Monthly Archives: December 2015

ROTC Early Morning Run.

ROTC Early Morning Run

Early one morning, a few weeks ago, I was driving across town when I witness something that still moves me on many different levels still weeks later. I feel I really must share what I saw.

A running group what looked to be ten to twelve young men, but it was still dark out there could have been a young lady or two, running down Riverfront Drive here in Mankato. All wearing shorts and hooded sweatshirts with ROTC on the back.

First, what struck me was they were on quite a long run this early in the morning from MSU.

Second, they really were moving at a good pace.

Thirdly, what really caught my eye and made me pause longer even after the stop light turned green was their leader.

A tall, slender man ran in the lead and at each street crossing, he ran in place waving this two-foot long, red-light blinking, cricket-like bat until all the runners had crossed. I watched thinking one runner can not keep up the pace of almost double time of his teammates because he had to run faster to get to the head of the pack before they got to the next street crossing. He repeated this feat over and over as they ran through town. Head of the line, waited for everyone to safely cross the street waving high his light-blinking baton and then only to pick up the pace to lead the pack again and get to the next street crossing to once again run in place until everyone had safely cross and only to repeat it over and over again. All the while waving his beacon over head, leading the way.

The team work, the stamina, the strength they were building for the ultimate goal of protecting our country.

While witnessing this feat I was on my way to morning Mass and I couldn’t help but think Jesus is my team leader waving his light-flashing beacon. He protects me on my journey, he leads the way, he runs ahead to spare me from harm. He does double time so I will arrive safe. He is a light, a beacon in the darkness.

I prayer, I have the strength, stamina, faith and courage enough to follow the King, but when I falter I  know He is strong enough to carry me and show me mercy and grace to still get me home.

Thank you to the MSU ROTC Morning Running Group for showing me the way and for protecting our country.



Genealogy of Jesus

Today’s readings give the genealogy of Jesus Christ’s family. In my view a reader’s nightmare of names. From Abraham to Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

And the final verse…So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

There are five women named in the gospel,

  1. Tamar
  2. Ruth
  3. Rahab
  4. wife of Uri’ah
  5. Mary

Tamar disguised herself as a harlot, and was hired by Judah with whom she had twin sons.

Ruth was King David’s great-grandmother. Ruth was a woman of noble character.

Rahab was a prostitute who lived in Jericho in the Promised Land and assisted the Israelites in capturing the city.

wife of Uri’ah, doesn’t even deserve a name in the gospel, but we know her as Bathsheba and she and King David committed adultery.

And finally, Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth.

We could say Jesus has quite a colorful family tree. This reading also shows us Jesus as divine because he has no earthly father mentioned but yet we can trace him come from the tree Jesse. All as foretold.

Who could imagine that the promised one would come from kings, shepherds, murders, peasants, soldiers, enter the world illegitimate, homeless, a refugee, and ultimately, an executed criminal?

In this time of Advent may we prepare our hearts for the King to arrive, the maker of heaven and earth, who hung the stars and counted the hairs on my head, the one who has as colorful of a family tree as anyone of us and he still loves us as we are.


Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church here in Mankato was all decked out for the feast day.

Feast Day: Saturday, December 12, 2015

The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it stood a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.

Mary to Juan Diego: “My dearest son, I am the eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, Author of Life, Creator of all and Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth…and it is my desire that a church be built here in this place for me, where, as your most merciful Mother and that of all your people, I may show my loving clemency and the compassion that I bear to the Indians, and to those who love and seek me…” (from an ancient chronicle).


Leaky Faucet/Red Sea

thHave you ever had a leaky faucet? I mean a faucet that is running a stream the size of your little finger. Well I have. The other day I turned off my shower faucet and the hot water continued to run. The last few days I admit it had a drip every now And then again but nothing like this stream running. All I could think of the water I am wasting for my grandchildren’s future, the high cost of my water bill and it was hot water for goodness sake. I tried turning the knob as hard as I could but nothing.

I took the knob off, nothing, I looked leaky faucet on line, nothing, I called my hardy-man-neighbor for advice, nothing. NOTHING worked. Oh, did I mention this happened on Wednesday before Thanksgiving! I truned the water off downstairs but had to turn it on when I went to wash dishes or my hands. My renter above the garage even called and asked if there was something wrong with the water, Man! I forgot the water supply is connected to the apt., water back on. I called the plumber and asked if he could stop by Friday, “I didn’t plan to work on Friday.” “Maybe, Monday if you could stop by?” Monday morning it was so I had to try to stay calm until then.

Thursday morning, I got up and took a shower and the leak was all consuming. I heard myself say, “For goodness sake God, You parted the Red Sea couldn’t you deal with this leaky faucet for me?”

I got out of the shower and turned off the water….no leaking, no stream the width of my finger…NOTHING. Oh, but me of little faith every couple of hours I stopped to peek in the shower to see if it started to drip again. Nothing, all day long. Not only Thursday but nothing until the plumber arrived on Monday, mid-morning.

The plumber arrived, looked at my dry shower and asked, “Do you have the water shut off?” I simply said, “No.”

He turned the water off and went to work. He found the washer was none existent it had disappeared from old age. He turned the water back on and there was a stream once again. Now, he saw what I meant. He took it apart once again and found the faucet needed a new cartridge. Turned the water back on and it was fixed. No leak, no drip, nothing. He was on his way. I was on my way to give thanks.

Every so often I need to be remembered no matter no small or how large the world’s or my problems seem God is in control. He holds me in the palm of his hand. He has counted the hairs on my head. He knows me by name it is a humbling thought.

AND God is a pretty amazing dealing with water…but then Jesus is the source of all life giving water.

Advent 2015 ~ Locker

I have waited, thought and prayed about do I post thoughts while on my journey this Advent season. Numerous questions fly through my brain, what will I write about, with I be able to think of enough topics, will people bother to read what I write and many other thoughts.

My mind is still bustling with many different thoughts but I have decided to voice several of them. The first being, why do I worry and fret about such things…God is control. I need to learn to listen.

One of my stories will be about my grandma, Theresa Longenecker. A wonderful little lady. She was kind, thoughtful, loving and giving, a good wife, mother and grandmother.

She came from Germany with her father after her mother died. When her father remarried here in the U.S. her stepmother was a person they made movies after in the role of the evil stepmother. Grandma was out on-her-own at an early age. She found my grandfather and friends say they clung to each other like brother and sister.

After my grandfather died and she was living alone she became a nanny for many well-to-do families. She cared for their children while parents were on vacations, she cleaned their homes and lake homes, cooked meals and baked goodies for them.

I go into a family’s home every Sunday to get a elderly couple up, dressed, fix breakfast, and visit over breakfast. I am also blessed to be able to bring them Holy Communion. This last week, one of their daughters were there when I arrived and we got talking. She said her husband remembers a Longenecker, a lady who came to their home when was little and she was so nice and a very good baker. She asked did I know who that might be, maybe an aunt or a relative. I asked, “Was her name Locker?” All the families called my grandma, Locker. I am not sure exactly why…Longenecker…Locker, I am not sure. She said, “Yes, it was Locker.” “Well, that was my Grandma.” We hugged and she told me he has such fond memories about her. There is hardly a week goes by he doesn’t mention something about her. Her cooking, baking, smile, kindness. He loves to cook and bake and to this day is still trying to copy her recipe for strudel.

When Grandma was sad or lonely, she went into the kitchen to bake. She could never eat all she baked so she started walking down the block and distributed the goodies to all her neighbors and friends.

On my way home, I had tears over missing my best friend. Grandma, she always was positive and seemed to understand whatever life situation you were in. When I think about it this man fondly remembering events that took place 50 years ago, I smile. What a great testimony to a life well lived to remember someone who came to your home and took care of you as a child.

I want to grow up to be just like her. Grandma was a person whom showed mercy and kindness to those she met. In this year of mercy, let Theresa Longenecker or  Locker give all of us an example of the way to live a good and full life.