Bottom line: As your spiritual father I ask this pledge so our family can flourish.
Some of you participated in the summer "Take the Plunge" Bible Study. You learned to use the Bible (daily Mass readings) for prayer and how to understand the original meaning - the text in context.
Context is important for today's Gospel. When Jesus says to call no man rabbi, teacher, doctor, father, he's not rejecting titles of honor. No, Jesus himself refers to "father Abraham." What Jesus wants is for us recognize the ultimate teacher, doctor and father - God himself.
St. Paul speaks about God as the source of all paternity. To my brothers here I say: Your paternity and mine comes from God.
Once a mom came to me with child in arm. She shared the struggles she was facing. I listened and then prayed over her and her child. When I finished she looked at me and said, "you are my father." I've now completed almost 46 years of priesthood and still the greatest satisfaction is to be a spiritual father.
This weekend I am asking you to let me be your father and for us to form a spiritual family. We're a big family, even here in the Sky Valley. And we are family in flux. I can't get to know each of you as closely as I would like, but I do want to communicate with you. I ask you to give your contact information - address, phone, email. If you use Facebook, "friend" me. I have a Twitter account, but unlike President Trump I haven't figured out how to use it except to post homily links.
There's another form of communication. It's been around so long and we use it so often that we don't think of it as communication. Jesus speaks about it a lot and emphasizes how seriously we should take it. I'm talking of course about money. When you think about it, money is a basic way of communicating value and commitment. It's a pledge of goods and services - a vehicle of responsibility and Stewardship.
For sure we often misuse money - because of our greed and desire to control others. This common tendency led St. Paul to say, "Love of money is root of all evil." Money in fact is the most misunderstood form of communication. Still if we exercise Stewardship money can achieve much good.
During the month of November I ask you to make a renewal of Stewardship. Please take one of the cards and fill out your contact information. On the top part you see three options for a Stewardship commitment. Our relationships depend on making pledges and then doing our best to see them through. As your spiritual father I ask this pledge so our family can flourish.
Today's first reading speaks about keeping faith with each other. This often means accepting the "drudgery and toil" St. Paul describes. But it springs from love. As Paul says, "With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well." Amen.
From Archives (Thirty-First Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru