I. Am I a “Scarcity” or an “Abundance” Kind of Person? Five Loaves and Two Fish are All We Have Here: How do you make things multiply? Do you “pay it forward?” If you have Good News do you share it? Jesus tells his disciples, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” As with all His words and actions, Jesus is mentoring the disciples in what it really means to follow Him. Instead of sending people away, they should be inviting them closer. Instead of telling them to go and take care of their own needs, they should be feeding them (both spiritually and physically) themselves. As followers of Christ, we are also the intended recipients of Jesus words. We are not to hoard the Bread of Life or the Word of God, but instead we are to invite all we meet to come to the feast. We should not be concerned with scarcity. At the table of the Lord, we find abundance and more than enough to satisfy the hunger of all.
II. Farewell to Christopher! When Father Jason McClure, our Diocesan Vocation Director, asked me to take a seminarian for the summer, I responded that a summer internship would look very different during this COVID-19 pandemic. Christopher Grief, who will be entering his second year of theology at Saint Meinrad, will be leaving us this Sunday, August 2, after spending 10 weeks serving wherever needed at the Cathedral of Saint Stephen. Despite it all, it has been a wonderful experience for me, Father Sinoj Pynadath, and our pastoral team. Christopher is an initiator, an organizer, a pray-er, and a chef, all of which has benefited me! Oink! Oink! Special thanks to Donna Murphy who has been his supervisor. Christopher is delightful and we promise our prayers and support as he quarantines himself for 14 days before returning to The Hill.
III. The World is Not Evil: A contemporary of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic (1170–1221) founded a mendicant order (those who rely on the charity of others) of men, called the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, to preach against theological error. One of the pressing issues facing the newly established order was the Albigensian heresy, claiming that matter, specifically the body, is evil. Contrary to this heretical thinking, the Black Friars went from town to town preaching the goodness of the body. In order to preach sound doctrine with clarity, St. Dominic exhorted his sons to engage in rigorous academic study. He eventually started a contemplative female branch of Dominicans to support the apostolate of the men through prayer. We remember Dominic this Saturday, August 8. You are invited to our 9:00am Mass.
IV. A Determined Man with Vision Overcomes Obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney (May 8, 1786–August 4, 1859) wanted to become a priest, but had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which in adequately prepared him for seminary studies. His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue; however, his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained. As pastor of the parish at Ars in France, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living; his vision lead him through severe fast and short nights of sleep. His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s his most remarkable accomplishment. Even in the winter months he would spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. Since Saint John Vianney is patron of parish priests, I ask you to pray for priestly vocations from this parish, and refresh your memory about “Matthew 9 Mission” to pray the rosary for Priesthood vocations.
V. The Call to Priesthood! I was ordained a priest on August 9, 1975, at the Cathedral of Saint Stephen by Bishop Henry Soenneker, the second Bishop of these 32 counties of Western Kentucky. Little did I realize on that day, that I would crown my years of priestly ministry with shepherding the spirit-filled people of this great parish and Mother Church for the Diocese of Owensboro. As I celebrate my 45th anniversary of ordination, I am grateful to you for your support and encouragement, prayer and inspiration in living out the Gospel as Missionary Disciples. In Lieu of any personal gifts, I would ask that donations be made to our Saint Stephen Cathedral “Charitable Assistance Fund.” There are so many who lack the basics for living, and there is not a thing that I need but your prayers. Aware of my weaknesses and inadequacies, I recall Psalm 116:12: “What return shall I make to the Lord for all the good the Lord has done for me?”