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Eat and Run

The gospel this Sunday tells a parable about heaven and likens it to a great banquet. At the time of the telling, (2000 yrs. ago) there were very strict rules about hospitality and how not to offend either as a host or as a guest.

If you were hosting a banquet, you would make sure that proper invitations were delivered. Guests were greeted at the door with ceremonial hand and foot washings. Per-fume was applied to the head, and a kiss was bestowed upon their cheek. The finest food and wine was brought forth on the best table settings available. Everything was arranged so as to honor the guests and the occasion that brought them all together.

There were rules too for those invited to the dinner. Proper clothes were required for the occasion. (There was a “wedding garment” to be worn if you came to the reception. Mt. 22:14). The seating arrangements were specially set to honor each guest. Please sit where you are told. And of course, a guest was expected to enter into the joyful festivities . . . food, wine, conversation, music . . . as a sign of fellowship with the host whose deepest wish is that “you share my joy!”

These rules of hospitality apply in somewhat simpler form in the wedding celebrations of today. Consider the occasion when you dress your absolute best . . . a wedding, right? Why? I think it’s a way to “bring our best selves” – To add to the brightness of the occasion as best we can. The bible would say we “give glory” to the gathering.


So, what about going to Mass? (You knew this was coming, didn’t you?!) Are there things we do that add “glory” to the Sunday Eucharist? Of course there are.

  • The way we dress is a sign of the importance we place on our weekly worship. We don’t treat it like a fashion show, but “cleaning up” is a good way to honor the Lord.
  • The way we participate (or don’t participate) at mass . . . by responding to the prayers, by really listening to the readings and homily, by singing! (Yes, that’s right – singing.) “But I don’t sing.” Yes you do. You sang Happy Birthday at your niece’s birthday. So bring your Happy Birthday voice to mass.
  • Lastly . . . and I have to tell you, this really bugs me . . . we need to stay at mass until it’s over. (I understand there are occasions when you have to be at a certain place at a certain time. I promise I will never ask you why you are leaving and always presume it is for a good reason.)

However, think for a second what we’re doing when we leave early. We have just received the Body of Christ who is our hope and our strength. We have just eaten together with our brothers and sisters. And now it’s “eat and run” or “let’s beat the traffic” or “the Bills are on”. The world comes flooding back to take away the peace of our worship. Why?

Picture yourself just finishing a great meal at some banquet. The Guest of Honor is about to speak words of encouragement to all who have come. And you decide to head out the side door to be home in time to watch “Dancing With the Stars”. Why? The world is always there waiting to pile on. Why do we leave so early the very place that helps us face the world?

Please stay with us. You’ll know when it’s time . . . “Go in peace, the mass is ended.”

God loves you . . . no matter what.

Fr. Tim


This Giving Thing Never Stops

So, last week we heard John Bovenzi reporting that Holy Trinity is in relatively good shape financially. What you contributed in the Sunday collection paid for all of our bills (heat & light, insurance, maintenance, salaries, Catholic Schools assessment, religious education, etc.). We had a little left over, because we weren’t up to full staffing, but now we are.

In short, we’re paying our way. No big deal. You do it at home every week.

But, now we’re starting all over again. The new fiscal year began July 1. And, as always happens, our yearly responsibilities repeat themselves. You heard the report about the Catholic Ministry Appeal for 2014-15 this weekend. Bishop Matano and the Diocese of Rochester is asking Holy Trinity to support the charitable work of the Catholic Church to the tune of $125,000.

(This number comes from a diocesan formula that considers: 1. The number of registered families in the parish: 2. Average mass attendance: 3. Average Sunday collection: 4. Average yearly household income in this region.)

But, those are just numbers. The Catholic Ministry Appeal is about people, people in need. We can’t solve all the needs in the diocese here at Holy Trinity. But, together we can make a huge difference in the lives of people we may never meet. Can I show you where your contributions go?

** Seminarians study for priesthood. (yearly tuition averages over $40,000 times 16 sems! That’s $640,000 needed per year.)

** La Casa, safe housing for migrant workers in Wayne/Ontario Counties

** Food and clothing shelters throughout the 12 counties of our diocese Pro-life ministries helping expectant mothers find alternatives to the tragic choice of abortion by providing counseling, medical assistance, baby needs and support along the journey.

** CYO (coaches and “CASE” training to insure safety for minors.)

** Maintaining professional staffing at the Pastoral Office to help parishes with expertise in building maintenance, religious education programs, youth and campus ministry.

