Sunday, October 20, 2013


People often say that the eyes are the entry point into the soul, or something like that, but what about teeth? What does a person's teeth say about them? They are valid indicators of the way a person lives. I don't know how teeth because important to me today, but the topic keeps chattering about today.

I saw this man before Mass. He was a custodian at one of the churches. He was well groomed - an excellent haircut, clean-shaven, tidy appearance, no longer smoked, and a kindly face. You don't often see this type of man in this part of town. When he spoke, he had decent looking teeth, but they he turned his head to the side and it revealed he only had six front teeth on top and six on the bottom. I couldn't get to see further back, but I thought that I was very glad to have a health system that allows me to take care of my teeth. My dentist in Scarborough, Maine is very good and I know good dentists here in Amman.

When I was say Mass, I also noticed the teeth of some parishioners as they were coming forward. A former student said that when I smile I don't show my teeth, but I think I do when I laugh. I also laugh a lot.

At lunch following Mass, one of the Filipinas out of the blue asked me if I had all my teeth because she said they look nice. How strange that teeth keep showing up today. I told her I did. She said she was four replacement ones and she really misses them.

My other thought during Mass, which was much holier, was wondering how many pieces of the Sacred Bread I gave out over the years. I thought of other older priests who have been good pastoral examples and it made me wonder about the number of people who have received the Sacred Body or the Sacred Blood from them. If we were to quantify it, which never makes sense to do, it would be staggering numbers. I wondered about the number of times I received the Body and Blood of Christ and whether I am becoming more like him for receiving him? Hmm.

I've always liked the phrases in John 6 that talk about "Crunch and Munch." We are to actively eat the Body of Christ and drink his Blood. I like to actively participate in that because something real is happening. Thank God I have all my teeth.


  1. John, what a mixture of the sacred and the commonplace - but then the commonplace is sacred as well. I also appreciate the fact that I have good healthcare and I get concerned about those who don't. We have much for which to be thankful. I see continuity between what you have written here and on your other blog when you have quoted Peter Hans Kolvenbach, SJ: "the world desperately needs men and women of competence and conscience who generously give of themselves for others." We need people to help others who aren't as fortunate. Thanks for these thoughts.

    1. Thanks, Lynda. I'm also thankful for good health care and I can't understand why so many people are against providing quality healthcare for others and a regulation of the medical industry. Yes, the profane is very sacred. God redeemed the world and said is was "good."