Monday, July 17, 2017
I want to start a garden – he told the owner of the garden center – but my yard is a problem. I get blazing sun in the afternoon for two hours, but otherwise it’s all shade. How about the soil? – Hard clay, lots of rocks. What do you recommend I plant? Why don’t you check out aisle 2 – we have a new supply of Birdbaths and flag poles!
Passing on the faith is just like planting – sometimes there are many obstacles. Unlike modern farming, where seeds are put in nice straight rows, the farmers of Jesus time just tossed the seed. It landed in all sorts of places:
Some fell on hard soil. Saw on “CBS This Morning” New on line grocer called “Brandless.” Sell about 200 products – everything is $3.00. They sell directly to consumers, saving people money. Owners say 78% of customers are millennials born between 1981-1997 or so. They:
- Don’t want to buy products they grew up with
- Don’t want their parents government
- Don’t want their parents institutions
- Don’t want to go with brands.
Soil is hard!!!
Some fell on rocky ground – no roots
Was a time we valued things like motherhood, fatherhood, fraternity, civic involvement, church involvement – this has given way to SAT scores and future earning power. Marriage and religious participation is being replaced by striving for money, power, prestige.
Instead of bringing happiness – has led to great loss of meaning and hope. Since the 1980’s loneliness among adults in USA increased from 20% to 40 %. Social isolation is now a major public health crisis – on par with cancer & heart disease. Life expectancy of Americans is decreasing for first time since 1930’s. I don’t have to tell you – drugs, suicide is now 2nd leading cause of death among teens and young adults. NO ROOTS!
Some fell among briars & choked it. Two brothers were Christians – Clarence & Robert. Clarence involved with civil rights &Robert was a lawyer. Once Clarence asked Robert for legal help – no, it could hurt my career. I thought you were a follower of Christ? - only to a point, I am not following him onto the cross. Robert, you are not a follower of Christ, only an admirer. Faith choked!
Some found good soil – we realize the difference faith can make –
Beautiful Vacation Bible School – Sister Marie teaching Catechists about their faith – collecting clothing & food for homeless for Midnight Run – St. Joseph’s Men’s group delivering beds to the poor – and our own garden out back – delicious vegetables for the food pantry
So – we keep throwing the seed – and we don’t give up - because we have something here – a light in the darkness – THE way to experience peace, fulfillment and joy!
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Come to me all who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest – lovely words!
So many burdens: responsibilities - hardships - anxiety - Loneliness - Handicaps
Failures - Bitterness - Grief - Guilt - Illness - Old age - Worries that we are burden to others.
Some carry burdens and are not even noticed! A faculty member at a college had his room cleaned every week. A woman came in and did an excellent job. They would often chat. He learned that she had to be up at 5 each day to catch a bus to work. Then, when she was done after a long day, she had to care for her family. He also learned that a professor was in this same room for 14 years and never once spoke to this woman. She would say Good morning with no response. Finally, she gave up. All it takes sometimes is just a word of appreciation, to help make a heavy burden light. It makes a world of difference when we treat others with dignity and respect.
Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart
Meek and humble of heart – allowing others to walk over us? Not at all!
Meek – from Greek word praus (prah-oos) a military term referring to a horse. The finest wild stallions were trained as war horses. They were filled with spirit, courage and power, but were disciplined top respond to the slightest nudge or pressure from the riders leg. They were “meeked” strength under control. Cooperation. Allow God to guide us, allow God to be in control.
Two things about yokes:
-yokes are custom made for each ox. They were carved from solid wood , form ftted so that the yoke would not create sores. Like having on an old pair of shoes.
- allows two animals to pull together. Work is shared!
My yoke is easy and my burden is light
Boy was helping dad with yard work. Dad asked him to move a few rocks. There was this one rock, He tried and tried but he could not move it. Finally, he gave up. Dad, I can’t do it. Dad asked – did you use all your strength? Yes, every ounce. No, you did not. You did not ask me to help. Together they moved the rock.
Come to me . . . Take my yoke . . .
Saturday, June 10, 2017
As we mentioned earlier, today is the Feast Day of St. Columba, the Patron Saint of our parish, and one of the Patron Saints of our school. Twenty-five years ago, Cardinal O’Connor split the parish of St. Denis and created the new parish of St. Columba. Fifty years ago, the people of St. Denis Parish, which included the Mission Church of St. Columba, founded our magnificent school. And so, we are celebrating two significant milestones this year!
St. Columba was born in Donegal, Ireland many years ago. When he began his studies for the priesthood, he used to spend much time praying in church. His fellow students called him Columkille – the Dove of the Church. He was a brilliant man who would travel about Ireland teaching about Jesus. He founded many churches and monasteries.
Eventually, St. Columba left Ireland with a small group of monks and landed off the coast of Scotland on Iona Island. There he founded a monastery that became famous all over Europe. From there, Columba and his monks spread the faith all over Scotland. At one point, he even banished an evil creature to the deeps of a lake – the Loch Ness Monster! Years later on Iona Island, his monks created the famous “Book of Kells” which can be seen today at Trinity College, Dublin.
Two years ago, I traveled to Iona to visit his monastery and his grave. Sadly, the Vikings beat me there. To protect his relics, they were moved to Downpatrick in Ireland where he rests next to St. Patrick & St. Bridget.
Monasteries were and still are special places of learning. Throughout history, Catholics have built schools and colleges to educate their young. Fifty years ago, the people of Hopewell Junction stepped out in faith to create a school. It has educated generations of young people like yourselves. A school cannot work without a dedicated principal, outstanding faculty and staff, supportive parishioners and parents who understand the unique role of Catholic education – Education of the Whole person: Body, Mind and Soul. My dear graduates, you have much to be thankful for tonight.
As you go forward from St. Denis – St. Columba, what is my wish for you?
Before age of cable TV and cell phones., town streets were lit by gas lamps.
Couldn’t just hit a switch, had to have a lamplighter who would go out each evening and light the lamps.
One night, an English writer named John Ruskin was sitting on his porch.
Across the valley, he could see the torch of the lamplighter as he went to each gas lamp.
Because it was getting dark, he could not see the lamplighter.
After a while, he pointed to the trail of lights and said to a friend:
That is a good example of how Christians are to live. You may never have seen them. But you know they passed through the world by the trail of lights they left behind.
Jesus said, you are the light of the world – in a world where there is so much darkness - my dear graduates, let your light shine!!! God bless you!!!