Sunday, July 24, 2011

Returning from vacation by going northeast before going west.
Wiki-image by Amiens of the main station is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Vacation

Taking in a city, not visited until now.
Wiki-image by Dinkum of an outdoor café is used according to the Creative Commons CC1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sand News

Humans shovel it, shape it, box, even kick it. Turns out sand is not extremely tiny monoliths. Sand grains are extremely tiny "delicate, colourful structures as unique as snowflakes."

Noted in The Daily Reporter, "Professor Gary Greenberg who has a PhD in biomedical research from University College London said: 'It is incredible to think when you are walking on the beach you are standing on these tiny treasures.""

Take a look here.

Wiki-image of a beach sand is used according to the GFDL.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Sunday's NYT, Catherine Rampell described that the unemployed have become invisible.
The United States is in the grips of its gravest jobs crisis since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. . . .

But unless you’re one of those unhappy 14 million, you might not even notice the problem.

Follow her "math, both economic and political."


Wiki-image by Bkwillwm of job loss chart is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Odd Things Aloft--Stellar Aloft

Astronauts and cosmonauts get named and supplies for them and their missions get mentioned,

But [according to the [Christian Science Monitor] over the course of 30 years, the space shuttles have flown some peculiar objects into orbit. The list of odd stuff that flew aboard the shuttles is a long one, and includes the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rocks from the top of Mount Everest and the surface of the moon, just to name a few.

Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles. . .

The list, by Denise Chow, Staff Writer, is reminder that some peculiar things making news can bring smiles.


Wiki-image of light sabers is in the public domain.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Francis of Assisi

In a recently-released video (length: 07:49) Jesuit Fr. James Martin offers a snapshot of St. Francis. Fr. Martin also offers insights of the 13th-Century saint not bound by time and with merit for contemporary citizens of the world.
Wiki-image by Christopher John, SSF, of Francis and a leper is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Monday, July 11, 2011

South Sudan & Society of Jesus

Two former Jesuit provincials of Eastern African Province discuss how the Society of Jesus had been involved a a nation builder in the southern region of Sudan, now the newest (54th) African nation.

Fr. Valerian Shirima SJ and Fr. Fratern Masawe SJ, "share their thoughts on the Jesuits work: in universities, parishes, seminaries, refugee camps – wherever they are called – in South Sudan." The quote is taken from the lead-in to the video of their remarks on "Perspective," part of Salt and Light T.V.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday word, 10 July 2011

15th Sunday of the Year A (10Jul2011)

Is 55. 10-11; Ps 65; Rm 8. 18-23; Mt 13. 1-23

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Decision, Growth, Choice

Today’s gospel is begins a chapter in which Jesus used parables to teach his disciples—and us—about God’s power to transform and to renew people and all creation. It may help us to ponder our transformation better if we consider the question, What is a parable?

A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, with a moral or religious lesson. It differs from a fable in which animals, plants, lifeless objects and forces of nature are actors—think of Aesop’s fables—while parables usually feature human actors. The actor in Jesus’ parable today is human, a sower of seed.

A parable is simple in design. With realism and familiarity, it sketches a setting—today, a plot of land; describes an action--someone scattering seed; and shows the results--some seed grew, some did not. A parable often involves a person facing a difficult moral choice. Jesus spoke in parables to direct attention to him and his way of living. Jesus always demands our choice.

A contemporary theologian repeated an important point when I heard her several years ago: “Parables are stories about ordinary men and women who find in the midst of their everyday lives surprising things happening. [Parables] are not about ‘giants of the faith’ who have religious visions.”1 Indeed! Parables are about people like us, people choosing Jesus repeatedly and entrusting their lives to his gracious power, power we can’t explain.

Immediately before the verses we heard as our first reading, Isaiah, long before Jesus, had announced again for God that God’s ways are not human’s ways.2 We heard Isaiah offer a clue to the mysterious nature of divine power. Working in patterns unseen and without our scientific understanding, like the pattern of rain-evaporation-condensation-rain, God’s word gives us life and saves us, achieving the end for which I sent it. Life is God’s goal, the pattern of divine working.

When it comes to the way God achieves God’s goal of real life, I feel the helpful proverb, “God writes with crooked lines,” limps. Surely God writes upside down and even backward!

The dying and rising of Jesus, which is the source of real life and offers real life to us at each moment, shocks us when we’re honest. Jesus prepared us by teaching in parables to accept him, our crucified Messiah, as the parable of God and God’s life. Those who have ears, let them hear is not about human acoustics only; Jesus’ words closing his parable invite us to accept Jesus with and by our lives.

This parable of Jesus by which he began teaching his disciples teaches us with its elements of decision, growth and choice.

