Irma Comes A Calling

Sacred Heart is a traditionally beautiful church – not too far off the path of Hurricane Irma. We are located in Tampa, right there in the middle of the “cone of uncertainty.”

As you might imagine, we celebrate lots of weddings. We had four scheduled for this weekend. Then Irma came a calling. Bridal party reservations for receptions were being cancelled, hotels were closing, wedding guests asked to evacuate, and it was just becoming a bride worst nightmare on the most special day of their lives.

If we are anything, we are adaptable. Thanks to the great staff here at the parish, we moved everything to Friday – all four weddings. As I write we have celebrated two of them and have two more to go. Here was the gospel the couple had picked for the next wedding. Rather appropriate don’t you think?

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” (Mt 7:26-28)

By tonight the newly married couples and their guests will start evacuating to other places. I am glad we could help them celebrate.  May God bless them and the staff of Sacred Heart.


Sinning against you: first 10 words

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.” (Matthew 18:15-17) Continue reading

Sinning against you: church

If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

We now come to the last resort, which the earlier approaches have been designed to avoid. To “tell the church” must presumably require a public statement when the community is gathered (rather than a whispering campaign). Such publicity must be avoided where possible, but may prove to be inevitable if the problem is to be solved. The object of the gathering is not to pronounce judgment but to strengthen the pastoral appeal, in the hope that the offender may yet “listen” (akouo). The offender, faced by the disapproval of the whole local disciple community, ought surely to recognize that this was not just a personal grievance on the part of the initiator. Anyone who is not willing to accept such united testimony may then properly be regarded as no longer a fit member of the community. “You” (singular, referring to the individual who raised the issue, not, at least explicitly, to the community as a whole) should then treat them as “a Gentile and a tax-collector.” Continue reading