The Hospitality of Giving
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
July 2, 2017
Jesus asks us daily to take up our Cross and follow Him. The cross was the first symbol marked on your forehead at Baptism with the prayer that you would daily take up your cross and also know the help of others and be willing to help others with their cross.  Our Gospel of St. Matthew, clearly states, "whoever does not take up the cross is not worthy of Christ."  Perhaps no better prayer then the Prayer of St. Francis expresses the value of giving and being for others as most important for the Christian, not just receiving. "Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.  Where there is injury, your pardon and where there's doubt, true faith. Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope.  Where there is darkness, only light and where there's sadness, ever joy.  May I not seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love."  Hospitality is love in action for what we do to the least of God's people we do for God Himself!

This week we celebrate Independence Day, a day to be grateful to the Lord and to all who have worked and given their lives for us to have our freedoms. We as Americans treasure our freedoms but we fail to appreciate them if we think freedom is doing anything you want. A sailboat is a good example of what is true and real freedom. In sailing it is important that you keep your hand on the tiller and keep the sail at the right angle to the wind. If you let the boat go free, it would be as disaster!. If you are not in control of the boat and what you are doing, the wind is not always a friend of the sailor.  A wrong turn into the wind and you will get blown over! We have to be and act responsible to sail and find peace and happiness and true freedom in the wind! As people given the gift of freedom by the sacrifice of others, we are challenged to act responsibly and to not fall victim to any breezes.
We cannot live only for ourselves! A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow human being and we are only as rich as we give and share with each other.  Be a stranger who comes out of nowhere, out of the woodwork, when a person needs help. You may help with money, time, skill or a kind word to protect another from disaster or danger by even offering a cup of cold water.  We have all heard stories of people who quietly help others like the dentist who filled a college student's tooth even when she had no money or medical plan to help. He told her sit down and I'll do the job on credit and you can give another person help after you graduate and have a job.

Little things mean a lot both for the good and the bad of a relationship and for hospitality and freedom. Think about the couple who went to a marriage counselor and the woman said that the problem was her husband thinks, breathes and listens to only sports all year round. The hubby, replied, "I'm not that bad. You are exaggerating." The counselor said, to the man,, "Well tell me how long have you been married to her?" The husband replied, "40 seasons!"  

*****************
Where Do You get your strength?
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield
June 25, 2017
Ray, an older gent, well into his 80's, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later, the doctor saw the older gent- patient- smiling, walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm. When he returned to the doctor for further consultation on his health the doctor said to Ray, "You're really doing great, aren't you?" Ray replied, "Yes. Just doing what you said, Doc; Get a hot mama and be cheerful." The doctor said, "I didn't say that at all, I said, 'you've got a heart murmur be careful."  Like so much of the doctor's advice so it is with Jesus, we hear but do not listen and do not act on what He asks of us!  This week we are asked not to fear, but to trust in Him. For as it is stated in St. Matthew's Gospel, "There is no fear when God's love is received as a precious gift." We need the strength of His love and the courage of His faith to live what it means to be a follower.  The whispers that Jeremiah hears in the first readings come from what he heard from those he thought were his friends and were supposed to be familiar to him and be friends. Yet they fail to see the real cost of discipleship and friendship and bear witness to what Jesus asks. Take the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila to heart this week, "Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices."

We can, if we act on our faith, expect to be confronted at any time. Faith in action requires that words and deeds do not always agree with our present culture and society. We may not suffer the fate of the modern- day martyrs in Asia and the Middle East, but if we dare talk publicly about faith or values, we will be confronted!  The challenge is not to fear the words or acts of others but to trust in the Lord and not just seeing the words on a dollar bill -In God We Trust! We live in a time when many people feel they can add to the hairs on their head and there certainly are enough commercials and advertisements to get more hair!  But, truly the hairs on our heads are numbered and counted by God and He does love us and is willing to give us all the strength we need. With all the rains we have had, we need the strength to grow stronger within and to let positive grace be shared from there and not let externals direct our feelings and emotions!  Stay open to the gifts and graces of the Lord and you will have all the strength you need to be a Positive Person!    Remember; age and joy are not merely the number of years or the attitude you have, but the time the world has been enjoying you!

*****************
Source and Summit of Christian Life
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield
June 18, 2017
We celebrate as Catholics the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ today. The Eucharist is a memorial for Christians in the same way Passover is a memorial for Jews, making present and accessible the graces of God's saving deeds from long ago. For Catholics, the statement from 1 Corinthians is a fact of faith, "The cup we bless and the bread we break are a participation in the body of Christ." Indeed, we believe that at the words of Consecration Jesus the living bread comes down from heaven and changes the bread and wine into Himself! Thus, when we come to the table we truly receive the Body and Blood of Jesus the source and summit of Christian life.

As Americans, we celebrate Father's Day this weekend and we offer prayers, thanks, best wishes and congratulations to all our fathers and father figures.  You light the way by your words, deeds and example and thus are also a source as you lead us to a better life and daily support and challenge us to be better individuals.  Jesus spoke of God as Father and both God the Father and our fathers maintain the individuality of the person and yet we share in their life.  Both the Eucharist and Fathers get this special day of their own. As both give us the strength, faith and courage to be better people, they also hope that the summit of our life will be heaven.