  • Of decision: the sower sowed seed despite the consequences;
  • of growth: successful and frustrated; and
  • of choice: Those who have ears, let them hear.
Like the first hearers of Jesus’ parable, we, also, are to choose to ponder and explore how Jesus moves in our lives, how Jesus transforms us and the ways we respond.

Our lives, in the parable’s language, are soil. Alone we may be unable to change it from hard and shallow. Jesus graces us to make our lives deep, rich soil. Keeping hearts and minds focused on Jesus, allows us to make the calculated risks of responding in faith with our fragile lives, which God in Jesus transforms by the power of their Holy Spirit.

To become more aware of God in Jesus transforming you by the power of their Holy Spirit, take 15 minutes daily with Jesus this week.

  1. First pause to rest in the creative, fruitful and nourishing love of the Trinity.
  2. Ask the crowds of heaven to present you to Jesus.
  3. Praise and thank Jesus for the “surprising things” Jesus has done or is doing in and with your life.
  4. Become of aware of Jesus addressing you, which may register as Jesus inviting you to keep choosing him; Jesus reassuring your faith-response to him; or Jesus allowing something new to emerge on the horizon of your life.
  5. Close by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer.
Jesus’ words allow us daily to ask concretely for him to nourish us with his desires for us and to encourage us to cultivate his desires in and with our lives.

Link to this homily's spiritual exercise


  1. Sallie McFague TeSelle, “Parable, Metaphor, and Theology,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 42.4 (December 1974:630-645). She spoke at a Convocation some years ago at The Divinity School, Yale University, and I noted her remark, which emphasized the ordinariness of the actors above the ordinariness of the circumstances; the latter is mentioned about parables more than the former.
  2. Isaiah 55.8-9.


Wiki-image of the Sower is in the public domain.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

World's Newest Nation

Today the African nation of Sudan splits in two, creating South Sudan. Strife and oil are very large concerns. Christian Science Monitor has been following both in that order. A recent post considered the new nation's oil reserves. The posting links to its earlier one about internal strife and the new nation's ability to limit it.
Wiki-image of the flag of South Sudan is in the public domain.

Praying With Scripture

A recent Loyola Press post offered in one place how to pray with scripture in two classic ways: slow, attentive and gentle reading; and contemplation. The post began
Lectio Divina and Gospel Contemplation are two ways to pray with Scripture. [Jesuit] Fr. Leonhardt explains these two forms of prayer for those new to the practices.
Even with familiarity of either or both methods, Fr. Leonhardt offers clear and helpful advice to enrich the prayer of veterans as well as beginners.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Management Style

The Vatican is a unique bureaucracy. Who runs it: pope; curial cardinals; others? That question gets different answers during the tenure of each pope. Easier to answer, although intricate, is a pope's style of management. With keen insight from years of observing the Vatican, Mr. John L. Allen Jr. offers his take. With a catching hook, as usual, Mr. Allen began his posting today
There’s much to be learned from detective stories, including that the solution to any mystery usually lies in finding the right question to ask. At the moment, a gripping Vatican mystery centers on the Congregation for Religious, and here’s a nominee for the right question: Is Ronald Reagan or Sigmund Freud the better template for Benedict XVI’s management style?

Obviously, a bit of background is in order.

Read his All Things Catholic posting to be demystified.


Wiki-image by David Webb of Sigmund Freud is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Smoke Rings Have Nothing on These

Blowing smoke rings pales in comparison to what dolphins do with air. Creation is cleaner, and it never ceases to awe.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Could Have Been Killed

The new prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life was born in a rural part of Brazil. Formerly Archbishop of Brasilia, Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz, has begun a fresh start with religious orders throughout the world. Interviewed and
Without denying that there are problems [among religious orders], Bráz said, his main aim is to “rebuild trust” by approaching issues in a new way – “without preemptive condemnations,” he said, “and by listening to people’s concerns.”
Mr. John L. Allen posted his remarks yesterday at NCR Today. Mr. Allen also recalled
that As a young priest, Bráz was once on his way to a village to say Mass when he stumbled upon an armored car robbery. He was shot during the crossfire, with bullets perforating his lungs and intestines and one eye. Although he survived and surgeons were able to save his eye, he still carries fragments of those bullets in his body.
Other points from his biography related by Mr. Allen suggest a listener with ears and heart.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Laser Light Eyesight

Here is a sharp image from Earth into our Milky Way. It was Saturday's Wiki-image of the Day by ESO/Yuri Beletsky and is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Chip in the Ole Fireworks

In its Innovation section the Christian Science Monitor discussed the revolution in fireworks. Computer chips make possible new colors, new effects and new enjoyment. Where are those chips?
"Each and every one of our shells now has its own computer chip," says Philip Butler, producer and "chief operating brother-in-law" for Fireworks by Grucci in Brookhaven, N.Y.
Wiki-image by Michael Lane of Seattle fireworks is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.