by Fr. Joe Landi, Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics  

About Fr. Landi Out of the World and Into the Kingdom--His journey to priesthood by Rissa Singson.


Dear Diary...Having walked the Cincinnati airport corridors and after reading for a couple of hours, I was beginning to feel confined.   It was a dismal day made more so by the fact the decaffeinated coffee bean grinder at  the Starbucks Coffee Counter was broken (as it was three months prior), so I decided on a change of scenery for coffee. 

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It was only 10 am and my 8 am connecting flight had been cancelled due to fog. The only one on which I  could be guaranteed a seat wasn't leaving untilt 2:30 pm. The hotel’s shuttle was free so I hopped on, deciding to luxuriate at the Sheraton Hotel’s restaurant, away from the airport’s crowded restaurants like McDonalds, which had been turned into a "crying-room" by tired children. Unfortuantely for me, several hundred other travel-wise passengers had decided on the same plan. The Sheraton’s restaurant was also crowded.

A roar of unintelligible conversations swooned with waves of laughter coming from a table occupied by six men obviously having a good time. As I waited for a table, I couldn’t help but hear not only their roaring laughter but their constant "Miss, could we have more… Miss, I asked for"… demands towards their waitress who was obviously over-worked in a dinning room under-staffed to handle the large unexpected crowd.

Finally I was led to the only open table, which was next to the Hardy Boys laughing-choir, handed a menu, and was almost immediately confronted by their pleasantly, friendly waitress who would also be mine. "Good morning. Have you decided on what you would like?" she asked—her question almost drowned out by another wave of laughter.

She looked over the top of her glasses at them, seemingly sensing my concern about their disruptive behavior. "They are almost finished," she smiled re-assuredly. "Eggs Benedict," I replied.

As she left, Miss Pleasant stopped and asked the Hardy Boys if they’d "like anything else—more coffee?" and handed them the check.  A  relative quiet descended over their table as they tried to figure out who owed what. "Why don’t we just divide it by six," asked one and the reply from another was, "But I only had orange juice and a Danish." "I need the receipt for my expense account," said another. "Ask her for separate checks," suggested another.

As Miss Pleasant passed by their table carrying my breakfast order, one of them said to her in an impatient tone, loud enough for half the restaurant to hear, "Miss, can we have separate checks here."  She didn’t stop or slow down to answer his question.  It it seemed that the restaurant suddenly quieted to await her reply. "Not in my lifetime,"  she replied, smiling sweetly.

Placing my breakfast plate down in front of me, she smiled and asked, "Anything else I can bring you?"

"Yes, separate checks, please."  She howled with laughter!  The laughter trailed after her as she passed the Hardy Boys' table hurrying toward the kitchen to fetch other customer's order.


Sometimes we forget that we are part of a larger picture which is being watch by not only others, but The Other. As the song goes, "They will know we are Christians by our love" is especially so when we deal with people in service jobs. Yes, I know there are some slow-gifted people in service jobs. However, in case you haven’t noticed, they are not confined to those jobs. Having worked for awhile as a waiter, I learned they are on the other side of the counter, too. I recall that it is was a joy to be a server to someone who is a good receiver. It’s kind of like in football—it takes a good server and receiver to make for a good football game, as well as in dancing taking two to tango.

I have come to believe that our good recognizes the good in others and we form a mutual attraction with those we meet. Many of the people we experience this with become friends and confidants. Think about the way Jesus selected his inner circle of disciples. It was this principal in action. It wasn't who they were—fishermen, tax collector, doctor, tent maker, but what they were inside that counted. He looked to see their goodness.

We should be looking, too. Everyone engaged in an activity that makes this planet a better place to live deserves our respect. Anyone contributing to the common good deserves our respect. Those who do not are given our charity and that should always be given with goodness, too.

When Jesus chose those who would be left behind to fulfil his destiny, Jesus didn’t chose the good looking, best educated, or the most wealthy to carry on his mission of salvation. He selected those who were good. He selected those who echoed the goodness within himself.

Those of us who are left behind to do his work need to remember that it is the goodness in us that is most attractive to others.

By our baptism we are called upon to evangelize. We can do that in many ways. But the one that brings the best results is by projecting His goodness to the world by what we say and do.

Fr. Joe Landi is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishop's Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, the Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics, and Board Chair of Sierra Point Credit Union, South San Francisco, serving the community, parochial and government schools in San Mateo County, and the Charismatic Renewal.

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