** Provides help to college campus ministries to insure a Catholic presence for young students far from their home parishes.
And much much more!!

So, what do we want from you? Well, let’s do the math. Rounding it off to large numbers, if 2,000 registered households at Holy Trinity each gave $63, we would make our goal. But, that’s not going to happen for lots of reasons.

So, what are we asking from YOU? Maybe a conversation with your spouse or children, something like, “what shall we give to help the spiritual and physical needs in our diocese?”

But, then what? How much, Fr. Tim?!! Each of us must decide. I have to give more for two reasons: 1. I know better than all of you the good the CMA does – so, I have to help. 2. I get free room and board at Holy Trinity (thanks to you!), so I’ve got some money to give to those who don’t have free room and board.

How about you give what one month’s cable TV costs you? In the end I know you will do what you are able. God has blessed us with so much. As always, (this giving thing never ends!). We need to give back in proportion to what each has received.

This is such a generous parish. I have no worry that we will do our duty.

Bless you each day.

Fr. Tim


No!…On Second Thought…Yes!

Child psychologists tell us that one of the necessary steps in what is called “individuation” (the realization that I am a unique person amongst the rest of humanity), is the experience of someone saying “no” to my desires. Suddenly, there is that strange world out there that IS NOT ME! It just said “no” to me. Imagine?!

It works the other way too. A child separates himself from the parent and demonstrates their own personhood. “Time for bed.”; “NO!” It can be a trying time for child and parents. But, we all have to go through it.

We call it the “terrible two’s”. Up to now the child has been something of royalty. Their every need (as best one can) is seen to by loving, anxious parents. Food on demand, warmth, bathroom, holding, touching, cooing are showered on the child. A little king or queen they are.

Then comes the day they hear and understand the opposing wishes of someone else, and life becomes a contest of wills. A parent’s pain comes when their wise and loving “no” is perceived as abandonment or harshness by the child.

But here is where adults have the advantage. We see the big picture. We know the consequences of too much candy, too late to bed, too much rough play (“this will end in tears”, mom says.)

With our big picture, we also know the “no” of a child is terribly temporary and does not represent the child at his or her best. Constant kindness, gentle firmness, will win the day. Why? Because the child so desperately needs your love. They come back to your arms if they see the love in your eyes and hear the tenderness in your voice.

We hear a “No” from a boy to his parent in the gospel this Sunday. Jesus compares God to a parent who asks his son to go work in the father’s vineyard. “I don’t want to”, he says. But later the boy changed his mind and went (Unlike his brother, who played his parents with a “yes”, but didn’t go).

What does this tell us about ourselves? Several things. We are free. We can say “I will not” to God, and God will allow it. We can change our minds and our way of behavior and be welcomed back like we’d never been gone. We can say “yes” to God, but have it mean nothing if we don’t do it.

What does it tell us about God? I think it says God sees the big picture. God doesn’t freak out about our disobedience. Our first reactions to things are not too important to him. God sees our “yes” or “no” in its fullest context. He knows WHY we choose as we do. (Sometimes even we don’t know why we act as we do!). God is willing to wait, to invite again, to take another approach to us, to never let our “no” be the end of the conversation with him.

Of course, in the end we are responsible for our yes’s and no’s. We must own the consequences of our choices. BUT . . . there is no refusal to God by word or deed that cannot be reversed. No matter how late in life! Remember last Sunday’s gospel? Those called to the vineyard in the last hour of daylight received a full day’s pay.

Lastly, what does this say about how we should react when our children seem to say “no” to God when they say “no” to church? Send me your thoughts here.(fhoran@dor.org). (Perhaps I can put the really helpful comments here in another column — don’t worry, no names!).

September blessings.
Fr. Tim


Oh for the love-page-001s

Oh, For the Love of Webster

Loren and Mark, International Guitar Duo and Jon Seiger & the All Star 5 piece – Big Band Sound Proceeds from the concert with benefit a number of local organizations, including the HOPE Ministry.

DATE:Saturday, October 4, 2pm and 7pm
Visit www.loveofwebster.com for full details.
Tickets can also be purchased online.


Well now.

That was some picnic last Sunday! We had prayed all week for fair weather, and we were blessed with a perfect afternoon. Thank you, Lord.

There was no official headcount, but judging the number of hots and hamburgers served up, there were close to 600 parishioners and guests who joined in the festivities.

