Mary Has Chosen the Better Part

Now a Timberwolf

Now a Timberwolf

Will the Wizards win 40 games this season? That would be 21 more than they won last season, more than doubling their win percentage.

I was sorry to see Darius Songaila go. But the Wizards’ off-season trades have been excellent. I think they will play better-than-.500 ball and will contend for a playoff spot…

…For the record: I can think of a lot of places where I would love to sit and drink a cold beer.

The White House is not one of them…

…As they continued their journey, He entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed Him.

She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at His feet listening to him speak.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” –Luke 10:38-42

There is plenty to do. But the life of action in this world is for the sake of reaching the life of contemplation in the next.

It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek. –Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 2

Christ_in_the_House_of_Martha_and_Mary

Shakespeare Quotes of the Day

frank ernest

1.
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently.

Much Ado About Nothing, Act V, Scene i

2.
If he be not in love with some woman, there is no
believing old signs: a’ brushes his hat o’
mornings; what should that bode?…
And when was he wont to wash his face?

Ibid., Act III, Scene ii

Introduction to John 6

Like all the chapters of all the gospels, the sixth chapter of John proclaims that the Messiah has come, and it is Jesus.

Moses

Moses

It will help us to understand this chapter if we recall some of the great deeds the Lord did through His prophet Moses in ancient times. Through Moses, the Lord taught His people a lot about how to hope for the Messiah—about how to hope for freedom and salvation.

Let us recall the Exodus of the Israelites. By the power of God, Moses brought plagues upon the Egyptian slave-masters. Then he parted the Red Sea and led the people across it. Later, Moses turned the desert rock into a spring of water.

Moses also demonstrated the power of God when he brought the Law down from Mt. Sinai and then consecrated the people in a covenant of obedience to it.

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Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn

metro-train-crash-washington-dc

It has been a month since the Monday evening that rattled me as much as I have been rattled in a long time. I think September 11, 2001, was the last time I sat in front of a televison in a state of such distress.

The Washington Metro opened when I was a little boy. My dad worked for the city then, and we rode on a special Metro ride for V.I.P.’s, the day before the system opened.

He was so excited about the Metro that he used to ride it one stop each evening, from his office at Farragut North to the end of the red line at Dupont Circle. Then he would catch the bus the rest of the way to our house (near Friendship Heights–only a shaded ‘future’ station on the map back then).

empireThe Metro ride did not save him any time or trouble. He did it out of sheer excitement.

I guess children who grow up on farms have a special love for pigs and tractors. They do not like to see sick pigs or mangled tractors. For me, it is the Metro.

There was a deadly Metro crash in January, 1982–the same afternoon Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th-Street bridge and plummeted into the Potomac River. And a Metro operator was killed in a crash in 1996.

But I think the crash on June 22 is the event that will mark a turning point in Washington subway history equivalent to the turning point that was reached in New York City ten days before the end of World War I:

Have you ever been to Frederick Law Olmstead’s magnificent Prospect Park in Brooklyn? One of the exits of the park opens onto Empire Boulevard.

Malbone wreckThis street once had a different name. They had to change the name of the street, because the old name had become synonymous with death and horror. Empire Boulevard was once Malbone Street.

Click here for the New York Times account of the deadliest non-terrorist subway catastrophe in history, which happened in the tunnel outside the Malbone Street station on All Saints Day, 1918.

At least 93 people died. The crash occurred because a non-union scab with two hours of training was operating the Brighton Beach express during a strike. He took a six-mile-an-hour curve at 40 mph.

The responsible authorities were indicted for manslaughter.

The NYC subway bounced back. It became a professional operation. May the same happen here in Washington. And may all the dead rest in peace.

Parables and Parables

little engineI speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. (Matthew 13:13)

There are a lot of great stories. Some of them teach important lessons. Like “If you build it, they will come.”

But the parables of Christ are not like these. The parables of Christ are in a class by themselves.

If we think Christ’s parables are moral lessons, we will not understand them. What is the moral lesson of the Parable of the Dishonest Steward?

The parables of Christ are about Christ Himself. They are about the salvation which God won for us by becoming man, suffering, dying, and rising again. The parables of Christ make sense only by the light of faith. They are not interchangeable with other morality tales.

