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First Homily at Immaculate

Here is my homily that I offered this weekend as I began as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church.   For those who haven’t seen me preach, I adjust from Mass to Mass so what follows isn’t always exactly what I said at any one particular Mass.

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24
2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15
Mark 5:21-34
July 1, 2012

Our gospel today contains two different stories.  It begins with the story of the young daughter who is dying and then, seemingly, is interrupted by the story of the woman with hemorrhaging, before return to the story of the young girl.  But it really isn’t an interruption.

There are commonalities between the stories.  Both are female and both involve great faith in Jesus.   And then there is the number twelve.  The woman has been hemorrhaging for 12 years and the young girl is twelve years old.

Like both of them we come here with faith in Jesus.  That number twelve might also ring out for you.  Last week, Fr. Leo left after 12 years as pastor here and now here is the new guy.  Many of you are probably wondering about me.  You may be wondering if I am a nice guy or a jerk.  I am not a jerk!

Of course, I knew a good number of you have checked out my website and blog.  I know the week it was announced that I would be pastor the number of visits to my website and blog went up near ten times the normal amount.

I come here in faith, faith like the women had in the gospel, faith that this is where God wants me to serve.

It isn’t faith that I am this great priest who can do everything.  I am not perfect.  I don’t come with any great plan.  Well, actually I do have something of a plan.  It’s pretty simple.  My plan is to trust that God has a plan.  I’m counting on that because I know God is the one who knows what is best.  

I also know that I can’t do it all myself because God has not given me all gifts as an individual.  But I truly believe God has given our community collectively what we need.  We each have different gifts and we are called to use those gifts as good stewards not for selfish reasons but for the good of all.  Paul speaks of this to the Corinthians, how they can use their abundance to help others.

It is going to take me some time to get to know our parish.  As soon as I was appointed I began to learn and listen.  I have already been to a meeting about the building issues that Fr. Leo mentioned in the bulletin a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve been to budget meetings.  

That stuff is important but what has also happened is that at those meetings and this week I have begun to meet parishioners that are the heart and soul of Immaculate Conception Parish.  Buildings, finances are important but ultimately being a pastor is about serving the needs of the people in accord with God’s will.  We are part of a great parish, a good community, part of the Diocese of Rochester and a universal Catholic Church that spreads across the world.

God hasn’t told me his plan yet.  I wish he would because it would seem a lot simpler but I know that isn’t God’s way.  I spoke of how the story of the second woman in the gospel seems to interrupt the first story.  Sometimes the most important things God ask of us begin by seeming like interruptions.  We just have to have faith.

We have a common goal.  Our reading from Wisdom speaks of death but it is not physical death that it is concerned with but spiritual death.  Spiritual death is separation from God.  

Our goal is to be with God, to seek union with him in this world, and to seek the heavenly kingdom.  I see my role as pastor as to help us all grow and deepen our relationship with Jesus.


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