In these difficult times, I felt we could do with something to cheer us all up!
Contibutions will be welcome – but will only be published at the Editor’s discretion…
27 September (2) – Thy Sins Will Find Thee Out??
(As told by a staunch Presbyterian Minister… so it must be true!)
A young Irish curate was sent to assist Fr. MacGregor in his parish on one of the Hebridean islands. The older man could be a bit difficult to get on with, as he was very set in his ways and didn’t like to admit there was anything he didn’t know – whatever the subject!
One Sunday afternoon, the curate was reading the Scottish Catholic Herald and leaned across to ask Fr MacGregor, “Excuse me, Father, but can you tell me, please, what exactly is “Osteo-Arthritis?”
Father thought for a minute, but he was stumped. Then inspiration came…
“Well now young man, you don’t want to be bothering your head with that sort of thing.” he replied. “It’s not for the likes of you to be discussing around the presbytery table. Sure ‘tis all caused by an excess of drink and consorting with loose women.”
“Oh, dear!” responded the curate. “That’s a real shame. It says here in the Herald that the Archbishop has had to stay in bed for a fortnight after catching it!”
27 September – Did He Visit England?
In a seminary in Ireland, two young priests, studying for their theology examinations, were discussing the hymn “Jerusalem” and the verse that begins,
“And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountain green?”
There was much learned debate, but they were unable to reach agreement on what it meant. Just as the debate began to turn heated, a venerable priest, on retreat from his parish in the west of Ireland, walked past. He stopped and asked what they were discussing.
“Well, Father,” said one, “we were wondering if this hymn meant that Jesus had visited England 2,000 years ago.”
“Oh, my children,” replied the priest, “surely the answer can be seen in any of the wonderful artistic depictions of Our Lord during his time here on earth.” He paused, “Just look at his feet, to see the answer!”
The young theologians ran into the college library, loaded up the Internet – but came away, none the wiser. They found the elderly priest and asked him what it was they were meant to see.
“What was Jesus wearing on his feet?” he asked.
“Sandals, of course, Father.” answered one.
“Nothing else?” asked the priest. And he was assured that was in fact the case.
“It’s obvious, then,“ the priest said with a smile.
“If Jesus had been to England, he would have been wearing socks with his sandals. They all do, over there!”
14 September – Who Started It?
A surgeon and an architect, both English were joined by an Irish politician, and all fell to arguing as to whose profession was the oldest.
Said the surgeon; “Eve was made from Adam’s rib and that surely was a surgical operation”.
“Maybe” said the architect “but prior to that, order was created out of chaos, and that was an architectural job”.
“Shure now” interrupted the politician, “but somebody created the chaos first, and that’s where we come in!”
10 September – Remember Your Manners
A newly ordained young missionary priest, on taking up his duties in Uganda, was walking the five miles across the scrub-land to his church, when he suddenly came face to face with a lion.
Remembering his faith, the young priest knelt down, put his hands together, closed his eyes and prayed to be delivered from the jaws of the lion.
Several minutes went by, so he looked up and saw the lion with paws together in prayer.
In relief, he said to the lion,”Thank God , you must be a Christian lion.”
“Yes,” replied the lion, “I am a Christian. And I was taught to always say grace before meals!”
07 September – It’s The Way I Tell Them…
A parish priest decided it was time to have the outside of the church painted. He accepted a very competitive quote from a painter and decorator who happened to be a parishioner and work started almost immediately.
However, it was not long before the contractor realised he had grossly underquoted and so the only way to stretch the materials enough to give him a profit was to add thinners to the paint.
The end result looked OK but during the first lot of adverse weather, the paint started to wash off. He was horrified and knew he was to blame and so he went into the church, knelt at the altar rail and asked the Lord just what he should do as a penance.
A voice from above was heard to clearly say: “Repaint and thin no more”.
30 August – A Sailor’s Approach
In the interests of maintaining harmony in very crowded living quarters on board warships, it is traditional to avoid discussing Ladies, Politics or Religion in the mess. Not much left, you may think – other than football or rugby!
However, when on deck, especially on the “Graveyard Watch” (midnight to 4:00 am), it is not uncommon for a more serious conversation to develop between interested parties – and today’s readings brought one such occasion to mind. While we were on passage in the South Pacific, two of us were alone on the bridge, all was peaceful, and our quiet chat became a bit philosophical.
