Monday, July 25, 2022

17th Sunday in Ordinary time, 2022

 Give us each day our daily bread


Again, as with last week, a lot of saints have written about this “Give us each day our daily bread” in connection to the Eucharist…but again I would like to also reflect on the literal meaning of this phrase “give us each day our daily bread.”


I have been reflecting a lot on food and its role in my life recently.  I have been thinking about how much food we have beyond “our daily bread” in America,

and I have also been wrestling with the quality of our food, its mass production, wasteful packaging, etc.


In Laudato Si, Pope Francis wrote about food, and the importance of shifting to more sustainable small scale food production. 

Currently most of our food in the US is produced on a massive scale in very concentrated places with lots of chemicals and preservatives and shipped around the country.

Also, our extra food produced is shipped to other countries, destroying their local farming systems and making them dependent on foreign shipments of food.

We have tons of food at our disposal, but not many people know how to farm, how to raise and slaughter cows, chickens and goats and grow vegetables.  However, I do see a lot of positive signs in our communities of Clay County and Putnam County.     

First of all, I think that is what is great about the 4h clubs in each county.  Young people learn how to raise animals, cows, chickens goats, grow crops, etc.

There are also lots of parishioners who farm, grow gardens, and can their food for the winter. 

There are also lots of parishioners who raise cattle, goats and chickens.  Consider buying your meat and eggs from them.

There are also farmer’s markets throughout my parish boundaries which are a great way to buy local food

As we think about practical ways that we can ensure everyone has their daily bread, let us think local.  Catholic Social Teaching actually has a word for thinking local called subsidiarity.  It means doing things like food production at the most local level possible.

Let us do our small part to help shift our food growing to the local level, and also by doing so ensure that more people have their daily bread.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2022


The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.


Like Martha, we are almost assuredly anxious and worried about many things.  But when Jesus says there is need of only one thing, what, exactly IS that one thing?


St. Thomas Aquinas and others identify that one thing as being a life of contemplation, or contemplative prayer.  And most of us probably associate contemplative prayer only with monks and nuns and priests.


But we all have the capacity for contemplative prayer, and, when we try to enter into contemplative prayer we should know that the Devil will try to distract us in every moment.  But the Catechism says it is not a sin to be distracted in prayer, all that is needed is to, once you realize you have been thinking about other things, to simply refocus back on the Lord Jesus.


We live in anxious times and distracting times…the most distracted times in human history so far.  And so it is hard to carve out time for prayer.  But a monk at St. Meinrad said “Until we are convinced that prayer is the best way to spend our time, we will never find time for prayer.”


Like Mary, let us choose the better part; let us spend time in the presence of Jesus each day in prayer.  Let us step away from the busyness of life to still our minds, hearts, bodies and souls at the foot of the Master.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

"You need to smile more"????

I have heard it around from a lot of different directions, that I need to smile more, and other priests need to smile more, or are not smiling enough.

I would just to offer this reflection on smiling.

First of all, there are many acts of love that are accomplished totally absent smiling, and in fact done with screams of agony.  Most notably, the greatest act of love for all eternity, Jesus' death on the Cross, was done with extreme agony.   Most of the martyrs also went to heaven under cries of agony and pain.

Also, we have Jesus' various words throughout the Gospels, including:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."

"And Jesus wept"

Secondly, most sins are done with a smile.  Gossip and lots of other sins are done with a smile.  

Certainly the Bible, in a few verses, encourages smiling. 

Proverbs 15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart"

Proverbs 15:13-15 “A glad heart makes a happy face"

Psalm 126:2-3 “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy”

Romans 5:3-4 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance."

But none of the above passages say in any way that smiling equates to holiness.

Let us not judge a person's soul for any reason

Let us not judge a person good because they smile

and let us not judge a person as "lacking" because they do not smile

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Tuesday in the 15th Week in Ordinary Time, 2022


In today’s first reading, Jerusalem finds itself far outnumbered, and surrounded by enemies intent on destroying the city.  The prophet Isaiah is sent to strengthen the king of Judah, Ahaz, and Isaiah says to Ahaz, although you do not see a way out of this situation, God will destroy all these nations encamped against you.  And the prophet Isaiah ends his speech to king Ahaz with the line “Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!”


As we look around the world today, it seemed like Catholics are surrounded on all sides by people intent on destroying the Church.  The Catechism even assures us, in paragraph 675 that

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”


We feel surrounded, but Isaiah’s words to king Ahaz in our first reading today are as relevant as ever…unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm.


There are millions of miracles being worked in Brazil, IN, every day.  Let us resolve to not have Jesus say about Brazil, IN  “it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you”

Monday, July 11, 2022

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time


There are lots of amazing things that have been written by Catholic saints about this parable.  As with any of Jesus’ parables, we can never stop gleaning fruit from the parable of the good Samaritan.


But I would like to keep it simple today with a few questions.

First of all, I would like us to think about whether we love the poor and hurting around us and stop to see how we can help?

And of course some of them are hurting and poor because of sin.  But I heard a great reflection from Dr. Ray Guarendi a while back on Catholic radio, and he said something to the effect of “If we could see each person’s past, we would likely be much more empathetic towards them, and much more willing to help them.”  That is also why God tells us not to judge anyone.  Of course we are supposed to judge individual actions, but God tells us to never judge another human PERSON.  One of the reasons is that only God knows the entirety of a human person’s past.


We are all moved when we see or hear of a toddler being abused, but most of those toddlers do not get help, and become adults.  Some of them turn to drugs or alcohol or gangs to try to cope with the trauma. 


I also think it is important to recognize that by loving the poor we are literally willing their good, and so that does not always mean money, but it does always mean working for this particular person right in front of me, working for his or her good, and it is really hard to do that without speaking to them.  Often just speaking to a person is a reminder to them of their dignity and worth, especially with so many in our country today without family and without friends.


The questions are simple, but it is a lot harder, at least initially, to stop and talk to those who are hurting and poor, and who if we could see their past, we would likely be much more sympathetic to.  But like all things in our Catholic Faith, the more we do it, the easier it gets. 


And if we are waiting on God to tell us to help this person or that person, God has already told us what to do…we should love our neighbors as ourselves.  If you are waiting on a thunderous voice from the sky, it probably will not come.


Let us set about talking with and honoring and encountering those around us who are broken and hurting, and let us not pass by on the other side of the road.