Andel’s Mass Blog

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Visit a Cemetery and Learn How to Live

by Tom Andel

My lifelong buddy and I took a walking tour of the cemetery where many of our ancestors are buried. One of the graves on my must-see list was that of my great grandparents on my father’s side. I only knew them from Dad’s stories about “Bubby” and “Jedda.” Getting the grave location from the cemetery […]

Wired to love God, Neighbor and Chocolate Cake

by Tom Andel

Many non-Catholics just don’t get some of the sacramental rituals we Catholics follow. Some see them as separate from the good works that good people of all faiths (and none) do every day. They even cite Matthew 15:7, in which Jesus criticizes humanity’s over-reliance on ritual (“Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he […]

Forgive Your Inner Elmer Gantry

by Tom Andel

Many of humanity’s cynics consider the cross, death, and resurrection “narrative” of Christianity a deeply rooted myth. And for them, so is the forgiveness Christianity promises them. Sunday’s readings expand on the forgiveness that Jesus modeled throughout his earthly ministry—up to his death on the cross. His disciples—especially Peter—learned that forgiveness must start with oneself, […]

Does God See Us When He Looks in the Mirror?

by Tom Andel

In the medieval era of the Holy Roman Empire, Eckhart von Hochheim was a well-known cancellation target. Today he’s better remembered as Meister (Master) Eckhart, a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, but in those ancient times our Church considered him a heretic. Some accused him of pantheism (the belief that all things are God), others […]

Was Christ a Free-Market Capitalist?

by Tom Andel

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed section (“Free Markets and the Meaning of Life”) states that “believing life has meaning helps individuals thrive,” and that “people who view their decisions as existentially weighty cope better with stress and tragedy.” Tell that to St. Peter. In Sunday’s gospel reading (Mt 16:21-27), after Jesus […]

Can We Survive Our Curse of Inscrutability?

by Tom Andel

It’s old advice: “Never discuss religion or politics with friends.” Thomas Jefferson never took it. In fact, in April of 1800 he wrote a letter to a friend stating: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Here we are 220 years later […]

The Gospel According to Shark Tank

by Tom Andel

This Sunday’s Mass readings reminded me of Shark Tank. For the uninitiated, this is a reality show on which aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors. If one or more of the sharks bite, it can change lives. If you’ve seen the show, you know the Sharks sit God-like in front […]

Relief: Nice Work if you can Get It

by Tom Andel

For true believers, God is more often found in art than science. You can’t see God in a formula. Our God is best appreciated in the context of our lives—like a relief sculpture carved on our hearts. Relief in the art world describes a subject that projects from and belongs to the background surface on which it is rendered. […]

Beauty from Upheaval

by Tom Andel

If life teaches us anything, it’s that wants and needs are two different things. A child has many wants from a parent, but need boils down to the wisdom, strength and courage that come through a mom and dad’s faith, hope and love. So what happens if mom or dad dies? Suddenly a main source […]

Rare Fruit from Our Family Trees

by Tom Andel

This post is dedicated to Dolores, my family’s lifelong friend and my surrogate mom. As one who is passionate about life, she has grown wise as its student. So it’s no surprise that one of Dolores’s passions is genealogy: the study of a family’s lines of descent. She understands that by knowing your history you […]