Archive for January, 2017

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 22, 2017

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

My father worked hard—perhaps too hard at times—to support a wife and four children. He worked long hours and rarely took a day off from his job of managing ranches on which hundreds of thousands of chickens were constantly laying eggs to be sold at grocery stores in our hometown of Bakersfield and throughout the Central Valley. I remember that on Sundays, he would go to work early and come home just in time to change clothes and go to mass with the family; after mass, he would return home, change back into his work clothes, and go back to work. He was definitely a good provider, just as many fathers and mothers are good providers for their families.

Scholars tells us that most of the apostles, including at least some of the ones mentioned in our gospel today, were married and had children. I have the feeling that they, too, were good providers for their families, whether they were fishermen or engaged in some other occupation. But in answering Jesus’ call to leave their nets and boats behind to become fishers of people, Peter and Andrew and the others are telling us to broaden our focus: it is not enough to take care of our family members; we must also provide for the needs of those beyond our family circle, those to whom our only family connection may be through our heavenly Father. It is good and honorable to care for family but better and more honorable to allow our love to overflow out of our homes and reach out to people everywhere. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did? In stretching out his arms upon the cross, he embraced the whole world.

From refugees struggling to survive war and persecution to those nameless parishioners we see each week, lonely and alone, these are the people we cannot ignore, even if we are busy providing for the needs of our own family members. If we have seen God’s great light and no longer walk in darkness, we must see all those around us as those whom we should love.

see Matthew 4:12-23; Isaiah 8:23-9:3

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

Mother of God, January 1, 2017

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

In 2015 there were reports that unscrupulous airport personnel in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, were dropping bullets into the luggage of travelers in an effort to force them to pay fines. To protect themselves, some Filipino travelers wrapped their luggage in layers of plastic and tape, sometimes including a defiant note on the outside saying that the luggage was “bulletproof.”

Occasionally, we have to be very careful about the things we carry with us.

As we move into this new year, I think it would be particularly harmful for us to bring any anger, bitterness, or hatred towards others, whether near or far. These negative attitudes are a kind of poison that damages not only our relationships with God and other people but also causes damage to us, making us resistant to God’s grace and, consequently, less of who God wants and expects us to be.

As always, Mary, Mother of God and our mother, has something valuable to teach us. She kept in her heart the memories of what God had done for her, the wonders of his love that she had been privileged to witness. Let us follow her example and carry into this new year memories of God’s goodness in our lives, remembering that God will continue to bless us.

see Luke 2:16-21; Numbers 6:22-27

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm