Sunday, November 15, 2015

Homily – 33rd Sunday – Year B November 15, 2015

By Deacon Jerry Franzen at Cathedral
Daniel 12: 1-3              Hebrews 10: 11-14, 18        Mark 13:24-32

“At that time, there shall arise Michael, the great prince.”
“Now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.”
"Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”
Three lines – one from each of today’s readings.
We are nearing the end of the liturgical year,
and we are being reminded of the so-called “end times.”
Each of those lines gives us a part of that picture.


1. “At that TIME, there shall arise Michael, the great prince.”
We have an artist’s conception of that time
right here in the cathedral –
the rightmost panel in the window
above the north entrance.
Michael is that angel with the sword held high.
He is lording it over the devil; the devil is under his foot.
Yes the devil is in one of our windows!
We are talking about the time of the second coming –
the time of the final victory of Christ over evil - the end of time.

TIME is very important to us.
In this day of hustle and bustle, time often seems to go by so quickly;
children and grandchildren seem to grow up too quickly.
If you miss seeing them for as little as a week,
You may have missed a lot.
In just as little as a few years
they go from being children to young adults.
And we shake our heads in amazement and say:
“Where has the time gone?”

We look at ourselves in the mirror every day
and we wonder where our lives have gone.
WE are led to the following attitude:
All those plans we have, all those things we want to do,
while we still can, the ones we keep putting off,
we better do them, because we’re running out of time.
There once was a comic strip character named Snuffy Smith.
He would say “Times a-wasting.”
Sooner or later we all will come face-to-face with the reality                   that our time is up.

And at sometime later “there shall arise Michael, the great prince.”

2. “NOW he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.”
The letter to the Hebrews say NOW, the Lord is waiting
for his enemies to be his footstool.
Satan is Michael’s footstool in that window panel.
The Lord and we are NOW waiting for that time.
How does that play out?  How do we wait with the Lord?
Look to Jesus’ teaching in today’s Gospel.
We wait looking for the signs Jesus described.
The final resurrection will not happen
until all the events Jesus mentioned will have taken place.
Apparently, the world will end just as the world was created,
out of chaos.

The early Christians for whom Mark wrote his Gospel
were suffering persecution and probably
couldn’t wait for everything to end.
They looked for the Son of Man to come in the clouds for good
to finally triumph over the evil they were enduring.
They wanted their misery to stop.
Some might wonder if we are seeing these signs NOW,
as if the chaos of the end is about to be upon us.

Consider the mess the world is in:
—many things seem to be collapsing, not just the economy.
Nuclear weapons of mass destruction remain a threat
in a game now with more players than we would like.
The war in the Middle East seems to offer little hope of ending.
The scourge of abortion is unrelenting.
As we have seen in France, the threat of terrorism is ever present.
Advertising trivializes life,
and movies glamorize violence, drugs, and extra-marital sex.
For many of us, this may be the darkest time in history,
and it may look and feel very much like the end time
that Jesus predicted.
But here we are, countless generations and two thousand years later,
and we’re still waiting.
“NOW we wait until his enemies are made his footstool.”


So where does that leave us?
3. The third verse: “Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”
How do these words of Jesus speak to us,
to our generations, and our time?
The truth is that the world as it is now,
and our lives as we are now living them,
are passing away.
Everything in this life,
everything we attach ourselves to, those we love so dearly,
our possessions, our very lives,  are deteriorating,
and will eventually come to an end.
And even if the world is not coming to an end any time soon,
our own personal worlds do occasionally collapse,
and we suffer our own apocalypses. —
It might be an irreversible illness or
 a disability that stops us from working in our professions.
One of my brother deacons has such a severe form of dementia
that he has had to retire from active ministry
and is able to do very little on his own.
Another deacon and his wife have found that they must postpone
his knee replacement and her two knee replacements,
because she has developed a serious condition with one of her feet.
That condition could make her much less mobile for three months. 
The terrorist attacks of yesterday (Friday) in France
might be considered, quite possibly by some, as signs of the chaos
that signals the beginning of the end times.    
We could experience failure in our life’s work,
the death of a spouse or child,
rejection by someone we love, abandonment by a friend,
or the loss of a life’s savings.

These drastic changes and these tragedies
can seem to them very much like the end of our lives,
the end of the world,
and make us anxious for Christ’s return.
But until then, we cling to the hope
that Our Lord’s teaching is not so much a stern warning
about the end of the world,
but a lesson on living in the world.

True, we must be watching and preparing for the second coming,
but we must not let the anticipation
of Christ’s coming in power and glory
blind us to his coming into our lives every day.
He comes to us ceaselessly, each time we come together,
each time his word is proclaimed,
each time his body rests on your hand and on your tongue.
Christ comes to you in each man, woman and child
whose eyes meet yours,
especially in those who hunger for food or justice or love.
The words of Jesus, that he will be with us always
even to the end of time, are not passing away.

We must cherish the past, learn from our mistakes,
grieve our losses, and live today as good as we can live it.
Live it as if it were the last day of our lives,
and hold on to the hope-filled vision
that Jesus will never abandon us, never leave us alone.
He will someday return to gather all of his faithful together
and make all things right.
True, we don’t know that time,
but, more importantly,
we do know what to do in the meantime.
We proclaim that knowledge very often;
it is the mystery of our faith that we proclaim.

We say:
“We proclaim your Death, O Lord,
and profess your resurrection until you come again.”


“When we eat this bread and drink this Cup,
We proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.”

Friday, November 6, 2015

Homily Feast of All Souls Year B

By Jerry Franzen  Cathedral  11/02/15
Wisdom 3:1-9              Romans 6:3-9             John 11:17-27

My wife and I attended the Cincinnati Symphony production
this past Saturday evening.
The program included the Dante Symphony by Franz Liszt.
It was a musical adaption of the themes in Dante’s Divine Comedy,
his portrayal of hell, inferno, purgatory, purgatorio,
and heaven, paradisio.
Liszt’s original idea was to divide the symphony
into three movements as is usual for a symphony.
But he was convinced by his father-in-law
that one could not express “heaven” in music.
So there were two parts:
The first part was rather loud filled with the heavy use
of the bass and kettle drums,
 a foreboding bass clarinet solo, lots of brass
and a very bombastic ending.
Liszt  certainly expressed the power of hell, the inferno.

The second part was much more varied and more melodic,
with prominent uses of the string sections, the flute,
the bassoons, the clarinet and the oboe.
We could hear the more hopeful character of purgatory.
Since he agreed with his father-in-law and did not write
a separate movement for heaven,
Liszt wrote a beautiful lyrical finale
for the end of the second movement.
The women of the May Festival Chorus
served as an off-stage choir of angels
singing repeatedly in Latin
the first two lines of the Magnificat
with orchestral accompanyment.
Those lines are as usually translated into English as:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
It was beautiful; I now have one musical image of heaven.


So we have Hell – the state of a soul of a deceased person totally
and forever separated from God by the choice of that person.
Purgatory – Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church
has to say about purgatory:
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship but imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
Purgatory is that state of purification.
Souls in that state will eventually go to heaven.
And Heaven is the state of being eternally in the presence of God.
As it turned out,
I think that Liszt’s ending for the “purgatorio” movement
with the beautiful finale of heavenly music,
was masterful, because the end result
of a soul’s existence in the state of purgatory
is always heaven.
Heaven is always the ultimate outcome of purgatory.  

Today we gather here at this Mass, our greatest prayer,
to offer our prayers for the souls in purgatory.
We don’t pray for souls that are with God in heaven;
They are saints and we can pray to them for their assistance.
We don’t pray for souls in hell,
because they are eternally separated from God in hell,
and our prayers can do nothing for them.

This Feast of All Souls is a reminder of our privilege
and duty to pray daily
for our deceased family members and friends
and all the faithful departed.
We are praying for those who died joined to God,
but yet need to be fully cleansed from all of their sins
and their sinfulness.
We believe that our prayers for them
can help to expedite their progress to heaven.
When we die, time has no meaning for us,
but we speak of a “time” that a soul would spend in purgatory,
because we have not found a better way to describe
the soul’s transition from purgatory
to the “joy of heaven.”
We have no way of knowing who is in purgatory and who is in hell,
so we pray for all of the deceased.


It is our privilege and our duty to pray
for the souls of the deceased!
It is our privilege and duty, because praying for them
is one of the spiritual  works of mercy.
We are privileged to serve God in this way here on earth.
It is a privilege to be able to help those
who have so ably helped us in our faith development
and a duty for us to give back to them.

I think of my deceased aunt Dorothy in this regard.
She did not live a perfect life; she did not have an easy life.
I am sure that she was tested here on earth.
Her husband left her shortly after her daughter was born.
She was then a single mother.
She was a live-in housekeeper for a priest,
while she raised her daughter.
She was eventually crippled by arthritis so terribly
that she could barely walk with a walker
and barely grasp items with her hands.
Yet she was a faithful and faith-filled mother, sister, aunt
and servant of the Lord.
She was tested and found worthy.
She facilitated my first opportunity to serve at Mass.
My sixth grade teacher was Sr. Catherine David,
a Sister of Charity of Nazareth.
She was also the director of the children’s choir
of which I was a part.

These two women and my parents are responsible
for much of my faith formation,
and it is truly a privilege for me and is my duty
to now be of service to them
by praying for their transition to heaven.
I can also think of other faith-filled people among my teachers,
my relatives and my friends.
I was privileged to know them and learn from them
and I feel it my duty to now help them, if needed.
I hope that we all can remember those in our lives
that have served in that same capacity.


Some are here praying especially for their family members
who have died this past year.
Others are praying for those who died further in the past.
On this solemn day, there is no doubt that all of us
who remember our deceased loved ones
are filled with varied emotions.
There is a certain sadness and longing;
there is a spirit of thanks and gratitude
as well as a renewed understanding of the challenge
we must embrace in our loss.
It is quite natural to have a sadness in our hearts
as we miss the physical presence and company
of those we loved and those who loved us in return.
But exactly because of that love between us,
we are able to entrust
our deceased friends and loved ones to God
and the abundant blessings that await them
in heaven.
We are consoled by the words of Sacred Scripture.
As we heard from the Book of Wisdom:
"The souls of the just are in the hand of God
-----and grace and mercy are with them.”
Saint Paul in the second reading wrote:
“We who have died with Christ, will also live with Him
—death has no power over us.”
And Jesus in the Gospel said:
“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me,
even if he dies, will live and everyone who lives
and believes in me will never die.”

As we are sad and feel the emptiness
of the loss of a loved one or a friend.
we should be praying for their salvation.
We are here to take a special opportunity to do just that,
and we should remember them in prayer frequently.


But, there is a further dimension.
Having heartfelt sentiments for our loved ones,
and praying for them are very important,
but we must also go forth daily and
pass on their examples of faith, goodness, generosity and compassion
so that they continue to live on in each one of us.

We must carry on for them in the work that they have begun in us.
I think that Franz Liszt chose an appropriate expression for heaven,
and it is also the appropriate expression of how we go forward
from our sense of loss and sadness:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Monday, October 26, 2015

Homily 30th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

By Jerry Franzen   Cathedral   10/25/15
Jerimiah 31: 7-9    ^    Hebrews 5: 1-6    ^    Mark 10:46-52

We are prone to take for granted our ability to see.
It’s one of those many things
for which I should thank God daily.
I had a blind student in one of my classes at Thomas More.
I caught myself introducing new terminology,
writing new words on the board without spelling them,
making drawings without describing them.
And saying things like, “As you can see.......”

I would think, “No, Jennifer can’t see.”
I’ve got to spell it out so she can understand.”
This is what we try to do with God’s word,
spell it out so we can see into it with a clearer vision.
Let’s look at today’s Gospel, a short simple story,
a series of seven verses that prompt some significant questions,
questions that should help us to see more clearly
what we are doing here today.

Jesus was leaving Jericho.
“Leaving Jericho” meant the final leg
on the journey to Jerusalem,
and there, Jesus will be led to the Cross.
Fom Jericho, Jesus could have turned back to Galilee;
but he did not turn back.
According to the author of St. Mark’s Gospel,
the Lord’s ultimate destination has been determined.
This journey of the Lord will lead to the Cross.
1. First Question: By our coming here today,
by our not turning back, do we recognize that
we are also indicating our willingness to be led to the cross?

 A blind beggar, “Bartimeus,”
upon hearing that Jesus was passing by, began to cry out,
“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.”
His cry is interesting because he calls Jesus, “Son of David.”
The Jewish people were well aware that it was expected
that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David.
This blind beggar already had more insight
than many of those who could see in Jesus’ presence.
Many of Jesus’ disciples, those close to Him,
didn’t recognize Him as the Messiah, the “Son of David.”
You have to wonder, don’t you,…
how did this blind man come to such an insight?
Might there have been some followers of Jesus
who had already spread the good news
about the “Son of David” to the people of Jericho,
going out ahead of the Lord? Possibly.
We come to Mass much like this beggar.
We, too, have already heard of the Son of David.
Q2. That prompts another question:
Do our words and, more importantly, our presence here really
and truly proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah?
What the blind beggar shouted was something of a surprise,
but what follows is pretty much to be expected.
The good folks in the crowd tried to hush him up.
Jesus’ fame was growing and at least some of his disciples
were basking in the glow, recall James and John last week.
This beggar’s shouting shatters the glory of the moment
in Jerico.
Apparently, blind beggars were to be seen and not heard;
but no, Bartimaeus shouts at the top of his voice,
“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.”
The response of the disciples was to silence the beggar
so they could get back to their focus on Jesus
and, more likely, have Jesus focus on them.
But Bartimaeus would not be silenced,
and he would not go away.
This day in Jericho was going sour fast.
I can imagine a sanctimonious editorial in the Jericho paper --
fretting about the problem of beggars in the city,
proposing that the city council enact
some law that will prevent such
embarrassments in the future.
Of course, if we really think about it,
what Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus is neither
shocking nor unusual.
He pled, “have pity on me,” “have mercy on me!”
No different than what we have already pled
as this Mass began:
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
I find it rather interesting that
a precedent for our plea of “Lord, have mercy”
was a similar shout from a beggar that
received a rebuke from the “proper” people of Jericho.
Q3. So, would we still voice our plea for mercy,
if it meant rebuke from the “proper” people of this world?
Would we still raise our voices, asking Christ for mercy
in the face of the world’s ridicule and shaming?
Interesting question.
Apparently Bartimeus had nothing to lose.
What do we have to lose?
We will all learn more about God’s infinite mercy
beginning in the month of December.

And then the scene focused on Jesus,
who stopped and directed those in the crowd to “Call him.”
So they called to Bartimeus,
“Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you.”
How fortunate for Batimeus, to hear those words.
“Take heart, arise, Jesus is calling you.”
Some have heard similar words during a Cursillo
or Christ Renews His Parish, or a Retreat, or a Parish Mission.
Some have heard these words in the course of their daily work,
or in prayer
and others while simply taking in the grandure of nature.
Q4. Is this not the essence
of every Sunday’s readings and homily;
the search for what God has in mind when he calls to us to
a deeper sense of purpose in our family life and work,
an invitation to share in the ministry of Christ
in a special way –
whatever might be the way for each of us?
Every Sunday we continue the search
for what God has in mind for us, our call.
A new vocation. A healing. Certainly salvation.

Jesus then gave Bartimaeus the opportunity
to say for himself what rested most deeply within his soul.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied, “Master, I want to see.”
That miracle of fresh sight for this beggar
is not only about to happen, it has already been happening!
He already “sees” who Jesus is
and has such courage in Jesus’ presence to call him, “Master.” We might be prone to shout,
“Bartimaeus, you already have such vision!”
Bartimaeus wants to see, to see more of his Master.
I wish to God that everyone baptized into Christ’s Body
had that much insight and devotion to the Lord!
Q5. Is that not what we want also?
We want to see more of Jesus in the bread and wine
transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Like Bartimeus, we are here expecting a miracle,
The miracle that what we see as bread and wine is really
The Body and Blood of Jesus.

But we want to see Jesus more than just with our eyes;
there is yet another miracle we want: we expect more.
There is a song that expresses very well this “more.”
The song is “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.”
I think that title captures quite well the “more” that we are after.
It’s not enough that we just have the image carried by the light
to our retina which sends the impulses
corresponding to the image to our brain.
Although we say “Seeing is believing,” it can’t stop there.
We want the eyes of our heart to be opened,
so that we not only see with our eyes,
but that we also see the Lord with our hearts.
The response from Jesus was both a dismissal
and a pronouncement.
“Go your way,” says the Lord, “your faith has saved you.”
“Immediately,” Mark tells us, “he received his sight.”
He was saved and healed and dismissed.
Q6. Like Bartimaeus,
will we not know more deeply our salvation
and our healing at this Eucharist?
“...but only say the word and my soul shall be healed,”
is the last thing we say before receiving communion.
And what did Bartimaeus do after being dismissed.
Was it back to the business of his old life
as if nothing had happened in this meeting with Jesus?
No, “he followed Jesus on the way.”
Up to Jerusalem. Up to Calvary. Up to Easter.
The words of dismissal Bartimeus received were for him
the invitation to be a witness to the Good News in the world.
Q7. What will be our response in action to the dismissal
we will hear as this Mass is completed?
Which way will we go:
back to our old ways or more on God’s path,
following Jesus more closely?

 Today, may the Lord grant each of us the grace
 to go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Homily – 24th Sunday Year B September 13, 2015

Deacon Jerry Franzen at Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
Isaiah 50:5-9               James 2: 14-18           Mark 8: 27-35

We hear today’s Gospel story each year.
It appears in some form
in each of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Jesus, first, wanted to check out the disciples, his closest friends,
to see what they thought of him.
He questioned them, “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter gave the correct answer,   “You are the Christ.”
Jesus told the disciples what will happen to him,
their Messiah, their “Christos” in Greek.
Then Peter rebuked Jesus; “to rebuke” means “to criticize.”
This rebuke by Peter was apparently his attempt to correct Jesus.
You might ask, “Why did Peter rebuke Jesus?”
After all, Jesus was clearly the leader,
and Peter should have been the dutiful follower.
Who did he think he was to tell the Master that He was wrong?
Peter did have a certain tendency to speak his mind at times.
Jesus, then, rebuked or corrected Peter and
called out to Satan in or through Peter.
I don’t think that He was actually calling Peter, “Satan.”
He directly told Satan to get behind him,
and told Peter, and the others present
to stop thinking like a human beings
and to start thinking like God.
That could be tough – to know the mind of God.


I see three questions raised in progression by this Gospel reading:
“Why did Peter feel that he had to correct Jesus?”
“Why did Jesus address Satan when he corrected Peter?”
And “What does it mean to think like God?
What if Jesus came to each of us and asked ,
“Who do YOU say that I am?”
We might have to search for an answer but, hopefully,
we would come up with one similar to Peter’s.
This was one of Peter’s shining moments,
and hopefully it would be one of ours as well.
Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ,
the one anointed to save God’s people.
Hopefully all of us, gathered here at this Mass,
acclaim Jesus as the Messiah, Our Savior.
All of the Jews, including Peter, were expecting a powerful Messiah,
one who would raise up an army and free the Jewish people
from the oppression of the Roman Empire,
the current member of a long list of nations
that had, in some way, oppressed the Israelites.
But then Jesus ruined this lovely picture.
Peter picked up on the suffering, rejection, and being killed,
but probably did not “get”
the part about rising on the third day.
He probably ignored that last part and focused on the other parts.
After all, how could those awful things happen to someone
who was to be triumphant over the Roman oppression?
What kind of a ridiculous kingdom
is built on the broken Body of a defeated Messiah?
What Jesus was saying was just the opposite of the traditional image
that the Israelite nation had
of what their Messiah would be like.
The disciples would have to learn, with some difficulty,
that the victory was not to be over the Romans;
it was to be the victory over the suffering,
the rejection and the death of sin.
Jesus did not want the word of his being the Messiah
spread around at this time in his ministry, because
more people than just the disciples would have these
same incorrect expectations of Him.
He knew that all would be revealed to the people in good time.

Why did Jesus bring Satan into the picture?
It would seem that Peter was trying to convince Jesus
that He, Jesus, could bring about the kingdom
without His suffering, rejection and death.
Peter probably realized that
if Jesus would have to suffer, be rejected and die,
then his nearest followers would meet that same fate.
But why bring Satan into the picture here?
*Could it be that Jesus was referring back
to His previous encounter with Satan –
the one where he was tempted three times by Satan?
Remember that incident?
Turn these stones into bread because you are hungry.
Throw yourself down from the tower and God will save you.
Bow to me and I will give you power over all nations.
Three temptations:
The first amounted to the temptation to do all we can
to fulfill all our earthly hungers.
The second represented the temptation to presume God’s will and favor
to be in accord with our will.
The third meant the temptation to do whatever is necessary
to have all power.

We don’t know from this account what Peter said to Jesus,
but it certainly could be that he was trying to convince Jesus
to bring about His kingdom by way of “human thinking,”
by creating wealth to satisfy all of the physical needs
of the people,
by exerting His authority over God’s will and favor,
and by extolling His fame from gaining power over all.
What more could a person, and his closest friends, want?
Truly Jesus was seeing Satan acting through Peter,
and he was addressing Satan directly,
“Get behind me, Satan.”
Jesus was saying, “Get out of here!  I have already dealt with you.
We have already fought this battle. And I have won.
This is not going to play out according to your plan!”

So where are we in this story?
We are definitely Peter and the disciples in three aspects:
1. We must know that Jesus is the Messiah and act accordingly.
Praise Him every day, thank Him for every day
and follow his will.
2. We must resist the temptations of Satan. How do we do that?
**Coyotes have been a problem for sheep ranchers out in Montana.
It seemed that no matter how well the sheep were guarded,
the coyotes found ways to steal and kill lambs.
Then one of the shepherds discovered llamas.
The llama is a funny-looking,
aggressive and afraid-of-nothing animal.
When llamas see something of interest,
they raise their heads and walk straight for it.
A coyote recognizes this as aggressive behavior
and will have nothing to do with it.
Coyotes are opportunists, and llamas take away
the opportunity to attack a herd.
Apparently llamas know the truth of what James wrote in his letter:
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (4:7)
We must tell Satan to get behind us, as Jesus did.
3. We, like Peter and the disciples, must think as God does.
The path to God’s kingdom is not one that
fulfills our every desire for pleasure,
gives us the authority over all
and is littered with all the signs of our fame and fortune.
That would be thinking like a human being.
Jesus is challenging us like he challenged Peter and the disciples
to think like God – to deny ourselves,
to take up our cross and to follow Him.

We must deny ourselves, that is not give in to every desire.
To practice self-denial
          for that bigger house,
          for that better-paying job,
          for that bigger spread at the table
is to be better ready for leaner times in God’s plan,
when denial is not self-imposed.
We must take up our crosses, not just leave them lying someplace.
To take up the cross
          of providing more support for the poor,
          of spending more time visiting relatives,
          of forgiving someone who has hurt us,
is to be better prepared to bear the crosses in God’s plan
that we have no control over.
We must follow the path of Jesus, not that presented by Satan.

***I’ll leave you with this little piece on dealing with temptation
and the path of Satan written by Portia Nelson entitled,

          “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.”

Chapter 1: I walk down the street.
          There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I fall in.
          I am lost….. I am helpless.  It isn’t my fault.
          It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2: I walk down the same street.
          There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I pretend I don’t see it.
          I fall in again,  I can’t believe that I am in the same place,
          but it isn’t my fault.  It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3: I walk down the same street.
          There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I see it there.
          I still fall in…. It’s a habit.  My eyes are open.
          I know where I am.  It is my fault and I get out immediately.
Chapter 4: I walk down the same street.
          There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter 5: I walk down another street.

*John W Martens in “The Things of God” America, August 31-September 7, 2015 p 42

** Craig Brian Larson, “750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, teachers and Writers” Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI p 570 # 713

*** Ibid p 569 # 713