The Mission of Harvesters Wanted:

To spread the Good News of JESUS CHRIST in word and in action! As well as promoting the baptismal call of all the faithful to follow whatever vocation our God has called them to!

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:19-20

The place to find homilies and reflections given along the path of faith by Fr. Adam Carrico, a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

When this life is complete, I pray they say I lived For The Greater Glory of God +AMDG+

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Boniface Parish

November 25, 2018

USCCB Lectionary Readings

Have you ever known someone who just loves to give people they encounter a nickname? Perhaps, maybe you are that person, who knows? There are individuals out there who kind of have a knack for giving nicknames, for one reason or another. This includes a gentleman I went to school with who is now a priest of the Diocese of Little Rock. He just loved to give everyone in seminary a nickname, including the priests and the faculty - I'm not entirely certain that they ever knew that. It seemed he had a nickname for just about everyone. I forget now what mine was; I never liked it. I never liked the idea of him coming up with a name for me. It seemed to me that he, by some need of his own, felt compelled to claim power over others, and to do that he gave them a new name. He had his own special name for each of us and so he exerted some level of authority, some level of influence over everyone he met. I don't like this claiming of authority so much, I have my own name and it works just fine as far as I was, and am, concerned.

There is a tension that exists between who we are, and the name that we have. Our parents have given us good names, we didn’t choose them, but they are good names all the same. My parents gave me the name Adam Bradford Carrico to make sure that my initials are ABC. It is a wonderful little quirk I was given strait away. They're very funny people, I love them. Our name matters, while we don't necessarily choose it, our name matters. We may, as we go through life decide to go by this, or go buy that name, but we always have our given name. Our name has power over us and yet our name doesn't quite fully define who we are. Nonetheless, it has power over us.

I saw a movie recently, and I'm still unpacking what it says about who we are. The movie goes by the name Lady Bird. It is a movie about a young woman who is growing up and discovering who she is. She is often in somewhat of a conflict with others around her, especially her mom. Her given name is Christine, but she doesn't like that name; we’re never really told why, other than it was given to her and not by her choice. So, she gave herself the name Ladybird. Near the end of the movie there is this interesting dialogue that takes place when she's at a party and meets a random guy. Probably just making conversation she asks, “do you believe in God?” And the guy says “no, I'm an atheist… do you?” She replies under her breath, "People go by the names their parents give them, but they don't believe in God." I am still trying to figure out exactly what she may have meant by that, but I think I've concluded, at least for now, that it has a lot to do with how our relationship with God has so much to do with who we are; it defines us in so many ways. Do we believe in God? Do we not believe in God? Who is God to us? All these questions are so important to answering the question who are we? I think Lady Bird is stuck in the tension between names and authority, especially given her need for her own name, and that tension between her given name and who she truly is.

 Ecce Homo, Antonio Ciseri, 1871

We see this tension play out in similar ways in our Gospel. Pontius Pilate is the Roman authority over Judea and he is questioning Jesus asking him that question that is prevalent throughout the Gospels: “Who are you?” Who are you, what are you doing, what is your name, what are you here for? It returns time and again to “Who are you?” We know the person that is on trial standing before Pilate is God, God-made-man, a being of infinite power, even greater than the Roman Empire could ever hope to be. Standing right there in front of Pilate and this Roman authority is demanding to know who he is. He doesn’t see. They never seem to want to see. He pressures him, “people say that you are a king, are you a king?” They enter this odd back and forth but what Jesus is basically saying is that he is a king, just not the kind of king that Pilate would recognize. Pilate has his own ideas of what a king is and that understanding of a king is informed by the history of the Roman Empire. The Romans have an emperor at this point, but they have a long tradition casting kings aside. Kings had a dictator quality for the Romans, and so Pilate, as would any Roman citizen, looks with suspicion upon kings, he doesn't quite trust them. Even though Pilate has a difficult time seeing Jesus for who is truly is - the God-mad-man and King of the Universe, that does not change the fact that Jesus is a king. He is the kind of king that would make a cross is throne, would make a cross his altar of sacrifice. This king has come to give his life for his people. He is not the kind of king that Pilate expects, I dare say not the kind of king that any of us would really expect.

