||Deacon Joe Hulway
||September 4, 2009
“Do you still not understand?”
|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 question comes at the end of an exchange in which Jesus seems quite frustrated with His disciples for
their lack of understanding, but even more so for their lack of faith. Jesus and the disciples had just boarded a boat right after Jesus had
multiplied loaves and fishes to feed the large crowd. Using the metaphor of leaven, He tries teaching the disciples about the dangers of the
corruptive actions of the Pharisees and of Herod. But the disciples do not understand. Since they have only brought one loaf of bread with
them in the boat, they think He is chastising them for being ill-prepared. Here is the entire exchange:
Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore. They had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with
them in the boat. He enjoined them, "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." They concluded
among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, "Why do you conclude that it is
because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears
and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you
picked up?" They answered him, "Twelve." "When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did
you pick up?" They answered (him), "Seven." He said to them, "Do you still not understand?" (Mk. 8:13-21)
The disciples still did not understand that Jesus was the Holy One of God. Even in the presence of Jesus, and in the midst of all His
miracles, the disciples were still concerned about having enough to eat. Our concern for things of this world is hard to keep in balance with
our faith of what is in store for us in the next. But we can't start to understand until we first have faith. It is an important concept to remember.
With matters of God, we believe first and then seek to understand what we believe. It is two-staged gift which we must be prepared to
receive. God prepares us for our conversion and our call to faith by providing us with actual graces; it is up to us to accept, or not. Once we
have faith we need to be open, we need to have eyes that see and ears that hear, so that we will be disposed to receive the gift of
understanding, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. This takes setting aside quiet time for prayer, free from the distractions of our busy
lives. We need to pray as in St. Thomas Aquinas' Student Prayer: "Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding."
|The days are getting shorter, leaves are already starting to turn color, and I just received my postcard in the mail indicating that the wine
grapes will be arriving soon; all sure signs and indications that Fall is upon us. The changing of the seasons is a good thing for me; it
helps me to fight my tendency for procrastination. The seasons force us to get certain tasks done, or miss the opportunity until next year. I
have to bottle last year’s wine if I want to make new wine later this month. I have to get ready to seed the bare spots in the lawn, or they will
be bare again next year. Unfortunately, the seasons don’t force me to get the newsletter out at the beginning of each month. I have to
schedule that one myself.
The last two months have once again reminded me of my challenge to restore balance and discipline in my life. I was doing a pretty good
job while I was working on the book, but since I submitted the manuscript in June, I have regressed a bit. I did take time to attend a Matthew
Kelly retreat weekend in July. His main theme is always to encourage people to be the best version of themselves. But he also encourages
people to pursue their dreams. The process starts by identifying our dreams, but then requires the commitment to take concrete steps to
move in the right direction to fulfill them. Otherwise, our dreams will simply remain dreams. One of my dreams is to someday go hiking with
my grandchildren, specifically to climb Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks with them. (I've climbed it with all of my children.) As I thought about the
steps that would make this dream a reality, the one I need to concentrate on the most is getting (and then keeping) myself in hiking shape.
And so I have tried to make a conscious effort to take more and longer walks. It's a start, but I need to do more actual mountain hiking which
is difficult in Michigan.
The reason that grandchildren are so much a part of my thoughts and dreams is because we have recently been blessed with our third
granddaughter and also our first grandson. Katherine Sage was born on July 30 and Lucas Brandon was born on August 2. This has made
for a crazy August, especially since Katherine's parents live in Seattle. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit with her for a week. She
looks just like her mother. During my visit I had a chance to take a few day hikes in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains which are within a
two hour drive from Seattle. The weather wasn't great, so I didn't get many scenic views, but the exercise was just what I needed to remind
myself of how much I need to get back into condition. I climbed up to Lake Serene, still surrounded by snow, and took the picture below of
Mt Index. In the clouds, I trudged four miles, and 3100 ft., up Mt Si and back down again. (Mt. Si is pronounced like the word sigh, but my
daughter’s GPS unit must have been programmed in Mexico because it pronounced it like the word see, as it directed me to the trailhead.)
In anticipation of hiking, I brought my hiking boots and day pack on my trip to Seattle. One thing I could not bring, however, was my hiking
stick. It is a perfect stick which I found in the Adirondacks back in 1990 and have taken it on almost of my hiking trips ever since. It steadies
me and brings me balance, providing me with a third point of contact with the ground that stabilizes me as I cross streams on rocks or logs.
It is especially useful when descending rapidly; what becomes, in reality, a controlled fall as I use my hiking stick to check my speed and
break my fall as I jump down from rocks—it takes a great load off of my knees. I greatly missed having this simple tool on my hikes in the
Cascades. I felt ill at ease as I cautiously crossed rivers and as I slowly picked my way back down the trail from the top of the mountain.
What are your dreams? What are the obstacles preventing you from pursuing them? What are the things in your life that help give it rhythm
and purpose and pace so that you can prevent procrastination? Do you need to purposefully add some checks and balances? What is your
hiking stick that allows you to move quickly without losing control as you try to do God’s will in your life?
|Homilies and Bulletin Articles
|There are seven new homilies posted at the website.
Pure and Undefiled Religion
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 30, 2009
This Saying Is Hard
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 23, 2009
What Time Is It?
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 16, 2009
Trust God to Lead You
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 2, 2009
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 26, 2009
Poking and Probing
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 12, 2009
Thus Says the Lord God
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 5, 2009
|Status of the Book
|It is now a time for patient waiting. The publishing process, at least with the company willing to publish Orthoscopy, is very slow and
deliberate. The month of August was reserved for copy editing. I did nothing while the copy editor corrected grammatical errors: punctuation,
spelling, and formatting. This prepared the text so that the conceptual editor will have a clean text to work with as he looks for big issue
problems and issues with organization and flow. September is set aside for conceptual editing. At the end of September, after two months
of editing, I have fifteen days to modify the text to respond to my editor's suggestions and identified problem areas. By the end of October, he
will merge my edits with his edits and return the text to me for final approval. On November 15, my approved text will be passed on to the
design department. They will design the cover and layout the text in the appropriate font style and size. As I understand it, the entire process
will take about six months which would take us to the end of January--sorry, no books under the Christmas tree this year.