Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Lent – March 1, 2015

 

Some missionaries were sitting around talking about the best way to spread the gospel.   Various methods were suggested which ranged from pamphlets to videos to radio announcements. Finally a young woman from Africa spoke. She said, “When we think a pagan village is ready for the Lord Jesus, the first people we send in is a Christian family. It is their lives that will inspire the villagers to think seriously about becoming Christian. They are better than a hundred books or videos or radio announcements. They will be the keyhole through which others will see the Lord Christ. To spread the Church Christians must not so much promote as attract.”

The lady was expressing what Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the German-French theologian, philosopher, physician, and superb keyhole to the divine in his own life, testified, “Example is not the main thing. It is the only thing.”

This then is what we are aiming for in Lent. Like Christ in today’s Gospel, we too must become transfigured. We must become shining examples of our heavenly Father’s love. St. Peter was so overcome by the outward “show” of the Lord’s transfiguration that he wanted to build three little houses so that they could stay forever with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the mountain.  But the Teacher soon brought his friends back down the mountain, as if to say to Peter and all of us, “Do not dwell on my Transfiguration overly long today. Rather, concentrate on becoming transfigured yourself.”  Christ needs for each one of us here to become a keyhole through which others will see the shining face of God.

How can we do this?  Well, a priest once asked Mother Teresa how he might better spread the Gospel. She replied simply, “Smile more often. Live as though you believe there are 542 references to joy in the Scriptures.”

The Lord Jesus had only a few hours alone with Peter, James, and John.  The transfiguration probably occurred in a microsecond. But we are in luck. There is no such time pressure on us. Next weekend, seven men from our parish together with their team leaders will have two days together on the KYCSS retreat for their own mountaintop experience.  As a parish family we have almost six weeks of Lent to open ourselves to the transforming love of God.  Can we do it?  Can we become keyholes through which people can catch a glimpse of Jesus?

March Grocery Items for the poor

Breakfast-pancakesSVDP-OLG_LOGO-4e1dcd83bb624St. Vincent DePaul has provided for us a simple way to shop for the monthly items they need to support the less fortunate in our area. In the end of most of the pews are little cards that list these items. Please take one, and add them to your shopping list each month. They will change out the cards in the pew from month to month to support the needs of people.

Society of Saint Vincent DePaul March Food Items

“Breakfast Items”

  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal Packets
  • Pancake Mix
  • Pancake Syrup

Include us on your weekly shopping list!! Donations collected in the Cry Room lobby.

Lenten Learning – Jesus: The Face of Discipleship

 

These links are on “Building a Better Disciple,” by Jonathan Sullivan, the Director for Catechetical Services for the Diocese of Springfield, IL. This Lent, Holy Family Catholic Church and School wishes to share resources that are helpful for anyone’s faith formation, Catholic or non-Catholic.

May we all make a Holy Lent!

 

Roughin’ it with Dad

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.33.49 PMJUNE 17-21, 2015

Come canoeing and hiking through Red River Gorge with dad. We will spend 4 nights and 5 days in the woods with dear ol’ dad and allow time for father & son to bond. By day we will go adventuring and by night have many stories to share around the campfire. St. Francis had a special relationship with his dad and we will reacquaint ourselves with their story.

I hope you can join us for this truly Franciscan and outdoor adventure. Weekend will onclude with Sunday outdoor Mass. Reserve a spot for you and your 12 to 18 year old son by completing the registration form and sending in your $100 fee.

Download the form here.

Homily for the First Sunday in Lent – February 22, 2015

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

 

You may recognize that tune as the melody to our Catholic hymn “I Danced in Morning” or if you are a classical music buff you may know it as the main theme for Eric Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.”  The original lyrics and its tune were written by Joseph Brackett in 1848.  Brackett was a member of the Shaker Community of Gorham, Maine.  He titled his song, “Simple Gifts.”

The central image of “Simple Gifts” is the action of spiritually turning; turning around so that we are facing in the right direction, so that we are in the place we’re supposed to be.  Turning so that we are in a firm place, or as Isaiah puts it, “like a peg in a sure spot.”  Turning so that we are at last where we were always meant to be.  The bible has a word for this turning: metanoia.