Tapestry of Christ the King,
Saint James the Greater Church, Saint Louis

Christ, he is a king. We may, as residents of the United States, balk at the idea of Jesus as king. We don't need a king, in fact we went out of our way to get rid of the King. We fought a war, and many died so that we would not have a king to follow. What do we need a king for? It's a good question. All that, however, has a lot to do with our idea of what a king is. Is that fully who God is? God goes by many names: Alpha and Omega, the Almighty, two names we heard in our second reading. As we move into Advent, we will hear the names: Wonder Councilor, God Hero, Prince of Peace. Each of us probably has a name for God - a name that we prefer. I wonder if the name of God that we don't like tells us something about God that we need to know? A name that reveals to us something that is missing in our understanding. What assumptions do we make about God? How do we put God in a box? What kind of nicknames do you, or I, give God? A name that takes God, who is the king of the universe, so immense that we need a name for God to even begin to understand God; how do we take that God and put Him in a little box? God does not belong in our box. God cannot really exist there and remain God. So, perhaps, this great Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe begs the question: Who do you think God is? And what are you missing by that definition?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary

Saint Patrick Parish

October 20/21, 2018

You deserve it. You deserve it. If you watch HDTV very often, as Fr. Jeff does. When we lived in the previous rectory there was common tv room, so he'd be watching it and I'd often join him. You don't have to watch too many of these shows to catch how formulaic they are, it really is rather obvious. This is especially apparent in the show Extreme Home Makeover, but many of the shows have a pretty set pattern and that pattern goes something like this: they introduce the family, then there's some interpersonal dynamics and at some point you wonder if they going to stay together after all, there is the indecisiveness regarding what it is that they are looking for, there's the options and all the choices, and then inevitably something happens, some major catastrophe takes place, some problem uncovered, and they are certain this will be the end of the project, and then a miracle happens, the problem is solved and the show continues to its conclusion. At the end of the show, as is right, they are thankful, they've received something they've been given help to find their new home, or their home has been remodeled in such a way that it now really fits their life. Now, I'm not saying that they don't deserve this gift, this blessing, because we all deserve a place where we can live comfortably with our loved ones and be together, to have a place to grow and be together as a family. But in response to their u understandable gratitude there is that cover all line, ‘you deserve it’ and they just leave it at that. It puts a cap on it, what they have received doesn't call them to respond in any way - it simply is ‘you deserve it.’ It doesn't take much, just scratch the surface a little and we'll begin to see that there are plenty of other families who don't receive the kind of help that they are providing, that don’t receive the kind of assistance that they are giving. There are plenty of others who are certainly deserving, and maybe perhaps even more deserving. So, what does this kind of thinking do to our mentality of deserving? What does it do especially once we've come to the understand that we deserve something? 

I want you to consider a time in your past when you have asked for a raise. I have - in a previous life. In my current life, if you ask for a raise they give you another parish - that's what happens. In this former life, when I worked at the nursing home I weighed what it was that I was doing, what I was being paid, and what I wanted to do, and I came to an understanding that I deserved more compensation, I wanted to ask for a raise. Once we have worked up the courage to ask for that raise, not necessarily easy to do, once we’ve done that it is difficult at that point for someone else to convince us that we do not deserve it. You have done the work to get there, and so you go, and you ask for your raise. You may or may not get it, but you conclude that you deserve it - right or wrong, you deserve it.