My somewhat cynical shipmate surprised me by saying that he thought it was totally rational to believe that there was a God and a Life After Death.
In his opinion, if there was no God, then it didn’t matter whether you believed in him or not; when you died that was the end of the matter. However, if there was a God, and you didn’t believe in him – you faced eternal damnation. BUT, if you believed in him, there was a chance you could achieve eternal salvation. So, he said, everyone should believe in God – and all could be saved.
I thought I could see the fallacy in his simplistic approach. “It isn’t enough to just state one is a believer; or to genuinely believe, or even to accept that belief is something important. Surely, what might lead to eternal salvation is if one’s BEHAVIOUR is in accordance with the teaching of Christ.” I replied. (See, I could pontificate even then!)
“Oh,” he said. “You mean we should keep the Ten Commandments?” My answer was that that would certainly help.
“Well, I see them a bit like the exams we had at university,” he countered. “Do you remember the heading on the exam text?
“This paper contains TEN questions; you should attempt any SIX of them.”
That’s how I’d treat the Ten Commandments – and I already know one that I’d miss out!” he said with a knowing grin…
So you can see why discussions about religion might not be very helpful on a warship!
22 August – Payment By Results
A Parish Priest, Fr Murphy, and one of his parishioners, Mr. Johnstone, a consultant surgeon by profession, died on the same day and made their way to the Pearly Gates.
St Peter welcomed Fr Murphy, checked his C.V., his Record of Service, and his Annual Confidential Appraisals completed by his Superior. He asked a few questions for clarification, made a couple of phone calls, and jotted an entry in his ledger.
St Peter went through the same procedure with Mr Johnstone, the surgeon. All his records, his personal assessments and reviews by his patients were considered in detail, and double checked.
“Right,” he said, turning to a waiting angel. “We’ll put Father Murphy in one of the stone cells; the ones without any door or windows, facing north,” he said. “His clothing will be sackcloth and ashes. And his diet will be bread and water.”
“Next,” said St Peter, “Mr Johnstone will go into the 5-Star Hilton Wing, in an en-suite room, of course, with satellite TV and limitless videos. He can choose his clothes from the Moss Bros catalogue. And he can eat and drink in any of the restaurants run by our Celebrity Chefs.”
The priest was astonished at this. “But why?” he wailed. “Why am I being treated so poorly compared to Mr Johnstone?”
“Oh!” said St Peter. “Didn’t you know we work on a “Payment by Results” basis?”
“Every time you preached a sermon, your congregation fell asleep.”
“But whenever Mr Johnstone carried out an operation, his patients stayed awake and prayed all the time.”
14 August – It Matters where you are….
A photographer on vacation in Cornwall was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read ‘£100 per call’.
Being intrigued, he asked a priest who was strolling by, what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £100 you could talk to God. He thanked the priest and went along his way.
Next stop was in Salisbury. There, in the cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Cornwall and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £100 he could talk to God. ‘O.K., thank you,’ he said.
He then travelled to a variety of large cities the length and breadth of the UK. In every church, he saw the same golden telephone With the same ‘£100 per call’ sign under it.
The photographer’s next stop was Ireland and he was eager to see if they had the same phone. He arrived in Dublin, and again, in the first church he entered, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read ’40p per call.’
He was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. ‘Father, I’ve travelled all over the UK and I’ve seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I’m told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in Great Britain the price was £100 per call. Why is it so cheap here?’
The priest smiled and answered, ‘You’re in Ireland now, son … it’s a local call.’
09 August – Faith or What?
Today’s gospel, about Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm, reminds me of the three Benedictine Brothers who were sent to do missionary work in Suffolk. It just so happened that Bro. Patrick was an Irishman; Bro. Gordon was a Scot; Bro. Boris was an Englishman.
On a day off, they got together, hired a boat, and went exploring the quiet upper reaches of the River Waveney. They fell to discussing this gospel and the fact that St Peter’s faith seemed to have failed him.
Bro. Patrick was adamant that his faith was strong enough to allow him to walk across the river to get to the Locks Inn – so off he went and got safely across.
Bro. Gordon was not to be outdone – and he, too, stepped out of the boat and made it safely to the shore, and the Inn.
Bro. Boris really had no alternative; he braced himself, stepped out of the boat and immediately sank in the mud.
Bro. Patrick turned to Bro. Gordon and quietly said, “Shall you show him where the stepping stones are, or shall I?”