Newsletter #9
Deacon Joe Hulway
March 1, 2009
Jesus Asked:
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
(Mark 9:33)
We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the questions that Jesus asks
of others, and indirectly of us. Jesus asked this question of his disciples when they completed their travels to Capernaum. Mark continues:
“But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.” (Mk. 9:34)

Does pride cause us to argue and judge, even if only in our hearts, about who is the best or the holiest; about who prays in the best way,
who fasts more, who is more charitable. A common theme through the gospels is Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees for their pride and how
they try to act as if they are better than the rest; how they place burdens on the people instead of helping them on their journey; how they pray
publicly so that all can see them - “they widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels”. (Mt. 23:5) But with this question, Jesus reminds
us to consider whether we have a little bit of Pharisee in us. We can reflect on how often we criticize and judge others; how often we are
smug thinking we are better than others; how often we want to be served rather than to serve; how often we try to call attention to ourselves.

After asking the disciples the above question, Jesus goes on to give them a lesson about humility and service and working together for
Christ’s glory. He says:
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all. … Whoever receives one child
such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me. … There is no one who
performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. … Anyone who
gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”
(Mk. 9:35-41) Pretty
heady words to remind us to work together to build up the Body of Christ; we will receive our just rewards.

We are in the season of Lent, a time when we are called in a special way to almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. And every year on Ash
Wednesday we hear a gospel reading which is part of the Sermon on the Mount to help remind us to keep our Lenten practices with the
right intentions. We hear:

    “Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘Take care not to perform righteous deeds
    in order that people may see them;
    otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
    When you give alms,
    do not blow a trumpet before you,
    as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
    to win the praise of others.
    Amen, I say to you,
    they have received their reward.
    But when you give alms,
    do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
    so that your almsgiving may be secret.
    And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
    When you pray,
    do not be like the hypocrites,
    who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
    so that others may see them.
    Amen, I say to you,
    they have received their reward.
    But when you pray, go to your inner room,
    close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
    And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
    When you fast,
    do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
    They neglect their appearance,
    so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
    Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
    But when you fast,
    anoint your head and wash your face,
    so that you may not appear to be fasting,
    except to your Father who is hidden.
    And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.’” (Mt. 6:1-6, 16-18)

We are all at different points on our faith journeys. We will naturally all pray and fast and perform works of charity in different ways and with
different levels of intensity. Do not compare yourself with others. Seek only to know how God wants you to conduct yourself to grow closer to
Him during this Lenten season.
What’s New?
This short month of February was a fairly stable and uneventful one. Our granddaughters were in town last weekend for a short visit and that
was a very pleasant treat. They sure enjoyed the loaner organ that I have in my possession during my keyboard classes. My daughter
reminisced about visiting grandma and grandpa as a child and how they looked forward to playing my mom’s organ. She commented that,
with an organ in the house, we had reached another plateau in our role as grandparents.

On the subject of music, I have added to my repertoire. Although I haven’t committed sufficient time to be proficient, I can now stumble
though the following additional classics: Jambalaya, Little Brown Jug, Marianne, For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow, and The Crawdad Song. And
then of course there is the little known tune, Dreams Come True, from folks at the Lowrey organ company. Oh what fun to sing along:

    Lowrey magic is our course,
    Classes are such fun.
    Making new friends every day,
    Dreams come true the magic way.

    Learning has its benefits,
    Makes you feel so good.
    Learning new things everyday,
    Dreams come true the magic way.

One event of note from last month is that Jenni and I had the opportunity to attend an inter-faith conference sponsored by the Temple Beth
El in Bloomfield Hills. One of their rabbis presented some wonderful lessons on the subject of aging from his studies of the Torah. His talk
was titled:
Living Longer - Living Better? The Power of Relationships with God and Self. We were also able to make some contacts and
have been invited to attend one of their Shabbat services; a fulfillment of something that I have wanted to do for some time. This particular
Jewish community belongs to the Reformed movement, and this will make it a little easier for Jenni and I to attend together; they do not hold
strictly to many of the worship practices of Orthodox Jews. It will be a good first step, but I would eventually like to attend a service with a
more orthodox Jewish community as well. I am also reminded that I need to pursue an opportunity that was promised to me to attend a
Muslim worship service at a mosque and meet with an imam.

One nice thing about being home more often is that I occasionally get to watch the herd of deer that wanders through our back yard. It's a
calming experience. The other day there were six and at least two were bucks; it was hard to see them all clearly at one time as they move
around behind the trees and the shed. Here are a few amateurish photos taken through the window just before dusk. I'll try to get some
better ones.
Homilies and Bulletin Articles
There are two new bulletin articles and three new homilies.  

The new bulletin articles posted at the website are:

From wearing the Brown Scapular, it can be pretty worn out. How “worn out” should it get before you wear a
new one? How do you dispose of the old ones?

Mark 6:3 states: “Is He not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas
and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” Did Jesus have brothers and sisters?
(not yet published)

The  new homilies posted at the website are:

Status of the Book
I keep reminding myself to put my trust in the Lord, but the worsening economic picture, and the bigger unknown of the future of GM and my
pension and medical benefits, have caused an increasing anxiety. The result is that I have probably put an increased emphasis and
discipline on completing the book project. I have always said that I would finish this project and then look for a career transition to
something else. But now I feel like I am in limbo; I don’t have the freedom of a retiree, but I don’t have the financial security of being an active
employee. I am becoming more motivated each day to move on and find where the next stage of my journey will lead me. I have set an
aggressive goal to have a completed draft of the book put together by the end of April. It will be nice to have freedom as nice weather
returns. It will be nice to move on.