Joe Michael Sasanuma Obituary

Joe Michael Sasanuma, who earlier today died at the eternal age of 18, never had a moment in which he didn’t enjoy life.

He lived by the words “What’s the point of living if you can’t feel alive?”, a line fittingly taken from the James Bond movie “The World is Not Enough”.  Of the many things Joe loved about life, watching and critiquing movies, with the James Bond series closest to his heart, was on his list of top ten.

Joe’s unique talent was having opinions and verbally expressing them, often with very little thought.  One-liner insults were his specialty.  Joe referred to actress Denise Richards, who co-starred in the aforementioned James Bond film, as “The bitch who ruined a perfectly fine James Bond film.”  Of Picasso, he said “I know shit when I see one.”  But Joe always kept the best lines for liberals, about whom he memorably declared “Everyone has the right to be wrong.”

 

A Lenten Reflection–To be More like Christ

But having faith and living it are two very different things. If action speak louder than words, as the old cliché goes, then my proclamation of faith is drowned out by my everyday behavior.

Regarding this shortfall, I am very much self-aware. Of all the challenges in my life, the living of faith is probably the one I find most difficult.

There are so many reasons this is so.

For one, I aspire to live a full life, filled with numerous things that occupy my time like friends, work, hobbies and curiosities. I’m constantly stimulated and rarely find a moment of boredom, but I confess, faith is not what mostly occupies my mind, heart and soul. I feel in touch with faith whenever I have moments to reflect, but those moments are few and far between. In the day in and day out, in the every moment of every hour, my faith takes a back seat.

My personality also doesn’t help.

 

“Silence” (2016) is a Deeply Reflective Journey of Contemplation into Faith

“Silence” is filled with moments of contemplation about faith, in scenes big and small.

Take, for example, the scene in which the villagers ask Rodrigues and Garupe whether they may step on the plaque of Jesus if it means saving their lives. “Yes,” Rodrigues exclaims and implores the villagers to do it, yet Garupe has the opposite view and immediately rebukes him. The short scene brilliantly illustrates one of the most fundamental questions about faith: is it enough for the believer to believe in his heart, or must he be willing to do much more?

Or take the underground Christians. When Rodrigues finally meets Ferreira, he discovers that Ferriera has apostatized. Trying to persuade Rodrigues to apostizise as well, Ferreira explains that all of Rodrigues’ efforts are for naught because the Japanese, who idolize the Christian God in the form of a sun, will never come to understand Christianity. This may very well be true, but what of the sufferings the Christian villagers endured for their profession of belief in Jesus Christ? Are they not recognized as Christians because they have misunderstood Christianity?

 

To James, My Newly-Married Friend: Don’t Change

Dear James,

As I attended your wedding celebration last week, so many thoughts came rushing through my head.

I thought about our friendship and how it is a reminder that friendships take many forms. You and I attended high school together, yet it was our geographic proximity during graduate school and the discovery then that we shared a wide range of common interests that really deepened our friendship.

I thought about all the fun we had together doing the small things that added up to a lot, like going out to movies, eating full course meals, attending Boston College football games, agreeing on politics and debating law.

I thought about who you are as a person and values you hold most important, like loyalty, love and kindness. Those are the qualities I treasure most about our friendship and are the reason I consider you one of my closest confidants when I need to talk to someone about life.

I thought about how there is so much you’ve taught me about life. While I tend to live my life by the motto “Que cera, cera,” your methodical and thoughtful approach reminds me that there is something to be said for contemplating about the future, planning for it and succeeding through diligence and perseverance.

 

Passionately Opinionated

René Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am,” apparently to make the point that someone wondering whether or not he or she exists is, in and of itself, proof that something, an “I”, exists to do the thinking.

I suppose my equivalent would be “I opine, therefore I am,” to make the point that having an opinion and being judgmental is my raison d’être. There need not be thoughts involved.

 

Why I Admire Josh Hamilton Despite (Because of) His Latest Relapse

When I heard that Texas Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton relapsed with alcohol again, I felt an indescribable mix of awe, sadness, courage, inspiration and strength.  Hamilton epitomizes the best and worst of human beings, the amazing things we are capable of but also the depths to which we can sink.  When I look at Hamilton, I see a perfectly imperfect man.

 
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