Sunday, Sep 27; Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When we were in school and during each academic year we grew in knowledge; all kinds of knowledge.  Through such knowledge worlds of possibility opened before us.  This past summer I read a biography on Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on lunar surface.  It was his knowledge of and fascination with the history of flight that led him to the moon.

Knowledge opens minds and acquires for us information; information that is useful.  Yet, is the acquisition of information and growth in knowledge enough?   Does it lead to wisdom and a meaningful life?

I finished recently David Brooks “The Road to Character”.  Throughout the book he profiles men and women of character, one of them being St. Augustine.  And Brooks writes:

For Augustine…knowledge is not enough for tranquility and goodness, because it doesn’t contain the motivation to be good.  Only love impels action.  We don’t become better because we acquire new information.  We become better because we acquire better loves.  We don’t become what we know.  Education is a process of love formation.  When you go to a school, it should offer you new things to love.  (p.211)

In monastic life, I was taught that the monastery is a “school of love.”  Augustine—by way of Brooks’ insight—is correct:  Only love impels action.  Only love, I would add, humanizes this fallen and sometimes sad world that is driven by a logic—knowledge—that’s heartless and unfeeling sometimes.   This is why I find our parish with its catechesis and school an antidote to this ‘push’ for more and more information within this digital age of ours.  All this information does not make us better.  Only love does that.  Only love redeems. 

At times, it can seem like a losing battle to me.  I can become disheartened by the many that have left the Church within a culture where God’s influence has grown small.  We seem more connected to our technology with its gigabytes of information and seem to crave more information about the Seahawks than we do our faith.  Some of it has been the Church’s fault with her hypocrisy and sin; her careerism and spiritual Alzheimer’s as Pope Francis puts it.     Yet, I do believe some of it’s due to the godless atmosphere we breathe.  What keeps hope alive within my soul are the children of our parish.  Most Fridays, grades 3rd through 8th attend the morning Mass.  It is then I have the chance to preach the words of Jesus—words of love—at their level.  Here, I am free to use the language of faith and help them see how God is so much a part of their lives; to instill in them, not information, but the Good News that “Love is the measure by which we will be measured.”  It is love that impels us and which matters.   During the liturgy, I invite one of the classes to join me round the altar as I celebrate the Eucharist.  Some of them will stretch out their hands with me as I pray the words of the Canon which makes me smile.  I love their spontaneity and willingness to take to heart what I’m doing. There, together, we pray and bow before the presence of Jesus; of such Love.  My prayer is that they never lose sight of this God “who is close, who is flesh, who is where we are.” (Karl Rahner).


Father Tim Clark, Pastor

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