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Blue Plate Special

I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35) Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

For those unfamiliar with the term, "blue plate special," it's simply an old-fashioned name for what most restaurants today call their "daily specials." Dating back to the late 1800s, the concept was first introduced on the menu of a chain of eateries built at train stations to quickly serve the traveling public. In those early days, the restaurant chain ordered all of their dishes from a single manufacturer that promised, in their words, "plates can be ordered in any color -- as long as it is blue." Thus inspired, the "blue plate special" was born!

I don't know if a certain modern-day menu item was inspired by a misguided interpretation of Jesus' words, "Man shall not live on bread alone," but it certainly falls into the "special" category. I am referring to a recent announcement from a national fast-food chain which introduced a gargantuan new addition to their menu called, (now get this), "The Most American Thickburger." How's that for a special name? According to the chain's press release, this new culinary delight is comprised of a bulging beef patty, topped with a split hot dog, seated on a layer of potato chips and nestled between hamburger buns. And let's not forget the ketchup, mustard, tomato, red onion, pickles and American cheese that accompany this meaty monster. The "Thickburger" weighs in at a whopping 1,030 calories. And with 64 grams of fat, I can almost feel my arteries clogging just thinking about it!

You have to admit -- that tasty new temptation has a decidedly "Most American" ring to it. Indeed, we often pride ourselves on the biggest and the baddest examples of culinary excess -- with restaurants promising to immortalize any patron who can finish their 64 ounce steak -- or the annual summer-time "professional hot dog eating contest" where winning participants inhale some sixty dogs in mere minutes. When it comes to the appetite's of some in today's "super-size-it" world, it seems there are just no earthly limits! And yet, as we shall see, we can partake of the food that will satisfy us at the deepest levels of our [...]

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In the novel, “Dearly Beloved,” by Ann Morrow Lindbergh, there is a moving passage in which Deborah, the mother, is adjusting the wedding veil for Sally, her daughter. They have lived in the same house for twenty years but never really enjoyed deep sharing or real communication. And the mother is feeling this very deeply on her daughter’s wedding day. With great feeling, Ann Morrow Lindbergh describes the scene: Deborah went to her daughter, kissed her lightly on the forehead and hesitated for a moment, looking urgently, almost pleadingly into her wide eyes. Wasn’t there something she could say at this moment, mother to daughter, something real? Sally, too, seemed to be pleading, asking for confirmation. ‘Your father will be up in a moment,’ Deborah blurted in a rush.” That was all she could say. The words for something deeper never came. The real thing never got said. That’s the commentary on life for so many of us in marriage, in the family, and with friends and others. We go places and do things together, but the real thing never gets said, the real communication never takes place. But that’s what St. Paul is so excited about, you see. You can’t read the Letter to the Ephesians without feeling the throb of high enthusiasm in his life. Paul discovered that because God loves us so much it is possible for us to move down to deep levels of loving, where the real thing can be said and where the real sharing of life can take place. When you know how much God loves you, you have a new sense of your own worth, of your own integrity as a person.


984 The English Playwright, Oscar Wilde, arrived at his club late one night after witnessing the dismal opening performance of his latest play. ”How did your play go tonight, Oscar?” someone asked. “Oh,” said Wilde, “the play was a great success. The audience was a failure.”


The Christian Science Monitor once ran a story of a springtime in New York, when the fancy of a certain young woman had lightly turned to thoughts of love. She had been seeing a good deal of a handsome young man whose career was fast rising. “One perfect day,” the story goes... He called to say he had something special on his mind. He would pick her up in his car, a memorable jalopy, and they would motor to the country for a picnic. Their course took them to Long Island. The young man seemed preoccupied. Long silences — heavy with import — fell between the two. Then they headed back to New York. Back in the city, the young man broke the silence. He spoke solemnly of a great and significant event that was about to occur. Central Park, he said, would be the appropriate place for it to happen. As they drove through the park on that beautiful spring day, the young woman’s expectations soared. The young man announced that the great moment was at hand. He slowed the car down and headed for a shady enclave. This was it, he said, the climax had arrived. He was sure that she would feel the same excitement that he was feeling. The car, in short, had at that carefully timed juncture reached the 100,000 mile mark. The figures on the speedometer were turning slowly over as the car came to a halt. “everything is back to zero,” said the young man. “Yes,” said the woman to herself, “everything is back to zero!”


The family was gathered at dinner. The oldest boy announced he was going to marry the girl across the street. “But her family didn’t leave her a penny,” objected his father. “And she hasn’t saved a cent,” added Mother. “She doesn’t know a thing about football,” said Junior. “I’ve never seen a girl with such funny hair,” said Sister. “And such poor taste in the choice of her clothes,” said Aunt. “But she isn’t sparing of the powder and the paint,” said Grandma. “True,” said the boy. “But she has one supreme advantage over all of us.” “What’s that?” everyone wanted to know. “She has no family!”