Saturday, November 19, 2022



DANIEL 3:64-73

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

64 “Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
65 Bless the Lord, all you winds;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
66 Bless the Lord, fire and heat;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
69 Bless the Lord, ice and cold;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
70 Bless the Lord, frosts and snows;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
71 Bless the Lord, nights and days;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
72 Bless the Lord, light and darkness;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
73 Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

NOVEMBER 5, 2022NOVEMBER 12, 2022

Thursday, November 17, 2022



"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."
Luke 7:1-6

Having a negative-sounding name like “Knott” has it advantages. It makes you damned and determined to overcome negativity in life. My youngest brother, Mark, and I are what are called “Type A” personalities. We are driven to accomplish things! We are over-achievers! We never rest or let up! I am even flunking retirement! We joke about having a couple of personal mottos and those mottos go like this! “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!” “Never tell a Knott he can’t do something!” I could probably sleep better at night if my last name had been something like “Linger,” “Stall” or “Dally” instead of “Knott!”

After 52 years, there is so much I can't remember about seminary, but there is one thing that remains vivid in my mind and has contributed to my “driven” personality. One of our teachers asked us to present some "pastoral situations" for class discussion - maybe a wedding, funeral or counseling situation. He asked us to write up the "ideal" way we might handle the situation once we were ordained.

After we had all written up our "ideal" approaches, he collected the papers and ripped them up into small pieces and threw them in the garbage.  He said to us, "You will hardly ever get to do the "ideal," so let's talk about some alternative approaches."  Man, has that insight ever come in handy over the last 52 years!

Right after ordination I was sent to the home missions of southern Kentucky. I found myself pastor of a church with only 7 parishioners (three adults and four children) with $70.00 in the bank. I was not trained to be a missionary. I knew nothing about the "bible belt" as they called that area of the country. I didn't know how to start a church or how to raise money.  I could have just sat down and waited out my time down there, but I didn't! I remembered my seminary teacher's advice, "If you cannot do the ideal, find an alternative approach."

I asked three parishes and a Catholic car dealer here in Louisville to pay my salary until I got settled. I then applied to McCormick Presbyterian Seminary in Chicago for a scholarship to study "parish revitalization."   Guess what? The three parishes and the car dealer agreed to pay my salary for three years and I got a full scholarship from the Presbyterian Church to study “parish revitalization.”

When I came to Louisville in 1983, I had been named pastor of our Cathedral. The church was almost empty - just 110 registered parishioners and a few visitors.  Very few people knew it, but it was on a list of churches up for possible closure. Some wanted to close it and make one of the nicer suburban churches our cathedral. I was told by the former pastor not to get my hopes up and that "nothing could be done because there weren't any Catholics living downtown.”

I could have just sat down and waited out my time, but I didn't! I remembered my seminary teacher's advice, "If you cannot do the ideal, find an alternative approach."  I realized that there were very few Catholics living downtown and that raising a lot of money from within the diocese would be out of the question so I went for an alternative approach.  For parishioners, I went after the hundreds and hundreds of "fallen away" Catholics, especially those who worked downtown. For money, I asked people of all religions to help us fix up the cathedral so that all religions could use it. Guess what? In fourteen years we grew from 110 members to 2100 members and we raised over $22,000,000 and 67% of that $22,000,000 came from non-Catholics!

Friends, I learned a long time ago that the biggest shortage in the Catholic Church is not money or priests. It's imagination and faith! This is why I love that little sawed-off guy in the Sunday-before-last gospel, named Zacchaeus! He wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus coming down the road, but he was too short to see above the crowd! He could have said, "Oh, well, maybe next time," but he didn't. He found an alternative. He "ran ahead" and "climbed a sycamore tree." Because of his ingenuity, determination and faith and because Jesus was able to see Zacchaeus in the tree, Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus' house for dinner which led to him becoming a disciple!

Faith is the greatest force in the world. My friends! Declaring a situation as "impossible" is very convenient. It lets us off the hook and relieves us of the hard work of looking for "alternatives."  Nobody will blame us for doing nothing if we can convince them that "nothing can be done," would they? Instead, learn from Zacchaeus!  Use your imagination, use your faith, look for alternatives and be resourceful!  One of my heroes is Philo T. Farnsworth the inventor of TV! He said it best when he said, “Impossible things just take a little longer!”

