Tag Archives: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE! 

Our first reading today from Genesis is part of the creation stories, and today we hear about the creation of man… man and woman… created in the image and likeness of God.

Man and woman who continue to be dependent on God’s blessings, no matter our age.  We are, if you will, both child and adult, both creation and creator, partners in bringing the Kingdom  of God to fruition.

As one article I read this week shared, what can I do?  What can my family do? What can my parish do? … to create a holier home, neighborhood, parish… world?

This week, I read a story about two brothers, Cole who is 10 and Blake who is 8, from the Washington Post, August 17, 2021 entitled: Turtle Patrol:

Two brothers – Cole, 10, and Blake, 8 – were riding their bikes to go fishing near their Ventura, Iowa, home when they discovered a horrible site: a group of dead baby turtles crushed by cars as they tried to cross the busy road.  Cole and Blake climbed off their bikes and began helping other small turtles cross the busy thoroughfare.  The brothers recruited their friends Kasen, Keygan and Zacaious to come and help the turtles make it across.

The boys returned to the crossing every day this summer to help the Western painted turtles cross the road between the marsh and the lake where the turtles looked for new nesting spots.  The five were at the crossing for a couple of hours every day.

“They seem okay with us moving them but they usually tuck their heads inside as soon as we pick them up,” nine-year-old Keygan explained.  “We’re helping the turtles see a lot of extra days, and that makes me feel happy.”:

Biologist Scott Grummer of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said, “what these kids are doing is wonderful, and I hope their love of conservation stays with them throughout their lives.  It’s heartwarming that they’re using their summer break to help nature and protect turtles from getting hit by cars.”

The boys would watch for the turtles from the safety of a nearby bike path and crossed the road themselves only if there was no traffic – but on occasion, they held up their arms to stop a car if the turtles were on the move.

The boys estimated that they have saved more than 200 turtles.  The five didn’t mind that their “turtle watch” cut into their fishing time.

Keygan said, “We do it because they’re living things – we don’t want to see them run over and killed.”

These boys, in recognizing the danger these poor turtles faced and realizing their ability to do something about it… these children mirrored the “child-like” faith Jesus asks all of us to embrace.  Faith that does not separate words from action.  Faith that is centered in loving God in loving others (loving creation) without condition or expectation.

The power of such simple child-like faith is the ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication, and agenda in order to mirror the selfless generosity of Jesus Christ.

Whether they realized it or not, these children were advancing, were building up the Kingdom of God here on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

May we seize the moments, ever before us, big and small, to do the same today and every day, that build up the Kingdom of God, here on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE! 

It’s been 6 months since Easter 2020… which we might say “never was”.  Easter, the Easter Vigil in particular is the “Mass of the Year”…

It is at the Easter Vigil that we “receive” Candidates and Catechumens into the faith.

Well today is the EASTER VIGIL… Today, we are welcoming James with whom we will be celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Communion (Eucharist).

For sure today is personal day for James, but so is today personal day for each of us…  We are not spectators, we are people of faith.  Welcoming James to walk with us, and we with him as we all walk with our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ.

Because it is JESUS we encounter in the Sacraments.  It is JESUS who is our WAY, our TRUTH and our LIGHT.  It is JESUS who asks us to not only walk with Him, but to BRING Him to one another and to all.

Today, may be a first step for James, but it is an opportunity for us to renew, to recommit,  to live anew, to share our stories of faith, our stories of “God’s Presence” in our lives.

Today is about continuing the plan of God here on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Today’s readings are not about God bringing people to a wretched end.  Rather, today’s Scriptures are a reminder to us, as a person, family and Parish to continue to bring about the KINGDOM of GOD each and every day.

A Kingdom of caring and sharing…  acceptance and forgiveness…  working together… growing together… respect and love for all thoughts and all people…  life and eternal life for all.

