The Smoking Priest

Recently I began to reflect on the first time I was on a plane.  It was 1980 and I had just finished my first two years of seminary training for the Catholic priesthood and now I was being sent to Spain for my third year of seminary.  The flight was from New York to Madrid and I was so excited.  I was thrilled about flying for the first time and I was eager about going to Europe.

Many years have gone by since my first flight.   Now, my priestly ministry brings me to the airport a lot and all of the excitement about flying is gone.

I complain that I am being charged extra money for my checked bag.  I complain about taking my shoes off.  I complain that I can’t bring my bottled water through security.  I complain that I have to take my laptop out of my carry-on.  I complain that someone is scanning my body.  I complain that the plane is too small.  I complain that there is no leg room.  I complain that there is no food or that the food stinks.

All of the excitement and the illusion of that first flight to Madrid are gone.

As I remember that first flight and my bad attitude about flying today, I realize that perhaps that just might be my attitude about life in general.

Have we lost the excitement?  Have we lost the illusion?  Do we still dream?

Dude, go back and think about the first time that you met your spouse.  Wow.  Think about your wedding day and your first years of marriage.  Wonderful.

The years have gone by and what is going on now?  You are complaining that your wife is fat or that your husband is a lazy slob.  You complain that you can’t pay your bills and just about everything else that is going on in your life today.

Enough!  Let’s stop the complaining!  Dude, we are Christians and we are supposed to be an Easter people.

Speaking of flying, do you remember when the Concorde used to fly?  Wow.  You could leave Paris at 11 AM and get to New York the same day at 9 AM.

That’s Easter!

With Jesus, we know that we are journeying, not to the sunset, but to the sunrise.

And Easter is not just one Sunday a year.  No.  We are an Easter people and Easter is every day.

So, stop the freaking complaining!

Sure life is difficult.  People get sick and die.  Jobs are lost.  Thing happen; even crazy things like earthquakes, tornadoes and wars.

But, Jesus has risen from the dead and we have to be totally convinced that “by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose” (Romans 8: 28).

Remember that first time when you took off from that first airport and live life with that same excitement and enthusiasm.  Do not let the difficulties; the challenges and even the disappointments of life diminish your excitement and enthusiasm.

“I rescue all who cling to me, I protect whoever knows my name, I answer everyone who invokes me, I am with them when they are in trouble; I bring them safety and honor.  I give them life, long and full, and show them how I can save” (Psalm 91: 14-16).

By the way, I wrote this while listening to the most awesome jazz music.  I would have smoked a cigar too, but I don’t want to stink up my office.  So, time to go and stink up my house with a great cigar.

Hey, did you know that I wrote my second book?  Check it out on my website.  It will change your life.


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