4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 1, 2015 – St Anthony, Okeene, OK; St Ann, Fairview, OK; St Thomas, Seiling, OK

Deuteronomy 18, 15-20 + Psalm 95 + 1 Corinthians 7, 32-35 + Mark 1, 21-28

Last week we heard the first spoken words of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel. This week we hear of the first miracle, and with it Mark introduces the primary issues that will spark conflicts between Jesus and the “authorities.” They are issues that are far from settled. They still cause conflict and challenge today.

The “authorities”, scribes and Pharisees, are upset because the sacredness of the Sabbath has been compromised. Even more so they are upset because their authority has been questioned by a new authority. The Scribes thought and taught that the most important thing in life was following the law. Jesus proposes a new authority. … more »

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015
After a full day and night at sea we awakened at an island in the Bahama chain owned by Holland America. The only inhabitants are a few people who care for the horses since riding along the beach is one of the attractions offered here. Glass Bottom boats, snorkeling, and lounging on the pristine beaches with water that is at least five shades of blue is all there is here. I think most of the passengers did get off and at least take advantage of a chance to walk on shore. “Thelma and Louise” were on shore for a couple of hours at the beach, and I read all day.
We were in the Crows Nest for Trivia tonight, but we didn’t do too well.
 … more »

Thursday, January 8, 2014

Thursday, January 8, 2014

There wasn’t much of a crowd at “Non Surgical Face Lift”. I didn’t really go. I seems to me that the best face lift is just a smile, and it does not even take ten minutes. So I’m not sure what Thelma and Louise did all morning because I missed them at breakfast. Since the wake up system on the phone was “challenged”, the cabin steward came by to wake me for Mass. The rest of the morning for me was spent reading in a lounge chair up in the crows nest where the view is spectacular all the way to the horizon. Calm sea and no wind made for a very smooth sailing day. After lunch I found Thelma and Louise playing their dice game at the big Lido pool which was unexpectedly closed for cleaning the middle of a hot afternoon because there are too many children – small ones. … more »

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 7, 2015, Wednesday, Philipsburg, St Maarten Island

A new discovery for me today was this odd little island split between the French and the Dutch: 21 square miles for the French and 17 square miles for the Dutch. A phone call from the south (Dutch) to the North (French) is an “International” call. It is cheaper to drive from one side to the other! There are two airports, power plants, water systems, communication systems, and distinct cultures. We docked at Philisburg on the Dutch side, and in contrast to many Caribbean ports, it was neat, orderly, clean, and obviously “Dutch.” The beach was beautiful, lined with hotels and restaurants, it was a comfortable walk for the afternoon. One block inland parallel to the beach is a pedestrian zone with the usual innumerable T Shirt Shops, Diamond Shops, and Shops for Watches, Linens, and hats. … more »

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A slow start to a “killer” day. Following a late breakfast, the Captain had the foredeck opened up at 10:30 for the best view sailing into San Juan Harbor. It is always a remarkable sight even though I have seen it three or four times. We let the crowds get off for the “excursions” as we took advantage of the cell phone service available since we were in a US port. After a sandwich we got off to discover that the warning about big crowds in the city today because of the Feast of Epiphany was no exaggeration. We walked up to the Central Square where Christopher Columbus stands on a high column, and then took a taxi up to El Muro for a look at the walls and the fortifications dating from the mid 1500s. … more »

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – January 25, 2015 – St Peter the Apostle Parish, Naples, FL

Jonah 3, 1-5, 10 + Psalm 25 + 1 Corinthians 7, 29-31 + Mark 1, 14-20

For each of the evangelists; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the first words Jesus says set the theme for that Gospel. Last week we heard the first spoken words according to John: “What are you looking for?” That question weaves its way in and out of all the episodes of John’s Gospel. Today the first spoken words of Mark’s Gospel are set before us: “This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the good news!” Once Mark sets this theme that we are living in the time of fulfillment, that God’s reign is beginning, and that our response to this is believing and therefore reforming our lives, Jesus goes to work. … more »

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, January 18, 2015, Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, Naples, FL

1 Samuel 3, 3-10, 19 + Psalm 40 + 1 Corinthians 6, 13-15, 17-20 + John 1, 35-42

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish   Naples, Florida

The first words that Jesus speaks in John’s Gospel are heard today: “What are you looking for?” This question is essential to faith. Three times in John’s Gospel this question is asked. The first time is today. Then in the Garden of Olives after the Last Supper it will be asked again of those who come to arrest him. Finally it is asked one more time on Easter Sunday when Mary Magdalen comes to the tomb. The question frames the whole Gospel and the answer determines discipleship or opposition. There is no other way.

We all answer this question even when there are no words, for what we do always reveals what we are looking for. … more »

The Baptism of the Lord – January 11, 2015 – MS Westerdam

Isaiah 42, 1-4. 6-7 + Psalm 29 + Acts 10, 34-38 + Mark 1, 7-11

MS Westerdam

The only ones who hear anything in Mark’s Gospel are you, me, and Jesus. None of the bystanders hear a thing. They do not hear those words we hear. Do you wonder why? I think it is because at that moment they have not been baptized. It is not to suggest that they are excluded, but it is to say that baptism and hearing the Word of God results in one being claimed by God, becoming a servant of God, and beginning the work that all the baptized are privileged to continue: making known the loving and saving plan of God for all humankind. … more »

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2014 Grand Turk Island

A warm Caribbean day at an island named after a cactus. Imagine that, and look at the picture I’ve provided of the Cactus that many think looks like a Turkish “Fez.” We shared the Island with another ship as you can see which is typical for this season. There is no income tax, property tax nor sales tax in this British Colony. The only income comes from the “head tax” of cruise ship passengers and import taxes. 5,500 people live on the island, and it is the second largest population of the island chain.

We did not exactly rush off the ship, but after a leisurely breakfast we hired a taxi for two hours and drove the seven mile length of the island to the Light House at the northern end where a dangerous reef extends out quite a long way into the sea. … more »

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2014

They call days like this: “At Sea”, and the description works. We sailed along about an average of 18 kts all last night, all today, and will arrive at Grand Turk in the morning. It was windy – at the moment, (midnight) there is a wind directly head on at 50 kts which is substantial, so this 15 story floating hotel/resort is moving about a bit. 42 Catholics started the day at 8:00 am for Mass, and 38 Catholic crew members finished the day about an hour ago with 11:30 pm Crew Mass. This evening an officer asked me to visit with a crew member whose mother had died today back home in the Philippines. He will be going home from San Juan in a couple of days. … more »