Remember the old McDonalds sign that told us “Over 2 billion served”? We here at HT ate 540 hot dogs and 480 hamburgers along with untold baked beans, corn, coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salads, and some stuff in a foamy white sauce that seemed to hide fruit slices. Yum!

The Bouncy House was running all afternoon with only two or three tearful moments, bracelets were strung, kick ball and volley ball happened, the photo booth captured the goofiness, sun spots were sighted on Jackson’s telescope, a treasure hunt in sawdust, and of course the fire and police vehicles to visit kept the young ones busy.

But most of all, it was you . . . the people of Holy Trinity, who made the afternoon such a joy. Para-phrasing Julius Caesar, “You came, you ate, you sat to visit”! Such fun seeing you all.

And who do we thank for such a grand afternoon? Again, the people of Holy Trinity. There were over 100 volunteers who stepped forward to lend a hand from purchasing, setting up tables, flower pieces, running games, parking, grilling, cleanup, etc. Thank you all.

But special thanks needs to go to some people who worked extra hard to make it all happen. (They don’t need or want their names mentioned, but . . . I do!)

They are:
Eileen McAliney (AKA the Boss), Dick and Nora Doser, Walt Kowalski, Don and Joan Warren, and Helen Sleeman. Also . . . we have many benefactors who helped us in a wonderful way; special thanks goes to Hegedorns, the Knights of Columbus, Calvary Baptist Church, Union Hill Fire Company, and Cold Stone Creamery.

So here we go. Summer is winding down, days getting shorter, and so much work to be done this coming year. We wanted you to have a moment where we said thanks for being with us.

Now let’s get to work!
Blessings to all,

Fr. Tim


Please Welcome Our New Pastoral Associate
Anthony Klosterman!

ak


Oh for the love-page-001s

Oh, For the Love of Webster

Loren and Mark, International Guitar Duo and Jon Seiger & the All Star 5 piece – Big Band Sound Proceeds from the concert with benefit a number of local organizations, including the HOPE Ministry.

DATE:Saturday, October 4, 2pm and 7pm
Visit www.loveofwebster.com for full details.
Tickets can also be purchased online.


JESUS KNOWS YOU.

I recently attended a funeral for an old college professor of mine. Fr. Robert Madden taught English Literature to generations of students, and was well known for his knowledge, wit and kindly way. Perhaps greatest of his gifts, as noted at the funeral, was his ability to be a true friend.

Students and faculty alike would turn to Bob for advice, encouragement and his delightful company. Fr. Madden had no short memory. A brief undergraduate stay has led many to a lifelong friendship with him. Bob knew you and had a personal interest in how your life was going.

It got me thinking how it might be that same way with Jesus. Why should Christ be any less of a friend? (He calls himself that, by the way (Jn. 15:15). Is it possible to have a personal friendship with Jesus? If so, how does one go about getting it/experiencing it?

Let’s use Fr. Madden as an example. I had heard about this short, round, red faced professor from all the upper class students. I knew he was a good lecturer, a master of his subject, and perhaps best of all, very funny. I heard how he was a demanding grader for both essays and tests. And I heard how he was always ready to help any struggling student in his class. I knew all these things “about” Madden.

I was so envious of those who had had him in class and could call him by name and hear him speak theirs. Mad-den was a “figure” about whom I knew much but some-one I’d never met. That was about to end as I began his American Lit class my sophomore year. It was there that I learned first hand about him. I finally met the man.

Isn’t this like Jesus for so many of us? We’ve heard the bible stories. We’ve got a painting of him in beard and sandals. We say the prayer He told us to pray. But we’ve never met Him personally, heard His voice, or felt His presence. Is it possible? Can we really meet Him? The answer is . . . Yes!

But how? Our faith teaches He’s “in the Spirit”. We can’t see or hear Him in the normal everyday way we meet others. We need a new way of seeing and hearing. Em-powered by faith in the Resurrection and driven forward by a hunger to know Him, there is a gradual growth in the experience of Jesus present in our lives as friend and Savior.

Where to look to find your friend Jesus:

1. Look closely at the movements of your heart. Moments of love, compassion, sorrow, joy (sometimes accompanied by tears) – these are signs that Jesus is near. Speak to him at such times. “I am sent to heal the broken hearted”. Lk. 4:18

2. Pray! “Lord Jesus, let me see you in my life.” And then remember what you’ve prayed for! God will answer your prayers in some way through the course of the day or week. Generally it happens through events around you.