Tuesday, November 15, 2022



“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

George Bernard Shaw

I can remember the spot and the year that it finally hit me that there was "no rescue party out looking for me!" Until then, I had become a master of whining and blaming and waiting for some rescue party to show up and save me from my situation. It truly was a moment of grace. It was a life-changing "wake up call" that motivated me to become my own personal life coach and personal spiritual director. Hardly a day goes by that I don't thank God for that moment of grace. Looking back at that day, and what has happened since, has left me "simply amazed and forever grateful!" 
There are many people who truly need help and we should do everything in our power to help them. There are many people  who simply need to be given an opportunity to help themselves and we should help them find that opportunity. Sadly, there are still some people in our culture who "want to be taken care of" when they are perfectly capable of "self-help." Some of them have been pampered, protected and spoiled until their personalities are stunted and starved.  Able to walk, they want to be carried. In those cases, when we carry them instead of challenging them to get up and walk, we actually help "cripple" them even more! With that said, I absolutely disagree with those self-serving persons who conveniently perpetuate the myth that a majority of our citizens these days fall into this category! Some of them use their accusations and condemnations as a screen to hide the fact that they are abusing the very same system on a much larger scale to even more deceptively advance and enrich themselves! I consider them the worst of the wolves in sheep's clothing! I may be dismissed as gullible, but I still believe that most people are doing the best they can and crave encouragement even more than help.  
I have dedicated myself to one of the "helping professions," priesthood, but I have resisted the idea that I have been called to be "holy" for other people. Rather, I have insisted on creating a life of trying to lead and empower others to seek their own "holiness." I am irritated most when people tell me they have given up their spiritual searches and religious practices because spiritual leaders like me are not perfect! They are the ones, to paraphrase Shaw, who have become 'feverish, selfish little clods of ailments and grievances, complaining that others will not devote themselves to being holy for them!' We are meant to encourage each other and inspire each other on our spiritual journeys, not to be "stand-ins" for others' spiritual journeys! As the Kingston Trio used to sing, "I gotta walk that lonesome valley. I got to walk it by myself. Oh, nobody else can walk it for me. I got to walk it by myself."  

Come on, people! "Be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."  Remember this! "There is no rescue party out looking for you!"  Get up and get on with taking as much personal responsibility as possible! 

Sunday, November 13, 2022



See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name
saying, ‘I am he,” and “The time has come.’ Do not follow them!
Luke 21:5-19 

It had been a very busy week at the parish. I decided to go to bed early, thinking I would get a little rest. Wrong! About an hour after I dozed off, the telephone rang. The caller was a panic-stricken, rural-sounding man with a house full of kids screaming and yelling at each other in the back ground. He had gotten my number out of the Yellow Pages. "Reverend, is the world going to come to and end tonight?" In my groggy state, I presumed it already had and he was simply calling to let me know!"

Well, after ten years in the Bible Belt as a home missionary, I had handled enough of these calls to know that a long discussion on biblical exegesis would not work. This man needed a yes or no answer from an authority - and he needed it now! So without batting an eye, I answered with all the authority I could muster at that hour of the night. "No, sir, the world will not end tonight. Please go to bed!"

He put his hand over the receiver to deliver my verdict to his screaming brood.: "He said it wasn't going to end tonight!" There was a lot of muffled arguing before he came back on the phone. "The kids came home from school today saying some preacher had predicted the end of the world and all the other kids were talking about it. They won't go to bed till you talk to them." Believe it or not, I had to talk to five kids, one by one, and tell them in my most confident voice: "Go to bed, honey! The world is not going to end tonight!" The father came back on the line, thanked me, and hung up. I was so pleased with myself that thought I would never go back to sleep!

See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name
saying, ‘I am he,” and “The time has come.’ Do not follow them!
Luke 21:5-19

Jesus left this earth with a promise he would come back. Ever since then, his followers have become periodically obsessed with predicting "the end time" especially during difficult times. However, I want to remind you in no uncertain terms that of  all the millions of doomsday preachers, with all their claims of having "figured it out" from their interpretation of the Bible, over all the many years, not one of them has been right yet! Some of Jesus' disciples, especially at the time of Mark's writing, were obsessed with the belief that Jesus was come in their life time - any moment now! This gospel passage warns those who were trying to predict the "end time" to go on living and leave the "when" to God.  Even Paul, after he had written to the Thessalonians about the imminent coming of Christ, had to write to them again and tell them to get off their rear ends, get back to work and get on with living. Some had quit working and had sat down to wait for "the end." 

Fellow Catholics! You have no doubt been confronted by some who claim to be able to deal with Biblical “end time” texts! Jesus warns us today not to follow them! He tells us that many will come claiming “I am he” and “the time has come.” He tells us today not to get sucked into their claims of being able to predict even from Scripture. Every time the world gets complicated and events seem to be out of control, a significant number of religious people comb the scriptures trying to find clues to back their dire predictions. It’s almost as if they hope the world is coming to an end! Hoping that the end is imminent is a lot easier, I suppose, than doing the hard work of trying to fix the problems of the world!

See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name
saying, ‘I am he,” and “The time has come.’ Do not follow them!
Luke 21:5-19

In today’s gospel, Luke warns us about two things. He warns us “not to follow" those who would interpret current events as signs of the world's end, but he also warns us to "watch out" for our own behavior in the meantime because we will have to face a lot of disruption and even persecution before it’s all said and done. However, when "the end" comes, it has already been decided that good will triumph over evil! So, it’s not a matter of predicting, but a matter of perseverance. In other words, he tells us to worry about living well and being a good disciples so that we don't have to try to "get ready" whenever the end does comes.

Friends, how do we make sure we are prepared? We hunger and thirst for holiness, we keep our hands to the plow, we live with our bags packed for a great adventure and, most importantly, we "wait in joyful hope" for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We should not fear having to endure eternal misery as much as the fear of regret for having missing out on the opportunity for eternal happiness. We need not live in fear and dread because "eye has not seen nor ear heard the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love him." As the Boys Scouts always say so wisely, "Be prepared!" Be prepared for eternal happiness!