Friday, February 15, 2019

WHEN NOBODY COMES TO HELP
















REMEMBER THIS!
Often there is no rescue party out looking for you!
 Waiting for them to show up is like leaving the runway lights on for Amelia Erhart! 

THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION THEN IS THIS: 

what can you do to help yourself?





You are more powerful than you imagine. 





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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

IT'S PAYBACK TIME?

INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!

WHY DO I VOLUNTEER IN THE CARIBBEAN MISSIONS?


I often get this question these days. My three main reasons are simple.
(1) When I retired, I wanted to re-invent myself again and do something I have never done before - not just repeat, only at a slower pace, what I have always done or what most retired priests were doing.

(2) When I worked at Saint Meinrad Seminary, one of the program I created was "World Priest," a program to help acclimate to American culture the international priests coming in great numbers into our country . Many of them are coming from countries that have a greater priest shortage than we do! I thought I might be able to "give back" a little by volunteering part-time to help a struggling mission diocese.

(3) Because the Church is "catholic," I wanted to connect people, who would never have a chance to actually go on a mission trip, with  people who could use their help.Instead of buying into some "them" and "us" thinking, I wanted to help some of my connections to start thinking "we" with me. We are all part of one and the same church. I know that there is enough waste here at home that can be directed to those who could use it, if I could raise awareness and interest though my blog posts.



Lunch time at the Bread of Life Home for Children



Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Kingstown, SVG



Welcoming a 40 '  trailer load of surplus medical supplies from Louisville.



Senior luncheon in Mesopotamia, SVG



Preaching at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen.



Saint Benedict Home for Children



One of the cutest orphans in the whole world!



Bishop County blesses our new van while Sister Zita looks on with some of the kids from her Bread of Life Home for Children to whom it was given.




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Sunday, February 10, 2019

BUMBLING OUR WAY TO HOLINESS


"Mister McGoo," the Apostle

Related image


They caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. 
They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
"Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. "For astonishment at the
catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him,
Luke 5:1-11

Every time I read a passage about Saint Peter– and I have read and preached on them many, many times since I was pastor of Saint Peter Mission Church in Monticello – I chuckle to myself. Good old Saint Peter has to be one of the worst “people pleasers” in all of scripture. He is always kissing up to Jesus and then proceed to fall on his face. You have to love this bumbling old fisherman, who had an almost insatiable desire to please Jesus whom he obviously loved so much.

Peter would have made a great clown for kids. I sure kids back then loved him because you can’t help laughing at his antics, and nowhere are those antics more obvious than in the gospel stories about him.
First, his name was originally “Simon.” It was Jesus who gave him the nickname “Peter,” meaning “Rock.” I am sure the other apostles might have thought that “Mr. McGoo” or “Marshmallow Man” would have been more like it. He was always rushing into delicate situations, bragging and making a scene, then falling on his face at the end.
He and the other apostles, in one gospel, are out on a lake in a storm. They are struggling at the oars against the huge waves trying to get to shore, when all of a sudden, they look up and see Jesus walking on the water toward them. Peter, as always, sticks his foot in his mouth. “Lord, if it is really you, let me walk on the water toward you!” Jesus invites him to get out of the boat and walk toward him. Peter, out of the boat, out into deep water and high winds, begins to sink. “Lord, help me! I’m going to drown!” Jesus rescued him at the last minute. 
Today, Jesus is teaching people along the shore from one of Peter’s boats. When Jesus finished teaching, he told Peter to put out into deep water and lower his nets for a catch. Peter had quit for the day and was washing his nets in preparation for putting them away. A little irritated that a professional carpenter would tell him, a professional fisherman, how to fish, Peter speaks up. “Lord, we have worked hard all night and caught nothing. We are just now putting the nets away, but if you insist, we will do what you say.” Peter started out by “humoring” Jesus and ended up with having to eat his words. When Peter raised the nets, they held so many fish that they were tearing the nets – enough to fill two boats. 
At the transfiguration, after having been through a powerful religious experience, Peter does not know how to handle it except to open his big mouth and make the outrageous suggestion that it be made permanent. “Wow, Jesus, this is so cool! Let’s set up tents and just stay up here forever!” Jesus is forced to explain to Peter the whole purpose of this peak experience – to strengthen them for the tough days ahead.
At the Last Supper when Jesus approached Peter to wash his feet, overcome with humility, Peter begins to protest that he would never allow such a thing! When Jesus explains to him that if he would not allow it, then he could never be a part of him, Peter throws it in reverse! “Well if that is true, then wash my hands and head as well! Wash me all over!” With Peter, it is always an “all or nothing” proposition. 
When Jesus predicts that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples, Peter jumps into the discussion to brag. “Even if everyone else abandons you, I will never abandon you!” Not too much later, after Jesus is arrested and the heat is on, Peter denies Jesus - not once, not twice, but three times! “Jesus who? Woman, I don’t know who you are talking about!

Then there is the story of Peter out fishing again after the resurrection. It is so typical of Peter. First, it tells us that Peter was stripped to the waist so that he could haul the wet nets back into his fishing boat. When he recognizes Jesus on the shore, he gets so flustered that it says he puts on his clothes, jumps into the water and then swims toward Jesus standing on the shore. You can just imagine Peter dragging himself out of the water with soggy clothes, dripping wet, and gushing with enthusiasm.
Second, it tells us that when Jesus asked Peter for some of the fish to put on the grill he had fired up on the beach, Peter runs back to the boat and drags the net to Jesus, dumping 153 large fish at his feet. You can almost hear him say breathlessly, “There! How’s that? Is that enough? If not, I’ll be happy to go get some more!” Jesus, knee-deep in fish, probably shook his head in laughter at Peter’s impulsive need to please. Jesus, no doubt, sees the big heart inside his clumsy klutz of an apostle, Peter! 
Peter should give us all hope. He always teaches me a lot about our relationship to God. Reading about him, I have come to believe that God is more interested in our goodhearted attempts than our mistakes, that God wants a relationship with us, not matter how rocky it is! 
I believe this is precisely why so many people resonate with the famous prayer of Thomas Merton.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all I am doing. I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the rightroad though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
My friends! God wants a relationship with you, not after you settle down, not when you can get it right, but now, just as you are, no matter how clumsy and rocky it might be! If you give your heart to God, “the desire to please him will in fact please him.” If St. Peter can fall on his face, over and over again, and still be loved by Jesus, so can we! 
That’s why I resonate with Saint Peter more than Saint Paul. Saint Paul was a religious perfectionist. Saint Peter was full of human weaknesses. But whether you are more like Saint Peter or Saint Paul, know that God loves you, just as the father in the parable of the prodigal son loved both of his sons – the one who stayed home and got it right all the time and the son who got down with the pigs and had to come crawling back home.




Tuesday, February 5, 2019

ONE IN THE COUNTRY, ONE IN THE CITY - MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Presenting a new set of conferences for 2019

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
Encouraging Words for Discouraged Catholics
Father Ronald Knott


HOPEFUL PREACHING 
and 
GOSPEL MUSIC THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO SING


SAINT BRIGID CHURCH
Vine Grove, Kentucky
March 11, 12, 13, 2019




HOLY FAMILY CHURCH
Louisville, Kentucky
March 25, 26, 27, 2019




INVITE YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS, FRIENDS, FELLOW PARISHIONERS AND NEIGHBORS!




In a recent Parish Mission in Lebanon, Kentucky, we had a full house all three nights!
We hope to see full churches in Vine Grove and Louisville this Lent!