Archive for August, 2017

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 20, 2017

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

When I go to the eye doctor each year, the part of my appointment that I dread the most is reading—or trying to read—the letters projected on the wall. I get embarrassed when I get to the letters I can’t read and I have to start guessing or just admit that I have no idea what they are.

One of the big problems with the racist and bigoted protesters the whole world saw on display at Charlottesville, VA, a week ago yesterday is that their vision is severely limited—and they don’t know it. They look at certain people and they can’t see beyond their color, their ethnic group, their religion. Instead of trying to improve their vision, they go through life with eyesight clouded by ignorance and impaired by ugly stereotypes and lies.

Jesus could have looked at the woman seeking his help and seen just a Canaanite, a non-Jew, and worse, an ancestral enemy of his people. But he was able to look beyond all that to see much more: not only a person of great faith but also a mother with great love for her child. Most important of all, Jesus was able to see this woman as someone worthy of his care and compassion.

Can we see beyond color, ethnic group, religion, or anything else that might cause us to make negative judgments about people before we even get to know them? Can we see with the eyes of Christ—eyes that see the value of each one of his sisters and brothers on this earth? If not, our vision must absolutely be corrected.

see Matthew 15:21-28

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 13, 2017

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

I am not a big risk taker. I don’t place bets, I don’t try every food that I haven’t tried before, and I certainly don’t jump out of airplanes. So rather than criticize St. Peter for his lack of faith, I have to commend him for making the attempt to walk across the water, even if he failed. He did something I would never do.

I’m not going to criticize Peter also because in another way, we all are like Peter. There may be some here who are risk takers, but every one of us is lacking in faith, and we always will be. That is simply part of our human nature and to expect something different, to expect that we will someday be filled to the brim with faith is not realistic for any of us.

To me, our gospel story is not encouraging us to have faith as much as it is reminding us of what will happen to us when, inevitably, our faith is at its weakest point. It is at those extremely trying, painful times in our lives, when we are devastated by terrible news, when plans fall apart and dreams evaporate, when enemies seem to surround us and we feel all alone, it is then that Jesus will stretch out his hand to us and catch us. No matter how little our faith, Jesus will not abandon us; he will not let us go under. As surely as Peter was amazed by the sight of Jesus on the water, we will be amazed at the strength that Jesus can give to us when we call out to him, “Lord, save us!”

see Matthew 14:22-23

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 30, 2017

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Stanley Rother grew up working on the family farm in a small town in Oklahoma. Not long after he was ordained a priest in 1963, he volunteered to be a missionary in Guatemala, where he found himself serving in a village of 40,000 people afflicted not only by crushing poverty but also by disease brought on by terrible living conditions: nine out of ten people were sickened by polluted water and about half of all the children died of malnutrition before they were six years old. Fr. Rother, along with other missionaries from his home diocese, worked hard to make the lives of the people better, digging wells, starting schools, opening a medical clinic. He was once seen operating a bulldozer from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., stopping only to celebrate mass. After learning Spanish, he took on the local Mayan language, becoming so proficient that he translated the New Testament into it.

The people of the village loved Fr. Rother deeply; the government, threatened by anyone who might incite rebellion among the peasants, hated him. After hearing that he was on a hit list, Fr. Rother sought safety back in the United States. But after two months at home with his family, he decided that he had to return to Guatemala. He told his brother, “A shepherd cannot run from his flock.” Just months after Fr. Rother went back to that flock, on July 28, 1981, three men broke into the rectory and killed him. On September 23 of this year, he will be declared blessed, the first American-born martyr of the Church, which awaits his canonization in the future.

Clearly, for Fr. Rother, God’s kingdom was the pearl for which there was no price too great. Most likely, you and I are not willing to pay so high a price. But I think Fr. Rother’s story challenges us to consider what we could offer for the sake of God’s kingdom. Whether it is something we can give, like time spent in the service of our parish, or something we can give up, like intolerance of those who are different, I would guess that we can do more than what we are doing now.

see Matthew 13:44-46

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm