St. Joseph

St. Joseph


“Scripture does not report a single word of his. Silence is the father of the Word” (Paul Claudel from the Book St. Joseph by Louise Perrotta .

One thing I thought was cool when I became Catholic was that I got to pick a patron saint. Someone I could identify with and look to as an example, someone to emulate. Well…instead of picking one patron saint, I decided that I wanted to pick two. 

So, I picked Joseph, Husband of Mary and Barnabas, who is mentioned in the book of Acts and was a companion of Paul. 

The reason I picked St. Joseph was because I wanted to be a good father, and Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus, so I figured he was a pretty good guy.

My reason for picking Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”) was because I had been called “a Barnabas” on two separate occasions by two different women, and I wanted to encourage others. 

Imagine my surprise when I was reading in the book of Acts a few years ago when I read, “Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles” (Acts 4:36-37). 

Barnabas’ real name was Joseph!

I had two patron saints with the same name! 

Do you have a patron saint?

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God will bring the fast to you

God will bring the fast to you…

Last Saturday, when I was talking to Reid, I told him that we had no internet or cell phone service. He replied, “God will bring the fast to you.” He said that he had read it somewhere. I thought to myself how appropriate that quote was with the events that are unfolding. 

This past Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, the gospel reading was about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Something that struck me was that Jesus and this woman were all alone. She was alone with Jesus, and he told her some pretty cool stuff. He told her he was the Messiah, and she believed him! She couldn’t hold it in. She had to run to town and tell her friends, and then they went to see Jesus, and believed for themselves. 

Time alone with Jesus…

I have a feeling we are all going to have some extra time on our hands. Maybe we could take that time and spend it with Jesus. We could spend it in prayer, scripture reading, reading other spiritual works, helping others in need… the possibilities are endless. 


Something that has jumped out at me during this past week is how much time I spend with entertainment. It is amazing to me to see how much time (and money) our society spends entertaining itself. 

Love by distance…

“You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-39)

In this time, the way that we can show love to our neighbor is by keeping our distance. The health authorities are referring to it as “Social Distancing”. For the love of our neighbors, we need to stay away from one another as much as possible. 

One thing is certain. We will not be living life as usual. Business and life will not be the same. 

God will bring the fast to you…

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The King’s Men

Teague and I just finished praying Morning Prayer with Ryan and his fellow seminarians. I’m guessing there were over one hundred men in the room. Incense filled the room and rose up to the Lord along with our prayers. The Morning Prayer was chanted, and the room full of male voices filled the room as the sunrise came through the windows of the chapel. This is a Holy place.

As I prayed, I thought about how blessed I was to be in such a place, and the places I have been because of Him. How many years ago, I cannot remember. I was sitting at our kitchen table reading my Bible and praying. In my prayers, I prayed a verse from Isaiah, “Here I am Lord, send me.” Little did I realize that I would go places like Camp Alphie and Panhandle State University, or worship in cathedrals at Santa Fe, Baltimore, St. Louis, Denver, and Ft. Worth. I could never have dreamed of going to Mexico to learn Spanish and experience the richness of the Mexican culture. I certainly would have never even thought thatI would be serving at mass at Cristo Redentor across from Allsups in Gruver. 

And today, we are here at St. Meinrad Seminary visiting Ryan. It is here that men are preparing to become priests. In today’s world, I’m certain they will face ridicule and persecution. The path they have been called to is not for the feint of heart. To be a priest requires a strong will and courageous heart. These men are being prepared to go out into the world. A world filled with sin and pain.

But today, they are on top of a hill. Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. Today, they are with like-minded people. Each has heard and is in the process of answering the call of the Lord. Each one has in a sense prayed the verse from Isaiah, “Here I am Lord, send me.” They are here to serve the King of Kings.

They are the King’s men.54437142_10215705665013174_5691668945304551424_n

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Another Exciting Round of Hansford Manor Bingo

One of the requirements of deacon formation is to participate in a social justice and charitable ministries. Since this past May, I have been volunteering at Hansford Manor. I play bingo with the residents, play games like Skip Bo, visit, and try and help where I’m needed. Helping at the manor is out of my comfort zone. It was like pulling teeth for Teague to get me to go with her when she wanted to visit someone, but this seemed to be where God was calling me to serve, and so… I went.

