Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 27, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 8.30.34 AMWe all look for bargains; the best bang for our buck.  We wait for the summer sidewalk sales and close-outs. The ads tell us “This sale won’t last long.  Act now!”  So we go and search the racks.  Two hours…nothing.  Just when we’re ready to give up in disgust we try one more stack.  Sure enough there’s a pair of shorts.  Just the kind we’ve been looking for; in our favorite color, no less.  Only one problem:  They’re one size too small.  If we buy them we’ll have to start that exercise program we’ve been putting off.  Is it worth the risk?  Is it worth the effort?  Are they worth the price?

Today Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a hidden treasure and pearl of great price – sought after for many years, finally discovered, and bought at great cost and great risk.   The once-in-a-lifetime treasure, the one-in-a-million pearl comes with a great price.  The merchant, the collector must sell all. 

A commentary that I read on this gospel provided this insight:  

“The beautiful stories of the treasure in the field and the pearl merchant point to the fact (that) seeking the Kingdom of God and doing the will of the Father calls for total commitment. One does not simply add this pearl to a collection or simply purchase one more parcel of land. All must be sold. An absolute fresh start is to be made. The Gospel cuts into one’s life and one must decide. Jesus brings compassion and healing; but he also brings a call to responsibility that is not without its consequences.”    (http://venerablematttalbotresourcecenter.blogspot.com/2008/07/seeking-kingdom.html)

Freedom isn’t free.  The freedom of the Kingdom of God, the freedom that Jesus purchased for us with his own life isn’t free.  Receiving freedom from selfish and addiction to our own self-will means trading in our “it’s-all-about-me” attitude with all its comfort for a new life:  a life lived in concern for others.  What would that look like practically speaking?

One evening in 1884 a twenty-eight years old Irishman, who was penniless and out of credit, waited outside a pub in the hope that somebody would invite him in for a drink. Born into a family where his dad and brothers were all heavy drinker, Matt Talbott had left school at the age of twelve and went to work in a wine merchant’s store. He very soon began “sampling their wares”, and was considered a hopeless alcoholic by age thirteen.  Standing outside the bar, several friends had passed Matt without offering to treat him.  Finally he went home in disgust and announced to his mother that he was going to “take the pledge” – give up the drink. He took the pledge for three months and at the end of the three months, he renewed for another six, then he took the pledge for life. 

It was not easy to give up the bottle.  The first seven years were a living hell with constant temptation to take just a little sip.  Of those years Matt wrote:  “Never be too hard on the man who can’t give up drink. It’s as hard to give up the drink as it is to raise the dead to life again. But both are possible and even easy for Our Lord. We have only to depend on him.” That is exactly what Matt did.  Gradually the man who had once stolen a fiddle from a street musician and used it to buy a pint came to be known as a man who, though poor himself, was patient, kind and generous to those in need.  

Matt sold it all to buy the pearl of great price.  He set aside his alcoholic self-centeredness, entrusted himself to Jesus and Mary, and learned another way.  Quite literally he stumbled into the Kingdom of God.  For his humility, charity and perseverance he was given the title “venerable” in 1975 by Pope Paul VI.  

What is it that you, that I, are clutching so tightly that it prevents us from having the treasure of life-to-the-full today?  If we buried our relationship with the Lord after our last religion class in grade school or after we were confirmed; or if we have let it grow stale and weak;  or if we have never really let ourselves get close to the Lord Jesus out of fear of what it might cost us…today is the day to look down at our feet.  Today is holy ground and there is treasure buried in this field.  Our Lord Jesus gave away the riches of heaven to come and live among us.  Why?  Because to him you and I are the pearl of great price.  After 2000 years he hasn’t changed his mind.

