SAINT PAUL MISSION INCLUDES BRISTOL BAY AND THE ALEUTIAN CHAIN.
Pastor: Father Scott Joseph Garrett
There are three actual church buildings in the Alaskan Saint Paul Mission, Holy Rosary in Dillingham, Saint Theresa in King Salmon/Naknek, and Saint Peter the Fisherman in Clarks Point. There are some 30 other villages in the surrounding area. All of these make up the Saint Paul Mission. Saint Paul wanted to take the Gospel to the "Ends of the Earth."
Here is my homily for this weekend, the readings follow:
19th Ord C 2016 Watch & Ready, Wis 18:6-9;Heb 11:1-2&8-19;Lk 12: 32-48
In basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, in August of 1975, we had to pull door guard duty in the middle of the night. One tends to get a little bored, sleepy, and tired. Nothing ever happened. One morning I was leaning up against the door, starched uniform, canteen, half asleep, and something happened. Someone beat on the door and aroused me into a state of immediate attention.
Through a six by six window the first lieutenant was yelling at me. “Open the door now!” he shouted. He acted like a madman. He had an emergency and needed to get in NOW! I was 17 years old, standing at attention behind a locked door, and scared. Fortunately Sergeant Beranger, my drill instructor, advised me to: be alert at all times, watch, and check for ID.
Finally the Lieutenant quieted down a bit. I asked, “Sir, may I please see your ID.” This request infuriated him. He yelled and screamed some more; I was insistent; finally the irate lieutenant pulled out his ID. I was about to let him in when I noticed something. On his official military ID card was transplanted 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. We need Faith.
What being ready means is this: Faithful obedience to God’s commands and values. Faithful obedience means to be consistent in prayer. It means loving our neighbor and enemies every chance we get.
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 another good organization. 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 putting Jesus before money, material positions, and well, everything else.
Being ready means participating in the Eucharist every Sunday. There are 168 hours in a week. God is asking for .006% of that time to attend Sunday Mass. That is a small sacrifice to make for thanking God for our lives and all the blessings he has given us.
CHALLENGE – BE WATCHFUL BE READY
This week, I challenge all of you to be a little more watchful for opportunities to love one another. Be a readier by prioritizing your spiritual life. For, should he come in the second or third watch and find them ready, blessed are those servants (480 Words).
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.
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.
Lk 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.