Monday, August 30, 2010

Announcements: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Holy Rosary Alaska Mission Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Thank you: Thank you to Diana Swaim for ensuring that the Church was secured after Mass while I was gone. The cost of heating and lighting the church is very high if utilities are left on during the week. Thank you for helping us reduce cost and conserve electricity.

Visitor: Father Tom Lilly, pastor of the largest parish in Anchorage, will be visiting our Mission starting Thursday, September 9th. He will stay through the weekend and return on the evening Penair flight on Tuesday, September 14. Father Tom and I attended the seminary together and were ordained on the same day (May 24, 2003).

Facebook page: For those of you who use Facebook, Holy Rosary Alaska now has its own page. This page will be used as a means of communication among people living in the mission and the Archdiocese of Anchorage. We can post pictures, videos, etc. Fr. Clem will also help to administer the page. To keep in touch, go to Facebook and type in Holy Rosary Alaska. When the page comes up, click on the LIKE button at the very top of the page. By clicking on the like button you will be a member of that page and receive updates whenever something is added to the page.

Gospel: What is the cost of Christian life? A big part of the price is “carrying our cross.” Please see the below homily.

Baptism: September 12, during Mass, seven year old Blake will be baptized at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Please plan for a reception after Mass on that Sunday (the Sunday after next).

First Communion: We have started a class to help those children in our parish prepare for First Communion. PLEASE MARK YOU CALENDARS. The actual ceremony will be May 22, 2011. We will be preparing periodically after mass.

Hats: If you would like to purchase a hat, please let me know. I have a couple dozen on order. Here are some pictures. Click on them to make them larger.

Have a fantastic week and see you Sunday…Fr. Scott

HOMILY: The Cost of the Cross

23 Ord C DLG 2010 Cost of the Cross, Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9-10&12-17; Luke 14:25-33

We are not able to anticipate the full cost of Christian life. There are usually some hidden costs that we cannot anticipate. But we know for a fact that part of that cost of living as a Christian involves carrying a cross.

What exactly does it mean “to carry your cross?” Padre Pio said, “You must try to continually overcome yourself in those daily struggles that the Lord presents to you."

Every person here today carries a cross. And that cross involves the day to day struggles we go through. The cost is suffering. But there is a pay off. Through suffering comes love. Suffering brings you closer to God.

The cost of carrying your cross is acknowledging you are not in control of your life. You chose to die to self and live for Christ. It involves putting your trust in God and letting Him take over.

Here is an example: Let's say you can't stand this one person at work. You have the opportunity to complain about this person all the time or you can simply smile whenever you see them. You can even pray for them. You can take this hardship and turn it into a wonderful thing. You can let it transform your soul.

The best way to get a sense of suffering is through prayer, especially through the Rosary. Through the Rosary our blessed Mother will help us understand the suffering her son went through. She will grant us the graces to get through each day if we ask.

St. Monica is a wonderful example. She prayed for YEARS for her son (St. Augustine) to come back to the Catholic Faith. That must've caused great suffering, impatience, but she didn't give up. And now look at St. Augustine! He's a pretty well known Saint!

The reading from Philemon gives us an example of the cost of carrying a cross. Philemon is a Christian. His slave ran to Paul for help. Paul sent him back to Philemon saying, “Philemon, you are a Christian. You can not treat your slave like a slave anymore. Treat him like a brother. Thus, the cost of Christian life for Philemon was the loss of a slave.

In the Gospel, Jesus does not want us to actually hate our mother, father, wife, children, brothers, and sisters to be a disciple.

Jesus is using a technique to help us see the importance of preparation…preparation to face the cost of following Jesus. But he does command that we carry our own cross. He says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

When we carry our cross prayer helps us but there is more help. Wisdom tells us that we can, “call on the holy spirit from on high.”

The Holy Spirit guides us through the cost of Christian life and helps make our paths straight so it is easier to carry those burdensome crosses.

The cost of Christian life may seem high, but as Saint Augustine says, “God never asks us to face anything that we cannot cope with.” There is no temptation that we cannot resist.

Our problems and situations may seem too much for us to handle, but God would never give us anything that we couldn't deal with. It might be possible that we need help. Maybe from a friend...someone that can pray for us, give advice, just to help ease the burden.

So, today let us remember, even celebrate, the cost of Christian Life. Pick up your cross, and walk (589 Words).

Wisdom 9:13-18 – For what man knows God's counsel, or who can conceive what our LORD intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans. For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns. And scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but when things are in heaven, who can search them out? Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight, and men learned what was your pleasure, and were saved by Wisdom.

Philemon 9-10&12-17 – I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus. I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary. Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.

