Saturday, June 12, 2021


 Cathedral of the Assumption or Cathedral Heritage Foundation
Elaine Winebrenner, Teresa Campbell, Tim Tomes, Kim Klein, Angie Fleitz and Julie Zoeller

We still have lunch sometimes at the Brown-Forman Dining Room 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021




"The 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."

Carlo Carretto was an Italian author of the Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Gospel.
Born: April 2, 1910
Died: October 4, 1988

“How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.

No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ.


"We learn that the Eucharist is not only a reward for the good but also the strength for the weak and for sinners. It is forgiveness and sustenance which helps us on our journey "

At his mother's recent funeral

"Mom reminds me of the Church, whose first job isn't to teach people to do stuff, but to welcome them and make sure they're fed!" 

Sunday, June 6, 2021


I have the weekend off, so I am publishing a weekday homily I gave at the Little Sisters of the Poor recently. It could belong to my collection of AFFIRMING GOODNESS homilies I published a few years back. 

You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.

Acts 17:22-23

I have trained myself to be attentive to how other preachers preach. It seems to me that they fall into two categories. There are those who look for sins to condemn and there are those who look for goodness to affirm. In other words, some see the glass as half empty while others see it as half full.

When I study the ministry of Jesus and compare it to the ministry of the Scribes and Pharisees, I see the same thing going on. When Jesus looked at the poor, the marginalized and the sinners, he looked for goodness to affirm even in the most miserable human beings. When the Pharisees looked at the poor, the marginalized and the sinners, they looked for sins to condemn. One always finds what one looks for so Jesus could look at the most pitiful person and see a spark of goodness that he could fan into flame. One always finds what one looks for so the Pharisees could look at the most pitiful person and see only sin and weakness to be judged and condemned.

I have always been intrigued by Paul’s approach to preaching. We see it in our first reading today, displayed in a very dramatic way. Paul is walking around Athens, a city filled with pagan temples. He could have ripped them up one side and down the other for being so pagan, so blind, so misguided and passed quick judgment on them, but he doesn’t. Instead, he compliments them for being “very religious.” He tells them that he “looked around carefully” at their many shrines. He looked so carefully that he noticed that they even had an altar “To an Unknown God” just in case they happen to miss a god they had not heard of!

What was Paul doing? He took the Athenians “as they were” as a starting point. He “looked for goodness to affirm” and then led them to understand that their “missing god” was in fact the one and only true God! What was their response? Yes, some did scoff at what he taught, Some wanted more information. However, because of his respectful approach, became believers that day!

This is exactly what Jesus did in his ministry. He befriended and got to know people first. He “looked carefully” at them, did not make quick judgements about them and found sparks of goodness that he could fan into flame. On the other hand, the Scribes and Pharisees, “like bulls in a China shop,” judged and categorized people so they could find things to condemn.

My friends, if we “walk around looking carefully” as Saint Paul did in Athens, we would be able to see a spark of goodness in the most miserable human being. If we focused on what’s right about them, rather than what’s wrong with them, we have the chance of fanning that goodness into flame. If all we do is look for sins in them to condemn, we will probably fan that evil further into to flame. In my 51 years of ministry, I have learned one thing. When I have focused on that tiny spark of goodness and lovingly fanned it, people were converted. I saw it happen again and again. On the other hand, I have never remembered seeing anyone converted through harsh condemnation.

Yes, Saint Paul was right. We always find what we look for, be it good or evil. In truth, good and evil are often in the eye of the beholder!