There is a key to entering into Christ’s parables. Without the key, they are impossible to understand. With the key, Christ’s parables explain all of life, all of reality.

The key is the Nicene Creed, the truth about Who Christ is.

field_of_dreams

Imagine My Amazement

postI have no choice but to admit that in the past two days, I have witnessed not one, but two miracles of liberal journalism.

I.
Don’t know if you heard how a professor at Harvard was arrested in his own house. He claims to be the victim of police racism.

The first thing that occurred to me when I read the conflicting accounts of what happened: Wasn’t the police officer probably trying to secure the house after having received a burglary report? Why would Dr. Gates refuse to comply with the officer’s request that he step outside? Isn’t it reasonable to think that the officer asked Dr. Gates to step outside for his own safety, in the event that there was an intruder in the house?

Dr. GatesImagine my amazement when I read something in the Washington Post to the effect that the officer may in fact NOT be a racist goon, and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was probably acting like a defensive jerk.

II.
Don’t know if you have heard that there will soon be a new justice on the Supreme Court.

Imagine my amazement when I read something in the Washington Post to the effect that Sonia Sotomayor is a woefully uninspiring Supreme-Court nominee.

My brother used to write for the Washington Post. Of course I would always be glad to buy my brother a beer. But other than that, I have never wanted to buy beers for Washington Post writers.

But the Omnipresent Specter is full of surprises.

Status Update

spped bumpPreacher’s Status: Overwhelmed.

…Here is Reason #1,865 why it is impossible to take the Washington Post seriously.  A quote from one of today’s editorials:

…The United States…is dealing with the omnipresent specter of another terrorist attack…

Omnipresent specter?

Would the word “threat” not suffice? Or even the phrase “constant threat?” Who hired someone from the Ministry of Truth to copy edit the Washington Post?

The truth is that there is only one Omnipresent Specter, and He does not appreciate blasphemy.

lbj mvpHe will indeed terrorize the proud. But He will exult the humble.

He will reward those who treat the language with reverence. But the cheap word-mongers He will crush.

…On the other hand, this pro-life essay by Alveda King, niece of M.L.K., Jr., is worth reading…

…You know that I love LeBron as much as anybody. My dream in life is to be the LeBron James of priests.

LeBron got dunked on recently. No big deal. It was a silly summer-league game.

He got dunked on by a college player. No biggie. College players are awful good.

He got dunked on by a college player who was wearing Nike LeBrons at the time.

Then Nike confiscated the videotapes. Here is the dunker:

Emperor Has No Clothes

John Daly's pants just get better and better

John Daly's pants just get better and better

Today I announced that a new parochial vicar will arrive at our parish on August 8. After Mass, I received the greatest compliment I have ever gotten:

“Father, we will miss your homilies and your cufflinks.”

…The Emperor who has no clothes is the Washington Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Such emperors are always surrounded by toadies. In this case, the Washington Post, the City Paper, and the Washingtonian‘s one-time critic are among the cheer-leading toadies.

I was able to see King Lear at the Harman Center through the gracious generosity of a friend, and I am grateful for his kindness.

wstc king learWe have been down this road before. The Shakespeare-Theatre-Company production of Twelfth Night turned out to be painfully “gimmick-ridden,” and utterly unsatisfying for this “Shakespeare fundamentalist.”

The problem is: Their production of King Lear is laden with more gimmicks than twelve Twelfth Nights. And all of the gimmicks in this production of King Lear are gross with a capital G.

Gross beyond the point of gratuity. Gross beyond the point of abysmal taste. Gross to the point of embarrassment.

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Archbishop’s Decree

stbernardine-elgrego

St. Bernardine of Siena holding the insignia of the Holy Name of Jesus

This is what His Grace handed me:

For the welfare of the people of God, I appoint you, Reverend Mark D. White, pastor of Holy Name parish, Washington, D.C.

I hereby commit to you the full pastoral care of souls in this parish…May God grant you the grace and health to carry out this charge of priestly service for souls.

Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

I am unworthy of such trust. Please pray for me. May the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, who together gave our Savior His Holy Name, watch over me and all the people of “Capitol Hill extended” and Trinidad.

Holy_Name_Church_and_Rectory

Eleventh & K Sts., N.E.

Bernardine with ihs

Click AMDG above for more info

Old map--does not include National Arboretum

Old map--does not include National Arboretum