Luke 14:25-33 – Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, "If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish. Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Announcements: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Holy Rosary Mission Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Potluck: There will be a potluck this Sunday after Mass. Please bring your favorite dish. All are welcome to join us!

Hats: We are currently getting some hats made with a Holy Rosary Mission Logo. Three prototypes are being made. Below, Dawn and Linda (hat maker) plan the hats.

Facebook Page: A page on Facebook was recently made. On the page, you can ask questions, upload pictures/videos, see the current announcements, view updates to our website, and stay connected with other villages and the archdiocese. To be a member please find the Holy Rosary Alaska page on Facebook and click on the "LIKE" button at the top. The same button is also on our website.

Gospel: Humble is a main theme throughout the readings this coming week. Please see a homily and readings below.

Thank you: Thanx to Aileen for providing the communion services while I have been gone! Thanx to Angie for getting our mail. Thank you to Pat (and welcome back Pat) for fixing a leak in the rectory bathroom.

Below are a few pictures from my vacation in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. Have a fantastic week, stay dry, and see you Sunday...Fr. Scott

Alligator Hunting: An alligator was sighted on Carolina Beach. We went out to see it but, no such luck.

Yum, Ice cream

Lifeguard Fr. Scott:

HOMILY and READINGS for the 22nd Sunday

22 Ord C DLG 2010 Humble, Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Heb 12:18-19&22-24; Luke 14:1&7-14

One of the most humbling experiences I have ever had was in the seminary. The seminary was not just studying to get a Masters Degree in Theology. It was also formation.

Formation consisted of four meetings a month talking about our strengths and weaknesses. It was pointed out to me that I was rigid, very structured, not open to change, and inflexible. I am one of those kinds of people who like to have all my ducks in a row. The downside is that if one duck gets out of line, I might fall to pieces. I had to confront these weaknesses throughout my eight years of seminary training.

The seminary was a humbling experience because I learned that we all have weaknesses. I learned to accept my weaknesses. I learned that I could use my weakness to help others. Confronting weaknesses helped me understand Humble.

The dictionary says that the word humble is marked by humility, meekness, and modesty in behavior; not arrogance. To be humble is to show submissive respect.

Have you ever had someone point out your weaknesses and confront you with them?

When someone points out a weakness we can do one of two things: we can get defensive and angry, or we can turn on the humbleness switch.

Getting defensive is not the best choice because we push people away from us. Jesus wants us to humble ourselves. When we humble ourselves we are able to please people more easily. We are able to calm down those we have angered.

Being a humble person enables us to see the work we have to do in the world. When we flip on the humbleness switch, we turn on compassion, love, patience, and understanding.

It is the humble person who can see injustice, inequality, unfairness, and prejudice with obscene clarity. Humbleness makes us realize what we have to do as God’s servants.

When we conduct our affairs with humility, the reading from Sirach says, “You will be loved more than the giver of gifts, the greater you will be, and you will find favor with God.”

“When you are invited to a banquet go to the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, my friend, move up to the higher position.” That is being humble.

The gospel says, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

God promises to protect and free a humble person. God blesses, favors, loves, consoles, and showers a humble person with graces. After suffering, God raises a humble person up to glory.

As we go through this week, think about the spiritual benefits that come from being humble. We are all made in God’s image. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths. The next time someone confronts you with a weakness, turn on the humbleness switch (480 Words).

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
My son, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the wise man's joy. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.

Hebrews 12:18-19&22-24
You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

Luke 14:1&7-14
On a Sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, 'Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid
at the resurrection of the righteous."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Announcements: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Holy Rosary Mission Parishioners, here are a few announcements, an update on my travels, and a homily for the 21st week in ordinary time:

Gospel: Finding that narrow gate is not as easy at it seems. The wider gate is much easier to find and enter. What does it take to find and enter the narrow gate? Please see homily and readings below.

Potluck: Our next potluck will be August 29, 2010, i.e. the last Sunday of a month with 31 days in it. Come and join us for a little fellowship and good food after Mass. All are welcome and invited. Bring a dish is not required to attend, so do not be shy!

Prayers: A lot happened while I have been gone. I have been reading up on the Stevens Crash and have been praying for those involved. Please continue to pray for them and for all aviators and their passengers who fly. Saint Theresa is the patron saint for aviation safety.

Mass in North Carolina: Eric (the friend who invited me to the Catholic Church in 1985 when I was a protestant) took a picture of me standing outside the Saint Theresa in Wrightsville Beach, NC (Sunday August 8th, 2010). Pat Walsh’s brother Kevin, who visited Holy Rosary in Dillingham a couple weeks ago, goes to this church

Fun in North Carolina: Eric and I drove out along the beach after Mass on Sunday August 16.

Beach Altar Server: A seagull guards the entrance to the seashore near Carolina Beach.

