Archive for September, 2016

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 18, 2016 (Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino)

Monday, September 19th, 2016

In spite of what Jesus says in our gospel today, it is not so easy to tell who is trustworthy and who is not. Joseph of Cupertino was certainly not trustworthy when doing chores. Right in the middle of washing the dishes or serving a meal, he would forget what he was doing and everything would come crashing down. But the poor trusted Joseph; they considered him one of their own. As for others in his life, all those who should have been trustworthy were not: not his own mother, who said he was good for nothing and threw him out of the house; not the religious communities that rejected him because of his ignorance and absent-mindedness; not the religious community that eventually accepted him but abused him, first treating him like a servant and then, after the manifestation of his spiritual abilities, like a prisoner. Worst of all, it seems, was God, who from the very beginning of Joseph’s life, failed to prevent one painful experience after another, forcing Joseph to endure what for the rest of us would be a life of endless hardship and misery.

It is not so easy to tell who is trustworthy and who is not. St. Joseph would say to us that he understands the heartbreak, the betrayal, the anger we feel when those we trust, including God, seem to be unworthy of that trust: when we expect support and we get opposition, when we expect healing and we get brokenness, when we expect love and get hate, when we expect life and we get death. But Joseph, always the first to admit that he lacked knowledge, would also be quick to remind us that we cannot understand, at least in this life, the workings of God. And he would invite us to take with him the leap of faith in the God St. Francis called “Good, all Good, supreme Good.”

see Luke 16:10-13

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 11, 2016

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Have you ever thought about the questions you’d like to ask God in heaven? I have. I’m not that interested in understanding the Trinity or even the meaning of life. What I’d really like to know is where the things I’ve lost actually ended up. I’d like ask God what happened to that sweater that I lost in 1983 or the keys I lost soon after coming here as pastor in 2005. The other questions can wait.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to find the things we lose—all those prayers to St. Anthony pay off! At other times, however, the things we lose stay lost. In spite of our best efforts—and all those prayers to St. Anthony—we never find those lost articles. We give up looking for them and, eventually, we move on with our lives, with perhaps just a wishful thought about them every once in a while.

But, as we have heard time and time again, God is not like us. In the parables that he shares with us today, Jesus gives us an idea of God’s persistence by speaking of a shepherd looking for a lost sheep or a woman searching for a lost coin, but God’s persistence—and determination—go far beyond that of any human being when, impelled by a love beyond human imagination, God tries to bring back those who have wandered off the right path or deliberately turned away. Unlike us, God doesn’t quit and will continue to work to reach the depths of people’s hearts and change them.

This is why we may despair of finding some lost family heirloom but must not despair of God finding people who seem lost. God, who can do much more than you or I, is still looking.

see Luke 15:1-10

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 4, 2016

Monday, September 19th, 2016

A commonly misunderstood teaching of the Catholic Church is the infallibility of the pope. Yes, we believe that the pope is infallible—without error—but only in matters of faith or morals and when he makes a formal pronouncement as the head of the Church. This doesn’t happen every day. In fact, it’s generally agreed that aside from the canonization of saints [like Mother Teresa’s today], the last infallible statement of a pope came back in 1950, when Pope Pius XII declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed—taken up—into heaven at the end of her earthly life. The pope is definitely not infallible if tries to predict the weather or choose the numbers for a Lotto ticket.

We all make mistakes: we all are the people who lay the foundation for a tower but lack the money to finish its construction; we all are kings forced to make peace after leading ten thousand troops into battle against an enemy with twenty thousand. Looking back with regret, we wish we could change the past, do things differently, not have made that foolish decision or taken action without thinking of the possible consequences.

When Jesus speaks of us carrying our crosses, I think our past mistakes are a large part of that burden, weighing us down as we struggle to make our way on this journey of life. But if we are to be free of earthly attachments, as Jesus wishes us to be, we must also be free of our attachment to our mistakes. To do this, we must keep before us always the mercy and forgiveness of God. It is this mercy and forgiveness, won for us by Jesus’ cross and resurrection, that sets us free.

see Luke 14:25-33

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 21, 2016

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Our parish is one of a small number in our diocese that have an outreach fund for the poor; the money in the fund comes from you, the parishioners. One of my responsibilities as pastor is to handle the requests of people who come to the rectory or call on the phone seeking assistance with food, gasoline, rent, or other necessities. I always ask those seeking assistance for the first time if they have any family members or friends to whom they can turn for help. I am astounded by how many people say that they have no family or friends. How can people end up in this life with no connections to anybody?

The people of whom Jesus speaks in our gospel reading seem very confident of their connection with God. But they are sadly mistaken: when they stand outside the house and knock, the master says to them, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Similarly, we may be very confident of our connection with God, our confidence bolstered by our attendance at mass, our daily prayers, all of our efforts to do good deeds and be good people.

God does love us, and God will never stop loving us. But what we have to understand is that if some of our connections with other people are broken, our connection with God is broken, too. If we have conflicts that are unresolved; if we have anger, or worse, hatred towards others; if we treat some as inferior because of some difference between them and us; if we just can’t be bothered to care about other people; our human relationships are not the only ones in need of repair.

As the One who gives life, sustains life, and makes it holy, God is intimately connected to every human life. But our connection to God is only as strong as our connection to other human beings.

see Luke 13:22-30

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm