Pastor's Note - August 4, 2013

This year’s staff theme at Camp Ekon is “Y4O,” that is “Youth for Others.” In our pre-camp, we talked about the different things we could do to make this theme a reality.  One person proposed that we collect the extra clothing from the lost and found and donate it to those in need.  Everyone liked the idea except the cranky priest – that is me.  I said that while it’s a good idea, I found that it left “a bad taste in my mouth.”  As Christians are we called to give from our extra or surplus, or are to give from what we don’t have – from our poverty.  I proposed that in addition to giving the extra clothes, the staff would give up one of their nights out and take the money that they would have spent on that night and use it for a donation.  Everyone ignored me, but I still think it’s a good idea.


In this week’s Gospel we hear the parable of the rich man who built bigger barns to hold more of his wealth. The First Reading would call this vanity; St. Paul would call this a devotion to earthly things, rather than to the things that are above; and, Jesus spoke of the futility of such an action. Our wealth is not in the things we have, but in the persons we are.  I know that I say it in almost every homily, but we are the beloved sons and daughters of God.  If the world judges us as a success, or as one who struggles, such a judgment is utterly meaningless.  Nothing can add or detract from who we are, nor from the value and worth of who we are.  We are always the beloved of God.  In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, we are taught that before one embraces actual poverty, one first grows into spiritual poverty. 


Spiritual poverty is difficult and even painful.  It involves a letting go of things that the world identifies as signs of personal worth.  It could be riches – money, intelligence, looks or appearances, where we work or go to school, whether or not family cares for me when I’m older.  To all these things that we sometimes put faith in, why not put them down, free up our hands, and embrace the free gift of God’s love.  I know it’s hard to believe and to make real in our lives, but our God does not love us because we are good at something, even in the practice of our faith.  But we are loved simply as we are. 


If we are spiritually poor, than our hearts are rich.  If we have little to give, than we have everything to give.  As the beloved sons and daughters of God, let us imitate our Father.  Why not give our very selves to God in the loving service of each other?   We don’t store up riches either internal or external and point to them as signs of our value.  Four our wealth is ourselves.


God Bless & Take Care,


Fr. John

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