Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

March 6, 2007


Northern Europeans display a more doleful view of whence we come. where we go, and why we are here. It is in sharp contrast with the more happy attitude of inhabitants of sunny Mediterranean lands. A travelor will be affected by changes, not only in air quality, water purity, and local diet, but by the character and attitudes of the inhabitants of his new destination.

A recent trans-Atlantic passage of a distinguished churchman showed a marked change in his thought and attitude as he moved from the western hemisphere to the eastern. Cardinal Cloudio Hummes left his native Brazil last December and traveled to Rome to head the Congregation of the Clergy. Before his departure from Brazil, the cardinal , in an interview for a Brazilian newspaper, described priestly celibacy as a disciplinary norm of the Church, not a matter of dogma and therefor subject to change. In a full page article in the February 14 issue of "L'Osservatore Romano", Hummes wrote: "Priestly celibacy is a precious gift of Christ to His Church, a gift that must be continually meditated upon and strengthened..."

Hmm! "Disciplinary norm"; "Precious gift of Christ". Perhaps some celestial gamma rays experienced in the cardinal's high altutude flight across the ocean caused the change. Or perhaps the Cardinal from Brazil, the world's largest Catholic country, had moved from a world where he had found that experience mattered to a world where experience would never be allowed to besmirch a lovely concept.

March 4, 2007


Digital cameras have succeeded Polaroids and the Brownie’s. People frequently prefer the image to the real thing; to take a picture rather than enjoy the moment. Travel guides give instructions where to stand to get the best photo. At church baptisms, there are scripture readings to be listened to, prayers to be participated in, symbolic actions to be reflected upon. What happens? Some in attendance move around with their cameras to take pictures, to freeze the moment rather than participate in the moment that is rich in meaning and uplifting in prayer.

Today’s gospel tells of Jesus going up into a high mountain with Peter, James, and John. In a kind of light and sound spectacular, Jesus is transfigured and a voice from heaven affirms Jesus as Son of God. Moses and Elijah have entered the scene. Peter wants to preserve the moment, freeze it in an image, set up three shrines. “Let us make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” If he had a digital camera, he would have taken a picture! But the lights go off; the thunder ceases. Jesus takes them down the mountain. “Let us be about our mission, our real life. No tents, no shrines, no pictures! There are things to be done!”

Jesus tells them, “Tell no one about the vision you’ve just had.” Why? Because he wants men and women to be captured by his message and by the example He gives of care and concern for others, by His manifested love, not by a kind of spectacular sky show! “Don’t base our appeal on this but enter upon real life experience as we worship God together and try to bring comfort and healing to bodies, minds, and spirits of our fellow men and women."