Mom is happy

I celebrated Mom’s birthday yesterday. She’s been gone fifteen months. Yesterday marked the 94th anniversary of her birth. I can only imagine what heaven is like but if she’s aware in any way what happened today in the United States of America she’d be happy. One hundred and one years after women were granted the right to vote a woman of color has been elected Vice President of the United States. My Mom was keenly aware of the glass ceiling. She put up with it all her life.

After finishing college in 1947 she was passed over for employment as a mathematics teacher because she was a woman. This was after graduating magna cum laude with a bachelors degree. A year later after completing a masters degree in Mathematics at Fordham University a man got the job she applied for. That brought her to Buffalo, New York and a teaching assignment at her alma mater, D’Youville College. Four years later after marriage to my Dad she left teaching to take care of me. She had three more children and was a worked as my father’s dental assistant and office manager. After he died she entered the work force as a teacher and helped us all get married and established. She continued to face trials because she was a woman. She was denied credit despite paying off a mortgage. She persevered nonetheless. remarried and eventually retired.

Whenever she talked about the trials she had as woman in America she’d become very animated. I can still see her pointing with her arthritic fingers and her chin quivering as she spoke. Mom voted for a woman in the last presidential election. We all know what happened. Today that changed when Kamala Harris was elected to the Vice Presidency. I think Mom has a broad smile this evening. I can see her pointing that finger at me and telling me her story one more time.

Everyone who loves freedom around the world is smiling tonight too. Kamala Harris smashed through the glass ceiling. We need more women in leadership.

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Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, and with it, the presidency

That’s the ballgame, folks. Joe Biden’s projected win in Pennsylvania puts him over 270 electoral votes. There are still potential state wins on the table, but he does not need them.

— Read on

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All inclusive

The word catholic is defined as all embracing. However there are some Roman Catholics who are single issue voters. The paradigm is changing. Fr. Dan Horan OFM who represents the emerging millennial Catholic conscience is one of the reasons I have hope for the future. Dan shared an article from Sojourners in his Twitter feed this morning that points to the growing trend away from single issue voting.

There’s far more to being pro-life than being against abortion. Care for the immigrant, the refugee, climate justice, income inequality, human trafficking, universal affordable healthcare are issues that resonate with a majority of Americans and too with today’s young Catholics.

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Catholics for Biden

Just last week I learned of Catholics for Biden. Actually the group is part of a larger “Believers for Biden.” I was happy to learn during the campaign that Joe Biden carries a rosary with him everyday. I do too and pray it everyday which I assume he does too. I was pleasantly surprised that large numbers of Catholics are supporting the Democratic ticket. This has been a contentious election cycle made even more acute by the pandemic. I pray that Joe and Kamala can win and restore decency and decorum to our policy debates in the United States.

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Donate to FAN

I learned this week that the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States is no longer officially supporting the Franciscan Action Network. I was very saddened to learn this. Franciscan Action Network(FAN) actively engages in peace making, care for creation, human trafficking, money in politics, stopping gun violence, racial justice and compassion for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. I don’t know how much money the National Order of Secular Franciscans donated to FAN but I am going to continue to support their work. You can support them too.

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Man of the Year

American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Andrew M. Cuomo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well written. As I read the text I could hear the familiar voice of Governor Andrew Cuomo that pulled back the curtain of certain death that faced New York State and the nation for much of 2020. It was his calm and reassuring voice that helped America and the world in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to recording the day to day events he has provided a blue print for dealing with future pandemics.

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Wrong man for the job

Rage by Bob Woodward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a page turner. Woodward does a great job of reporting on the Trump presidency with extensive interviews with the principals in the story. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. The quote from the last page of the Epilogues sums up the book and the Trump presidency as well as anything I’ve read.

“For nearly 50 years, I have written about nine presidents from Nixon to Trump—20 percent of the 45 U.S. presidents. A president must be willing to share the worst with the people, the bad news with the good. All presidents have a large obligation to inform, warn, protect, to define goals and the true national interest. It should be a truth-telling response to the world, especially in crisis. Trump has, instead, enshrined personal impulse as a governing principle of his presidency. When his performance as president is taken in its entirety, I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

— Bob Woodward
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Radical Equality

Today’s Gospel in Catholic churches everywhere is drawn from the Matthew 20: 1-16. It’s a familiar parable of the landowner who is hiring people to work in his vineyard. You’ve heard it many times I’m sure. The landowner goes out at 9:00 AM and hires folks to work and agrees to pay them a the usual daily wage. He went out again at noon and at three o’clock and hired more workers to for the usual daily wage. He hired more still at five o’clock. In the evening he summoned the foreman and told him to pay the workers beginning with the last and ending with the first. Each received the usual daily wage. Those who had been hired first began to grumble. They thought they deserved more because they had labored the entire day.

And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,‘These last ones worked only one hour,and you have made them equal to us,who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’He said to one of them in reply,‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money. Are you envious because I am generous?’Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20:11-16

As I reflected on these word today I realized that in the Kingdom of God as proclaimed by Jesus we see radical equality. There is no seniority, no frequent flyer miles. Everyone is compensated equally for their work. Some would call this socialism today but is it really? Imagine a world where such as this existed. Isn’t this what life should be like?

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Call to conversion

Waging Peace: One Soldier’s Story of Putting Love First by Diana Oestreich

I’ve read so many good books this summer that i didn’t think it was possible to read one more. This invitation to read this book from a class I am taking at Houghton College. It resonated for me because like the author I was a military medic though in a different war. Like the author I too was conflicted about killing for my country. It was counter to all I had been taught and what I believed. This gripping story of conversion is a must read.

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Those who have eyes to see

I’ve come to believe that white supremacy is so embedded in Eurocentric American Christianity that most folks can’t believe that Jesus and the early church were not white. That they were in fact brown and/or black. Look at the statues and paintings in most churches and museums depicting Jesus, his followers and most of the early saints. It’s highly likely that St. Augustine was at least brown. He was from North Africa. The Desert Fathers and Mother’s came out of the Egyptian and Ethiopian deserts. It wasn’t until Christianity moved to Europe and the Americas that it became a religion of conquest and subjugation of indigenous people.

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