Have a great week and see you the end of August...Fr. Scott

21 Ord C 2010 Gate Is 66:18-21, Heb 12:5-13; Luke 13:22-30

The Air Force sent me to Iceland for a year. In Iceland all the sheep freely roam the island. There are no fences. At the end of the year, all the shepherds get together on their horses and round up the sheep. The sheep are divided up. Each owner receives an equal number.

In order to divide them, they have to drive them through a narrow gate into a corral. The shepherds whoop and holler to get them through. The might even kick a sheep to keep it going. The sheep bock, bleat loudly, and struggle to avoid going through the gate. After the sheep are divided up, their wool is shaved. The Icelanders make beautiful wool sweaters, hats, and gloves. Then the sheep are set free for another year.

Finding the narrow gate does not mean to take the easy route. It does not always mean doing the popular thing or doing what everyone else is doing. The easy way is normally the wide gate.

We can choose to go through the wide gate, which is easy, or the narrow gate, which is a bit tougher and involves some self-sacrifice and suffering.

The Icelandic sheep sacrificed a few hours of roaming free time to be shaved of their wool. The wool helped the community. The sheep did not have a choice to go threw the narrow gate…but we do. Jesus gives us a choice.

This is how Jesus drives us through the narrow gate: He teaches us about Disciplined self-sacrifice and suffering.

So, Self-Sacrifice means something like this: exercising regularly, so that we can feel better about ourselves, which will in turn enable us to be better ministers, resulting in a more united church. Prioritizing “going to Mass over everything else in our lives.” It might mean giving up a couple hours a week to volunteer your time to the church. Disciplined Sacrifice is a long term giving of ourselves for the good of the church. It will light up the path leading to the narrow gate like the yellow brick road.

The Icelandic sheep were afraid and suffered during the roundup. For us, many things cause us to suffer when approaching the narrow gate. Suffering comes from struggling with issues like wanting something, but not really needing it; loosing a job, feeling like an outcast at work or school, or never having enough money to cover all of the bills.

Suffering is like a seed. A seed, when planted, has to rot first, before growing and bearing fruit. Suffering is a necessary decay or decomposition in each of us. It must take place so a more perfect and complete work might be born. Suffering separates us from self in order to give ourselves to another.

Through suffering, we learn to love effectively; we find God in a more intimate way. That closer relationship with God helps us to find the narrow gate.

The gospel gives us hope and advice for finding the narrow gate. Luke’s account of the narrow gate gives this advice, “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Loving others and being last involves suffering and sacrificing. Those approaching the Narrow Gate know how to love and let others love them. They realize that submitting to the discipline of the Narrow gate leads to eternal life.

Just who will be saved? Jesus does not speculate about who will be saved. He commands us, “Strive to enter the narrow gate.” Don’t focus on who will be saved, but on the discipline of the narrow gate. It is the struggle of resisting the wide gate that leads us into the narrow one.

If we choose to run with the crowd through the wide gate, Jesus is standing there like an aircraft marshal, whooping and hollering, corralling us toward the narrow gate. If we are stumbling toward the narrow gate, Jesus is encouraging us forward with open arms (659 Words).

First Reading
Isaiah 66: 18-21: I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels. Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Second Reading
Hebrew 12: 5-7, 11-13: You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: "My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges." Endure your trials as "discipline"; God treats you as sons. For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

Luke 13: 22-30: He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.' And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!' And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Announcements: Assumption of Mary

Dear Holy Rosary Mission Parishioners, I will be out of town until August 26. I have just finished my evaluation in Silver Springs, Maryland (they actually let me go so I must be OK) and now I am in Wilminigton, NC visiting my friends, Here is some info about the Assumption. Have a fantastic week. Fr. Scott

Assumption of Mary Aug 15, 2010, Revelations 11: 19; 12:1-6&10; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-27; Luke 1:39-56

August 15 is the day that Catholics have long celebrated what is called the Dormition (falling asleep) or Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Feast of the Assumption celebrates both the happy departure of Mary from this life by her natural death, and her assumption bodily into heaven.

Though it was almost universally believed for more than a thousand years, the Bible contains no mention of the assumption of Mary into heaven. The first Church writer to speak of Mary's being taken up into heaven by God is Saint Gregory of Tours (594).
On May 1, 1946, Pope Pius XII, asked all bishops in the world whether they thought this belief in the assumption of Mary into heaven should be defined as a proposition of faith, and whether they with their clergy and people desired the definition. Almost all the bishops replied in the affirmative.

On November 1, 1950, the Feast of All Saints, Pope Pius XII declared as a dogma revealed by God that "Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven".

