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January 14, 2018

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

I said in my homily today that the readings were absolutely ripe with meaning. Too much I feel to cover in one homily. So let me say something here about the first reading from the Prophet Samuel. It tells the story of when he was a young boy and was apprenticing to the elder prophet, Eli. In this somewhat comical setting, young Samuel was sleeping in the church, so to speak. He hears his name called and goes to Eli saying “Yes master, what do you want?” This happens three times before Eli realized that it was God calling the boy. I think that this passage is relevant to all of us as we try to discern God‘s Will in our own lives. We listen to many voices that pull us in different directions, and sometimes it gets a little confusing as to what route we are to take. But Eli gave Samuel, and the rest of us, a little prayer to pray whenever we find ourselves a bit befuddled about what path we are to take: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” And we can tack a little addendum to this which is actually a line from the Acts of the Apostles: “What would you have me do?” I think this prayer would be good for the big decisions as well as the little decisions in life. Seek the help of God who promised to guide us through the minefield of life.

I should also mention that this passage has a particular meaning for me. It was about 13 years ago that I was given a special gift. A Christmas gift, actually. A cat. I got him gift-wrapped in a box, handed to me on the altar, at the end of the 11 o’clock Mass on Christmas day in my first assignment at St. Joe’s in Howell. I have to admit that I was a bit irritated. One does not hand somebody a new responsibility without at least asking their permission. I was suddenly, and unexpectedly, a father to a feline. But as “we” processed out at the end Mass and as I saw the expressions on the faces of the people, I got the impression, that perhaps, this was the Will of God for me. And so I said, “Be it done unto me according to Thy Will.”

Well, if you have a new cat I guess you have to name him, right? So we had a contest with the schoolchildren at St. Joe’s. The kids submitted many different names, none of which I really liked. But that morning at the school Mass, the reading from Samuel came up. It occurred to me that two of the names that were submitted were “Prophet” and “Samuel”, and so that became his name. The Prophet Samuel (or Sammy for short). Sam has been a very good pet and I thank God for him. He’s had a few buddies over the years who have come and gone. His current pal is ET (I know, kind of a strange name for a cat). And they have been good companions to each other and to me. I guess it was all God’s Will.

Addenda:

I received a gracious email from someone and am repeating to you what I said to her:  The decision to suspend Eucharistic Adoration in our Chapel is the result of circumstances that have been hard to deal with-fewer numbers of people willing to commit to an hour, many senior snowbirds leaving for the south or for vacations, fewer substitutes and numerous no-shows resulting in many of our late-night adorers having to spend two and sometimes three hours in a row without relief. Scheduling is a logistics nightmare. I advised the congregation that they can stop in to the Church anytime day or night and adore Jesus, in the main Church or in the Cry/Shroud Room, just no longer in the Adoration Chapel. All are welcome to commit to an hour and asked to sign the sign-up sheet in the Cry/Shroud Room if you do. This will give us an idea if people are still willing to honor their commitment.

I also suggested a prayer: “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the harvest”, or in this case, “adorers”.

Last Monday I decided to go out for a little exercise and went on a walk on our Trinity Trail. It was beautiful out there. A layer of fresh snow blanketed the landscape. Lots of deer tracks. All the statues are down of course, but there were a few artifacts to look at. I had asked the maintenance department to plow a trail should any of you want to do some winter hiking, but I think it will be mush for the weekend. I know at least one of you got snowshoes for Christmas.

Again, thank you everyone for your Christmas wishes and gifts to me and to our staff. As always you were quite generous.

Lastly, thanks to all of you who contributed to our Christmas liturgies in any way. There are many behind-the-scenes workers who volunteer their time to decorate our church, and then to un-decorate it. It’s a lot of work, but I’m sure they would all say that is a labor of love. Fr. J

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