Archive for February, 2016

1st Sunday of Lent, February 14, 2016

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

One of my favorite memories is probably one that no one else remembers. My youngest niece was about a year old and learning to walk when she came to visit our school one day. Being very popular with the schoolchildren, she was surrounded by a group of kids trying to get her to demonstrate her new skill but my niece, not recognizing the faces of the kids around her, was hesitant to move towards any of them. Suddenly, she saw me with my arms out and calling to her. Her face broke into a smile and then she walked right into my arms.

We learn from an early age who to trust and who not to trust. If someone is kind or affectionate, we learn trust; if someone is cruel or uncaring, we learn distrust. The same is true of our relationship with God: if we look at the world and especially our own lives or the lives of those closest to us and we see signs of God’s goodness, we can easily place our trust in God; if, however, we see in the world or in our lives or the lives of loved ones death and destruction, suffering and sorrow, trust in God is much harder to come by. Of course, the outcome of our prayers is also very important: answered prayers increase trust, while prayers that seem to go unnoticed increase only doubt.

In our gospel Jesus warns against putting God to the test but in reality, we do it every day. As long as things are going well, God passes; if things don’t go well, God can fail. But Jesus is right: we can’t put God to the test—and that’s because we don’t have enough information to test properly. God’s great love for us is matched only by God’s great mystery; God doesn’t make bad things happen but as long we live, we won’t understand why God allows them to happen. While trust in God can be based partially on experience—past blessings as well as those that surround us now—that trust is largely based on faith, faith in a loving God whose thoughts are not our thoughts, whose ways are not our ways.

see Luke 4:1-13

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 7, 2016

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Everybody procrastinates, and I am just as guilty as everyone else. If you happen to visit my office in the rectory, you might notice that the couch still looks almost new despite being more than ten years old. That is because it is usually covered by so many papers that there is no room for anyone to sit. Of course, I intend to sort through all those papers someday, but I keep putting off this project.

The prophet Isaiah in our first reading does not seem to have a procrastination problem. As soon as he hears God saying, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah responds, “Here I am.” In our gospel, Peter and the brothers James and John are not procrastinators, either. Once they have brought their boats ashore, they leave everything and follow Jesus, ready to become fishers of people.

I think you and I could take a cue from Isaiah and the apostles and be quicker to respond to God’s call. While there are some actions that may rightly and understandably require more time to accomplish—for example, forgiving someone for a deeply painful wound—there are other actions that we could take with far less delay: making prayer a regular part of our daily routine; checking on an elderly neighbor down the street; volunteering to be part of a ministry here in the parish; showing a family member that he or she is loved and appreciated.

It’s interesting that when we call upon God for something that we desire, it is always our hope that God respond immediately or at least very soon; we don’t say that an answer would be fine whenever God gets around to it. It’s only fair that we shorten our response time when God calls us.

see Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8; Luke 5:1-11

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 31, 2016

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Popularity can be a very arbitrary and mysterious thing. Some people are popular because of their looks or their talent, but those who are popular are not necessarily the best looking or the most talented. Some people are popular because they are “nice,” but “nice” tends to mean nice to me or someone I know. Are they really as nice as they seem? Popularity can come and go; just ask the music groups or movie stars that are popular for a while and then disappear. Political leaders (and presidential candidates) can be popular because of the stand they take on certain issues, but popularity and leadership are not the same. History and current events have shown that some leaders can be very popular—and also very evil. And there is absolutely nobody who is popular with everybody. This includes our Lord Jesus Christ, who in today’s gospel displays his utter lack of popularity among his own neighbors.

As much as Jesus wanted people to respond positively to the message of salvation, the good news of God’s love, he was not concerned about whether or not people loved him. His concern was about answering God’s call, doing the work that God had given him to do, being the person God intended him to be, regardless of the opinion of others. It was enough for him to know that God loved him, even if on some days he was surrounded by people who would throw him down a hill or nail him to a cross.

For us, may Jesus and the example he gives us be more desired than any popularity we would hope to have.

see Luke 4:21-30

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm