Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

October 22, 2023 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time     Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp                      

November Ballot Issue enshrining Abortion as a Right


As regards the Church’s stance on Issue One, 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 Church grew up condemning horrible pagan rituals encouraged by the Roman Empire. These practices were politically correct and even encouraged at the time.  The Church complained that these practices were immoral in the eyes of God. 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.  The truth from God may put us in conflict with what is culturally acceptable, but then again, the Church does not make decisions from polling results.  The Church simply tries to apply the Laws of God.


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.  Even for those who would cite some remote good thing that resulted from an 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


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.




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:


Is God subject to taxes imposed by men?  This issue comes up periodically in the gospel stories.  Today’s famous encounter with the Sadducees addresses this question.   Jesus puts the issue to rest with a simplistic answer that embarrasses the Sadducees in its simplicity and profundity.  Jesus says, “Let me see the Roman Coin (the Denarius).  He asks them to identity the image on the coin.”  Obviously it was the image of Caesar.  Jesus then says, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God.”  The brilliance of the answer is astounding.  Jesus answers the question without answering the question.  To a Roman, Caesar owns all he has conquered.  To a believer, God made the universe and all that is in it.  Anyone who thinks he owns anything needs to remember the old adage, “There are no pockets in a shroud.”   So Jesus basically says “If you think Caesar owns the money; then give it to Caesar.  But if your hope and trust is in God, money means nothing.  Jesus essentially answers the question by asking how you deal with the things of this world.  Once you make a judgment on the parameters of the ultimate question; you have your answer.  The Romans are not offended by the answer and neither can there be quarrel from the Sadducees.     


Jesus is neither going to deny to the conqueror the right to tribute; nor is he going to foment rebellion.  He reduces the question to a matter of convenience.  If your priority is the things of this world, then you are already lost.  If your heart is with God, then it is a matter of personal convenience.


NEXT WEEK   The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Ex 22:20-26

1 Thes 1:5c-10

Mt 22:34-40



Theme: Is usury fair?  What does God say?






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