Third Sunday of the Year Homily

Posted on Jan 24, 2018


21 JANUARY 2018


As most of you know I was raised in a small town: 312 people, 7 bars, and 1 Catholic Church.

Life was not easy for these people who got some of the worst farming land around.

The hard life made them hearty, it also made them a bit contrary.

I’ve always said that was one place I would never want to be pastor.

There are too many “contentious” people in that parish–most of them are my relatives.

Hatley generally did not get the cream of the crop of pastors.

However for one brief shining moment of about 15 years,

after I was ordained they had an incredible pastor.

He has brought vitality to the parish, helped them remodel the church, kept the school open.

About three years before he died, a couple of people in the parish decided they had had enough of him, and wanted “someone better.”

Now these were not very bright people.

The parishes around them don’t even have a resident pastor.

And there really isn’t this pool of great priests anymore–if there ever was.

These not very bright people circulated a petition, got 20 signatures and sent it off to the bishop.

I don’t think I can explain how hard it was on their pastor, how hurt he was.

It didn’t matter that these 20 signatures accounted for less than 3% of the parish.

He was deeply hurt–Isn’t it true that 100 people can tell us we’re doing a good job,

And 1 person can tell


us we’re doing a rotten job and we’ll dwell on that one person’s comments?

Anyway the ring leader of the petition died.

There was no one to preside at his funeral but the priest “who wasn’t good enough.”

When I heard about it, I wondered how I would have done in that situation.

I was even more curious about what the pastor said at the funeral.

I asked my mom and she remembered.

“The man we have come to bury today was a good man,

who loved God and helped us all out at one time or another in our lives.

He built things with his hands and always had a joke to tell.

We should remember him as a good man whom God loved.”

I think the only way he could have been kind in that situation was because of his faith–

and maybe because he had been changed throughout his life by attempting to be a disciple of the Lord.

All of us here have heard the voice of the Lord call us to follow him.

Otherwise, frankly, we wouldn’t be here today.

And following the Lord changes us, helps us do heroic things.

As individuals Simon and Andrew, James and John were really quite ordinary.

It was in following the Lord that they become something more–

It took a while for them to become something more–So we should be a little patient with ourselves,

But also know that there lurks in each of us more power in our faith

Than we might realize today.