Carrying the cross

By Father Dennis Meinen
View from the Scooter

On one occasion I was celebrating Mass (walking with a cane) at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. I found a great assistant to help me. He was Rev. Mr. Luis Guzman, a deacon who worked at the hospital, and he would help me set up for the Mass. I called him “Simon.”

“Why do you call me Simon?” he asked.

“You help me carry my cross,” I replied.

Of course, the best person from whom to learn how to handle the crosses that come our way is Jesus himself, but it is commonly held that the soldiers, because they feared that Jesus would not be able to make it to the place of execution without assistance due to the beating he had already endured, looked for help in the crowd and conscripted (a person who is forced to serve) a man by the name of Simon.

Now, I hadn’t endured a beating, nor was I headed to a place of execution. But I did need assistance. I found my right hand man in Deacon Luis, who used his special gifts and talents to help a gimpy legged priest.

Have you ever witnessed my klutziness? One time I was walking into a grocery store in a Midwestern city. My mother led the way, and I followed, oblivious to the floppy rug which silently laid there, waiting to trap my shoes.  Of course, my foot slid under the rug, and I tripped as I entertained an audience by doing an acrobatic somersault entrance into the store. People came out of the woodwork to help me!

My mother, who had set her sights on the meat department, heard this commotion behind her, turned around and looked down on the floor.

“My God, what did you do?” she exclaimed.

I told her I just fell for her.

Why didn’t I sue the store? Not after, I read the despicable lawsuit against a famous person.

ACLU Announces Lawsuit against Santa Claus by David Bibb:

The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that it was bringing a lawsuit against Santa Claus for violations of the civil rights of children. An ACLU spokesman, Mr. E. Scrooge, stated, “Mr. Claus has been violating children’s right to privacy and has been putting that information in a vast database. The information is then used by the law enforcement arm of Mr. Claus’ organization to determine which children are considered naughty or nice. It is obvious Mr. Claus has violated the children’s rights, as we have alleged in our suit, because of the memos and other company information we have obtained. In addition, we believe Mr. Claus has been engaging in mind control experiments designed to prevent the free expression of beliefs.”

Among the documents presented to the courts today was a memo which reads, in part:

“You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout.  I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. So, be good for goodness’ sake.”

Pope Francis, when celebrating the 2015 Christmas Eve Mass, said that we should have empathy, compassion and mercy, especially for the poor and vulnerable. Perhaps the children need to file a database of suspicious Scrooge-like adults.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.

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