3. Watch for a “double grace”. The grace of the moment . . . and . . . the grace to know, “hey, I think that was Jesus.”

4. Watch God’s “little ones”, those especially close to Christ: children, the lost, the poor, the mournful and suffering. They have the spiritual presence of Christ all around them.

5. Pray just one thing for awhile . . . “let me see you Lord”, or, “show me you are with me”.
The Eucharist, of course, brings special graces to know Jesus in the “breaking of the bread.”
It’s called asking. And Jesus says, “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.” Mt. 7:7

Good hunting!

Fr. Tim

P.S. Remember, we will not see Christ face to face here on earth. Now, St. Paul says, “We see through a glass darkly, But then we shall see him face to face.”


Goodness in, Goodness out.

Certainly you’ve heard the adage, “you are what you eat.” And, our computer geeks are fond of saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” The point being, in both of these sayings . . something becomes in large part the sum of what was put into it. Good health comes from a good diet. A dependable computer program only works with good data input. (The bible was on to this when 3,000 years ago it said, “You reap what you sow.”)

It works like that with our spiritual life too. We are greatly shaped by what we think, hear, see, and touch. What we allow to enter through our senses creates the raw data for the kind of person we become.

So, for example:

  • Child psychologists tell us that hours spent watching violent images on television elevates the likeliness of children acting out violently.
  • Constant attention to a hand-held game boy or ipod inhibits a young person’s ability to interact with real people.
  • Non-stop images of negative, argumentative relationships create the impression that this is how people naturally interact. Yelling, whining, cursing, name calling becomes the norm. Talk Radio is full of this stuff.
  • Pornographic web sites demean the human spirit and unleash a powerful darkness.
  • Pretty much any television called “reality TV” has little grasp of what’s really real.

Why not put a stop to the “garbage in, garbage out” syndrome? We don’t have to accept from the media world what it calls “reality”. Why not dedicate ourselves to “Goodness in, Goodness out”?

What does this mean? It means putting a guard over what we let our eyes see and our ears hear. I’m being literal here. Change the channel or turn off the TV when it becomes crass or trashy. Walk away from conversations that are only meant to hurt others reputations. Put away the electronic games or instruments when people are present to talk to.
And in their place? . . .

  • Great music
  • Good books and reading
  • Cook something!
  • Visit someone lonely
  • Take in the world of nature
  • Good conversation and listening
  • Hobbies are great.
  • At least 10 minutes of prayer each day (in a chair . . . talking/listening to God)
  • Good TV or movies

I hope you are enjoying your summer days. This is a time to renew yourself with family and fun things. I hope you dedicate yourself to celebrating LIFE!!

Fr. Tim


We Are Our Habits.

Do you remember some of the things you used to do over and over as a kid? Little, personal, and sometimes quirky activities that you’d do when things got boring or you started getting nervous?

My sister Maureen would suck her thumb. My buddy Terry used to bite his finger nails. Maybe you had a special blanket you would take everywhere. Later in life my father and I battled cigarettes (I still struggle!). We call repeated actions habits; we do them without thinking. They relieve tension or anxiety and bring a mild pleasure or calming effect.

Some habits are healthy and benefit people whenever they do them. “That’s a good habit to get into,” we say. (Brush your teeth/eat your vegetables.) Other repeated actions can hurt us or others. These are bad habits. Some are bad (e.g. lying), because the act itself is bad. We call these “sinful habits”. Others are bad because they go too far,(“Too much” of anything is a bad habit) or not far enough (sloth, or carelessness) in doing the right thing.

So . . . what’s the point? It’s simple. Get in the habit of doing good things. How? Repetition. Doing something again and again will bring a certain ease of performance. A good thing, once rather hard to perform (choosing not to gossip) can, with repetition, become easier. Parents, I can’t stress this enough. “Repetition” of good actions is essential to learning the happiness of the moral life.

Our bodies themselves bear witness to this. Sit-ups/push-ups (yuk!) become easier with repetition. Fitness experts call this the “training effect” – – – ease in physical performance.

It’s really no different for our spiritual lives. Repetition makes for habit. Habit makes for virtue (an abiding strength). Virtue leads to happiness. Want to be happy? Keep on doing good. Simple, eh?

Let’s take matters of sexuality. I don’t think anyone of us is immune to the “sinful habit” that can develop in our thoughts or actions as we confront lustful images or impulses that exist within us and around us.

Our eyes (windows to the soul) by nature “want to see” . . everything. And, here’s the problems. Some things ought not to be seen. Why? Because they are not ours to have. Those intimate, beautiful parts of our bodies belong to the spousal partner. They are the “gift of ourselves” we give to the one we promised ourselves to. ”Impure” thoughts or glances really are “stealing” what doesn’t belong to us.

There is an old habit encouraged by spiritual directors and confessors as “custody of the eyes”. It refers to a mental readiness to turn away from seeing things that go beyond the intimacy we are permitted to have with that person. Repeated ways of acting we call “modesty”, (the way we dress, speak, the way we look at one another, or the lustful images we turn away from), become habits leading to the virtue of “chastity” or “purity”.

What constitutes modest dress or lustful glances is another discussion. The point here is to make clear these virtuous states don’t “just happen”. In fact, when left to nature, the opposite happens. Lust grows, not purity. Lies, not truth. Selfishness, not generosity. It’s part of our fallen human nature that this tendency exists.

It can only be remedied by “habits of love”, actions of reverence for others and ourselves motivated by the knowledge of who we are . . . God’s beloved children. And this friends is the way to JOY.

Everyone of us, God’s Children – no exceptions.

Bless your heart.

Fr. Tim


Not Easily Offended.

I’m struck by the mother’s seeming refusal to be offended by Jesus calling her a “dog”.

A word of background would be helpful. For the Jews at the time of Jesus there was a clear understanding of themselves as “The Chosen People”. God, through the prophets and Patriarchs (Moses), had called them from among all the people of the earth to be His special people (the prophet Hosea says God “espoused”/married the Jews). Everyone else was a “gentile dog”.

That’s just the way they talked. We hear remnants of that way of speaking with soldiers, teammates, or ethnic group referring to each other in rough insulting ways.

So Jesus was simply speaking with the common under-standing of the day. Gentiles were “dogs”. And so was the Canaanite woman who approached Jesus that day. She was beset with worry for her sick daughter, perhaps this Jewish holy man could help. Jesus ignores her. The disciples want to send her away.

Finally Jesus uses the “D” word. “Woman, it is not right to take the food of the children (the Jews) and throw it to the dogs.”

What does she do? Slap him? Return her own slur to him? (“You dirty so-and-so”). Stomp out of the room?
No. You see, she’s not thinking about herself. She’s thinking about her poor daughter. “It doesn’t matter what he calls me. This man can help my daughter. I believe in him.” “Jesus, you let the dogs eat what falls from the table, please, this dog is begging you, heal my daughter!”

Well . . . !! Jesus is overwhelmed with this response. “Woman, great is your faith!!” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour. (Mt. 15:21-28.8)

Two remarkable things happen here it seems.

1. Jesus learns something. His message, the gospel, in the end is for all people not just the Jews. All one needs is faith.

2. Sometimes those least expected to receive and understand the message are the FIRST to get it. (the Good Samaritan LK. 10, Roman Centurion MT. 8)

What can we learn from these two? First off we know that the Heart of Jesus is moved by an act of faith. Christ cannot remain indifferent to one who believes in him. In fact he tells us that if our act of faith is so small (as a mustard seed) he can still work out God’s plan in our lives. What good news this is for those who feel their faith is weak . . . it’s a start. God will use it.

Secondly. What so touched Jesus’ heart in that moment? I think it was the humility of the mother, her love for her daughter, and the courage to stand in the midst of 12 disapproving men to make her need known to Jesus. All this won the heart of Christ.

So what about you and me? Can we let ourselves be small before the Lord? Can we persevere in the face of ridicule? Can we so focus on something other than ourselves like Peter last week walking over the waters toward Jesus?

Let’s ask God for the grace to be like that “dog”.

Woof, woof.
Fr. Tim


“Why Did You Doubt?”

(Matthew 14:22-33)

So there they were, 4 miles out into the sea. It was about 3 am. (“the fourth watch of the night”,) and they hit a storm. Wind and waves were so strong as to make the apostles fear that they might drown.

I can’t think of a more frightening way to die. I learned to swim when I was about 8 or 9 years old, but I’ve never been very good at it. The swim instructor would tell us, “Relax, the water will hold you up. Don’t fight the water, it will only tire you out.” I never could trust this, and so any time I’m in water over my head, I’m pretty anxious.

The apostles were fishermen. We can presume they had seen their share of stormy seas. But, tonight was different . . . fear gripped them all. Adding to the terror was the strange figure of a man walking on the water toward them. “A ghost”, they thought. Surely tonight we die. So the apostles “cried out in fear.”


I don’t know about you, but I would be just as scared as they were. Life sometimes resembles that stormy night. Our life is tossed about by many things . . . sickness, a runaway child, a lost job, a broken relationship, a freak accident. All seems lost. We cry out in fear.

Then something happens. Peter calls out, “Is that you Lord? Call for me to come to you.” “Come,” he hears.

Now here’s the part that really gets me. In spite of all that’s happening around him . . . the huge waves splashing over the boat, the howling wind and screaming apostles . . . he gets out of the boat! Oh Peter, “No! You’ll drown!”
What was he thinking, this rough and impetuous fisherman? It seems to have been a blind act of TRUST. A trust that the voice he heard was his friend telling him not to be afraid. “Take courage. It is I.”

Now where do you think this amazing act of trust came from? Do you think Peter just sort of sum-moned it up out of his human heart? (Remember he was the one who, when confronted by the little servant girl, denied he ever knew Jesus). Do you think it was deep inside him just waiting for such a moment to show his great courage and faith? I don’t think so.

It was a moment of Grace. “A free and unmerited favor of God”, says the Catholic Encyclopedia, “given to empower a person to act for goodness.”

Somehow Peter was touched beyond his natural fear at that moment to turn to his Lord in faith. And lo!! He began to walk on the water toward Christ. (His faith would falter a moment later, of course, when he looked back to the waves around him and in doing so took his eyes off the one he trusted.)

But here’s the point. The grace to trust that the Lord is with you is a favor that God promises us (it’s on every page of the New Testament — but like Peter, we must call out, “Lord is that you?”)

“Help me Lord. I believe, help my unbelief.” These are wonderful prayers. Now trust . . . not in your goodness, but in God’s goodness to you.

Oh Lord, my boat is so small and your ocean is so big . . .

Bless you.
Fr. Tim


A Grain of Wheat…Just Like You.

Jesus must have been a very visual person: sensitive to contrasts, colors, shapes, proportions, light and shade. He’d have made a fine artist. And he certainly was a brilliant teacher. His parables are full of stunning visuals which capture the spiritual meaning just by picturing them in your mind.

John 12:23 contains such a picture – the grain of wheat. (Take your bible and read it!) What is a seed, but a little package of life? In it is contained all that is needed for a new plant, or tree, or wild flower. But, something has to happen for it to become what it was made to be. It has to die. Unless it dies, Jesus says rather plaintively, “It remains just a grain of wheat.” As if to say, “what good is that? A seed that won’t die”.

We are like a seed, a package of Christ’s life given to us at birth and baptism. And like Christ, we must die to ourselves like a seed in the ground so that we be-come fully grown in Christ. Parents, you know all about this! I’d like to share a moment when God made this crystal clear for me in a very personal way.

It was late August of my 26th year. I was renting the upper half of a house owned by a nice widowed woman. I had been teaching high school the past two years, and after much struggle, I had been accepted into the seminary for studies for the priest-hood. I was having serious second thoughts as start up was a week away. “What were you thinking? Do you really want to do this?” I was all knotted up.

To help clear my head, I offered to clean the gutters of leaves up off the second floor roof. Climbing out my window onto the roof, I had a lovely view of the street and garden just below. Looking down I saw all these little green oak tree sprouts growing just under the gutter. The acorns had rolled off the roof and onto the ground, and there they grew little sprouts all in a straight line like school children.

All but one acorn . . . it had fallen into the gutter and sat for who knows how long. It was big and round and still had its little acorn hat. “What a smart little acorn you are,” I thought, “staying nice and safe in this gutter. You didn’t die like your little brother and sisters down below.”

So, with my thumb I pried the little cap off the acorn to look inside. And there it was, filling the entire acorn with its bright orange body . . . a giant maggot. It had eaten the entire inside of the acorn. No green little oak leaves sprouting up from the ground, this acorn was now home to a giant worm.

I threw the acorn to the ground, and not a minute lat-er the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart “. . . but, if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Unlike that hesitant acorn, I came down off that roof and planted myself in the seminary . . . where I had to die about ten more times before becoming a priest!! Those little oak trees would be 40 years old by now.

God bless you, you little seed you.

Fr. Tim

oak