Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

August 29, 2021 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday: Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Celebrant : Fr. Tharp

First Days of School


St. Ann returned to school last Wednesday.  The first day of school at Sacred Heart is August 30th.  Please be especially cautious driving as the young people who are our future make their way back to school.  There is great excitement with the first days of a new school year.  Please drive carefully so that the excitement can be safely enjoyed.


Attention parish or school volunteers who work with or around children


Are you aware that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has moved all parishes and schools from using the “Virtus” Child Protection program to the “Safe Parish” program?   If you are a volunteer classroom parent in the school, a coach, drama club volunteer, scout volunteer, etc  please contact your local parish Safe Environment Coordinator as to what is necessary for you to be eligible to work with or around children here or  in any Archdiocesan location.  As we return to school and fall programs ramp up, please be aware that failure to register with and complete the requirements of Safe Parish will result in your inability to continue to work with or around children in any parish and/or school setting.  We have been informed by the Archdiocese that there can be NO EXCEPTIONS.


Beacons of Light


The Beacons of Light program continues to move forward.  It is my understanding that the “reveal date” for the “families of parishes” combinations will be around October 1, 2021.  Please reference the Beacons of Light web page for the most up-to-date information at:    The process of determining which parishes are likely to join together as “Families” is currently being studied.  This consultative process is moving forward so that a draft of the probable pairings can be announced for discussion with the general population of the Archdiocese by the end of September or early October. 


 The following is a message from the Archdiocese:


BEACONS UPDATE: BE HEARD, STAY INFORMED, SIGN UP - To stay on top of the latest developments on Beacons of Light, the archdiocese-wide pastoral planning process currently underway, sign up for the free monthly Beacons Update newsletter at  


Fr. Tharp’s Pager is no longer in use!


The pager company I have used for years is now ceasing operation.  Therefore, please do not leave voice or numeric messages using my old pager number.  It won’t get to me.  Leave all emergency messages on my emergency voicemail, (option #2 in the afterhours menu) and the system will alert me with a message on my cell phone.   You can leave an emergency message for me by calling (513) 858-4210 and select option number two; “Fr. Tharp for an emergency.”   The system will alert me to the fact that you have left an emergency message and I will call you back within five minutes unless I am having Mass.   Delete or throw away the old pager number.  It won’t work anymore.


Live Streaming a precept Mass from St. Ann and Sacred Heart each week

Even though the dispensation for the precept of Sunday Mass attendance has now been revoked, live streaming will continue for the sick, shut-ins, and others unable to come to Mass.  Please remember to access the Sacred Heart / St. Ann Pastoral Region You Tube site by clicking on the following link:

Reflection on Scripture:


“Worship God!   Obey God’s law!  Be practical.   Don’t get it backwards.”    These phrases are a concise summation of the teachings offered in today’s scripture.   Legalism is defined as an analytical approach to controlling behavior that lacks “heart.”  On the other hand, emotionalism can easily degrade into hedonism and moral anarchy.  We do not admire an inanimate object such as a Stradivarius violin, but we honor its maker and those whose skill allow it to produce beautiful music.  Similarly, we worship the creator of the law, but not the instrument itself.  God is the Creator.  Law is a tool.   If there are times when the application of the law is unreasonable, a well formed conscience allows for the application of epikeia.   If I have a snakebite victim in my car who is in immediate need of the anti-venom serum available only at the hospital emergency room, I may choose to break the speed limit where reasonable to expedite my arrival at the hospital.  This does not diminish the validity of the law, but rather provides for emergency exemption in this isolated case.  Jesus speaks of epikeia when he uses the example of the man whose donkey falls into a pit on the Sabbath.  In other words, there are situations when the use of the tool (of law) is unreasonable. 


You may be saying, “How do all these philosophical gymnastics impact my understanding of divine justice as defined by Jesus?”  In the application of justice, there is an enormous amount of discussion, especially in the context of educational norms and policies, regarding “equity versus equality.”  I do not think it appropriate to enter that highly charged political discussion in this context, but it bears pointing out that the issues discussed in today’s scriptures have direct relevance to that discussion.   The discussion of these concepts of justice should have a direct bearing on how we form our personal consciences. 


Next Week:  Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


Is 35:4-7a

Jas 2: 1-5

Mk 7:31-37


Theme:    Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.


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