Metanoia – coming around so that we are facing in the right direction – seems to me the reason why our Lord Jesus submitted himself for baptism and let himself be driven into the desert for forty days and nights.  Our Lord’s entire life was one great act of humble obedience, an act of allowing the Father to turn him around until the two of them were firmly fixed in love.  Our Lord showed us that letting ourselves be turned around; putting ourselves completely into God’s hand is the greatest and most rewarding thing any human being can hope to do.  Bowing before God and letting our will be bent toward his purpose is not debasing or demeaning.  Rather letting ourselves be turned toward God is the most humanly noble thing we can hope to accomplish in life.

The three disciplines of Lent – prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – are gifts that, accepted humbly and joyfully, will help us to come ‘round right.  To turn our faces toward God, with our heads on straight, our hearts toward God, looking into the empty tomb of Easter with renewed faith.  How so?

Almsgiving, or charity, turns us away from selfishness, from a preoccupation with “what’s in it for me?”  Kindness in any form – giving my time, my wealth, my attention to someone else – reminds me that I was not sent into this world for my own purposes but for others.  St. Paul reminds us of the charity of Jesus when he writes to the Corinthians:  “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.”

Fasting turns us toward others.  Done with the right intention fasting puts us in solidarity with those who are in need; with those who are alone and starving for love.  Think about it.  Who was Jesus thinking of while his stomach groaned in the desert.  He was thinking of you and me.

Finally, prayer, which is true conversation with God, puts us into right human posture.  In prayer we lean into God, listening and sharing our hearts with him.  And we are rewarded, not necessarily with solution to our problems, but with assurances that we are not alone.  The Catholic short story writer Flannery O’Connor once said about the discipline of writing. “I go to my desk for two hours in the morning, in the afternoon and after supper so that if any idea comes, I’ll be there.”  It is the same way for us when we make time to come here for Adoration on Wednesday nights or when we sit with our bible or devotion for half and hour each day.  The patience Jesus showed at his trial and the road to Calvary was born in the hours he spent in prayer.

Let us pray for one another; especially let us pray for our friends who are preparing to receive the Easter sacraments.  Let us pray that we will all let ourselves be turned ‘round right, so that, come Easter morning we will be turned toward Jesus.

 

New Parishioner Brunch February 22nd

Pancakes And SausagePlease join us in the cafeteria after the 10:30 Mass to welcome our new parish families. A brunch of pancakes, sausage and fruit will be served by our Confirmation candidates. All are welcome and at no cost to you.

Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 15, 2015

The Scottish novelist, Robert Louis Stevenson is probably most famous for his adventure story “Treasure Island,” but he also wrote the serious novel, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, in which he explores the juxtaposition of good and evil in one man. In the book he seems to be working out his own struggle to understand why there is so much evil in the world if there is an all-good and all-powerful God.

It seems that all of Stevenson doubts came together when he met a leper for the first time on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai. In the nineteenth century – before any treatment had been found for leprosy – lepers were still banished to remote places, as they were in the time of Jesus. When Stevenson visited the lepers’ colony on Molokai, it shocked him and made him question God’s existence. In his diary Stevenson describe what he saw: “abominable deformations of our common manhood …the butt-ends of human beings lying there almost unrecognizable but still breathing, still thinking, still remembering … a pitiful place to visit, a hell to dwell in.”

Stevenson probably would have given in to depression, even despair, if he had not seen something else. On that same island, a group of Christians had established a clinic to care for the lepers. Among those Christians was a priest from Belgium, Fr. Damien Joseph de Veuster. The life of Fr. Damien inspired Stevenson so much that wrote a lengthy letter defending him against accusations and predicting his canonization. His predictions were accurate: In 1995 Pope John Paul beatified Fr. Damien. The compassion of Blessed Damien deeply inspired Stevenson.

Where did Fr. Damien find the courage to be so compassionate?  He found it in the Gospel we heard today. In the time of Jesus, leprosy was more than a hideous physical disease. It also brought painful social and religious consequences: The leper had to keep his distance from others, wear a bell and cry out, “unclean, unclean.” Perhaps most cruel, he was cut off from the consolation of religious rites. Jesus did something extraordinary, really unthinkable. He reached across that social division and touched the leper. By touching the man, Jesus ritually contaminated himself. Isaiah the prophet looked forward to this divine compassion when he spoke of the Suffering Servant of God:

He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.  53:4

Jesus reached out to the leper because he saw beyond the disfigurement of leprosy. He saw the worth of the person – in spite of external deformity and internal decay.

He was willing to take on the burdens of the poor man’s infirmity himself.

Mark Twain once said, “We are all like the moon. We all have a dark side we want no one else to see.” Which is to say that there is a leper inside each one of us whom we have banished to the Molokai deep within us.  Jesus’ compassion challenges us. He wants to do for us what he did for the leper.   Today’s Gospel contains a simple, powerful prayer: “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Doubt sometimes tempts us to choke back this prayer because we are afraid to ask Jesus for compassion and understanding. But he is willing to take our illness, our infirmity upon himself. And in doing so, Jesus can give us the courage to show compassion to others.

Robert Louis Stevenson glimpsed that compassion when he visited the island of Molokai. It enabled him to overcome his doubts and express his faith in God.

Stevenson composed a spontaneous poem and left it as an entry in the guest book at Molokai.  He admits that he was tempted to deny God. The beauty of compassion, however, caused him to fall silent and adore God. Here is the poem:

“To see the infinite pity of this place
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferer smiling at the rod
A fool was tempted to deny his God.

He sees, he shrinks. But if he gazes again.
Lo, beauty springing from the breast of pain!
He marks the cisterns on the mournful shores;
And even a fool is silent and adores.”

 

Holy Family School on a 2-hour delay Friday, February 20th

shareasimageHoly Family Catholic School will be on a 2-hour delay Friday, February 20, 2015, due to cold temperatures. Please remain safe! Tomorrow will also be a Non-Uniform Day. Dress in layers, with sweatshirts, heavy coats, hats, gloves, scarves.

Mass will be held at 12 noon and not 8:00 a.m. Stations of the Cross will still be held for students and community at 2:10 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

Parents can drop off their children in the cafeteria beginning at 9:00 a.m., with classes beginning at 9:45 a.m. Morning preschool classes are cancelled. The childcare room opens at 9:00 a.m.

For lunch in the cafeteria, the only entree will be Domino’s Pizza.

We cannot state how important this is: Temperatures are going to be very cold, so please bundle up your children during these colder days of winter. Several layers of loose fitting clothing, leggings, pants (not shorts), coat, gloves, scarves, and hat should be worn. Please do this for your students’ health.

Different from today’s situation, tomorrow morning we have made arrangements to get students into the building quickly, and have made arrangements to have extra help at arrival. Please consider dropping your K-8th graders at the appropriate drop off point, to get them in the building quickly.

FOR DISMISSAL, parents are welcome to come into the main school lobby, starting with primary parents, or wait in their cars until their grade level is seen leaving the building. There will be no waiting outside, after school, for late pickup. ALL students not picked up when cars begin dismissal will be escorted back into the building, and to the Cafeteria.

Parishioner Ida Mae Baker, 100, passes

Ida Mae BakerIda Mae Barbara (Bohn) Baker, 100, of New Albany, Indiana, was called home on Sunday ,February 15, 2015. She worked with her husband for many years at The Elks Club in New Albany, IN. Ida Mae was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church, former member of The Elks Club and enjoyed playing euchre and jigsaw puzzels.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Lee, daughter, Kathleen Childers. Ida Mae is survived by her daughter, Laura Lee Buehler(George), sister, Geneva Jewel, 3 grandchildren, George Buehler III, Tiffany Cardwell, Devin Childers, 2 great-grandchildren, Harrison Cardwell and Riley Cardwell.

Visitation will be onWednesday, February 18, 2015 from 4 to 8 PM at Newcomer Funeral Home (3309 Ballard Lane, New Albany, Indiana). Service will be on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 11:30 am at Holy Family Catholic Church (129 West Daisy Lane, New Albany, IN 47150) with burial to follow at Kraft Graceland Memorial Cemetery.

The digital Guestbook is located at this link.

Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule

snowdayIMG_1468Due to weather the masses for Ash Wednesday have changed.

Holy Family School is closed Wednesday, February 18th. No Virtual School. Remain safe. Masses at 12 noon and 6:30 p.m.

There will be no 6:45am Ash Service nor 8am mass.