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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks to You!

Here's wishing all you DRP followers and lurkers many blessings this Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


There are a lot of quality programs on TV these days that I like. Unfortunately, some of my favorites are complex, include their share of violence and undesirable characters. I enjoy, then, having a show or two that I can watch that simply inspire me. A few years ago, Joan of Arcadia, canceled after 2 seasons, was just such a show. I'm not sure it was given a chance. And, recently, there has been another--Eli Stone. Well acted, and well-scripted, it tells the story of a lawyer who receives visions which help him to know which cases he is to take, whom he is to help. Compared to the many other cynical legal shows, it has been a breath of fresh air. Eli Stone is a character that you feel like you want to get behind, and be like! And the fact that he is working for God--or however you want to explain it--is quite appealing to me.

So, I am truly disappointed at news coming from ABC that the show is likely to be canceled, if it hasn't been already. I wonder if anybody considered that this is the kind of show that would probably be more appealing in an earlier time slot. If anybody from ABC is reading, please reconsider! There has to be a place for just good, inspiring programming whose future isn't determined simply based on ratings. And, if you haven't seen it, catch it while you can!

Enduring Mysteries: Arch Nemesis

Every once and a while I like to get a McDonald's burger. And each time I continued to be amazed at their seeming inability to make a Quarter Pounder without cheese. Advancements in technology have not seemed to be able to put a dent in this virus within the golden arches' system.

By now, I know always to check my order before leaving. Good thing, because today my "Quarter Pounder, no (emphatic no) cheese" turned into "Quarter Pounder, Cheese only."

Hmmm . . .

O, Jerusalem . . .

My little homily for today's readings (sorry, nothing about the 7 heads and 7 eyes):

The great hypothetical we like to ask ourselves every once and while--and I think it's good that we do--is: If Jesus were to visit us right now, would we recognize him? If the Gospel is any guide, I'm guessing that those who would quickly answer "of course I would," would probably be those least likely to do so. The Scribes and the Pharisees were pretty sure they would recognize the Messiah when he came and most of them, it seems, were quick to decide that Jesus didn't fit their profile. Indeed, in today's Gospel reading we get the sense of Jesus' deep sadness that so many of those he came to save could not recognize him.

And I have to say that I'm not so certain I would do any better, because I know how often I've failed to see Jesus at work in my own life. This is probably true of all of us. Yet, I don't find in this a reason for despair, but for hope. Because this realization actually helps our chances at recognizing Jesus' presence in our lives. Knowing that we could miss out, reminds us that we need help. Even the greatest spiritual director is only great to the extent that he or she recognizes his or her own need for a spiritual director. For the greatest spiritual wisdom comes not in an unwavering confidence that we will recognize Jesus when he comes into our lives, but rather in a humble desire to seek out all the help we need to make sure we don't miss him when he comes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving Thanks

With Thanksgiving approaching, it seems appropriate to share this excerpt from the reflection I wrote just prior to my ordination. Indeed, in a way, it all started on Thanksgiving, twelve years ago:

It’s appropriate that my decision to pursue the life of a Jesuit and a priest began at Thanksgiving. Because, as I reflect on the nearly twelve years between that Thanksgiving and now, this is my prevailing sentiment—thankfulness. I give thanks for the elderly and dying woman who invited me to rub her feet, offering me one of my first lessons in priesthood. I give thanks for spontaneous prayers asked for by a struggling mother in the entrance of the church after mass or looking into the eyes of a homeless man in a White Castle parking lot in the Bronx. I give thanks for students who let the fact that I was a Jesuit make a difference in the classroom, and in their lives, sharing with me their fears about everything from academic success, to their drinking habits, war in Iraq, or a parent suffering from addiction. I give thanks for my many colleagues in ministry these years in parish ministry, hospital ministry, campus ministry, youth and young adult ministry, all of whom have taught me something about what it means to be a priest, and who let me share my experience and gifts, sometimes in challenging ways. Without all these lessons I would not have the strength to find the words, the gestures or the silence for days like the one last summer which began praying with a family reeling from the sudden stroke of husband and father, found me later in a room praying with and for a man who had just died and his family, waiting with another family for the priest who had been called to anoint their dying father, and finally standing with the parents of a man who had attempted suicide as the doctor told them he wasn’t likely to make it, and it was probably better he didn’t. At the end of the night I did my best, at the Father’s request, to be sure that his son would be anointed at the other hospital to which he was medevaced. Few days have made me as conscious as this one did of my gratitude for the many things people had taught me along the way (otherwise how could I have done it?), and the ability to pick up a phone at the end of that night and talk it all through with Abby, one of my lay ministry colleagues, before making the drive home.

Read the entire reflection here.


Last week I had an early morning daily mass, one which I take weekly. After the mass, I went home, changed my shirt, and met up with a friend, P., for breakfast. She brought her infant son along.

As we arrived at the cafe, we ran into a couple of women who had been at the mass just forty minutes before. They also know P. As we greeted them, one of them said, "Oh, are you P.'s husband?" I wasn't immediately sure how to respond. But, before I precisely knew what I was saying, I blurted out, "No. I'm the priest. We just had mass together."
"Oh," she said, as it started to sink in, "I knew you looked familiar!"

Fr. Mossia?

A friend alerted me today to the fact that "CathNewsUSA" has featured "Diary of a Rookie Priest in its latest edition.
The story appears just above one about a "Father Cutie."
And, while they have managed to avoid the common mistake of giving me the name of my friend Fr. Massa, they have renamed me Fr. Mossia!
Oh well, it's a privilege just to have been nominated, right?

The direct link to the article: here

Update: In a quick response to my e-mail, the first mention of my name has been corrected. Yet, in the second instance, I still remain Fr. Mossia. Oh well!