Archive for September, 2017

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino), September 24, 2017

Friday, September 29th, 2017

If we want to know what it means to be last, all we have to do is look at the life of Joseph of Cupertino. His own mother thought he was good for nothing. He was probably the worst student in school—the object of every other kid’s ridicule and the student who most tried his teacher’s patience. He was turned away by religious communities he wanted to join. Finally admitted to the Franciscans, he was assigned to the stable, where he also slept next to the animals. When his ability to fly was evident, he was hidden away and practically kept as a prisoner.

But today Joseph is a saint in heaven—honored not only by our parish community but also by the faithful throughout the world and especially by God. In life Joseph may have been last but he is not last anymore.

Sad to say, there are still many people who know what it means to be last: those rejected for being too different, odd, ugly, untalented; the old and the sick who are forgotten or ignored; victims of injustice, poverty and persecution. The story of our patron saint offers hope to those who are last—but do they have to wait until heaven to get an upgrade? Today St. Joseph of Cupertino lifts up all of these people and holds them in front of us, reminding us that while others may put them last, God puts them first—and we should do the same.

see Matthew 20:1-16a

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 29th, 2017

After the Nazis occupied the Netherlands during World War II, Corrie ten Boom and her family tried to help Jews by hiding them in their home in Amsterdam to prevent them from being rounded up and sent to death camps. Eventually, however, someone reported the family’s illegal activities to the authorities and they suffered the same fate as the people they had tried to rescue. Corrie was the only member of her family to survive internment.

Years later, when Corrie was traveling throughout Europe lecturing on the subject of forgiveness, a man in the audience in Munich came forward to thank her for the talk she had just given. She was horrified to recognize him as one of the guards from the camp where she and her sister were interned. The man extended his hand but Corrie, her mind flooded by painful memories, could not bring herself to shake it. Even though she had just given a talk on forgiveness, she could not forgive this man for what he had done.

Then Corrie began to pray silently: “Jesus, I cannot forgive this man. Give me your forgiveness.” At that moment, her hand, as if moved by some unseen force, took the man’s hand—and she forgave him.

Sometimes people hurt us so deeply that the pain issues forth as from a bottomless well. We know of Jesus’ commandment to forgive and still we find no ability in ourselves to do so. That is why we have to look somewhere else. Like Corrie ten Boom, we must look to Jesus, who alone can give the grace to forgive our sisters and brothers from the heart.

see Matthew 18:21-25

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 10, 2017

Friday, September 29th, 2017

As a former college English major, I have occasionally offered to correct the writing of other people. But aside from asking someone to check for spelling errors or misplaced commas, people rarely welcome correction. I think we all get defensive when people criticize us. When someone tries to tell us we’ve done something wrong, our first reaction is not a gracious, “Thank you for pointing that out,” but an angry “Who do you think you are?”

Nonetheless, the correction of others is still a temptation. The words in our gospel—attributed to Jesus but really a reflection of the practice of the early Christian community—seem to encourage this correction. But I suggest that before we “help” others by telling them their faults, we consider the answers to these questions:

First, do I really want to help the person or is my criticism just a way of lashing out in retaliation?

Second, is what the person did to me really important or is it just important to me?

Third, will my words bring reconciliation and peace or just cause a larger divide between me and the other person?

And fourth, am I fully aware of and do I humbly acknowledge my own imperfection? Am I trying to remove a splinter from someone else’s eye without removing the wooden beam from my own?

We may be tempted to correct others but after some thought, we may find that we are the ones who need correcting.

see Matthew 18:15-20

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 3, 2017

Friday, September 29th, 2017

“I have good news and bad news. What do you want to hear first?”

Unfortunately, no matter how we answer this question, the bad news doesn’t go away. And that’s also true in the life of any one of us: there will always be some bad news, whether we’re talking about war, natural disasters, sickness, death, injustice, rejection, failure, or anything else that can cause us pain or sorrow. All of creation is imperfect, and that includes the human race, damaged by ignorance and sin. Eventually, everyone is affected by that imperfection in creation.

That’s difficult for us to accept. Like Peter in our gospel story, we try desperately to hold on to the fiction that bad things will happen to other people, somewhere else, but nothing bad will happen to people we love—or to us. Like Peter, we say “God forbid” that this or that should happen.

But Peter doesn’t listen very well, and neither do we. Yes, Jesus says that he must “suffer greatly . . . and be killed,” but he also says that he will “be raised.” As people of faith, we can’t stop at the bad news but we must also hear the good news: the good news that tells us that whatever suffering we have to endure in this life, we have a God who saves, a faithful God who loves us enough to ensure that ultimately, what is in store for us is the best of news.

see Matthew 16:21-27

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm

22nd Sun. O.T. (A) Sept. 3, 2017 11 & 5

see Matthew 16:21-27