||Deacon Joe Hulway
||February 5, 2009
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?"
|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 above question was part of our reading at Mass one day last week. It can be reflected upon from a
couple of different perspectives. Looking at it in context, it can be seen as a parable about parables. Stepping back and looking at the
question at face value, it can also be seen as a call to evangelization. One perspective calls us to internal spiritual growth; another to share
our spirituality with others.
Jesus has just explained the parable about the seed scattered on rocky ground, on the path, amongst thorns, and on rich soil. The
disciples struggle to understand the parables, but Jesus tells them that the parables are not meant to disguise the truth, but to open it up
more fully. He does not intend to hide the truth beneath a bushel basket, but to place it on a lampstand for all to see clearly. Jesus says:
“For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to
hear.” (Mk. 4:22-23) But it will not come to light if one does not already have some spiritual insight and the right disposition. Those that are
pursuing the truth will be rewarded by studying the parables, while those that are indifferent will miss the point altogether. As Jesus says:
“To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mk. 4:25) Strive to grow in
spirituality. Seek the truth and God will reward your efforts by opening your mind more fully to His mysteries and wonders.
And once you grow in your knowledge of God, it is not a gift to keep to yourself. You become a light and are not meant to hide beneath a
bushel basket. We are called to climb up on the lampstand and be visible and vulnerable to all the dangers that exist there. But even this we
are all meant to do in different ways. We need to understand our call and not try to be something that we are not. We need to act for the right
reasons. I admire great preachers like Fr. Corapi who can command the attention of a congregation and inspire and motivate them. But I
can’t try to imitate them or wish I could preach like them; that’s not my calling. I can try to be a good homilist, but I will probably never be a
Last month, I was on a bus, with 53 other people who feel strongly about promoting a pro-life culture in our country, to travel to Washington,
D.C. for the annual March for Life. (Make that 54 people; our bus driver was pro-life too.) And I pondered my role in the pro-life campaign. In
part, being one of hundreds of thousands of peaceful marchers, was a witness in itself; both to those who saw the march, but also to those
who knew that I was willing to make the small sacrifice to attend. It showed a greater level of commitment and ownership in the cause that
can give my words of guidance and support greater meaning. But on our bus there were those with much greater testimonies of
commitment and dedication; those that demonstrate what one lady likes to call “holy boldness”. They are the ones that carry signs and pray
regularly in front of abortion mills; those that counsel the “clients” as they enter; those that confront the abortionists and clinic workers face-
to-face with the realities of what they are doing; those that arrange bus trips and prayer cenacles. I do not feel especially called to do
anything of these things; that’s not who I am and those things are not what I do especially well. I have to spread the light in my own little way.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to stand up for what you believe and to act according to the call and gifts God has given you. But, don’t allow
others to shame you and make you feel guilty for not ministering in the way that they do.
|I am comfortable and at peace with my decision from last month to withdraw, at least temporarily, from my teaching certification program.
The flexibility in my schedule allowed me to take the bus trip with Jenni to attend the March for Life this year. It was a rewarding and inspiring
experience and gave me a chance to meet other pro-life activists and to become reenergized.
I was also free to attend the Installation Mass for our new archbishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Allen Vigneron. Archbishop
Vigneron was my very first instructor at the seminary. (He was Monsignor Vigneron at the time.) What I learned in his “Introduction to
Philosophy” class made a deep impression on me, and is the basis for Chapter Three of my book. We are truly blessed to have him come
back home to Detroit. I also was able to assist at one of his welcome Masses which was held at my home parish. This is also the parish
where he was ordained into the priesthood in 1975.
My new-found freedom also allowed me to take on a much lighter, but still very difficult pursuit. I responded to a radio ad I heard a few
weeks ago from a local music store offering special keyboard classes for retirees. For $29.99 we get ten lessons and free use of a small
organ and instruction books. (Compared to $3500 for graduate tuition at Oakland, it fits a lot better into my new retiree budget.) After two
lessons I can now stumble through classics like My Country Tis of Thee, Jingle Bells, and Love Me Tender. And I’ve also met some very
I have made some changes to the home page of the website. You might want to stop and take a look if you haven't visited lately. I have
added some links to various Catholic sites. I want to make note of one in particular; it has to do with the US Bishops' postcard campaign to
try to stop efforts to pass the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) before they have a chance to get any momentum. FOCA would in effect
eliminate any federal or state laws that place any restrictions on a woman's choice to have an abortion. It would strike down laws here in
Michigan, for example, that require parental consent for minors and that limit government funding of abortions to those in which the life of
the mother is at stake. It would also nullify the recently passed, and Supreme Court approved, federal legislation against partial-birth
abortion. It is radically liberal legislation. Unfortunately, it was co-sponsored by one Michigan's U.S. senators, Debbie Stabenow, and
President Obama has promised to sign it if passed by the congress. I encourage you to learn more about FOCA. The bill is H.R.1964 in the
house, and S. 1173 in the senate. Click on S. 1173 to see the wording of the bill. Click on legislative report to read a commentary.
Early in January, Jenni and I heard about the postcard campaign when we attended a pro-life conference in Ann Arbor. The Diocese of
Lansing was distributing cards there. When we were in Washington, D.C., we heard about the campaign again, but they ran out of cards
very quickly and no one on our bus received any. When I returned home I found the materials and instructions for running a campaign on
the Bishops' website, but found nothing regarding any local plans on our own Archdiocese of Detroit website. I contacted the archdiocese
and was informed that they are currently reviewing whether or not to have a diocesan-wide campaign. They will let me know their decision in
the next week. If there will not an archdiocese program, I will try to communicate that so individual parishes can conduct their own efforts
though the initiation of pro-life representatives.
|Homilies and Bulletin Articles
|There are five new homilies. The new homilies that I have posted at the website are:
Love Your Spouse to Heaven
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 1, 2009
Saving, Not Surviving
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 25, 2009
Fully Human, Not Just Only Human
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 18, 2009
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
January 11, 2009
Feast of the Epiphany
January 4, 2009
|Status of the Book
|I am spending more of my writing time in church in front of the Blessed Sacrament. These times seem to be the most productive. Chapter
Three (of an anticipated six) is pretty much done as a first draft. I need to set it aside for awhile and then go back and clean it up. Chapter
Four is almost done, but I have jumped ahead to start Chapter Five as I am trying to research some new information. Sometimes I have to
move on to something new and then come back with a fresh perspective on an area that I was struggling to tie together. When I retired nine
months ago, I was sure I would be done with the book by now. And now I am feeling increased, self-imposed, pressure to finish this project
and get on with my life - whatever that means. The realities of being retired at my age in this struggling economy are beginning to set in and
I am becoming anxious for the "career transition" portion of my journey to begin. I need to keep praying for faith and trust.
I am now officially a struggling author. I sent a query letter to an agent early in January and have already received my first rejection letter.
"Unfortunately, we are not currently acquiring any new projects in the memoir/self-help genre." But it was courteous and encouraging, and
from what I've read, I should be surprised that I got a response back at all, or as quickly as I did. Last week I sent in a query letter to another
agent; I think this one may be a better fit. Say a prayer that, if it be God's will, that I get a more hopeful reply.
Thank you for all the responses from last month's question about preferences on which translation to use for the Divine Comedy quote.
Unfortunately, the responses were pretty much split 50/50, but I did get some interesting comments to mull over.