A great story honoring both Eucharist and Fathers is about two young children a girl and boy age 6 who loved to go to their Grams and help her bake her delicious homemade bread. They vividly evoked the memories, the smell the fun of kneading the dough and the mouth-watering aroma of the baking bread. After their Gram died they both went out and purchased a bread machine. It was one of those where you add in the ingredients, close it and turn it on and the machine mixes, kneads and then bakes the bread. When you come home the delicious homemade bread is all ready!  Both, children, now young adults talked eagerly about the new bread making machine and recreating the wondrous breads of their childhood. They both tried new recipes every day and the breads were all pleasant enough but were not the miraculous breads recalled from Gram's kitchen. They finally gave up and sold the machines as they realized you can't bake the bread of life in a bread machine!  The missing ingredient?  Gram's love of course!  How true that is of all the good smells, food and memories we have the greatest source and summit of it all is LOVE! May you know that love and add that love to all you bake and do this day! And may the gift and love of the Eucharist and our Fathers be the ingredient of love.

*****************
Three Persons in One God
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield
June 11, 2017
We have to take this mystery of Christianity on faith, a faith which has Jesus Christ for its foundation. It is from Jesus we have learned of the Father and the Spirit and it is from Him that we have learned that He and the Father are one. It is from Jesus that we have learned that He who sees me sees also the Father. It is also, by the command of Jesus that we have been baptized, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." He taught us to call God Our Father as we pray the Lord's Prayer. At Mass we direct all our prayers to the Father through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  This is a basic mystery of our faith, and we can know somethings about it but we cannot understand it fully. God is too great for our minds to understand but in His kingdom we will see God as God is and be captivated by His love. Pope Francis has stated that the Trinity is our ultimate goal of our earthly pilgrimage. That our Christian life is a path, this is Trinitarian, as we are gifted by the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, to follow Jesus the way, the truth and the life and to do so to live forever with the Father, Creator of All! Pope Francis states, "Everything in Christian life, revolves around the Mystery of the Trinity and is fulfilled in this infinite mystery."

St Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you." This communion or union of God in three persons is given to us to know we must not worry about understanding everything but in living out the picking up of our cross as taught by Jesus. The doubts and disappointments of life, as given by the Father, Creator, and yet in a positive Spirit of Peace and Forgiveness from the Holy Spirit must be lived.  This mystery must be lived and honored and we must not waste time on trying to understand it. Try to remember this story about a grizzly old man who told his grandson the secret to a long life; Sprinkle a little gunpowder on your cereal every morning.  The grandson did this religiously and sure enough lived to the ripe old age of 93.  When he died he left behind 10 children, 28 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren and a 15 foot hole in the wall of the crematorium.  

*****************
Positive Spirit of God
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield
June 4, 2017  
The fruits of the Holy Spirit as given by St. Paul begin with love a generous, giving kind of love. It is a love full of the spirit of joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What qualities and attitudes to possess and such a positive spirit of God to live with and to share with others?  The challenge of Pentecost, today, is to ask that these fruits and gifts be given to each one of us and that we might even share more of them with others. Let us pray today for greater openness to the Spirit for Jesus tells us; "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" We need to be open to these gifts for just as God breathes on human beings to bring them life so now Jesus offers His spirit to give them life.  A minister's daughter watched her dad working very diligently one Saturday and she asked him what he was doing. He said, he was writing his sermon for Sunday. She asked, "Daddy how do you know what to write?" He answered, "The Spirit of God tells me what to write." Then, she asked, "Why do you keep erasing?"

With the coming of the Holy Spirit the liturgy brings the Easter Season to a close. We move the Easter Candle to the Baptismal font.  Now we, because we hold the Spirit in us through Baptism, must bring that Spirit into our world by living out the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. In many cases, it might be easier to erase them or pretend they are not in us but this Gospel of John tells us that Jesus gives us His spirit of peace and forgiveness to go and share with others. This is the challenge of being baptized, confirmed and challenged as a disciple, to Go Forgive and Offer Peace the positive spirit of the Lord! Jesus shows the disciples and us in this Gospel His hands and his feet so that we know there is a cost and challenge to bring a presence of forgiveness, peace and the fruits of the Spirit in our world.  Our responsorial psalm is not just nice words but a heart- felt request to the Lord, "Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth."  What a renewal there would be if each one of us took the challenge to be more positive and to daily use more often in our words and actions the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. Imagine what peace and forgiveness would be seen, appreciated and even shared!

The Wit and Wisdom of the Holy Spirit is not up to someone else to show and share but for each of the Baptized to give to one another. We cannot be like the young man who asked the father of his girlfriend, "Sir, I'd like permission to marry your daughter." The father replied, "Well, now, do you really think you can support her on a hundred bucks a week?" The young man answered,, "I suppose so if that's all you can afford!"