From our Pastor

Week of May 15, 2022

Dear Parishioners, 

You’ve probably heard a tale similar to this before.  A young girl who was responsible for taking care of chickens peeked into the nests to see if the new chicks had arrived.

One day she saw many downy, yellow chicks huddled under a mother hen, but there were two eggs not yet fully hatched.  She could see the little bodies pulsing and struggling for freedom through the tiny holes pecked out of the shells.  Impulsively she decided to help, and took one of the eggs, gently pulled it open and peeled away the shell to free the chick.

The next moment is frozen in her mind.  As she finished the job, the baby chick gasped, struggled, and stopped breathing.  Sensing something dreadful, she ran for her mother.

Her mother’s experienced eyes immediately read the story.  She could have scolded or punished the girl, but she chose to teach her.  The mother’s caring words explained that each chick has to struggle to free itself, through its own struggles, it becomes strong enough to live outside the shell.

Understanding the little girl’s good intention and lack of knowledge, she said, “there are some things in life that other people just cannot do for you; you have to do them for yourself.”

Now older and a mother herself, the former little girl with good intentions often recalls that event.  “Many times as I have longed to fix things for other persons,” she says, “I remember that they just might have to do this for themselves, and I must allow them to struggle.”

I remember when I was still a laymen attending Sunday Mass in which a Baptism occurred.  The infant was quiet and very good during the first part of the ritual, but when the water hit her head and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were invoked, she started screaming.  No amount of comfort, passing between, mother, father, or godparents could stop her.  Not bottles, burps, or pacifiers.  She just screamed.  I always remember the lady in the pew in front of me turning to her friend and saying, “maybe she’s crying for she knows how tough this life (Christianity) can be.”

Paul and Barnabas in today’s first reading exhorted the new Christians to persevere in the faith and told them, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”  Wow, tough words-necessary, many hardships.  What’s particularly jarring for someone like me is that immediately following this exhortation Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in each church.  That’s me.  Elders are priests.  Now I remember when I entered the seminary being told that I would have to study much, that a lot of homework was coming my way.  I also recall many priests encouraging me to seek ordination, assuring me that the priesthood is a wonderful life.  (It is.)  But I can’t remember anyone saying it would be necessary to undergo many hardships.  If I had, maybe I would have cried like that newly-baptized baby.  Maybe not.  Either way, I would have persevered.

In my opinion many Catholics are enduring hardships now because we value the sacredness and dignity of every human life, born and unborn.  In recent days Catholic churches have been vandalized and pro-abortion protesters have disrupted Masses, outside and inside of churches.  Our Church’s long history of defending the unborn, while simultaneously helping women with difficult pregnancies, really angers many people.  I find it very sad that so many will do anything to stop the beating hearts of the unborn.  I find it terrible that the child in the womb doesn’t count, has no protection from those who want to destroy it, and has an existence that relies on a whim, not a law.  The words of St. Teresa of Kolkata ring true, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love but to use violence to get what it wants.”

These days, these are the hardships we endure.  Pray that we stay strong.  Pray for the pro-abortion people.  May the Holy Spirit enlighten them. 

May God bless all of you.

 

In Christ,

Fr. Hambrough