Déjà vu All Over Again


Interesting juxtaposition in today’s Daily Mass readings. In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13:13-25), Paul recounts the royal lineage of the Hebrews and leads all the way up to John the Baptist foretelling the coming of Jesus.

Historically, that would be just prior to Jesus commencing his public ministry.

The Gospel (John 13:16-20) jumps forward to Holy Thursday, the very end of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet.

We have a symbolic cleansing in the Jordan by John. Not a true baptism, of course, because this is before Jesus had instituted the sacrament. And we have symbolic cleansing by sacrificial death in the Gospel.

We’re halfway through the Easter season and we’re already again recalling the death of Christ?

Folks, we do that every single day.

Or at least, we should be.

You never cease to gather a people to Yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your name. – from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Every single day.

So many times, each day, “from east to west,” a priest hoists a piece of bread heavenward, invokes the words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and Jesus Christ Himself transubstantiates the earthly nourishment into the Divine.

What was that?

He changes the bread into His body.

Likewise, he changes the wine into His blood.

Déjà vu. All over again.

This is what makes the celebration of the Mass so beautiful, so powerful, so vital.

For the last two thousand years, we have recalled the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And we continue to

Do this in memory of me.



Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.



Fifty Shades of Grey or an Old Fashioned Valentine’s Day?


So… what’s your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day date? Dinner? Then maybe a trip to the show? What movie? Fifty Shades? It’s opening Valentine’s Day weekend. I’m sure you knew that.

Why that movie?

What’s the attraction?

I’ve never read a word of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I do know what it’s about, though.

How can you avoid it? It’s all over social media. And television. Even a Super Bowl commercial. And now, you can even buy your sweetie a Fifty Shades teddy bear.

Seriously? Are you kidding me?

So… ladies… and gentlemen, if any of you are so inclined…

Clue me in.

What is the attraction of fantasizing about a relationship in which a naive young lady is coerced into a relationship with a man — not much older than her, but certainly more street-wise (if “manipulative” serves as a working definition of “wise”) — who subjects her to demeaning sexual acts?

Just because the dude is good looking?

Come on. If that’s the case, the overwhelming popularity is outrageously troubling.

I am not a prude.

But I do consider myself a gentleman.

Would it be an over-generalization to suggest that most of you who find this story fascinating would (or actually do) prefer an abuser to a gentleman in your life?

Please don’t be mad at me for asking the question.

Please respectfully consider what attracts you to the story.

Is it the sex?

Hey, if that floats your boat, the choice is yours. I am the last person to judge.

But I am compelled to ask:

Have you considered the impact of stories like this on your children?

The world is getting faster. News travels fast.

So do Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram and Pinterest “messages” (yes, I’d say those images have the potential to be far more powerful than a Facebook conversation; or rant).

What does your thirteen year old daughter think about Fifty Shades?

How about your ten year old daughter?

Or son?

How much information do they have about the story?

Are you sure you know the answer?

The world is getting smaller. News travels fast.

Yeah. They’re too young. I’m sure nobody their age talks about sex. Or relationships.

Do you think they have a clear idea of what a healthy relationship looks like? Or how to treat a member of the opposite sex? Or how they should be treated by a member of the opposite sex?

Just askin’.

Someone in a Facebook group I’m a part of — I forget where I saw it exactly, but that’s not necessarily relevant — shared a blog post discussing five themes in Fifty Shades. If you’re at all concerned about how your kids might react to any knowledge of this movie, why don’t you give this post a glance?

So… what’s your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day date? Dinner? Then maybe a movie? How about Fifty Shades? It’s opening Valentine’s Day weekend. I’m sure you knew that.

Why that movie?

What’s the attraction?

There is an alternative. I wonder if you’ve heard of it.

It’s called Old Fashioned.

Let me ask you a question. What would you consider more romantic? A story that examines the concept of “true love?” Of what really matters in a relationship? About honor and dignity?

Or a story that reduces relationship to physical encounter?

Just askin’.

If you’d prefer the former, permit me to direct you to the movie’s website.

Old Fashioned isn’t getting the play that Fifty Shades is. Budget was a little smaller.

As in, about $600,000.

Yep, that’s it. Less than one million dollars.

But Old Fashioned is getting a fair share of attention. And not just from Christian or religious media.

Christian Toto, on breitbart.com, says:

“Hollywood is betting that the release of 50 Shades of Grey, the film adaptation of the sexually tawdry book of the same name, will be a hit with movie-going couples on Valentine’s Day weekend. One indie film begs to differ.”

But you would expect a conservative website to promote a movie like Old Fashioned, right?

Well, that’s not the only press the movie has received. Check out what Jenna Mullins at E! has to say about the film (personally, I’d say calling Old Fashioned “a clean, religious version of Fifty Shades of Grey” is a bit of a stretch, but…).

And Emily Blake at mtv.com says:

“There’s a faith-based film about ‘old-fashioned courtship’ hitting theaters on the exact same day as the sinful, S&M-filled adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Pretty strong words for the Sex, Drugs, and <insert music genre of choice> Network!

Variety, The Daily Beast, International Business Times, and other secular news sources have all covered Old Fashioned‘s direct challenge to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Erin Bishop, Founder and President of The Whatever Girls Ministry, said it best:
“Lust lasts a moment, but true love lasts a lifetime!”

Moms and dads, did you click on the link for the blog post I mentioned above? Don’t be angry with me for suggesting it again. It’s well worth your time.

One has  a multimillion dollar budget. The other was made with a $600,000 budget.

One has been anticipated since 2012. The book has been out since 2011. The movie is highly anticipated.

The other is largely unknown.

One depicts exploitative sex under the guise of romance. The term “mommy porn” is used to describe it.


The other depicts a romantic chivalry.

One is Fifty Shades of Grey.

The other is Old Fashioned.

Hey, if you had your heart set on seeing Fifty Shades on opening weekend… well, I hope I convinced you to at least think twice about seeing it. But if not…

won’t you at least give Old Fashioned a chance?

If you’re bound (YES! pun intended) and determined to see Fifty Shades, no matter what this prude-who-claims-not-to-be-a-prude is telling you, will you make it a point to go see Old Fashioned, too?

If not for me, will you do it for your kids? Your nieces? Your nephews? For the kids next door or down the block?

If we can seize this opportunity to make the slightest bit of difference — even if the box office numbers of Fifty Shades dwarf those for Old Fashioned — isn’t it worth it?

If not for you, for your kids.

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