Yesterday I had some free time to do some family visitation. “Let’s go out on the pontoon boat!” said the great Army veteran. “Great!” said I. So, away we went round about along far distant fantastic shorelines typical of these mountain waters. Just because we are in the mountains doesn’t mean that there isn’t more shoreline than most of the rest of North America. Think reservoirs and dams, the watershed of the entire South-East. Really, really nice. Lots of big money.
He said, “Most likely retired CEOs of major corporations.” I said, “Most likely the mafia.” Oh my, the stories I then heard. My response was, “People have been murdered for a lot, lot less trouble than they are making, and if they haven’t been in any accidents, then it must be that they are mafia. There’s no other way.” I know some mafia, and plenty of Italy’s anti-mafiosi. It’s all so typical. And while that is part of the world in which I moved about in previous lives, I guess I just didn’t want to see it here. It’s too beautiful here. I want to stay here, but I didn’t want this kind of thing around here. And now I’m getting to know why some of the locals don’t like “all those foreigners” coming into the county, with “foreigners” referring to people who have lived here even 50 years but who weren’t born here, but instead were born outside of the county, perhaps just the next county over. But, it makes life interesting. And it’s good to know who you are dealing with. It answers some questions.
For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In fact, I think I have too much fun as a priest, especially these last three years in this parish. I’ve often told the bishop over these last few years that I wish I could stay here until I die, but for this past eight months or so he’s started saying things like, “You’re not going to stay in that parish forever you know.” But, that’s O.K. I love everything about the Church, every possible apostolate, all the people, including the mafia of whatever kind. After all, Jesus loved them to death, right? We must be in anguish until as many as possible are on their way to heaven, knowing and living with the goodness and kindness and truth of Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.