Saturday, September 21, 2019


When you enter this church it may be possible that you hear “the call of God.” However, it is unlikely that He will call you on your cell phone. Thank you for turning off your phone. 

If you want to talk to God, enter, choose a quiet place and talk to Him. If you want to see Him, send Him a text message while driving.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


Refined, romantic locale with formally attired staff pairing Italian fare with a sizable wine list.

150 S 5th Street 
Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 580-1350


Vincenzo Gabriele and myself. 

Vincenzo treated Tim Tomes (fellow island volunteer) and myself to lunch recently and gave us a donation toward the "school supplies" drive for my island ministry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Vincenzo's brother, Agostino, is the marvelous chef. 


Sunday, September 15, 2019


Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 14

In the religious establishment of his day, Jesus had a terrible reputation!  He talked so much about eating and drinking and accepted so many dinner invitations, even from public sinners and religious outcasts, that he earned the nicknames of “glutton,” “drunkard” and “friend of sinners!” As the gospels put it, the religious leaders were so shocked by the huge number of rejects and sinners who were hanging around Jesus that they “murmured” out loud, “This man welcomes sinners and  even eats with them!”

In the scriptures, heaven is compared more to a fabulous banquet than any thing else! How better to describe an idea like “heaven” to a bunch of people who were always on the edge of starvation than an “all you can eat buffet!” Not just a Denny’s buffet, but a “gourmet, all you can eat, cordon bleu buffet!”  Isaiah compares heaven to a “feast of rich food and  choice wines,” then he adds, “juicy rich food and  pure choice wines!”

Jesus started his ministry talking about this feast that awaits us in heaven! The very first miracle that Jesus worked, at the marriage feast of Cana, was not the multiplication of bread, the basics of life, but the multiplication of wine, the celebratory part of life! The last thing Jesus did was to establish the Eucharist so that we could dine, not only with him, but on him, as often as we want,  until he comes again to take us to his table in heaven!

By dining with so-called “sinners” and “outcasts,” Jesus sent the message that all of us, no matter how flawed we are, are created in the image and likeness of God and are loved by him! Because Jesus accepted them, enough to eat with them, the message these “sinners” and “outcasts” received from Jesus was that they too were acceptable to God!  One of my favorite parables puts it very clearly, the parable of the wedding feast.  In that parable, Jesus compares heaven to a royal wedding feast to which “the good and bad alike” are invited!  Being invited is not about our goodness, but about God’s generosity!

But nowhere in the gospel is this idea driven home more, than in today's parables! (1) In one parable, God is compared to a shepherd who is so eaten up with love for his sheep that he does something remarkable. Instead of being happy with 99 out of 100, he leaves the 99 obedient sheep out in the wasteland to go looking for the one lost sheep! Finding it, he calls in his friends and neighbors holds a party! (2) In another parable, God is compared to a woman. You heard me! God is compared to a woman! This woman has a headpiece made of 10 silver coins. It was probably her dowry for marriage! She loses one in the dust of her dimly-lit, mud-floored house! In a panic, she lights a lamp and scours the floor until she finds it! Finding it, she calls in her friends and neighbors and holds a party! (3) In another parable, God is compared to a father with two sons. One son gets lost, leaves homes and gets down with the pigs. The other son stays home, follows all the rules and does all that is expected of him. Even before the lost son comes home, even before he has time to give his well-rehearsed apology, the father runs down the road to met him, puts a gold ring and a fabulous robe on him and throws a party. (4) In another gospel parable, God is compared to a vineyard owner who pays all his workers a full days pay, no matter when they started or how long they worked! The point of all these parables is this: God loves us no matter what we do or fail to do  and God has a special place in his heart for the hurting! This message caused rejects, sinners and outcasts to flock to Jesus likes bees to flowers on one hand, and angered the religious establishment to the point of frenzy on the other!  Because they believed God’s love was conditional, these religious authorities plotted and finally put Jesus to death for this revolutionary and dangerous new message!

If it is preached with clarity and conviction, this “good news” of  God’s unconditional love for all people, especially the lost and hurting, is just as powerful today as it was back then! When I was pastor of this Cathedral of the Assumption, I and the priests who worked with me, preached this message to the outcasts and rejects of our day: street people, divorcees, gays, minorities of all kinds and people who have been judged, hurt and condemned by the church and society!  This message caused great numbers to flock here to hear it - and many of you are still here to hear it!   

I could not have preached that message if I had not needed to hear it myself.  I preached it because I needed to hear it!  I have learned one thing in my almost fifty years as a priest: no matter how smart, materially blessed, talented, religiously orthodox or well-connected we are, there is a wounded part of all of us that needs to be healed and needs to be loved. That is just as true of the Pope as it is of the saddest street person!  

This fact reminds me of the movie, ON GOLDEN POND.  In that movie, Henry Fonda is an old man, frustrated with getting old and dependent. Filled with anger about his situation, he is demanding, hard-headed and mean-spirited. One day, after attacking his daughter, Jane Fonda, and leaving her in tears, her mother played by Catherine Hepburn, tries to console her by asking her to put it in perspective. She makes this beautiful insight into humanity, “My dear, if you care enough, you can look deeply and closely at him and behind all that, you will realize that he is doing the best he can!” 

My, friends, if God can see beyond our sins and weaknesses and see that person created in the image and likeness of God, surely we can do the same for each other! The real monsters make the news every night, but most good people like you, I believe, are simply going about doing the best you can! We see externals. God sees into the heart.  The good news is that we don’t have to be perfect to be good enough for God!