I’ve made some new friends and renewed some old acquaintances at the manor, and the blessing has been mine. A few weeks ago I was asked to be the bingo caller. The pressure was on. Bingo is taken mighty seriously at Hansford Manor. There is a quarter riding on every game. I like joking around with the residents, and they enjoy teasing me back. I started announcing each new round with the line, “Clear your cards. It’s time for another exciting round of Hansford Manor BINGO!” The first few times they all laughed. Now most everyone smiles and nods and puts up with my silliness.

Last night after Bingo, the sweetest lady rolled up to me in her wheelchair. She said that I reminded her of a young man that used to live with her and her husband when he was a boy. She said that she loved Jesse. I asked her where he was now, and she said that he was in Oregon. She missed him, but she took great pleasure in my laugh, my voice, and my looks because I reminded her of him. I thanked her, and she rolled off.

All I could think of was, “Wow!”

I wonder how many people Jesus blesses with our lives just because we show up?

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A Cowboy

From Scott’s FB page

I wrote this a few years ago when I was writing an agricultural blog for The Journal Record. You can find it here. I read on Facebook that Harv died this afternoon.

Living in the panhandle has given me the opportunity to know quite a few cowboys. They are a breed unto themselves. A cowboy hates to farm, and hates to be stuck indoors. He loves his horse, and likes to ride. A cowboy is his own man.

I had times in my life that I went through a “cowboy” phase, but I never was a real cowboy. I always said that, “I farmed like a cowboy, and cowboyed like a farmer.”

When I think of a cowboy, Harv comes to mind. He wore a hat and boots, and he walked and talked like a cowboy. His language was laced, and his gate had a gimp from too many days in the saddle.

Harv used to do day work for us. (Day work is when a cowboy hires himself and his horse out for the day to help work cattle.) One day, Harv was helping us move some calves. The boys, Harv, and I were riding to the back of the pasture beside an electric fence. As we were riding along, Reid’s horse brushed up against the fence, and he started bucking. Reid wasn’t very old; I’m guessing about ten. His horse was bucking pretty hard, but Reid was hanging on. As quickly as the bucking started, it stopped. I jumped off my horse, and grabbed Reid’s horse by the bridle. Reid had that frightful look on his face that said, “I want off this horse now!”

Before I could say a word a voice shouted loud and clear behind me, “Wow! You sure cowboyed up and rode him, by god!” It was Harv. He bragged on Reid for a couple of minutes; talking about how hard the horse bucked, and how well Reid rode him. The frightened look disappeared from Reid’s face, and was replaced with a look of confidence.

I got to see a little bit of cowboy wisdom first hand, and Reid got praised by a bona fide  bronc bustin cowboy.

May God Bless you Harv.


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Are you comfortable?

Photo by Susan Newbauer

He is risen! Alleluia!

The season of Lent is behind us, and the celebration of the Easter season has begun. I want to thank you for accompanying me on this Lenten reflection journey. Many times, I had to make myself sit down at the keyboard. Many times, I felt like I didn’t have anything to say, nevertheless it was good for me. Your many comments and kind words of encouragement are always a great blessing to me.

Lent is a time to shake us out of the normalness of life. Many of the Lenten practices make me uncomfortable, such as fasting, abstaining from meat on Fridays, and making a Lenten promise. The Church just finished celebrating the Easter Triduum. The celebration begins on Holy Thursday and concludes at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. There are many things about the Triduum that make me uncomfortable. Things like washing of the feet, venerating the Cross, the reading of the Passion, a service that begins and ends in silence, the priest prostrating on the floor, the many times we kneel and stand in the prayers of intersession, being clothed in darkness at the beginning of the Vigil, the many readings at the Vigil (and they’re long too), and for our parish the Triduum is bilingual. I’m uncomfortable with it all.

But if I listen to the readings, the psalms, and the prayers, I hear of a people of God that is not comfortable either, from the Israelites exodus and wandering in the desert to the fear that overcame the followers during the Passion of Christ and the Resurrection. Following Jesus is not about being comfortable. In fact, if I am feeling comfortable in my faith, maybe I should ask myself, “Why”?

May the Lord bless you during this Easter season, and may we all get uncomfortable together.

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Jesus loves you

Photograph by: Sailko

The intervention of God, in the man of Jesus, was the ultimate participation of God in His creation, for God became a man. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Through Jesus, God showed man the definitive action of love by humbling Himself to death in a most humiliating way, the cross.

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