Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

August 23, 2020 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time       

Fr. Schmitz


St. Peter in Chains Cathedral designated a Minor Basilica
Every Catholic Diocese (or in our case Archdiocese) has a church building which has in
its sanctuary the bishop’s throne or chair. It is referred to as the “Cathedral Church” for
that diocese, from the Latin word for “chair” which is “Cathedra.” The Latin word has
its roots in two Greek words; “kata” meaning “down” and “hedra” meaning “seat.”
When the Holy See (Pope) designates a church building or cathedral as a “Basilica” it
means that the edifice itself symbolizes God’s sovereign power evidenced in that country
or region (either historically or perpetually) in the union of that diocese and its Ordinary
(bishop) with the Holy See (Pope). In Greek, the word “basileia” means “kingdom or
country.” In my “rural ” understandings of such nomenclature, it is a way of saying,
“This building exemplifies that this is God’s country.”

In the case of our Cathedral in Cincinnati, the Architecture of the building is in the same
style as the Greco Roman architecture, which is prevalent in Washington D.C. The
name “Cincinnati” itself references the Roman General “Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus”
who was said to have left his plow in the field to go and heroically defend his country
militarily, and then humbly return to farming. (Notice the plow in the Archdiocese of
Cincinnati “Coat of Arms.”)

As I understand it, (and I am surely no expert in these matters) there are four MAJOR
basilica churches; all located in Rome. There are numerous MINOR basilicas (some with
additional title) spread around the world. If my count is correct, St. Peter in Chains
Cathedral Basilica in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is number 143 in North America. It
is quite an honor for Catholics in the nineteen counties of Southwestern Ohio.

Please “SUBSCRIBE” to the Pastoral Region YOUTUBE Channel
Many of you have been watching Sunday Mass for some time now on the “Pastoral
Region of Sacred Heart and St. Ann” accessed on Youtube. PLEASE take a moment to
hit the button which says “SUBSCRIBE.” It is free. It costs you nothing! BUT if we can
reach one thousand subscribers, under the Youtube rules it will allow us to do so many
more things VIRTUALLY!!! (In other words, “OnLine”) For example, instead of
requiring parents to come “in person” to instructional meetings for First Reconciliation,
First Holy Communion, and Confirmation, I will be posting a VIDEO our Youtube
Channel to provide this information to parents, to be viewed at their leisure.
Please let me strongly recommend again that you not view our Sunday Mass from either
parish website. These websites are more prone to crash with high volume. It is far easier
and more secure to go directly to the Pastoral Region Youtube site. You can always go
immediately to our Youtube site by using the following link:
I suggest making this link a “bookmark” on your web browser for easy and quick access.

RCIA means Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
Schedules for the RCIA for St. Ann and Sacred Heart are available at church doors as
well as on our parish websites. Please contact me (Fr. Tharp) if you are interested in
becoming a Catholic. Because of the persistence of COVID, the RCIA classes may be
able to take place “in person” in the basement of the church at Sacred Heart or they may
be required to be held “virtually” using Zoom or some other platform. We are three
weeks out at this time from the first class, so it is more important than ever that you
register for the RCIA by contacting me at (513) 858-4260. This comes directly to my
desk, so if I am not in, please simply leave a voicemail and I will get back to you. Please
also feel free to email me at [email protected]

Reflection on Scripture: Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Doing the right thing can be risky! That’s why some historical leaders of the past chose
expedience over moral correctness. They took the perspective that practicality sometimes
must supersede morality. This is the very definition of expedience.

In today’s reading from Isaiah, the prophet says that Shebna, chief counsel to King
Hezekiah, has abandoned the way of God (morality) in favor of the practicality of
political alliances. Isaiah proclaims that God will see to it that Shebna is punished, and
Eliakim will take his place. In the gospel reading today from Matthew, Jesus puts Peter
in charge of the Church, thus substantiating Papal Primacy. He gives him assurance that
the Holy Spirit will see to it that Peter’s practical decisions will carry the assurance of the
will of God. Pope Leo XIII published Rerum Novarum in 1891 making enemies of both
capitalists and communists simultaneously. He was not trying to please either side on the
issue of the value of human labor. He was simply articulating what he believed Jesus
would want him to say regarding the issue. Rerum Novarum was neither “practical” nor
“expedient” to either communists or capitalists.

Those in authority in today’s world face the same conundrum as did King Hezekiah and
Pope Leo in issues like abortion, euthanasia, marriage, etc. Those who hold judicial,
legislative, or executive power know full well what is moral in the eyes of God; and yet
recognize the expedience of following so called secular humanist values to placate a
hedonistic society. Doing what is right over what is popular means taking risk in this
world and in the next.

Next Week: Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 20:7-9
Rom 12:1-2
Mt. 16:21-27

Theme: So Jeremiah; how do you really feel?


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