Often, at the end of Lent, during the Easter Season, we reflect, we ask… How have I changed?  How is my life a bit more like that of Jesus Christ?

Truth is that question, that reflection is valid every Sunday.

Often the Sundays of the year are referred to a “mini-Easters”.  Reminders if you will of our need to continue to live our faith, to love God, love others and be faithful disciples; every day and not just on Easter.

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

Recently, FBI Agent Troy Sowers retired after 22 years of service.  He expected nothing more than some doughnuts and coffee at his retirement party.  But his colleagues arranged something much bigger.

Seems when Sowers a Rookie Agent working in Seattle, he and police were called when a baby was kidnapped from a Washington Hospital by a woman impersonating a nurse.  The kidnapper was soon apprehended, and Sowers managed to convince her to lead him to the baby.  She had left the infant in a box next to a restaurant dumpster.  Sowers rushed to the restaurant hoping the baby was still alive when he found him.  When Sowers picked up the infant, he was not crying, but just nuzzled right into his neck and he knew he was fine.  The medical crew arrived shortly and took the baby away.

A senior agent told Rookie Sowers, “Troy, I’ve got to tell you, something like that… You’ll never do anything better than that.”

The case stuck with Sowers and over the years, he wondered what had happened to the child he rescued.  At this retirement party, he found out.  His fellow agents tracked down the baby – now 22 years old – and invited him to the retirement party.  And so FBI Agent Troy Sowers was reunited with Stewart Rembert, now a corporal in the US Marine Corps.

“My parents wanted me to give you a big hug,” Rembert told the stunned FBI Agent. “Thank you for giving me an opportunity to have a life…  It’s crazy to think that without his efforts, I would not even be here today.  I would not be a Marine.  My family would not be the same. I am just super excited and honored to meet this man today,” said Corporal Rembert.

Agent Sower said the reunion was “probably one of the best surprises I have ever had.”

“I am glad to see what you have done with your life,” he told Rembert.  “Pass it on!”

Today’s Gospel and the Lord’s reminder that however small our faith (mustard seed faith) that much good is possible.  Ordinary acts of kindness; simple acts of caring; every act of generosity done in faith can change lives and will one day bear fruit, abundant fruit.

In recent bulletins, and in a mailing going out to all the Parish this week, we will be sharing information about a Diocesan Campaign entitled:  “Re-Igniting our Faith.”

In a nutshell, we are being asked to look to the future as a church locally and as a Diocese, not just today, or this week or this month…

Among Diocesan efforts in need of consideration are:

  • Support for Vocations
  • Increasing efforts for evangelization
  • Increasing resources for Catholic Education
  • Providing critical funding to assist our retired priests (my favorite)

And here in our Parish there is always a wish list for such areas as:

  • Increasing outreach to the needy (locally and beyond)
  • Meeting changing needs in ministry to the Parish and beyond
  • Increasing efforts to share and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Obviously there is a financial ask here.  And there is no doubt that St. Mary’s, Crescent has been and continues to be very generous to the Parish financially when it comes to weekly parish support and to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, for which each of us here at St. Mary’s are very grateful.  And it goes without saying this support must continue and I have faith that we, the people of St. Mary’s, Crescent, will do so.

When it comes to supporting the Re-Igniting our Faith Campaign, there may be reasons for doing so or not…  However, I only ask that you:

  1. Read, reflect and pray about the information that will be coming to you in the coming days at your home….
  2. And when it comes to a financial gift – whether it be a one-time gift or a gift over the coming 5 years for Re-Igniting our Faith, think mustard seed faith, mustard seed generosity… that can go a long way and make a big difference.
  3. Remember today’s story about the actions of a Rookie FBI Agent that made such a difference over the years…  Acts of kindness and generosity by others have bloomed over the years for which we have been and are beneficiaries.

Re-igniting our Faith is an effort, a campaign, for us to pass it on.

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

There is no doubt that our Scripture Readings this weekend speak to the wonder of marriage. Marriage that calls a couple:

  • Not to perfection, but to commitment
  • To the hard work of patience and understanding… and more
  • Despite disappointments and failed expectations, to center their lives in the love of God and so much more…

Today however, I would like to center in on the last few lines of today’s Gospel, with the children coming to Jesus…

Many of us are aware of the picture of Jesus sitting on a rock surrounded by serene children gazing attentively at him. Those of us who know real-life children doubt the genuineness of this artwork.

In the time of Jesus, children did not have rights and were often regarded as property. The Disciples even felt that Jesus had more important things to do than to waste time on children. But, Jesus being Jesus, has another message for us: by serving children, we serve God.

As we know children often mirror the behavior they have observed from their parents or other significant adults. How many parents have been either embarrassed or charmed when they hear their own words coming out of the child’s mouth or the child insists on doing something exactly the way a parent does it.

As we hear in the Gospel today, how do you think the children emulated Jesus blessing them?

God created us to be in relationship so we could mirror God’s presence to each other…

Simply put, Jesus wants us to BLESS each other… A blessing that happens or can happen not just at home, but needs to happen every day in many many ways! Like Jesus, may we grow in being more and more welcoming of one another and other into our lives and bringing and being blessings to one another and others every day.

Finally, since children do say the darnedest things (Art Linkletter), let me close with this amusing anecdote: One day a 4th Grade Catholic School teacher asked her students:  “Does anyone remember the words Jesus spoke about matrimony?”

One student trying to think of Jesus quotes, shouted out, “Yes, Teacher! Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.’”

May we all know what we are doing as we bring the blessings of Jesus into the lives of our children and others in and through our lives of faith daily.

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s readings using the vineyard as our focus can lead us in a variety of directions in the area of stewardship.

One of those areas is the “vineyard” we call planet Earth and how are we caring for the gifts of this planet, given to us to watch over.  We hear about things like floods and droughts, global warming and efforts to better use the resources that we have, like water and oil.  I guess the point is, God asks every generation to use what he has given us – in a positive way.  For in reality, we are not the owners, but are the present day caretakers of planet Earth.

This weekend, invites us to look at the ways we as a nation, a people, a family, a person – can be good caretakers in our time.

Certainly there are many efforts – big and small – that show our care and respect for our planet – Earth.  Using its resources not only for our own needs but for others and for future generations.

Sometimes we need to begin with the little things when it comes to caring for this vineyard: planet Earth.  For instance:

+ Avoid Littering – I see fast food containers or empty cans along the road side here by the church all the time. Might I add, if we do see litter on the ground, we can pick it up and place it in a trash receptacle.

+ Return those bottles and cans for your five cents.

+ Recycle to the best of your ability.

+ Avoid waste.  Do we really need a 52 oz. big gulp soda, when all we want is an 8 oz. soda?

+ Turn the water off, I would guess it need not run for the two hours we are in the bathroom each morning.

+ And speaking of turning things off, do turn off the lights when leaving a room, especially at home.  At least when you are the last one out.

Fun fact: if you turn off the faucet or light switch, they can be turned on again.

In our Gospel today, Jesus did not call for the elimination of the rebellious tenants, rather he called for other people to take their place and do what needed to be done.

May we be the people who do what we need to do for our planet and its people for this generation and for the next.

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Just maybe a good many of us have said, as we heard the Disciples of Jesus say today, “Lord, increase our faith.”  Maybe the increase of faith is not in “the knowing, ” maybe the increase of faith is in the “living.”

In a Book entitled: Will Our Children Have Faith, the author shares:

“Christian education has modeled itself on the schooling-instructional paradigm of our secular schools.  Instead of expecting faith formation to happen within a variety of contexts — the family, church, school, and the church school — religious education has been relegated entirely to Sunday morning classes.  There children learn the facts about religion, but will they learn or experience faith?  How can we be communities that nourish and nurture the faith of children, instead of only teaching them facts?”