Mass Announcements – July 27, 2014

  • ANOINTING OF THE SICK - Sometime ago I gave you my emergency cell number.  Please remember that you can contact me if you or a loved one needs the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at any time, day or night.  Floyd Memorial has my number but they do not contact me unless you specifically ask them to.  It is better if you contact me personally as soon as you need me to come.  Please do not wait until your loved is in extremis as there is a danger I may not be able to arrive in time.  The sacraments are for the living.  After a person has died I can bless their body and say prayers with the family but I cannot administer the Sacrament of Anointing formerly called “The Last Rites.”  I think if you talk with anyone who has been present for the last Anointing they will tell you that it is a great comfort for both the sick or dying person and for their family.
  • BACK-TO-SCHOOL BASH - Any Junior High Youth interested in attending the Deanery Back-to-School Bash at Mt. Saint Francis must register by July 30th.  Permission slips and information can be found online.
  • Registration for Children’s Catholic Faith Formation will be held after the 8:30 and 10:30 am and 6 pm Sunday Masses this weekend.
  • NANCY DENISON – Requiescat in pace. Our sister in the Lord, Nancy Denison, went home to the Lord yesterday. Her funeral will be this coming Thursday at 11:30 am.

Parishioner, Nancy M. (Koetter) Denison, 74, passes

2617263Nancy M. Denison, 74, of New Albany, Indiana passed away Saturday morning at her home in New Albany. She was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in New Albany. She was a 1958 Graduate of Providence High School and was retired from the Floyd County Treasurers Office and Floyd County Emergency Management.

Read more here.

Holy Family Mom’s Group begins this Saturday

92432009

Holy Family Mom’s Group

  • Join us as we pray and connect with other Holy Family moms.
  • Saturday, July 26th, 8:45-9:45 AM in the school cafeteria.
  • Bring your own coffee :)
  • We will be praying the Rosary for our children and sharing conversation about our faith and families.
  • Rusty at the Rosary? Don’t let that keep you home! We will have extra Rosaries to share as well as  guides to praying the Rosary. You can also download the iRosary app ahead of time and use it to follow along!
Please let us know if you will be joining us. Contact Amy Hallal Henderson (drahenderson@hotmail.com) or Nikki Grigg (nikkigrigg@ymail.com)

Mass Announcements – July 20, 2014

  • MISSION APPEAL - Sister Mary Ann DeFazio, a Sister of Providence of St. Mary-of-the­ Woods, IN, is speaking at all Masses this weekend on behalf of the ministries of her Congregation. The Sisters of Providence actively minister throughout Indiana and in 20 states, Taiwan, Singapore and China.  Sister Mary Ann is here to ask for your prayerful and financial support.  Please be generous.
  • BACK-TO-SCHOOL BASH - The deadline for the Junior High Back-to-School Bash is July 30th.  Permission slips can be found on the website.
  • GOOD NEWS - Great news from Carol, our business officer:  Our end of year reports shows that Holy Family Parish ended in the BLACK by $5,487 and was able to put aside $15,000 for contingency funds; the school ended in the BLACK by $9,843; childcare ended in the BLACK by $10,244 and the cafeteria ended in the BLACK $5,654. I want to thank you who are so faithful in supporting the parish with your treasure as well as your time and talents.  Also a big thank you to our deceased friends and benefactors who left $30,000 in bequests and to our staff who kept expenses to a minimum.  Last and most to our God who gives us what we need – nothing more, nothing less.
  • VIRGINIAN DOLAN – Requiescat in pace. Our sister in the Lord, Virginia Dolan, went home to God last week.  Her funeral was this past Friday.  Please pray for Virginia, for her family and all her friends here at Holy Family who will miss her.
  • ANOINTING OF THE SICK - Sometime ago I gave you my emergency cell number.  Please remember that you can contact me if you or a loved one needs the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at any time, day or night.  Floyd Memorial has my number but they do not contact me unless you specifically ask them to.  It is better if you contact me personally as soon as you need me to come.  Please do not wait until your loved one is dying.  The sacraments are only for the living.  After a person has died I can bless their body and say prayers with the family but I cannot administer the Sacrament formerly called “The Last Rites.”
  • BLESSING FOR NEW FRESHMEN AT 10:30 AM MASS - Today we ask God blessing for our youth who will be starting high school this year.  We pray that everything they do will begin with God’s inspiration and and end with his blessing.
  • Registration for Children’s Catholic Faith Formation will be held after the 8:30 and 10:30 Sunday morning Mass next weekend.
  • This Wednesday, July 23, 6-7:30 p.m. is Orientation Night for Holy Family School Families. We are having a special New Family Orientation Question and Answer Panel from 6-6:30 p.m. here in the Church.