Archive for March, 2014

6th Sunday of Easter, May 5, 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Questions that begin with “Who,” “What,” “When,” or “Where” are usually fairly easy to answer: “Who is the president of the United States?” “What’s for dinner?” “When is this bill due?” “Where are my car keys?” Okay, that last one may not always be so easy for those of us of a certain age, but you get my point.

The questions that begin with “Why” are the ones that are usually much more difficult: “Why did this person get sick?” “Why did this person have to die?” “Why can’t I find love?” “Why did my plans fail?” “Why did I make that mistake?” “Why do bad things keep happening to me?” These are the questions that plague us, the ones that cause us sleepless nights, the ones that bring us to tears, the ones that keep us from feeling peace.

The peace that Jesus gives is not the peace that we think we will get from knowing all the answers. The peace that Jesus gives is the peace that comes from learning to live quietly with the questions, accepting that the Holy Spirit may not teach us everything in this life and trusting in the wisdom and especially, the goodness of God. It is the peace that Jesus himself must have experienced in his life, in his suffering, and at the moment of his death, even before the dawn of the resurrection made all the answers come to light. It is that peace that he now wishes to share with us.

see John 14:23-29

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

5th Sunday of Easter, April 28, 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

People who are trying to sell something will try all kinds of promotions in order to get other people to buy their products. And who doesn’t appreciate a great deal, like a deep discount or getting something free along with a purchase? However, there is one deal with which I have some problems, and that is one where people will promise to donate money to something like disaster relief or research into the cure for a disease–just as long as others buy their products. I always want to ask those people, “If you care so much, why don’t you just make a donation, regardless of how many products you sell?”

It’s rare for people to do something for others without trying to get something in return. They might be looking for money, or they might be looking for something immaterial, like fame, popularity, or recognition. They might do something good just to puff up their own egos. And yet true selflessness, this rare willingness to do something for others without thought of personal gain is exactly what Jesus exhibited in his life—and what he expects all of us to exhibit in our lives. This is what Jesus means when he says, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Whether we are donating money to feed starving children on the other side of the world, checking in on an elderly neighbor down the street, looking after the needs of our own families, or volunteering here at the parish, we should do it with the same selfless love of Christ.

see John 13:31-33a, 34-35

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

3rd Sunday of Easter, April 14, 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

“It is the Lord.”

The disciple whom Jesus loved realized not only who was standing on the shore but also who was responsible for the huge catch of fish that he and his brothers had just made. He understood that it did not come about through their efforts alone.

We too should be aware of who is at work in our lives.

It is the Lord who enables us to raise a family.

It is the Lord who keeps us married for all these years.

It is the Lord who leads us to find new jobs, homes, and significant others.

It is the Lord who helps us to advance in a career or education.

It is the Lord who inspires us to create things of beauty.

It is the Lord who heals.

It is the Lord who strengthens us when we think we can’t go on.

It is the Lord who opens our hearts and hands in generosity.

It is the Lord who gives us the patience and compassion to care for someone who is sick.

It is the Lord who empowers us to pray for our enemies, and even forgive them.

It is the Lord who holds us back when we feel tempted.

It is the Lord who makes it possible to see beyond our differences.

It is the Lord who fills us with hope in our resurrection and the resurrection of our loved ones.

Any achievement or success, any difficult task performed or challenge overcome: it is the Lord who does all of these things. For this reason, may “blessing and honor, glory and might” be his, forever and ever. Amen.

see John 21:1-14; Revelation 5:11-14

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

2nd Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

We probably don’t have to look far to find people who have problems with faith. They might be spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, coworkers. Some might really struggle with faith, not knowing what to believe, what path to follow. And some might not struggle at all, either rejecting faith altogether or not caring enough even to think about it.

When we, as people of faith, encounter these people of little or no faith, how do we deal with them? Do we look down on them, judge them, treat them with contempt? Do we reject them, ostracize them, refuse to have anything to do with them? Do we assure them of our prayers for their salvation, inform them of their sins, or warn them of God’s impending punishment?