There is an important difference, of course, between the ascension of Jesus into Heaven after His Resurrection, and the assumption of Mary. To ascend is to rise up under one's own power; while to be assumed means something that is done to one. Jesus, being the Second Person of the Trinity, had no need of assistance; whereas Mary did not have this power (253 Words).

Revelations 11: 19; 12:1-6&10
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.

1 Corinthians 15: 20-27
Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for "he subjected everything under his feet." But when it says that everything has been subjected, it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him.

Luke 1:39-56
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Announcements: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Holy Rosary Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Gospel: The theme in the Gospel this Sunday is “Be Prepared!” Be vigilant and watchful because we know not the time or day when the Lord will come. (Please see Homily below).

Tabernacle: The old tabernacle we had at Holy Rosary, which was replaced by the tabernacle I flew over from Clarks Point (Saint Peter the Fisherman), is now safely in the Chapel at the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

Here is a picture of some of our Holy Rosary Parishioners after Mass a couple weeks ago when our Seminarian, Arthur Roraff visisted us.

Thank you: Thanx to Bernie Venua for repairing a major leak in the basement of the rectory last week. He and Pat plan to spend a little more time down there upgrading some of the old plumbing.

Storm Doors: Two storm doors have been installed in the rectory. The idea is to help save heating fuel in the winter and keep a cool breeze blowing through the office in the summer (that is if we get a summer this year)!

Communion: The reason it is a sin for Catholics to miss Mass is because Jesus invites us to partake in His precious Body every Sunday. Not going to Mass sends the signal that “I do not want the Body of Christ.” Whether there is a communion service, where the lay minister offers the pre-consecrated (Body of Christ) bread in the tabernacle or whether the Catholic Priest consecrates the bread during Mass, the idea is the same. Every Sunday we are invited to partake in the Body of Christ. What an honor that is!

Have a fantastic week…Fr. Scott

Homily for the 19th Ord C DLG 2010 Watch & Ready, Wisdom 18:6-9;Hebrews 11:1-2&8-19;Lk 12: 32-48

Ever been caught off guard? I can remember in basic training being a door guard a few times at three in the morning. One tends to get a little bored, sleepy, and well…just plain tired. Nothing ever happened. One morning while on duty I was leaning up against the door, full uniform, canteen, hat, starched pants, the whole nine yards, and something happened. Someone beat on the door and aroused me into a state of immediate attention.

I looked through the little six by six window at an officer, a first lieutenant. All of a sudden he started yelling at me demanding me to open the door. He had an emergency and needed to get in NOW! So there I was, a 17 year old, standing at attention behind a locked door. I was scared because a guy was yelling like a mad man at me. But I had had some instruction about guarding doors. The drill instructor taught us to be alert at all times, to watch, and check for ID.

The officer finally quieted down long enough for me to ask, “Sir, may I please see your ID.” After yelling awhile longer and after I insisted again that he show me some ID, the irate lieutenant finally pulled it out. I was about to let him in and pay the consequences for holding him up, when I noticed something. On his official military ID card was, in place of his picture, a picture of Mickey Mouse.

My dorm guard experience could have been worse. Luckily I paid attention in class and was somewhat alert and ready. But the servants in the gospel were wide-awake. They were ready for their master’s return. Their lamps were lit and shining brightly.

Spiritually it is not easy to be ready all the time. We get tempted and sidetracked. We get bored and distracted. The gospel this weekend tells us that we can only be ready if we are prepared properly. We need instruction. We need experience. We need practice.

What being ready means is this: Faithful obedience to all God’s commands and values.

That means to be consistent in prayer. It means loving our neighbor and enemies. Being ready means doggedly searching for opportunities to help people in need. It means making sacrifices on a regular basis…such as volunteering our time to the church or a good cause. It means being ready for God’s coming by praying every day, going to confession, and getting involved in the church’s ministries. Most importantly, it means prioritizing church by putting it before money, material positions, and well, everything else. Putting Mass First…realizing that one hour a week is a small sacrifice to make for thanking God for our lives and all the blessings he has given us.

Being ready takes practice, determination, and a desire to love God with all of your heart, soul, and strength…everyday. Our Catholic Church is here to help us to be ready.

This week, I challenge all of you to take that next step in your spiritual preparation. Be a little more watchful. Be a little more ready. For, should he come in the second or third watch and find them ready, blessed are those servants (536 Words).

Wisdom 18:6-9
That night was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage. Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned. For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution, That your holy ones should share alike the same good things and dangers, having previously sung the praises of the fathers.

Hebrews 11:1-2&8-19
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God. By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age--and Sarah herself was sterile--for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore. All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name." He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Luke 12: 32-48
Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. "Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." Then Peter said, "Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?" And the Lord replied, "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute (the) food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master's will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master's will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.