I want to be a Grandfather just like you!

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 11, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron

Father’s Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ezekiel 17:22-24 ~ I, God, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree …and make the withered tree bloom.

Psalm 92~ Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10~ We are always courageous…

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34 ~ Jesus said to the crowds, “Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            A dad told me that he and his little boy were having a real man-to-man conversation as they were playing in their back yard. The boy said, “Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up.” My friend, the dad, thinking his son would say, “Spiderman,” or some such thing, asked, “What do you want to be son…a fireman?” The child said, “No daddy, I want to be just like you.” You mean you want to be a doctor?” The boy said, “No, I want to be a father.”

Not all of us have had the best or most pleasant experiences with our fathers. The fruit of fatherhood often takes time to grow… first the blade, then the ear, and then the full grain in the ear. And sometimes fatherhood doesn’t bear fruit until long after the father dies.

The Gospel reminds me of a true story about a young man who left his native Italy and family just about five years after the 1918 flu epidemic. Antonio served in the medical corps back in Italy, during World War I. He came through Ellis Island past the Statue of Liberty on the S/S Bella Italiana with $50 in his pocket. Although he thought he was just visiting America, Antonio, only 27 years old, met a woman in Boston, Teresina, widowed with five children ranging from 14 to 5 years old. Antonio was both moved and pressured to marry her. After all, she spoke Italian and was beautiful.

The two grew as a couple saving up enough money to get all the children back from orphanages within a year. Together they had two daughters and then a son who died at birth.  Then a year later they had one more son, Matthew. Antonio worked with his stepsons and son in construction. Teresina invested the money earned into real estate. You could say that Teresina and Antonio’s family grew, put forth branches and bore much fruit, wealth and grandchildren. Only Matthew and his six sons could carry his father’s name, they had a respectful, sincere but cold relationship.

Teresina and Antonio often argued loudly and dramatically as many Italians do, but they loved each other. No one doubted that love until Teresina died after 55 years of marriage. She managed the money and her will seemed to say to Antonio, “I neva lova you, I only lova my first husband!”

            For the next five years, Antonio alienated just about every grandchild. One grandson who was 19 when Teresina died, would visit, but left as soon as his grandfather badmouthed his deceased grandmother in Italian. He usually left within 5 minutes. During the next five years, the visits got longer and longer until the grandson only left because he had to get back to school. He even took walks on the beach with his grandfather.

One day Matthew called his son who was in the seminary. This was before cell phones. “Son, last night, Grandpa was having a great time at his 89thbirthday party with the great grandkids.  I brought Grandpa back to his apartment and was putting his food in the refrigerator when he insisted I come to him. He was in his chair. ‘Ya Pa, what do you want?’ He said, ‘Mateo, I lova you.’ I told him I loved him too.” A sigh, “But Son, your grandfather had never said those words to me before.” Matthew took a breath and told his son,  “Your grandpa died some time last night. He never left that chair.”

Jesus Came Home with his disciples…

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 10, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Genesis3:9-15 ~ The woman answered: “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”.

Psalm 130~ Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; hear my voice!

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1~ Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Gospel: Mark 3:20-35 ~ Jesus came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “he is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            How many of us have blamed others for causing us to sin? How often have we had expectations of others to do it our way? Adam and Eve are a gift to us if we have done this. Now what? The family of Jesus had expectations for him, and when he didn’t meet those expectations, they blurted out “He is out of his mind!”

           Jesus shares with us that before anyone can plunder a strong man, they have to tie up the strong man first.  Then they can plunder. The scribes were about to tie up Jesus to a cross so that they could plunder and oppress the people even more. They were profiting from the people by confusing them and misleading them. That is how people are tied up.

            Doctors, nurses, lawyers, counselors and ministers take oaths and vows to protect life rather than destroy life. When they go against that oath, like support abortion or go into useless wars… then they do the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit.

            To profit from war, divorce, abortion, or unneeded hospital stays or selling guns to those who shouldn’t have them or lying in order to get elected, or feeding off of the flock… these are unforgivable. The opposite is life-giving.  

Newspaper columnist George Plagenz once told the story of a young doctor who delivered a baby into a poverty-stricken family in Montana. The child had one cruelly deformed leg. He also had difficulty breathing. “The other children will call him ‘Limpy,’” the doctor thought. “His life will be miserable. If I don’t do anything for his breathing, he will die. Wouldn’t that be better?” he asked himself. Then he remembered his Hippocratic oath and began blowing into the baby’s mouth. Soon the child’s lungs were acting normally and he gave his first cry.

Several years later the doctor’s daughter and son-in-law were killed in an auto accident. The doctor’s ten-year-old granddaughter was left an orphan. He took her in. One day the child was stricken with a crippling and incurable condition. The doctor learned there was a young doctor in the Midwest who had been getting excellent results in the treatment of this particular disease. He took his granddaughter to see the doctor.

The young physician was lame. He was the deformed baby into whose mouth the older doctor had breathed 35 years before. Because of his own infirmity, the young doctor had specialized in this crippling disease. The treatment on the older doctor’s grandchild was successful and the little girl was returned to normal health. *

IMG_6176

*Story taken from:

Gerard Fuller, O.M.I., Stories for All Seasons, 1996, Twenty-Third Publications The Columbia Press, page 74 (Jesus Casts Out Devils)

David Redding, The Golden String (Grand Rapids MI: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1988), as quoted in Dynamic Preaching (6):5, July 1991.

IMG_5198