If we take a step back from our Gospel account perhaps we can see James and John in that light. They have rather courageously gone before their boss, Jesus Christ, and asked for a raise. They have looked at the organizational chart, they have weighed their responsibility and talents, and even though they put it in a rather demanding way “we want you to do for us whatever we ask you to do” they are essentially asking for a raise, for a promotion. They want to be recognized for their leadership in Christ’s mission, they want to sit at the left and at the right, of Jesus Christ when he comes into his Kingdom. In this Gospel they themselves are asking, in another Gospel they have their mother asked for them, but here they have worked up the courage to ask for themselves. Really, I don't think we can blame them. If you look around at the crew that they have assembled they were one of the first Apostles, they got out of their father's boat and follow Jesus right away - leaving the boat and the rest behind. James and John the sons of Zebedee, the ‘sons of thunder’ as it were, a couple of very energetic leaders, very powerful in that witness, in leaving everything and following Jesus right away. Second there is the de-facto leader, Peter, and if we are serious, well Peter is kind of an idiot, some of the time, so why shouldn't they at least be recognized along with him. Then there's Matthew, he's a tax collector, so of course they deserve more than he does. Finally, there is that Judas guy, they are not too sure about him, there is a little fishy about him. Having taken this look around James and John have come to the recognition that they deserve to be held in higher esteem, to receive that honor. In all these calculations they have, however, missed part of the reality of what Christ is doing with the overall vision of what it is that we as humankind truly deserve. They also miss what receiving that vision will call them to do. Does Christ take joy in the recognition that his disciples, his friends will suffer in his name? I doubt it. They did not deserve such difficulty and pain, but they had the underserved love of Christ with them the entire time, guiding them onward toward his Divine vision.

We recall how the Jews especially, at the time, saw that if you were doing well, if you had property, land, health, and good things in your life, then most certainly were blessed by God. You were in God's favor. You were clean, and you were carefully walking the path God wants you to walk. If you were not seen to be carefully walking that path, if you are sick, or poor, or had trouble in your family, well then you probably had done something to deserve it. Thus, you are not in God's favor. But Christ comes to show us a different way, a different way of calculating what it is that we deserve. God, by God's nature, loves perfectly. God can do nothing but love perfectly. God is God, and God’s very nature is to be perfect. God loves every one of God's creatures as perfectly as possible. Every one of us, all humanity is loved perfectly. But in a paradoxical way, in an undeserving kind of way, God loves even more perfectly those who need God's love. Those who are suffering, those who are living a life of sin, and I say especially those whose life of sin has led them to a life of suffering - God's love for these is even more perfect. This extravagance does not limit the love that God has ‘for the rest of us.’ God’s love for everyone is perfect, it cannot get any better, but in this paradoxical way, a way only God can accomplish, God goes even further with those who are in greater need of God's love. This is a completely undeserved love. None of us really deserve God’s love, if we are honest, we don't deserve it. This love is not something like we have in our jobs, it is not something we have worked diligently to achieve, we cannot come up with a list of reasons why, our qualifications will never add up to a place of being deserving. Nevertheless, those who are less deserving receive even more love from God.

Just a few days ago, on Thursday, the church celebrated the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. I love Saint Luke. Saint Matthew, in his gospel, when he gets to the Beatitudes, he rounds the corners off a little. In the Beatitudes of Saint Matthew, he has Christ proclaiming, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ Saint Luke does not give us quite so much comfort room, ‘Blessed are the poor’ he says. In that light, for those who are suffering, for those who go without for those who may be less deserving of God's love are actually more deserving and a paradoxical kind of way. There is a brand of Christianity that is known as the ‘Prosperity Gospel.’ The ‘Prosperity Gospel’ is really pretty simple, it states those who are in God's favor receive God's blessing, mostly in financial ways but also in health, satisfaction, and so on. It's not difficult to find. You just scratched the surface a little bit and you can find prosperity gospel, in many places, in many ways of thinking and encountering the world and God. It is so simple it really is ridiculous. It does not fit this altered view of who is deserving. It makes me want to pull my hair out, which maybe God was saying Adam you're a little too dramatic already. Prosperity Gospel really misses the point, it holds to this idea that somehow, we are deserving of God's love, deserving of God's blessing. In the end I am certain that both Saint Luke, and Saint Matthew would agree that that just is not the case.