As I shared a few weeks ago, not only are we being surveyed by camera but also by others, most especially our children.  What are our children seeing and learning about faith from the ways we live our lives daily at home, work, and school and beyond.

What is it we are learning (because we are always learning) or have learned what needs to take root in the lives we live every day, more and more…  I think over the past few years, this is exactly what Pope Francis is reminding us of when he reminds us to live the FAITH we know:

  • stop the gossiping
  • stop judging
  • pray, everyday

When he says, “good works, do not keep well in the fridge.  Good works need to be shared the minute there is a need.”  Good works at home, at work, at school to name a few places.

As pilot “Sully,” the captain of the plane that landed in the Hudson River 7 years ago said at the NTSB when he was called the “x-factor” that allowed everyone to survive, “everyone survived because the co-pilot, stewardesses, passengers, flight controllers, emergency medical personnel and good Samaritans – all came together.”

Finally, let me share this reflection about living the faith verses just knowing the faith: Right now, a month before national elections, are we refusing to speak to our Republican or Democratic neighbor?  Have we let our tongues wag with negativity about national or local candidates?  You may say, “but it is the truth!  The candidate has done such and such, has said such and such!”  Jesus says to remember that person is created in the image and likeness of God.  That person is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Love your neighbor as yourself, even it that neighbor is a political candidate!”

As the present day Disciples of Jesus, we too say, “Lord increase my faith.”  May our prayer lead us to make the effort with the grace and power of God to live the gift of faith that can grow and grow and grow into a life beyond our imagining, but not beyond God’s.

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:  Isaiah 5: 1-7;  Philippians 4: 6-9;  Matthew 21: 33-43

The Gospel of Jesus Christ that we hear week after week contains truth for all times and all places and all people.

If we read today’s Gospel thinking that it applies only to the Chief Priests and leaders of the time of Jesus, or the early Christian Church, we miss the point and let ourselves off the hook.

How does today’s gospel story apply to us today?

We have all been blessed by God.  Our lives might be seen as the vineyard.  God blesses us all with abilities and talents.  God blesses us with wisdom and circumstances and the strength to bring fruit out of the vineyard of our lives.

What does God ask of us, of you, of me?  To love others, to care for others, to share our gifts and talents with others, to be good and positive role models (people who make the effort each day) and to pray (this is a big message of Bishop Scharfenberger).

Today’s Gospel most certainly rallies us to join forces to build up the Kingdom of God.

Even Pope Francis noted this past week in his Wednesday audience that we need to use our gifts and talents for the service and the good of others and our community and our churches.

Often we are not sure how we can serve.

Often we think we do not have the tools to help others.

Maybe we need to remember the words of Jesus:  Fear not.

All is from God and God has blessed us with what we need to make our life fruitful.

Almost daily, people share examples of how they are giving back, how they are sharing what they have:

  •  Like the young parent who also teaches Faith Formation…
  •  Like the parishioner who weekly visits a home bound parishioner…
  •  Like the young person who steps forward to be a reader or choir member…
  •  Like the parishioner who assists with landscaping or maintenance…
  •  Like the person who encourages others to join them in a parish activity…
  •  Like the parishioner who invites others to share in God’s love and care and understanding in their community of faith.

This past week, a new parishioner shared that the stained glass windows behind me got her attention while attending Mass.  It goes without saying these stained glass windows of the Corporal Works of Mercy are meant to be lived by us, the disciples of Jesus, today and every day.

On commentator shared recently, “Unfortunately, many of us have become a nation of spectators.  We watch TV and movies, we watch our hand-held devices, we watch other people play sports, and we do not take the field ourselves.  Maybe it is time for us to rise from the bench and get to work.”

As St. Paul shared with us today. “Finally Brothers and Sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…  Keep on doing what you have learned and see in me.  Then the God of Peace will be with you.”