||Deacon Joe Hulway
||April 5, 2009
“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in
exchange for his life?”
|We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the questions that Jesus asks
of others, and indirectly of us. This month we reflect on two good questions as we draw near to the end of Lent. We have been fasting and
praying, trying to put in proper perspective our desires for the things of this world. We try to internalize in our hearts what we know in our
heads; that we should be willing to give up everything we have in this world in exchange for eternal life. We know what we believe, but find
that putting our beliefs into practice is a lot more difficult. The things of this world we have seen with our eyes and we know their beauty and
attraction. The things of heaven we see only with eyes of faith. And sometimes, because of our disposition, we do not see clearly at all. St.
Paul says: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.” (1 Cor. 13:12)
We approach Holy Week. We will contemplate Jesus’ humility as He demonstrated how we should serve one another by washing the feet
of His disciples at the Last Supper. We celebrate His institution of the Holy Eucharist through which our priests can continue to turn bread
and wine into His Body and Blood so that He is ever present with us physically to nourish us with the Bread of Life. We travel with Him to the
Garden and recall our own struggles to pray even one hour with Him. And we travel with Him on His journey as He accepts His cross,
carries it, and offers Himself upon it for our salvation. And we think back to the words that He addressed to the people, and to us: “Whoever
wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (Mk. 8:34-35)
Are you willing to pick up your cross? Are you willing to sacrifice the things of this world for the things of heaven? Are you willing to stand up
for Jesus and the Good News of the gospels? He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Following the way, seeking the truth, and saving our
eternal lives will often require that we be counter-cultural. We will stand out from those of this world and we will be subject to ridicule. Are
you better able to deny yourself today than you were six weeks ago when Lent started? Make this last week count. Be better disposed to
celebrate the glory of Easter; to celebrate that Jesus conquered death once and for all by rising from the dead.
|Not much new this month. But it has been a busy one as there have been extra activities around church because of Lent, and also because
our pastor needed to go back home to Mexico for two weeks because of the passing of his brother. Next week will be particularly busy, of
course, with the Holy Week liturgies.
My son-in-law and daughter and our two granddaughters moved back home to Michigan this last month. No longer being a long-distance
grandpa means setting aside more time for playing, going to the park, and wheel barrow rides. The stretches of relatively nice weather
made these activities much more pleasant. I also took advantage of the nice weather to rake the entire lawn. It took several days, a couple
of blisters, and aching shoulders, but it was accomplished to prepare for an early fertilizer application which we have never done before. I
even got the lawn tractor out and cut the lawn. It has never been cut in March before; probably never even in April. This retirement is nice, but
it sure is hard to sit inside and get any writing done. With two more grandchildren due this summer, and a long list of home and yard
projects, I hope I do not have to go back to work on a regular basis when the book is completed. But with the state of General Motors, that
may become a real possibility.
A couple of months ago I wrote about the US Bishops' campaign to fight the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), and encouraged you to
participate in their post card campaign. This month there is another issue to address.
On February 27, the Obama Administration placed on a federal website the news that it intends to remove a conscience protection
rule for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The conscience protection rule was put in place by President Bush
last December to offer protection to health care workers – doctors and nurses - who have a conscientious objection with being
involved with abortion. It implements and enforces three federal laws protecting the conscience rights of health care providers,
especially those at risk of being discriminated against because of their moral or religious objection to abortion. The U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services is inviting public comment on this proposal to rescind Bush’s regulation, and our
bishops are encouraging us to make our comments known. But this must be done by April 9, preferably ASAP. I urge you to visit the
U.S. Catholic Bishops’ website (http://www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection/index.shtml) and follow the links to electronically send
your comments to Health and Human Services. Let's make sure doctors and nurses have a choice in our country.
|Homilies and Bulletin Articles
|There are two new bulletin articles and five new homilies.
The new bulletin articles posted at the website are:
Why does the Catholic Church prohibit participation in the Masons?
We are required to bury the dead. What about when someone is cremated? Is it okay to have the ashes in
an urn in your house? What about the ash bracelets and lockets that funeral homes now offer?
The new homilies posted at the website are:
Create a Clean Heart in Me, O God
5th Sunday in Lent
March 29, 2009
Adding Infidelity to Infidelity
4th Sunday in Lent
March 22, 2009
Faith Seeking Understanding
3rd Sunday in Lent
March 15, 2009
Today, Hear the Voice of the Lord
2nd Sunday in Lent
March 8, 2009
Lead Us Not into Temptation
1st Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2009
|Status of the Book
|I'm not ready to admit defeat yet, but my goal of having a completed draft of the book by the end of April may not be met. I started this last
month off well, and continued with my disciplined writing time every day in church after mass, but as indicated in the "What's New" section, I
have become distracted lately. Looking forward to the next couple of weeks, they don't appear much more promising, either.
Maybe I do need a couple of weeks away from the writing, anyway, so that I don't short-change the last chapters due to flagging energy. I
received a book for Christmas, entitled A Walk in the Woods, which chronicles in a comical way the author's attempt to hike the Appalachian
Trail. (Hiking this trail has been one of my post-retirement goals.) I flew through the first half of the book; the author's keen wit and sense of
humor were very entertaining. But suddenly, it seemed to bog down. It was like the writer had used up all his good stories, and also his
enthusiasm, and the entire tone and complexion of his writing changed. And it was a struggle for me to finish reading the book. And now I
am concerned that I might be falling into the same ways. I need to be patient. I've been working on this project for over two years; what's
another couple of months.