Those shows on HGTV, and the way that they are so formulaic that they turn me away, the formula can become boring. It's a routine, it's a set pattern that they follow. One could easily say, ‘well Father, don’t we have a similar situation here at church when we gather together? We pray, we sit, we listen, we stand up, we do the thing, we receive, we go out… pretty much the same thing every time. That familiarity is shifted away from boredom, away from simply formula, by our response. There are plenty of opportunities within the Mass itself to respond, to sing, to pray, to encounter Jesus Christ, but also it is what we do with the gift that we receive. We respond out of that. It matters what we do in response, what we do after the formula has concluded. It is what we do with that which we do not deserve. How is it that we respond? Perhaps that is what is missing from those shows - they receive something, but they are not challenged to give back in any real way, they are simply told that they deserve it. Sisters and brothers, we do not deserve what we received here, from this altar. There is no way that we ever could. We receive perfectly and freely from Jesus, but we are challenged by that free act to respond. To respond with a recognition of who we are as perfectly loved children of God, to go out into the world and share that free gift with others. That gift of God’s love is undeserved by us, undeserved by them, but nonetheless, loved by God perfectly.

Monday, October 8, 2018


Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary

Saint Boniface Parish

October 7, 2018

I reflect on how a grade-school teacher can have quite a difficult role to fill, especially in the younger grades: first grade, second grade, and the like. They don't really differentiate their teaching roles. They are asked to teach everything: math, science, religion, you know… ethics on the playground, everything that their growing minds desire to know they are there to help form. These teachers can, at times, say things that maybe are not completely true. Perhaps because they do not recognize the fallacy, then again, they do have to have a lot on their minds, and they are expected to basically know everything about anything. Another reason, perhaps, is that they are in the process of doing something else and some spunky second grader asks a bizarre question, out of nowhere, such as ‘did Adam really lose a rib when God created Eve, and does that mean women have more ribs than men do?’ The teacher may have said something like ‘yes, you are right, you, little Adam, have fewer ribs than women do.’ And from that moment on that little second grader believed that, that is until he got to a high school, when he and other in his class were corrected by the anatomy teacher. Finally, a college professor made it a big point to correct those who had not yet realized that this concept is false. And so, with our proximity to the medical school, I think it is important to acknowledge the fact, for anyone with the lingering misconception: women do not have more ribs than men do, all things being equal we have the same number of ribs. In fact, the only way that I know of to distinguish a male skeleton and a female skeleton is the width of the pelvis, and even that is not always certain. I have heard, and the medical students might correct me on this on, that the thickness of the skull can at times be an indicator of masculinity in the skeleton. 

It is just not true, even though many may believe it, men and women have the same number of ribs. The relationship between men, women, and the ribs has fascinated me for some time so when I heard the song entitled Shady Grove, sung by the Tabasco Donkeys, a connection was instantly made. The song, I have come to find, has some significant history. It is an old Appalachian song that has gone through many renditions, but one of the possible verses of the song, Shady Grove, is this: 
Wish I had a needle and thread
Fine as I could sew
I'd sew that pretty girl to my side
And down the road I'd go
This song is speaking of the love the singer has for his intended bride, and how, if he could, he would sew her to his side. Now, we must recognize that this is a rather old song, and so in the era of #MeToo and all the scandal that is taking place in politics, in society, but also in the Church, we can hear this idea that woman was created from the rib of the man, and understand that to mean that woman are less than, that men come first and that woman come second. Even this song, on first impression, may sound like she is being made to follow him, to go wherever he goes. I also think that it is important to hear that he is pursuing her, he desires to be sewn to her as well. It goes both ways, the symbolism of Adam’s rib also tells us that they are connected at their side - that they are equal, they walk side-by-side. 

It may be difficult to see this equality at work here unless we look through Incarnational eyes – that is eyes that are informed by the Incarnation, the mystery of Christ becoming a human being, the mystery, the absurdity of God taking on flesh and becoming man. Our second reading reminds us of this act of Christ, his being made lower, for a time, than the angels. Christ took on flesh. Christ – God, in God’s self, took our humanity onto himself. In a similar way, God, in the Book of Genesis, took from the man a rib, a piece of his body, his flesh, and created woman. The God who created that flesh, the God who shaped creation according to God’s plan, that same God pursued us, God came after us. The way in which the man in the song pursues the woman, we are worth this pursuit, we mean so much to God that God went out of God's way to put on flesh, to become for a time less than the angels, and pursue us. God pursued, God pursued us despite the suffering he would endure, in spite of the rejection he would face. Through eyes informed by the Incarnation we can look at words of Genesis, the words that Jesus repeats in today’s Gospel, and see another misconception. Not just the misconception that men have fewer ribs, but the idea that a man leaves his home and clings to his wife. For much of human history, for most of those who have encountered this Word of God, in practice this reading from Genesis simply was not true. The man would not have left his home to go live with her. Having acquired her she would have come to live with him and his family. Incarnational eyes can help us see Sacred Scripture telling us that the man goes to clinging to her side. She may be the one to leave her home and join his family, but he goes out of his way to pursue her. These words do not speak of the physical reality they experienced, but these words express a spiritual reality. These words reminded the husband, and continue to remind the husband, that they were committed to one another as equals, that they are created as equals, and the words reinforce the desire to commit to one another.

This commitment to one another as equals, as those who stand side by side one another as they pledge their freedom to commit their lives to one another, just as hundreds, if not thousands of couples stood here, on this exact spot, and committed their entire lives to one another - as equals, as partners in life. Both desiring to raise a family, desiring to support, and to love one another, and they are called upon for the rest of their lives to trust the commitment they make to one another. That is why Christ desires for that commitment to be realized and for it to remain unbroken. Difficulty in relationships continues to exist, divorce remains a reality in our world, and in our Church. As humans we work with that difficulty, work with it as best we can. All the while commitment remains the ideal, commitment is still a reality we strive for. We recall the words of the marriage rite where it speaks of the couple as being a symbol, a reminder, of Christ's love for His Bride the Church. The Catholic Church is often referred to as the Bride of Christ. Christ, the Son of God, God Himself clings to her, His Bride. He brings her to His side and He will not let her go. He walks right beside her, loving her, desiring to show her the way. Christ's commitment to His Bride, His Church is mirrored in the commitment of a husband and wife and by that we are charged with being committed to one another as well. You may have received an envelope on your way in. If not, there are some envelopes for the Catholic Services Appeal, this years CSA, on your way out. This is a small reminder of our commitment to this Archdiocese. It is a bond, a commitment that reminds us all that we do not go it alone. If we are together, if we are committed to the universal Church, committed to the Bride of Christ, this is an opportunity for us to express that commitment through a monetary donation. It's our opportunity to express that commitment to the larger Church, the Bride of Christ himself. Christ has committed himself to us in a bond that will never be broken, might we commit to that same Church?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Catholic Celebrations of October

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7

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The Holy Father's Intentions for September: Evangelization – The Mission of Religious: That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and be present among the poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.

Find More at

Oct. 1 - Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor, Memorial

Oct. 2 - Guardian Angels, Memorial

Oct. 4 - Francis of Assisi, Memorial

Oct. 5 - Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos, Optional Memorial

Oct. 6 - Bruno, Optional Memorial

Oct. 7 - Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Solemnity

Oct. 7 - Our Lady of the Rosary, Memorial

Oct. 9 - Denis and companions, martyrs, Optional Memorial

Oct. 11 - John XXIII, Optional Memorial

Oct. 14 - Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Solemnity

Oct. 14 - Callistus I pope and martyr, Optional Memorial

Oct. 15 - Teresa of Jesus,virgin and doctor, Memorial

Oct. 16 - Hedwig, religious, Optional Memorial

Oct. 17 - Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr, Memorial

Oct. 18 - Luke the Evangelist, Feast

Oct. 19 - North American Martyrs, Memorial

Oct. 20 - Paul of the Cross, Optional Memorial

Oct. 21 - Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Solemnity

Oct. 22 - John Paul II pope, Optional Memorial

Oct. 23 - John of Capistrano priest, Optional Memorial

Oct. 24 - Anthony Claret bishop, Optional Memorial

Oct. 28 - Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Solemnity

Oct. 28 - Simon and Jude, apostles, Feast 

Monday, September 24, 2018


Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary

Saint Boniface Parish

September 23, 2018

I have spoken about my dog once before, but for those who don't recall, or weren't here, her name is Lady. Her full name is Our Lady of the Rectory, but we just call her Lady for short. Some people ask what kind of dog she is, and I say ‘well, she's energetic, that's for sure.’ She has toys, as most dogs will, and one of those toys is as a squirrel, and it can sit on its own, and then she has these two plastic squeakers that sort of look like people, they have really big heads and little feet, and that's all that there is to them really – but, like the squirrel, they can stand up on their own. So, I will take the squirrel and these little people, and I'll line them up close to her and every single time she'll come along, and she'll take her nose and just push them over. She won't really do much else with them, at that moment at least. She might come back and play with them later, but first and foremost she pushes them over. Apparently, she doesn't really like them standing there, looking at her for some reason. I don't quite understand why, but it has caused me to wonder how much like human behavior that can be. When we see something standing on its own, something that perhaps causes us a bit of insecurity, of consternation, of challenge - we want to push it over. We don't like that feeling of being uncomfortable. We don't like having someone or something cause us to recognize our own deficiencies. So instead we attack it, we put it down. In many ways this human knee-jerk reaction to rebel against something that points out our weakness is what we are hearing about in our first reading, the reading from the Book of Wisdom. In this narrative a righteous man is under attacked, is insulted and put in a corner by the wicked ones who are close to this righteous one. The wicked see the righteous, and are seen by the righteous in their wickedness, and this disparity between the righteous and the wicked causes the wicked to recognize who they are, that they are wicked, or more precisely, that they have acted wickedly. This, Scripture tells us, is obnoxious to the wicked. Their response is not to stop and reflect on how the righteous, by their righteous deeds , may be calling them, the wicked, to a more righteous way of life. Instead their response is simple, easy, “let us bring down the righteous, let us condemn him to a shameful death!”

'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' Peter von Cornelius, 1926

Perhaps another image to demonstrate this human difficulty with another standing against us. I don't know if you've seen, or heard, any commercials for the gym Planet Fitness. Now, they have their reasons, and I'm not here to tell them what to do, but they have a term, a way of classifying a certain group of people, and this term is lunk. You may be wondering, what is a lunk? Well, a lunk, according to Planet Fitness, are those guys who are just really fit, they can lift a lot of weight, they might overly show off a bit, but in general they are simply in good physical condition. They are bodybuilders, essentially, and these lunks are not welcome at Planet Fitness. In fact, I have heard, if you lift too much weight at Planet Fitness, if it seems like you are too strong compare to their average clientele, then they will ask you to leave, to go and find another gym. You aren’t, they'll say, a part of their clientele. The reason for this discrimination is simple - when you lift a lot of weight, when you are in good physical condition, you may cause other people to recognize the reality that they aren't in that great of a physical condition. This is especially problematic for someone starting out at a gym and they can clearly see ‘I'm here, and this other person is over here, and there's a great distance between us, and so maybe I'll just quit.’ Instead of trying to commit to a change they may avoid the possibility of seeing in the other an opportunity to grow. They look at the distance and say, ‘that's too far, I can't get there from here, I'm just going to walk away.’ 

I can understand why Planet Fitness might have this policy; it is after all good for business not to scare away potential clientele. In the end, however, it pulls us apart doesn't it. I can see the reason why we want to have a place of comfort, a place where people can come, and not be overly challenged, after all there are plenty of beginners, and to be a beginner is difficult, especially when you see how far others have come. It is natural to want to feel safe and not feel judged. The more we go in this direction, the more we pull apart, the more we spend time around those who simply comfort, and do not challenge us, and move away from those who are better than we are in some sort of way. The more we live this way the more we will find ourselves living alone. The other, opposite end of the spectrum is to just throw everyone in together in a free for all. It's basically a war zone in which everyone is fighting everyone else. An amalgamation wherein no one ever feels confident in where they are, or in who they are, because we’re always made uneasy by the others around us. Always challenged, never safe. Nevertheless, somewhere in the middle is true community, a true community where humility exists, and we live through that humility. This is a humility that says, ‘I am who I am, and I am good, but I can be better.’ I am good as I am, I am loved as I am, but I always know that I can be better. There would be safety in this humble community since everyone else would also realize their own goodness, and their own need to grow. Others around us, especially people with virtue, people who are good people, they would, by their very being, call us to greater virtue. In the end we can either look at the virtuous and righteous as my dog looks at her toys, and simply try and push them aside; or we can see with them as an example of what we might become.

Jesus walking with his disciples - Lumo Project

The disciples in our Gospel today, they are walking along with Jesus and they miss the opportunity to grow in understanding about what it was that he had told them, about his death and resurrection. If you recall, they were scared to ask – they refused to get out of their comfort zone and didn't want to ask that question. Instead they pass the time discussing, arguing over, which of them was the greatest disciple. Who among us is the greatest? This means their secondary argument had to do with who is second best, who is third best, who is the least? As they are having this conversation they missed the mark completely. None of them are the greatest! They are in the presence of Jesus Christ, himself, greatness itself! They walk in the presence of God-made-man. If anyone was the greatest it was certainly him, and they are walking with him seemingly oblivious to the greatness in their midst. When they get to their destination Christ knows, because he's God, he knows what they were talking about. To give them an example he calls a child into their midst and says that we must be like this child. Now a child is rather humble, typically. A child knows there are things that they simply can't do. They are not strong enough to do all the things an adult can do, they’re not tall enough, they lack understanding. One day, however, one day; not today – but one day. Isn’t this what it is like to be a child, consistently looking forward to the next achievement, the next milestone, the next grade level? School, by its very nature, is looking forward to learning something new. You know you have something ahead of you. You do not doubt that you are good, especially in a loving family, and you know you have plenty to look forward to. You can, and will, be better. What a way to be once more? To be that open to growth, to be that available to potential! The image that we are given is to humble ourselves, which means to truly recognize our goodness, but also to recognize that we can grow in goodness as well.

This all-encompassing humility does not fit the society around us. Oftentimes if a person makes you uncomfortable you knock them over, or you just don't deal with them, you back away, you cut them off, you remove them from your worldview. You leave them be. We as Christians, as Catholics, we are to see what truly is good in the people around us. Not necessarily what the world says is good, but what truly is virtuous residing within one another. To see in the other patience, gentleness, goodness and mercy. To see within the other, perhaps someone sitting next to you, something that you can grow in. You are not a complete saint yet, I guess neither am I. We can all grow and become more like Christ. So perhaps, maybe, we can spend less time knocking each other over and instead build true community. Build a humble community in which we are all, each one of us, recognized as Beloved Children of God.

Monday, September 17, 2018


Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary

Saint Boniface Parish

September 16, 2018

How many conversations do you think you have daily? What about in a week, a month, a year? Hundreds? Thousands? For those who are younger, we're also talking about an electronic communication. Those certainly counts as well; as ineffective as electronic communication can be at relaying everything that we must communicate. We communicate with one another on a regular basis. It's kind of what we do as human beings. We are creatures who are in relationship one to another. We live in a community and we can't help but communicate at least in some way with others and with the outside world on a somewhat regular basis. We have conversations, conversations throughout the day with many different people about many different topics. If we look at the kind of conversations that we have, one with another, we can put them into a sort of hierarchy. Now, there are plenty of ways of categorizing conversations, I imagine the communication majors out there might correct me, or offer another way of categorizing conversations, but this three-tiered system seems to fit, especially considering today's gospel. In this way one might categorize conversations in terms of talking about who we are, especially in relationship with one another, followed by what we do, also in relationship to who we are – often who we are informs what it is that we do. Thirdly, basically everything else: other, people, places, and things. Sometimes these third category conversations can lead toward gossip, sometimes they are informational, sometimes it's just small talk. First and foremost, who we are, and what we do, followed by conversations regarding other people, places, and things.

These first two, and more integral, types of conversations are the kind of conversation that Christ is having with his disciples as they are going about their way. They are going from one town to the next and Christ starts one of these first-tier conversations: ‘Who do people say that I am?’ We're not sure what they were talking about before he asked this question. Perhaps it could have been one of those third level conversations. They could have been talking about the latest scandal in Rome, some things never change, they could have been talking about their political leaders, or their religious leaders in Jerusalem. They could have been talking about the latest gossip from the town that they were coming from, or the gossip of the town they were going to; maybe whatever it was that so-and-so had done, whatever it was hat seemed so important at the time. They could have been having all these sorts of conversation when Christ interrupts with his question about himself. He wants to talk about who it is that people think of him as, not in a selfish way, but in a way that's important and meaningful. In-fact, much of the Gospels are trying to answer that very question: Who is Christ? Who is he, what has he come to do, what is he, what is going on? In the midst of the daily and ordinary Christ aks: ‘Who do people say that I am?’ His disciples could have come up with all sorts of other explanations: ‘some say you're a great political leader, some say you will free us from a Roman captivity, some say you’re an entertainer, that you've come to distract us, to offer us some entertainment, some say you're insane, you're crazy, perhaps even trouble, you are stirring things up, you are causing difficulty for yourself and for those around you!’

Christ listen to all these possibilities and then asks them ‘now, who do you say that I am?’ Peter speaks up, and he gets it right, he says ‘you are the Christ! You are the Messiah, the promised one, the one we have been waiting for!’ Peter doesn't have a full understanding of what that means, but he has, through God's grace, seen Christ for who he is. He's answered that first question: Who is Christ. The conversation then turns to what he is there to do. The reason Christ has come. He has come to die for our sins, he will be put to death, he will suffer and die, and on the third day he will rise again. Peter having recognized the answer to the first question doesn't really like the answer to the second question. And how often is that similar with us? We approach God through conversation, through prayer. Truly prayer is a conversation with God, and I imagine that often those conversations dwells in the first two categories: Who am I, and what am I supposed to do? And we may not always like the response we get in prayer. We may not always agree, at least at first, with what God has to offer us in prayer: the answers to who we are, and what we are called to do. Peter has his own idea. We don't know exactly what that is, but somehow he sees the Messiah as something else, probably someone who is there to set them free from physical captivity - the Captivity of the Roman Empire, the rule of a foreign government. Whatever it may have been, for Peter, that's as far as his vision goes. He does not want to go any further past that. Christ knows what he is here to do, he knows who he is, and what that calls him to do. He has a mission that goes far beyond the vision of Peter or the other disciples. He is there for a different reason. He is not there to fulfil Peter's smaller understanding of the mission of the Christ, he has a much larger mission, a wonderful mission: to set all of us free, not only from our current captivity but from our captivity for the rest of our lives, for all eternity.

Prayer is a conversation with Christ. We approach Christ through conversations. But first and foremost, we must be willing to have the courage to even have those conversations. We could get stuck in the third category: conversations about other people, other places, other things; or instead: Who am I? What am I supposed to do? These conversations with God help to clarify our relationship with God, and with one another. The third category conversations may be important, but they will be clearer if we have first entered into the first, and second, conversations. We may not always like what we receive in prayer. We may have our own ideas about who we are and what we are called to do. God will, hopefully, use a little more gentleness than he did with Peter in guiding us, helping us to recognize the truth. God guides us to see what it is we are called to do with our lives. We have our own ideas of course. We think as human beings do, we can think in no other way. We're not angels, we are not gods, we are human beings - we think as human beings do, not as God does. The turning point is being opened to that correction from God. Having God turn our vision, just a little, so that we see a little more of God's plan for us, and our lives, so that we can continue that conversation, that prayerful conversation with God about how we fit into God’s salvific mission for the world. God is still working. God’s mission for our salvation had a pinnacle at the crucifixion, at the cross, but Christ is still working. He is working through each and every one of us. So let us, in prayer, ask God who it is that we are, and what it is that we are called to do.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Catholic Celebrations of September

The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose memorial the Church celebrates on September 15.

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The Holy Father's Intentions for September: That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.

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2 September - Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time - Solemnity

3 September - Memorial
3 September - Labor Day
5 September - Optional Memorial
8 September - Feast

9 September - Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Solemnity

12 September - Optional Memorial
13 September - Memorial
14 September - Feast
15 September - Memorial

16 September - Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Solemnity

16 September - Memorial

17 September - Optional Memorial

19 September - Optional Memorial

20 September - Memorial
21 September - Feast

23 September - Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Solemnity

23 September - Memorial
26 September - Optional Memorial
27 September - Memorial
28 September - Optional Memorial
29 September - Feast

30 September - Twenty-Sixth Sunday in ordinary Time - Solemnity

30 September - Memorial