Archive for April, 2013

4th Sunday of Lent, March 18, 2012

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Benjamin Franklin, American philosopher, inventor, and Founding Father, considered it a “great Vanity” to suppose that God—“the Supremely Perfect”–would take any notice of humanity—or what he called “an inconsiderable Nothing.”

There are, of course, many people all over the world who do not believe in the existence of God. But even among those who do acknowledge that there is some kind of Deity, Supreme Being or Higher Power, many would agree with the idea that God—or whatever you might name him, her, or it—doesn’t really care about us. For them, God is a distant figure: a cosmic force that may have set the laws of nature in motion but then stepped back, refraining from any involvement in the lives of people. God observes human affairs, nothing more.

This view of God is contradicted by the words of our gospel. They do not say, “God so tolerated the world,” “God so took an interest in the world,” or even “God so liked the world.” No, our gospel clearly proclaims, “God so loved the world.” The gift of God’s Son was a sign that God had a heart, a heart which made it impossible for him to step back and merely observe as the work of his hands headed for disaster.

It is true that it sometimes seems that God is distant from us, that he doesn’t really care. People continue to lose their jobs, their families, their lives, any hopes or dreams they might have for the future—and countless prayers seem to go unanswered. But God still has a heart, and that heart impels him to work constantly for our good, even if we do not see or understand how God is working. In spite of all challenges, let us place our faith and trust in him, for God so loves the world!

see John 3:14-21

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

3rd Sunday of Lent, March 11, 2012

Friday, April 19th, 2013

About a third of the Catholics in Hong Kong are Filipinos, most of whom work as live-in domestic helpers. On Sundays there are so many Filipinos going to the English-language masses that the churches are filled beyond capacity. In 1992, when my parents and I were visiting Hong Kong, we went to Sunday mass at the chapel of the Catholic diocesan center. It was so crowded that we had to stand in the hallway outside during the entire mass. The only one of us to receive communion was my mother, who somehow managed to wedge her way into the line. My father and I never even got to see what the chapel looked like.

Jesus wasn’t really angry because of the business transactions taking place in the temple; the merchants and money-changers were actually providing a useful service to the worshipers who needed to buy animals for sacrifice and were not allowed to pay with Roman coins. Jesus was angry because of where these transactions were taking place: in the part of the temple reserved for the Gentiles, those who were not Jews but who nevertheless wanted to participate in temple worship. There was so much activity going on in this section of the temple that these outsiders who were sincerely seeking God were blocked from doing so.

We are surrounded by outsiders who are sincerely seeking God—but do we help them or hinder them? We create an obstacle for them whenever we do something that is not consistent with the faith we are supposed to be living: when we act like we’re better than other people; when we fight and quarrel with each other; when we show intolerance towards those who are different from us; when we refuse mercy to those who need it; when we put more time and energy into making money than in making the lives of others better; when we ignore all attempts to get us more involved in parish activities; when we come to church simply out of a sense of obligation and worship with no interest or enthusiasm.

Are we like the merchants and money-changers, allowing our behavior to get in the way of those who might want to know, love, and serve God? It’s far better, I think, for us to assist them by the example of our own good efforts to know, love, and serve him.

see John 2:13-25

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

2nd Sunday of Lent, March 4, 2012

Friday, April 19th, 2013

I could tell you about my most embarrassing moments—but I won’t. I’m guessing you don’t want to tell me yours, either. It usually takes a while before we feel comfortable sharing a lot of information about ourselves with other people. We don’t blurt out our deepest, darkest secrets the first time we meet someone, and we’ll probably wait before we start talking about all our medical problems, bad habits, and incarcerated relatives. Of course, a lack of openness can also make it difficult for people to know our good qualities, which is why we have to be careful about making judgments.

When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, he revealed something of his true self to his disciples: he was God’s “beloved Son.” What we need to realize is that we constantly reveal the real you and me to the people around us, even if we have no intention of doing so. The real you and I become visible in the choices we make, in the attitudes we display, in the values we promote, in the priorities we set. We reveal who we really are in how we spend our money, in how much time we give to our parish community, in the way we treat newcomers to this country, in the service we render to the poor, in our willingness to forgive, in the peacefulness of our relationships, in the broadness of our love.

The amazing thing is that if we can live according to the teachings of Jesus and follow his example, we too can reveal ourselves as God’s beloved children.

see Mark 9:2-10

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm