewpoints.  We saw that as a voting bloc—which could be one of the largest in the country if we were able to unite—Catholics were equally divided between both parties in this election.  And we see even more, that Catholics have long since dominated the majority of the Supreme Court.  And yet those Justices are oftentimes equally split on decisions and fail to uphold Catholic values and principles.  Within this desert of compromise we perceive a lack of clarity in the values of the church.  We come to understand the Truth of our faith to be determined by a democratic process.  We vote for it and therefore that makes it right.  We think it’s ok to believe what we want to believe and reject what we want to reject about our faith. Or perhaps even worse, we are unable to articulate the difference.   And this compromise and lack of clarity leaves us feeling separated from the fold—from each other.  It leaves us feeling alone and isolated.  We treasure our individualism and freedom for whatever seems to set us free, and yet who can ignore those bubbling feelings of isolation, separation and despair that exist inside of us.


Yet the shepherd is coming.  He comes with his rod and his staff to pick us up, to place us on his back and to bring us to the fold.  He desires to free us from the abyss of secularity, free us from the desert of compromise, free us from the false freedoms of choice, free us from the relativism that leaves our souls wandering.  He wants to bring us to the heart of the fold, to the center of the Church, if we would only let him.  He cares for us.  He loves us.  He would not leave us alone.  Yet when his gentle hands come to place us on his shoulders, it can only be on his terms, not ours.  For it is not about us.  It never was about us.  It is about him.  For all other things in life, are as Saint Paul says, a loss, compared to the supreme good of Christ Jesus our Lord.  The Good Shepherd stands waiting to bring us back—will we as Catholics in this country allow him to do so?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy--All Souls Day Homily

We have all witnessed the destruction and sadness that Sandy brought to our land. 


Sand strewn over the streets, settling to the ground as the salt water recedes. 

Seemingly impregnable levees bypassed by the sea

Towering skyscrapers rocked in the wind.

Flames of fire engulfing the homes and havens of the innocent.

The eyes of those who have lost so much and even lost it all filled with watery tears of sadness as the levee of their heart gives way.

The sadness and turmoil, the transience and passing nature of life flashes before us as we see pictures on the internet, watch videos on YouTube and sit transfixed in front of the local news. 


In the midst of it all we wonder how a God of love, a God of compassion, forgiveness and order could allow such sadness and loss to exist.  Maybe our own faith is rocked to witness such things or maybe we feel it means we need to rely more on our own strength or maybe we find ourselves feeling too scared to face a world with such uncertainty. 


And yet the scriptures today promise us:  the souls of the just are in the hands of

God and no torment should touch them.


Yet this is hardly a consolation given the destruction we see on the television.


But the destruction is not all we see.  We see hope.  A hope that cannot simply have a human origin, but must be founded in God.  A hope of resilience.  A hope of persistence. A guiding hope of knowing that death and destruction and difficulties and sadness are not the end.  When we witness people joining together to lend a helping hand, when we witness those who were spared helping those who lost it all, when we witness efforts to regain what was lost we see the hope that can only come from one place—our ultimate hope, the hope of all of our days.  It is a hope that promises us, even though destruction and death are all around, the souls of the just are in the hands of God and no torment should touch them.


As we gather this evening for All Souls Day it is this hope that we should keep close to our hearts.  For death is not a reality that any of us have escaped or will escape.  We have lost loved ones in which a day never passes where we do not think of them.  We have lost friends who can never be replaced. We have lost spouses who are the only ones who could seemingly complete us. And we have lost children that never should have gone so soon.  And we, too, will one day experience the sting of death.


Yet our faith tells us that there is always room for hope.  For our hope is placed in no single human being, our hope is not something that comes from us, our hope is not something of this passing world.  But our hope is in God. 


The God who holds our soul in his hands,

the God who destroyed the sting of death,

the God who cares for us and for those who have gone before us. 

The God who proved his love to us by offering up Hope on the cross.


Even though death and destruction sometimes seem to be all around us, no torment shall ever touch us, because God holds us, and our loved ones, in his loving hands.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All the World's a Stage--All Saint's Day Homily

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.


Shakespeare’s words capture the great mystery of this day.  This day where the stage has been set.  The stage of salvation history with its actors, the saints playing parts, moving in the dance of Trinitarian life and love.   Our ticket to the show: our baptism, given to us free, free and yet so costly. Gathered in with this ticket we can look on and see:


We see saints sailing ships across seas, saints falling off horses, saints riding around in Pope Mobiles

We see doubting saints, pious saints, saints feeling wounds and saints feeling wounded

We see saints severed in pieces, saints held high on crosses, saints buried deep below

We see saints shunning wealth, shunning property, shunning money and even shunning family

We see saints being called and saints calling others, saints speaking eloquently and saints listening intently

We see saintly bones and saintly garbs, saintly heads and saintly hearts. We see saintly paintings of saints in the celestial heavens

We see saints who are writers, poets and musicians

We see saints who are healers, and prophets with visions

We see the saints in their brokenness and their glory, their faith and their story. 


Oh yes, all the worlds a stage and we look on to this wooden o of salvation history and we see many things. 


But the saints also see us:


They see us come down these mountains, come out of these hollers, to our little store front church

They see us pick each other up for mass and pick each other up when we have fallen.

They see us question our faith and doubt our faith and sometimes even reject our faith.

They see us meeting behind wooden partitions so we can learn more about our faith.

They see us struggling with language and food and differences and decoration

They see us offering communion to those who are sick, alone and forgotten

They see us fumble with our words when asked about Mary or the very ones who watch us

They see us crying at night, laughing during the day.  Trying to pray.

They see us grieving the loss of a loved one, rejoicing in new life, and asking God for just one more day


They see it all as we are also on the stage.  They have seen it before and gone through it themselves.  And so they applaud us with prayers when we need them the most.  They help us with our lines because they know the script better than we.  They’ve walked the stage before and so pray that our movements are wise.


Today, as always, we take a bow before them but they also bow to us.  As we have watched them through the annals of time so their eyes gaze watchfully. 


As we all take our bow we look up to see, the great director—the playwright—the one who orchestrated this majestic and eternal cast of saints.  The one who wrote the play that answers all the desires of our heart, even those of which we cannot dare dream.  As the scene ends and the curtain falls on the night, we long to be gathered together in his eternal light.