Monday, April 28, 2014

Pope Francis' Inequality Tweet-And the Housing Crisis in NYC

On Monday, Pope Francis tweeted the following, "Inequality is the root of social evil." It was retweeted over 10,000 times by the afternoon. Some think the Pope may have read or heard about Thomas Piketty's best selling book about capitalism titled, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century?"
There happens to be an interesting article on Huffington Post about what's happened to NYC real estate over the last decade. Recently it reached the absurd point.  One bedroom apartments in trendy NYC neighborhoods are selling for $500,000 -$800,000, that's for one bedroom.  The article at HuffPost Business titled, "NYC Is Even More Unaffordable Than You Think In 6 Charts," reports about the rents in NYC which have skyrocketed over the last decade, along with prices for homes and apartments while incomes have remained stagnant  or fallen.
I know about this firsthand. I hear about the frustrations that young people in NYC are facing as well as others, from my sons, whose friends have the same problem they have. Everything is too expensive and overpriced and whatever comes on the market, if someone is looking to buy, is difficult to purchase because sellers get multiple offers. The whole situation is absurd and frustrating. It's so sad because the middle class is being pushed out of New York. The poor are in an even worse situation and there doesn't seem to be any solution.
The artists, writers and artistic communities which add to the cultural interest and vitality of NYC can't afford Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn such as Williamsburg and Bushwick and trendy areas of Queens anymore, unless they're rich and famous.
Unless more affordable housing is built, the cultural and ethnic diversity that makes NYC great will be greatly affected and harmed.
Young people continue to find NYC a great place to live, and they're still moving here, but unless they have rich parents or grandparents or a trust fund, there aren't too many options. Or they try to find a neighborhood alittle further into the boroughs, that's not on everyone's radar yet.
I think greed, besides being a deadly sin,  is the root of social evil. And if you dig deep enough you'll find that greed is a part of the problem.
I still believe in capitalism, and America is still the greatest country in the world, in my opinion.
But something has to be done to improve the housing situation in America's popular cities. I'm not sure how it can be fixed but something is very broken when rents and prices of apartments and homes are unaffordable for most of the population, except for the rich.

"NYC has gotten less affordable much faster than the rest of the U.S."
"Brooklyn had it the worst. Rents rose there more than any other borough."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Blessings-2014

Happy Blessed Easter! May the good Lord Jesus, our Heavenly Father and the powerful Holy Spirit bless us all on Easter Sunday and during the Easter Season.  Now I'm tired from cooking and preparing for Easter dinner with the family, but it will be such a happy day, so much to celebrate: the Risen Lord, a family celebration, the Easter egg hunt, chocolate bunnies, the much awaited Spring, the magnificent flowers, so many blessings to come. A feast for the senses and I can't wait.
It's been a long winter, too long. But I've started to plant pansies and soon I will plant herbs and what can be better for my Italian sauce than fresh basil plucked from my backyard. Simple pleasures........
It's time to rejoice in all that is good for the mind, body and soul. Sunshine is good and a simple walk in the sunshine can lift your mood and help to brighten your day. I often walk and say the rosary, that works for me, walking and praying and looking around.
And so as Spring unfolds and all the beauty that comes with it, we can rejoice in the beauty of creation, the diversity of the natural world, the awareness of knowing our Savior, in having the ability to pray, to serve, to give and to have been called and having the awareness to respond to it.
Praise God! Alleluia!
A blessed Easter Season!

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.  (S.D. Gordon)

He is not here; He is risen!  (Luke 24:6)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday-"Where Is My Heart?"

According to news reports, a tired looking Pope Francis addressed a crowd of over 100,000 people who were packed into St. Peter's Square for Palm Sunday Mass. The Pope challenged the crowd to look into their hearts to see how they are honestly living their lives.
He also challenged the large crowd (as well as himself) to ask themselves: "Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before the Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid celebration? Am I able to express my joy and praise him? Or do I keep a distance? Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?"
I think that's a great question to ponder during Holy Week.  Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?
This morning at Mass I refused to be the crowd and play that part and respond, "Crucify Him." I just can't bring myself to identify with the crowd and call for Jesus' crucifixion. I can't say those words.
I could never identify with Judas, Pilate, the soldiers, the misguided religious leaders or the confused apostles.
But I can identify with the women. The women who suffered along with Jesus, who loved him, who were loyal to him, who stood by the Cross in disbelief. And so when Pope Francis asks us to contemplate during this holiest of weeks, "Where is my heart?" I can have some peace in answering that question. Thankfully, gratefully my heart is where it should be-loving Jesus and being grateful for the knowledge I've been given, for the opportunities I've had to share my knowledge and deep faith but most importantly for always knowing my heart, very clearly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Malaysian Flight 370 At the Bottom of the Ocean? Intentional Or Catastrophe?

It's hard for me to believe that so much of the oceans on our planet are unmapped. We know more about the planet Mars and our Moon, than we know about the oceans. Since our planet is mostly made of water , it's difficult to understand why there is so little mapping of the ocean floor, especially with modern technology. I gather after this horrific mystery is finally solved, more will be done and changes will be made to ocean mapping as well as aviation tracking systems.
There has been endless commentary and opinions on CNN regarding the mysterious disappearance and presumed crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.  I admit to watching a lot of the coverage, like others. I have even stayed up after midnight (though that's not unusual for me) to watch press conferences taking place in Australia at 12:00 noon.  CNN anchors, encourage viewers to "stay with us," as if it was 8:00 in the evening instead of 12:30 at night. At times I'm captivated by the mystery. Or perhaps I'm procrastinating (which I'm very good at), as I should be spending the time reviewing notes for a talk I have to give. Anyhow,  I find the commentary very interesting, especially when experts talk about theories, modern ocean technology and the probable cause. It's probably one of the greatest mysteries, certainly the greatest aviation mystery in my lifetime. I have always been intrigued by the Amelia Earhart mystery, which has never been solved.
I can't even imagine the suffering of the families since this has dragged on for over a month, with conflicting stories and false hopes. My heart goes out to them. And I pray for them.
In my opinion, after listening to the experts, I think that someone hijacked that plane, either a crew member or someone else. Someone was trying to make it disappear and if it wasn't for modern technology they would have succeeded.  According to the latest accounts and new information regarding the pings, that plane, sadly is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. It's hard to believe that no debris has been found, this is a very large airplane. So strange.
I see the devil's "hand" in this. Evil thoughts, nefarious actions, the killing of innocent people and children, who else can be behind this horrific mystery, but evil?