Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

October 15, 2023 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

November Ballot Issue enshrining Abortion as a Right


After listening to the Archbishop’s message two weeks ago, some have offered comment on what they are calling his “opinion.”   It is appropriate to note with all due respect, that the Archbishop is not offering a “political opinion.”   He together with the other Catholic bishops of Ohio are proclaiming the “moral teaching” of the Church which is their magisterial duty as bishops in the Catholic Church. 


Remember that the bishops in the Catholic Church are the “successors to the Apostles.”  It is their magisterial duty to preach, teach, and sanctify.  At the Council of Jerusalem, the Apostles reflected on how the Greek culture of many non-Jewish Christians was forcing cultural behavior on Jewish Christians that was highly offensive.  The Apostles stood their ground and determined that immorality accepted by one culture did not require the others to accept what they considered blasphemy.  Many of the early Church councils had to deal with heresies which were more popular than the truth.  The bishops in councils guided by the Holy Spirit spoke the truth even when the truth was not the popular discipline.  In other words, the bishops spoke the truth of Jesus Christ even if it conflicted with popular political view.  They were not playing politics.  They were then, and are now, being loyal to the truths of the teachings of Jesus Christ regardless of how these truths are seen politically.  They were not playing politics then.  They are not playing politics now. 


The bishops of the Catholic Church were then and are now, standing by the moral truth regardless of the political repercussions or consequences.  Some who promote a “new morality” simply do not believe in God, so why would they give any credence to the Holy Spirit? Some who may or may not believe in God, claim that (if the Holy Spirit exists) the bishops misunderstand the inspiration.  The truth from God may be “culturally hard to swallow” but then again, it does not function as a result of polling.


You can find on the internet the “Full Text of the Proposed Amendment One” annotated by the Ohio Roundtable explaining and commenting on each legal phrase.  It is interesting that the word “woman” never appears anywhere in the entire amendment that is supposed to be incorporated into the State Bill of Rights.  Is it intended to protect “women’s rights” or “political advantage?” For the Catholic Church and indeed all “life centered” religions who believe that God created all life, this is not a political issue.  This is a moral issue.  We see absolute law in the Decalogue.   (Thou shalt not!)   Even for those who would cite some good thing that resulted from abortion, the end does not justify the means.  The Archbishop is encouraging priests, Catholic laity, and all people of good conscience to get involved in attempting to send this “pro-death legislative initiative” down to defeat in November.  


The Purpose behind Beacons of Light


Years ago, I welded and then “fish-plated” the left I-beam rail under a flatbed truck for a friend who regularly hauled steel coils.  After welding the broken rail on the left, I applied the same strengthening process to the unbroken right.   My purpose was not simply to fix the broken rail, but to strengthen both rails of the truck to more safely haul its heavy cargo.  Fish-plating before a crack occurred in an I-beam was a preemptive way of thinking ahead.


Beacons of Light is a new way of thinking.  Most of us think of maintaining our parish, but as attendance has declined at most all “organized religion” churches, Beacons challenges us not to maintain but evangelize and expand.  We are and have always been a missionary church!  Christ could have sat in the temple or his local synagogue and enjoyed the affection of many local rabbis, teachers, and congregants.  Instead he “mitto” that is sends out the disciples to evangelize. 


You can focus on your house and let your lawn go to seed.  Or you can make your house inviting by enhancing its appeal with a well-manicured lawn.  One looks outward; the other inward.   Beacons calls us to always be going forth with the message calling others to Christ.


Beacons of Light  Phase Two


In Phase One of Beacons of Light (Leadership) we hired or promoted from within the four “Directors” who will be in charge of much of what the pastor traditionally has done that is non-sacramental.  This restructuring allows the parish to focus on evangelization rather than simply maintaining what we have done in the past and doing it the same way.  In addition to hiring and promoting lay ministers, we have refined the Sunday Mass schedule so that the Family can be served by only one priest. 


We are now moving into Phase Two which is “Visioning.”  We will use this time to discern goals and create teams.  We will explore opportunities for the parish to reach out in faith into a broader scope of community.  We can pinpoint the purposes for our stewardship efforts and consider new ways to structure into cost centers which could pinpoint purpose and enhance revenue sources.  We will marginalize the maintenance of the impractical and highlight the opportunities for purposeful expansion.  We will seek to redefine the pathway and reaffirm priorities.  All this must be done is the context of practicality and feasibility.  We will look for opportunities to expand, not just maintain.  Please watch for discussion sessions that peak your interest as we move forward through this discernment process.


Precious Blood at Communion


We have distributors lined up for two cups at all three Sunday morning Masses; two at Sacred Heart and one at St. Ann.”  For the moment, we do not have cups lined up for the either of the Saturday evening Masses.  Again, we can only offer both species to the degree we have enough Eucharistic ministers willing to do cups at the various precept Masses.  We hope to have cups offered at the Saturday Masses very soon.




I keep running this article because there are new scams everyday


Remember I NEVER solicit funds, donations, favors, or any request of any kind over the telephone, text, email, carrier pigeon, drone, etc.   NEVER!  Do not allow yourself to be taken in by scammers.  Even if they have my recorded voice, be assured it is computer generated fake!  It is not me!!!  


Reminder for volunteers who work with or around children


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.


Live Streaming for Precept Masses


As the new reduced Sunday Mass schedule is in place, it has been recommended that I continue to live stream the 4:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart, and consider not live streaming the 5:15 p.m. Mass from St. Ann but instead live stream the Sunday Mass at 9:30 from St. Ann.  We will experiment with this for a time and see which arrangement is more favored.


Please remember to access the Sacred Heart / St. Ann Pastoral Region You Tube site by clicking on the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg


Reflection on Scripture:


How many times have you said to a classmate or coworker who acts insensitively to the situation of another, “Hey, show some respect!”   What is the meaning of the admonition you are injecting into the dialogue?   Are you not cautioning your companion that he is not thinking straight?  You are reminding him to reconsider his inconsiderateness. 


In today’s gospel story, the man who refused to wear a wedding garment was being inconsiderate.  He refused to show basic respect to the one providing the banquet.  The wedding garment was provided when you entered the party.  Why not show a little respect for the free meal?  


Jesus saved us from our sins whether we asked him to or not.  All we have to do is acknowledge him as Lord and Savior.  If that is too much to ask, then you don’t respect the giver or the gift, and you have sealed your own fate.  I suspect that many souls confine themselves to Hell not by what they have done, but by their recalcitrance.  Compassion is the only key that unlocks the shackles of a recalcitrant attitude.   If you want to be at the banquet (and even if you don’t), then show a little respect and appreciation for the one who made it all.


NEXT WEEK   The Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Is 45:1, 4-6

1 Thes 1:1-5b

Mt 22:15-21


Theme: Jesus answers the death and taxes question



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