Friday, November 3, 2023


Rhodelia, Kentucky

My youngest brother, Mark, bought and took over my father's building material business (Knott's Supply) in Rhodelia where I was born and raised. I used to help load, unload and deliver truck loads of building materials like these especially during summer breaks when I was in St. Thomas Seminary from 1958-1964. Thankfully, trucks back then were not as big as this one. 

Under my youngest brother, Mark, the business has greatly expanded and the trucks have gotten bigger and more numerous. As the oldest son in our family, lucky for me and my youngest brother Mark, that I had no interest in running such a business!  We are both satisfied with where we have landed in life, but share the same drive that we inherited from our father - except in two different areas of life: he in business and me in ministry! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023



The passage below is an excerpt taken from The Brothers Karamazov
(read in its entirety)

“I love humanity . . . but I can’t help being surprised at myself: the more I love humanity in general, the less I love men in particular, I mean, separately, as separate individuals. In my dreams . . . I am very often passionately determined to save humanity, and I might quite likely have sacrificed my life for my fellow-creatures, if for some reason it has been suddenly demanded of me, and yet I’m quite incapable of living with anyone in one room for two days together, and I know that from experience. As soon as anyone comes close to me, his personality begins to oppress my vanity and restrict my freedom. I’m capable of hating the best men in twenty-four hours: one because he sits too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold in the head and keeps blowing his nose. But, on the other hand, it invariably happened that the more I hated men individually, the more ardent became my love for humanity at large.”

Sunday, October 29, 2023



You shall love God with all your heart, all your soul,
all your mind and your neighbor as yourself. The
whole law depends on these.
Matthew 22:34-40

For the last few weeks, we have been reading about the battle between Jesus and the religious teachers of his day in the Gospel of Matthew. Since Jesus was very popular among the ordinary people on the streets, these jealous religious leaders could not attack him directly so they resorted to trying to trap him in his speech so that they could have something to accuse him of should there be a religious heresy or political sedition trial. They are determined to “get” Jesus, one way or another, and they eventually succeeded in having him killed!

Last week, we read that they thought they had Jesus cornered. First, they schmoozed him with false flattery to get him to open up. “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” They then asked him whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. They thought they had Jesus boxed in with their clever “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” dilemma. If he said “Yes, it is lawful” he would offend and lose his followers who hated Caesar and his taxes, but if he said “no it is not lawful” then the Roman government would come after him for sedition. Jesus outsmarted their trickery by answering, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s!”

Today they are back for another try. The trick question today is “what is the greatest commandment?” They knew that scripture scholars could not agree on this so they thought they could discredit him with somebody no matter what answer he gave. Again, Jesus outsmarted them by placing the love of God and love of neighboring on the same plane - making them equal - rather than prioritizing them as they were hoping.

There you have it! Basic Christianity is about fully and completely loving God, oneself and one’s neighbors. Does that mean I have to love God, myself and others with all my heart, soul mind and strength if I dare to claim the name “Christian?” You mean I am supposed to make God and others the most important considerations in my life, while truly loving myself? To be honest, most of us can’t say that God is that important to us, much less ourselves and those around us!

I would love to be able to say that God is always at the center my life, and that I love all people all the time but sadly I quite often put myself ahead of God and the needs of others. Some days I do better than others but, thankfully, God is very patient with me and loves me anyway. He is always giving me as many second chances as I need! I have always taken great comfort in knowing that my best is good enough for God.

Today, I want to say a few more words about taking these two commandments seriously. None of us will ever measure up completely to the Great Commandment – the one that summarizes all other commandments - but this is the brass ring for which we all should reach out for! To take God seriously, to seek to love him, ourselves and others with all we have, there are things we must do. To call ourselves “Christians,” there are some basic things we must strive for! Let’s all examine our consciences as I list some of them! As that famous quote asks, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

1. We must want what God wants. To be able to want what God wants means we have to understand the Scriptures, listen to the Spirit within us and stay consciously connected to God through prayer.

2. We must remember who we are. We are holy. We are holy, not because of what we have done, but simply because we are “created in the image and likeness of God” and, through our baptism, we are adopted permanently as children of God. If we are to love ourselves properly, we must accept our holiness, neither exaggerating who we really are nor denying who we really are!

3. We must want to live by the same values that Jesus lived by: having a loving kindness toward everyone, especially the most weak and vulnerable, even our enemies; striving to do God’s will no matter the consequences; using Jesus’ own life as a pattern for our own.

4. We must be in command and control of ourselves, have a handle on our addictions and our passions, so that we can go in the way that God wants us to go. We must constantly question our own motives, making sure that we not only do the right thing, but also do it for the right reason.

5. We must never give into hopelessness, whether it is about the future or about other people because we know that the war against evil has already been won. Even though we may continue to lose many more painful battles, the war is already won! God’s kingdom will come and nothing we do, not even the gates of hell, can stop it.

6. Regardless of our failures, loving God and each other with our whole heart, soul, and mind is something we should strive for, even though it is something we will never accomplish completely. God wants a relationship with us as long as we live, even if it is off-and-on, rocky and imperfect!

Today, we are challenged to get serious about God, not in some loud, noisy and superficial way, but in a long haul and to the core-of-one’s-being kind of way. Loving God and one’s neighbors with all our hearts, souls and minds does not translate into noisy religious fanaticism. I, for one, cannot stand in-your-face religious fanatics! The loving that Jesus talks about is about knowing that we are loveable to God and about a simple way of living that places that love back onto God. ourselves and everybody around us. That is the spirit of these two commandments and that is what the spirit of God's whole law is all about!

How can we possibly hope to love this way? We can do it only with God’s help! Let us therefore go to that table to be fed and strengthened on the Body and Blood of Christ! With God’s help all things are possible!