Archive for September, 2015

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino), September 20, 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Before our patron saint, Joseph of Cupertino, was accepted by the Franciscan order, the friars considered him so stupid, clumsy, and useless that the only job he might be capable of doing was taking care of the community mule—with whom Joseph did end up sharing living quarters in the stable. Were Joseph anybody else—perhaps someone more like us—he probably would have grown bitter and resentful at the way in which he was treated but instead, the opportunity to serve God and others, even in this very simple way, filled him with a spirit of joy. This spirit of joy never left him, even when his later tendency to fly through the air in religious ecstasy brought him great personal suffering, including virtual imprisonment for the last 10 years of his life.

Many people have served others, continued to serve others grudgingly, perhaps angrily. We certainly would not expect those who are enslaved to be happy about their loss of freedom and dignity. Those who get paid for their service—waiters, janitors, salespeople, etc.—may hate their jobs and tolerate them only because they need the money. Still others may serve for free, volunteering in the community, at schools and at churches, but their smiling faces are only for show, meant to impress those around them.

Yes, Jesus wants us to be servants but it would be wrong for us to think that he wants us to offer just any kind of service. Jesus wants—demands—the kind of service that Joseph of Cupertino offered: service born out of real care for God and for his people, service done with true love and respect for those being served, service that fills us with joy.

see Mark 9:30-37

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 6, 2015

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

We all know older people who have hearing problems but either won’t get hearing aids or won’t use them; who shouldn’t get behind the wheel but still insist on driving; or who really can’t take care of themselves adequately but refuse to move out of their homes or have someone else live with them. It would be wrong, however, to say that only older people have problems admitting their weaknesses. People of all ages struggle to face difficult truths about themselves: addictions of various kinds; mental illness; selfishness; prejudice against minorities; an attitude of superiority; abusive treatment of spouses or other family members; neglect of those who are in need; hypocrisy in practicing one’s faith.

The man in our gospel reading had his ears opened by Jesus but in our case it may be our hearts and minds that need to be opened, opened to a new and better version of ourselves—one more in keeping with who Christ wants us to be. Christ can, through his grace and through the support and guidance of other people, make that new and better version of ourselves more of a reality only if we first admit that the present version of who we are is in some ways deficient. Christ can help us to change our lives only if we are willing to accept that our lives need changing.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God says in our first reading, “Be strong, fear not!” May God give to all of us the strength and the courage to recognize honestly those areas of our lives that are lacking, that Christ may then lay his hand on us and give us all that we need.

see Mark 7:31-37; Isaiah 35:4-7a

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm