Whom do you serve?

Seldom have I found much use for opinion polls or surveys. First and foremost because they are neither objective nor fact but, by definition, the collective views of a supposedly random sampling of those who just happen to have an opinion, which excludes absolutely no one at all.

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And a child shall lead them

Being of a certain age, with far more miles now traveled than those which could possibly remain, what occupies the quiet moments are but tiny echoes, rippled reflections of long ago when life was everlasting and all things were possible. Somewhere along the way—when, I cannot recall—the exuberance and optimism of youthful charity met the sober temperance of adulthood and much, far too much was lost of the beauty, kindness, goodness, and innocence of childhood.

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That Pregnant Pause

We are all familiar with the name Emmanuel which literally means “God is with us”: “Immanu`el” (עִמָּנוּאֵל). Yet, no one, in all likelihood, is familiar with a slightly different phrase: “Hashem hu betocheinu” (תוכינו.בתוכינו) which is Hebrew for “God is in us.” And yet, God is both with us and in us, isn’t he?

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God created you to be

The Jewish-American author and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel wrote in his book Souls on Ice that “When we meet our Creator at the end of our life, we won’t be asked, ‘How well did you use the talents I gave you to love and serve my people on earth?’ Rather, we’ll be asked: ‘How well did you use your talents to become you—the you I created you to be?’

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failure to plan is planning to fail

Eliezer ben Hurcanus was a first and second century rabbi who was known to tell his disciples “Repent one day before your death.” And when asked, “How will we know when that day is?” he would reply, “All the more reason to repent today, lest you die tomorrow.”

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is the only way up

At times it seems nearly impossible to discern whether we are going up, down, or sideways. We look for guidance but wonder whom to believe, whom to trust. Much of our misgivings rests in the abundance of hypocrisy that we encounter from our leaders, secular and religious.

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by our deeds he will know us

What more, can be said of love? Can but one exist who has no passing thought of it? Mere words fail, for all the ink and paper consumed have yet to fully measure it. What verb toils with such resolve; what noun evokes such passion; what word but love means too much and too little?

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the coin of the realm

Have you ever wondered why we do certain things a certain way? So much of what we do in life, it seems to me, we do without ever asking why. We do them … out of habit or just because: just because that’s the way we have always done them, or just because that was what we were taught to do, or well, just because. We never stop to question why. Or have you ever considered just how much of something is enough? At what point does a thing become too much? And when it becomes too much, what, if anything, should we do about it? Or have you ever had someone respond to a question with a question? Frustrating, isn’t it? And yet, we often hear Jesus respond to those who sought to test him with a question, just as he does today.

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Rich food and choice wines

Today’s readings invite us to great feasts. In the first reading, from Isaiah, we hear, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” In the Gospel we hear Jesus liken the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He reminds those invited, “I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”

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We are stewards of his vineyard

I am once again reminded of a sentiment penned by Khalil Gibran: “If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.” I must confess, when I read those words I always think of God and how he loves us so; he loves us so much that he is willing to let us go, in the hope we will return to him.

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