Thomas had problems with faith, and yet the risen Jesus was kind and gentle. He did not chastise or condemn. He did not turn away but with understanding and compassion drew closer to his apostle—close enough to make it possible for him to touch his wounded hands and side.

You and I may not have wounds for people to touch but we too can offer signs of love—the best way to encourage those who do not believe to believe.

see John 20:19-31

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

Easter 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Sorry, kids: the high point of Easter is not the Easter egg hunt. It’s also not the Easter ham or the new Easter outfit. For those about to be baptized, the high point of Easter is, of course, baptism. As for the rest of us, the high point of Easter is the renewal of baptismal promises, which includes the profession of faith—the time when we stand before God and say what we believe.

The resurrection of Jesus is really God’s profession of faith in us. It is God’s way of saying that he believes in us, that he believes in our ability to change and grow and live a new life. The resurrection of Jesus is God saying he believes that enemies can forgive; that criminals can reform; that addicts can recover; that women with unwanted pregnancies can give birth to their children; that spouses in troubled marriages can find love again; that those who don’t practice their religion can return to the faith; that the hungry can get enough to eat; that the powerful can take care of the weak; that nations can live in peace.

If we were a lost cause, without hope, without the possibility of rising above our stupidity and selfishness, what would be the point of raising Jesus from the dead? The truth is this: in the resurrection of Jesus God is saying that he believes in us; he believes in our goodness, even if we don’t believe in it; and he believes in all that we can do and become if we believe in the God who lovingly created us, in the Son who lovingly saved us by his dying and rising, and in their Spirit, who lovingly leads us and guides us even now.

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

4th Sunday of Lent, March 10, 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

It’s not Father’s Day but since our gospel story talks about a father and his sons, I thought I would mention a couple of other fathers as well. My own father was an usher for the 12 noon Sunday mass at our parish in Bakersfield. Even though the church is only 10 minutes away, he insisted on leaving for church a full half-hour before mass began. Every Sunday, without saying a word, he got behind the wheel at 11:30 A.M. and started the car while the rest of us scrambled to get out of the house. He went to church so early not only because of his responsibilities as an usher but also because he wanted enough time to pray.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI—now pope emeritus–recently shocked the whole world by stepping down from his position as head of the Church. This was the first time any pope had done that in 600 years. Realizing that old age and illness had taken its toll on him, he decided the Church needed someone physically and mentally stronger than he was to meet all of the challenges the Church is facing.

We all have our priorities, and one person’s priorities may not be the same as another person’s priorities. Someone may place family over work, personal integrity over a successful career, prayer over leisure time, or the good of others over a position of power—and someone else may do just the opposite.

The father in our gospel story wasn’t interested in an apology. He wasn’t interested in teaching a lesson. He wasn’t interested in getting justice. And he certainly was not interested in punishment. For this father, the top priority was mercy. Jesus has given us this beautiful story to let us know that mercy is his Father’s top priority, too.

see Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 10, 2013

Monday, March 10th, 2014

It seems like every day we hear about some political leader, actor, or professional athlete who is in the news because of some moral failure ranging from shoplifting to marital infidelity. While we, the public, may disapprove of the behavior of these famous persons, we are generally very tolerant: we recognize that one can still be a good leader, actor, or athlete without being perfect.

Witnessing the huge catch of fish hauled in at Jesus’ command, Simon Peter fearfully falls to his knees and says to Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” But Peter’s admission of guilt does not prevent Jesus from telling him, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Jesus does not require from Peter a ritual of purification or an act of penance. He is willing to take him as he is, as sinful as he is, knowing that Peter is still able to do the work that he has for him.

In a few days, we will begin the penitential season of Lent, a time when the Church asks us to examine our lives and change our hearts. Are we, like Peter, sinful people? Of course. We are all human, and sin is part of being human. But we must remember that our human sinfulness does not disqualify us from the work of a disciple of Jesus. In spite of any sins with which we may struggle, the grace of God that St. Paul mentions in our second reading is still active in us and can be effective through us, enabling us to make peace with enemies, welcome strangers, serve the poor, visit the sick, build up the church community, and spread the good news of God’s love.

The work of a disciple does not require perfection. It requires only the willingness to be a disciple. God will do the rest.

see Luke 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm