About Harvester's Wanted:

A Catholic priest's reflections along the path of Faith.

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

PRAYER REQUESTS through link on right side-bar.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Suscipe



Suscipe
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will – all that I have and process.
You have given all that to me.
I now give it back to you, O Lord.
All of it is yours.
Dispose of it according to your will.
Give me love of yourself along with your grace,
for that is enough for me.
Saint Ignatius Loyola

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Communion Representatives


Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C ~ 
St. Francis Xavier, Mt. Washington KY & 
All Saints, Taylorsville KY

May 5, 2013

         We have entered into the season of sacraments, so to speak. We have a brand new deacon, we’ll soon have a couple of brand new priests, there are countless confirmations and weddings both here, at our sister parish, and throughout the diocese. I addition to these sacraments there are of course first communions. First communions are great aren’t they? The faith of a child growing up, no longer having to come up with arms crossed but now with arms wide open! (SFX – ask those who received first communion last week to come to the front, All Saints – ask the three girls receiving their first communion to come up front.) 

In the first reading we hear that the early Church in Antioch needed good representatives. They had received bad representative already, representatives who gave them news that was more than a little disheartening and their message proved to be a stumbling block between them and their new lives as Christians. The fact that they were born and raised as non-Jews was being held against them as they tried to live a life of conversion in the Body of Christ. It could be said that the heart of the argument from these bad representatives was that these gentiles were not mature enough to be good Christians, they were too young in their faith to make a real commitment, and they needed to go through the adolescence of living as perfect Jews before they could be considered counted among the true followers of Christ.     

Like these early Christians we need good representatives as well. We need representatives to counteract those of the world that tell us we need to have this certain product and then we will be with the in crowd, or we have to make a certain amount of money and then we’ll be considered successful, or we need to have certain kinds of jobs and then we can be considered as living a full life. These worldly representatives feed us this kind of falsehood all the time and do so in more and more inventive ways. These representatives try and complicate our lives by adding to the list of things we need to do in order to fit, in order to have a place. The temptations of the world have as their end making us believe that there is too much between us and true happiness which is union with God. The world also wants us to believe that it is all on us, on the individual person to make it happen. The world says that if you really want salvation then you will have to do it yourself, make it happen for yourself.     

Oh but sisters and brothers there is truly good news here!


We hear in today’s readings that good representatives were in fact chosen: we have the two that Acts names – Judas and Silas, the Twelve Apostles mentioned in the second reading, the Holy Spirit, our advocate promised to us in the Gospel, and then we have Christ himself. We have Christ as a representative who has not left us and headed up to a heaven in the clouds, remaining distant until the second coming. Rather he returns to us time and time again, especially in the Eucharist. The people who caused all the worry and turmoil in Acts were working on their own agenda, but the men that the Church sends were chosen – they were working on the mission of the Church. In a similar way Christ chose his apostles, they did not decide their mission, Christ did; and even Christ and the Holy Spirit are not working on their own strategy but that of the Father. The message of these chosen ones is not complicated, it is not a stumbling block but rather it is a freeing opportunity to journey with God. These representatives do just that – they re-present God; those other representatives well they were not really representing anyone but themselves and their own ideas of how living a life of faith should look.  

Just like that early Christian community we have similar representatives. We still have the words of Judas and Silas, we have the example of the Apostles, and we certainly still have Christ and the Holy Spirit. In this season of sacraments we also have representatives in these children. Christ often talked about a childlike faith and we get to see it in these children who Sunday after Sunday will come forward from now on and be offered the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and they will say Yes, Amen! These young people have certainly undergone some instruction but nothing as painful as those false representatives wanted to see those early Christians put through. The mentality of those false representatives would have the Church insisting on years and years of instruction and the wisdom that comes with age before one can truly understand what they are saying yes to by saying amen to the Eucharist. The fact is that none of us truly understands completely how the Eucharist is what it is, and that goes for these children as well, but the Church gives voice to God’s desire for them to come forward and receive him nonetheless. The First Communion of these children (was/is) not just for them, and their communion with God, but rather their First Communion (made/makes) them a representation of the Christian life for all of us.

            

Thursday, May 2, 2013

In Memoriam: Kurtis Carrico

In Memoriam


Kurtis Ray Carrico
Jan. 27, 1990 - Dec. 29, 2012

Kurtis’ Funeral Eulogy
Thursday January 3, 2013

On behalf of the family, and on behalf of Kurtis, I want to thank you all for being here. It means so much to us, and I know it means a lot to him.

(After a pause) You know I do not think that Kurtis could forgive me if I passed up this opportunity to say that I do indeed know what a Eugougoly is.

(Allowing the laughter to calm down from those 30 and younger I continue.)

You may or may not know that Kurtis and I share a birthday, exactly seven years apart; and it was from this very early time that I began to have a sense that it was my job to look after him, to protect him.

This sense was made all the more real when Kurtis got a bit older and he started by coming and climbing into bed with me. That worked for a while, but soon that little twin bed became a bit too cramped for the both of us. So I suggested, and perhaps even helped him the first time or two, that instead of sleeping in my bed he make his own bed on the floor next to mine. So for years it seems he would bring his pillow and a couple of blankets and make himself a bed right there next to mine. This went on for so long that I had to relearn how to get out of bed once he stopped needing to come over to mine. You see I learned to scoot closer to the end of the bed before getting out as to not step on him in the process. With that my need to look out for him grew.

The story that I really believe captures this feeling of needing to protect Kurtis took place when I was probably 12 or 13, Kevin was 10 or so, and Kurtis would have been about 6; and at that time at least I was still a bit bigger than they were – not that that continued for much longer, and certainly Kevin and I were a lot bigger than Kurtis. Well we were down at this park in southern Kentucky that we went too often as a family and the three of us encountered a small flock of geese by the lakeshore and as we walked towards them we ended up pushing them into the lake. (I should have said that Amanda knew better than to get involved with this kind of animal harassment.) Well we, or maybe I should say I, got the bright idea to push a much larger flock of geese, further along the shore, into the lake in the same way. Well geese are vile creatures, beautiful but vile, vile creatures, and there were possibly even a few swans in this larger flock. Equally as beautiful, but even more vile creatures than geese. Well I got on one side of this flock and Kevin got on the other, with Kurtis in the middle, and we began to push these vile creatures into the lake. Well it wasn’t until I heard the screaming and the squawking that I realized that as Kevin and I were walking forward we were actually pushing the geese not into the lake, but towards Kurtis. All I could think was Kurtis is going to get one of his tiny fingers bit off, and I’m going to get in trouble. As the young strategist that I was, I called to Kevin to slowly back away and walk towards Kurtis and the two of us quickly took the pressure off of him. Thankfully he had all of his fingers and did not get bit, but I figured from then on I had to make sure that Kurtis didn’t get bit.   

Well like those geese the world got ahead of Kurtis, which isn’t surprising as he preferred to hang back anyways, and let others go first; and as we were all focused on the world in front of us we didn’t realize that those geese were closing in on him. Kurtis wound up getting bit in a bad way, but none of us saw. We were understandably looking ahead at that flock of geese so to speak, trying to push them into that lake.

I don’t remember right now too many little stories about him, I hope they’ll come back to me in time; but what I do know is that I was always happy to see him and he just made things better in his own, small, simple ways. Kurtis you will be greatly missed.

To mom and dad no parent should ever have to bury their child, especially not like this. (I should have added “I love you.”)

Amanda and Kevin – there were four of us and there are still four just in a different way.

(Here I meant to say: To all of those who were never blessed to have met or got to know Kurtis, well I’m not surprised – he didn’t say too much, and he seemed happy with those he knew; but I still wish you could have known him just a little more, he was funny and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were mocking me right now.)

And to all of Kurtis’ friends, I think he would want me to tell you that he wasn’t scared of the ride, he was just sick, but he’ll be waiting at the end for you all, holding your things and wanting to just be with you.

Let’s hold each other in prayer for the difficult days, months, and years that lie ahead until we can be reunited again. 



In Memoriam: Uncle Ted

In Memoriam


Uncle Marion T. (Ted) Carrico
Dec. 5, 1936 - April 25, 2013

Four months ago at my brother Kurtis’ wake service, when I was last able to see Uncle Ted, he told me that I’d be celebrating his funeral soon. At the time I thought that while Ted was obviously beginning to take a turn for the worst, we would still have more time for all of that. Don’t we always think we will have more time? Anyways it turns out that he was right; he waited so to speak, two days before my ordination to pass from this world. Just close enough to ensure that I would be here now. Given the short time between my ordination and today’s celebration one might naturally ask what this newbie could possibly have to say. Fair question, and while my life experiences will continue to add up there is one thing that years of study have shown me, and that is the simple fact that God is the perfection of all things. We’ll return to that theological point here in a minute.  
  
In preparing for this homily I asked dad what people would think if I called Uncle Ted stubborn. No need to cause scandal, right? His answer: people will say you pretty much hit the nail on the head. I think we can all agree that Ted could be a bit stubborn from time to time. Right Aunt Caroline, Aunt Deloris? 

God, however, is the perfection of stubbornness. Yes God is even perfectly stubborn. We hear in the Gospel that this is the will of the Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life. God does not let go, once God has a connection with a person typically first made real in Baptism God never lets go. God is so stubborn that he never gave up on us, going as far as sending his only soon as God made man. This is surety of faith that God will never give up on us, no matter what.


Uncle Ted was more than just stubborn he was also giving. It is striking to think about just how many people have one of Ted’s puzzles. Between family, friends, neighbors, even his cancer doctor I’m told was given a completed puzzle. In this way Ted was a symbol of the perfect generosity of the Father in the act of sending his Son.  In fact one of my favorite memories of Uncle Ted was him sending over a bunch of DVD’s when I had my wisdom teeth removed. No one asked him to help keep me entertained while I recovered, but he knew it would take some time for the drugs to wear off, and he knew what he’d like to have if he was only able to sit around the house all day. Turns out we’re of the same mind when it comes to recovery techniques.

Uncle Ted could also be playful; stories of him sitting around at the convenient store, talking with the regulars as they came and went, make his memory all the more real. Sometimes the pointed jokes between old friends can seem hurtful, especially to those on the outside, but underneath it is a real sign of trust and concern for the other. God is the perfection of this kind of playfulness. I would never say that God shows his playfulness through cancer, human suffering is not God’s idea of a bad joke, but rather Ted’s humanness in the face of that pain reveals God’s true playfulness. Where did Ted get the courage to continue his visits to the store, where did that desire for one more round of golf get its energy? There is something human about trying to find the good in bad situations and I believe this is connected to God’s playfulness, God’s perfect ability to see the good within the bad and through a wisecrack in every now and then.  I wonder what God’s last little dig for this self-proclaimed bachelor would be? I imagine for a man that never wanted a women to tell him what to do it would be Grandma, his mother, showing him around his new place telling him all about how she’s done things while waiting for him to join her and his father in God’s loving embrace.