Weekly Reflection from Father Kevin, July 12, 2020

We have all been created as male and female.  While the differences between us may sometimes cause confusion or frustration between us, our differences also complement each other.  We all know that differences beyond our sexes are much the same way, but nothing is more universal than the struggle to understand another of the opposite sex.  

To face this honestly, we have to get past even the most light-hearted jokes.  We have to do this so that we can honestly look at the gifts of femininity and masculinity with all the humility we can muster.  If we do not, we will never give the honor which is due to one another.

I knew a couple when I was in college who embodied this very well, and were so vocal about it that I was able to see exactly why I admired them.  Almost every time I spoke with one of them one-on-one, they would talk about each other.  All I ever heard them say about one another was positive. Beyond that, they would often compliment the other for talents which they didn’t personally possess.  

While not all of these things were directly connected to their masculinity or femininity, their compliments about each other always had to do with how well they complemented each other.  As a couple, they were more well-rounded than either could hope to be as an individual.  As parents, they were better than most because they allowed their differences to shine, and give all their children authentic models of womanhood and manhood.  I will always be inspired by their model, and I’m sure their children have benefited greatly.

While both were saintly on their own, they were always better together, and always recognized it.  When I remember them in my prayers, I  always feel challenged to recognize the talents of others which I don’t possess.  It is one thing to admire those who are better at something than us, it is quite another to truly admire someone who is wholly different.  Whether we aren’t interested in those talents, or we are jealous, or we simply don’t understand the value of another’s talents, we must always be humble before others.  If we are different from someone for any reason, we should always consider the possibility that they have something to bring to the table which we can’t.

Rev Kev

Weekly Reflection from Father Kevin (April 15, 2020)

I spent the summer of 2011 in France and Italy studying Church history and architecture.  It was a great opportunity that few seminarians have, which I did not earn in any way.  Along the way we got to see many things which I will never have the opportunity to see again, and meet people whose lives of service to the Church are unrivaled in the world today.  But there was one thing I learned about which I still think about at least once per week.

Under St. Peter’s Basilica there are tunnels and chapels and tombs from long before any church was built there.  And among them, St. Peter’s own remains were found during an archaeological excavation in 1942.  His bones were wrapped in a purple cloak, placed in a niche in the wall amongst the other martyrs of his time, and marked by a simple inscription on the wall reading (in Greek) Petros eni — “Peter is here.”  This is about 25 feet directly below the altar in the center of St Peter’s Basilica, just as we had believed for centuries before the archaeologists found his remains.

But why?  Why had they gone to all the trouble of finding his burial place?  Did they not believe?  Did Pope Pius XII (who hired the archaeologists) not believe?
In today’s Gospel, we are reminded of St. Thomas, who refused to believe without proof of Christ’s resurrection.  While we call him “Doubting Thomas,” we are rarely different.  There are very few things in our lives which we will take on faith, and most things we believe absolutely are already proven.  As human beings, we have a desire to have something we can truly believe in, but we naturally make it difficult, in order that those things we believe in might not be questioned.  Of course, the finding of St. Peter’s bones didn’t convince anyone who didn’t already believe, nor will seeing them in person.  The scientific evidence shows that the remains are of a man from the right time, of the right age, who was crucified upside down, and buried in exactly the right place.  But no one who wouldn’t believe without the evidence could ever be convinced by it.

This is where true Faith comes in.  Pope Pius XII wished that this would be one more piece of proof to non-believers.  He commissioned archaeologists to find St. Peter’s remains because he knew that they would be there.  His hope was that it would not only strengthen our faith, but lead many to be believers.  The trouble is, most of us don’t have the faith of “Doubting Thomas,” and most who see God working directly in their lives will dismiss it as chance or coincidence.  Our fault is the arrogance of our time, which Pope Pius XII tried to flip on its head.

This primary arrogance of ours is that we believe we know better than generations before us.  This is the opposite of the way most people thought before us, who thought of themselves as caretakers of truths handed down to them.  Pope Pius wanted give us a lesson, through modern means, showing that this ancient story is true, and so show us that we must see ourselves as discovering these truths anew, but not creating truths.  It would have been a great lesson to learn, but for many, this was easy to dismiss.  Those who have received the gift of Faith obtain the Truth it has revealed, and those who reject this great gift continue to search in all the wrong places.  If we would only see ourselves as uncovering Truth, we could let this arrogance slip away, and see our God behind it all in His greatness.

But we will always have a bit of doubt in our hearts.  This is part of our fallen nature, our imperfection which we must strive against.  Let us see ourselves in light of the place we hold in the history of God’s Creation.  Let us all at least succeed in this enough that our own doubts do not lead others astray.

Rev. Kevin

Weekly Reflection from Father Kevin

Have you considered how truly blessed your life is lately?  How has this time made you reflect upon the level of comfort you have in your life?
Most of us haven’t had to give up a great deal during this time, because we have such wealth in our country.  There is a great deal of fear about what is to come, but the majority of us haven’t really been feeling the pain of these strange circumstances.  For those who have, our prayers go out to them in this difficult time.

So what are the rest of us, who are doing fine, supposed to do?  I suggest that we remind ourselves of the many blessings we have that allow us to have what we need during this time.  Many of us have jobs that are important, which not only allows us to keep earning income, but also reminds us that our work has meaning in the world.  For those of us who are able to work remotely, the blessings of the many developments of technology and communication help us keep going and contributing.  For those of us who can get by for a period of time without working, or those who are able to enjoy retirement, the blessings that allow us to be so secure should not go without thanksgiving.
There are many in our world who are struggling with lack of work, and long for the opportunity to earn a living.  Many of our brothers and sisters around the world won’t have the same ease as we have to deal with changes in their lives.  Many of them live day to day, not knowing where the next meal will come from.  When this disease takes hold in those areas, they will not have the same security many of us enjoy.  Let us always keep them in our prayers, while giving thanks to God for the good fortune we have. 

There is a great deal of talk about getting our economy back to normal, and this is a subject which needs our attention.  Our economic prosperity (compared to most in history, and much of the world today) has enabled us to develop infrastructure, medicine and technology that allow us to weather a storm like this much better..  It does need to return, so that we may be prepared for another time of trial in the future.  We must also remember the good that our prosperity does for those less fortunate than ourselves.  The developments that economic prosperity have provided have also benefited the less fortunate around the world, due to our humanitarian aid through government and charitable organizations.  May God bless our efforts once more, lest we lose our ability to be generous.

We can all run into problems taking our blessings for granted, which is difficult to admit to ourselves.  Let us not, at this strange moment, miss the opportunity to see this truth.  Our blessings have enabled many of us to make a real difference in the lives of those around us, and all around the world.  May we realize more deeply now than ever what these blessings represent, and what these blessings are meant for.

In all of this, may our thoughts and prayers be for those whose needs are greater than our own.  For all those who will have trouble seeing the light of Easter from the darkness that surrounds them, let us pray.  And for ourselves, may the breaking of Easter morning shine a light into our lives, to see the truth God wishes us to see.

Rev Kev