Fr Joseph Hearty Welcome & Homily

Fr Joseph Hearty Welcome & Homily

19 November 2017

We are very excited to welcome Fr Hearty to the parish. Read and listen to his first welcome and homily here!

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the feast of All Saints. The important feast day when the remembrance of the
saints is to encourage us in our own work of salvation. A reminder that with the grace of God all things are
possible. Saints are not born as such from the womb to the tomb but the saints are just as human as we each are here
today.

Christ in the Gospel today explains, in his parable of the five talents, how imperative it is of our responsibility to
use what God has blessed each of us with in the way of talents, blessings and opportunities to bring ourselves and
our neighbor to Him and how much He scowls and frowns on those who hide away their talents and treasure to
please only themselves.

So there’s a good correlation between the gospel today and the gospel of the eight beatitudes for the feast of All
Saints because the beatitudes are the key to putting into action on how to use well our talents and therefore to
acquire the life of God better within our souls. The beatitudes could be described as the blueprint of the spiritual
life.

The Beatitudes

As the season of Advent quickly approaches again it seems, to me, a beneficial time to reflect today upon the first
beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God."

The season of Advent has the recurring theme of preparation, expectation and detachment because the birth of
Christ tells us that to follow in the path of the Master, we must walk the way of daily preparation for Heaven and
renunciation of tangible things for intangible and invisible things.

So Jesus begins the list of the beatitudes with that first one because it reminds us that we are all created for eternity,
sin is the constant interruption to all that is true and beautiful and the spirit of poverty is the means by which we all
explore closer the will of God for each of us.

The greatest obstacle to positive, albeit, imperfect happiness here, and certainly for eternity, is one’s own self. The
more we insolate ourselves from God and His family, the Church, the more we become convinced that our mastery
is not over ourselves but the world. The chaos that follows from one attempt after another to treat all things, both
man and God, as means to one’s own profit and pleasure has been obvious all through history especially in our own
times.
If we are not vigilant than we become that person who possesses all things but has nothing.

"What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world yet suffer the lose of his own soul" (Mt. 6:24).

St. Augustine put it well when it comes to understanding first things, He said: "Unhappy is he who knows all things without
knowing Thee, my God. Blessed is he who knows Thee, even though he be ignorant of all else."

st augustine

So Jesus, in the first beatitude, puts first things first. To grow more in virtue and holiness of life we need to
separate ourselves from what keeps us away from Him and His grace.

The birth of Christ in a humble stable, in poverty, definitely teaches us the importance of the first beatitude. He did
not condemn the possession of worldly goods, or even of great wealth; for He himself had rich friends. However,
Christ did point out the danger of riches, which, He says, are the thorns that choke up the good seed of the world
(Mt. 13:22).

If there is one thing most of us misunderstand is the idea of detachment. We conveniently believe that detachment
and poverty are meant only for priests and nuns. How can married couples and families practice the spirit of
poverty?

You, as parents, naturally work hard and want the best for your family and the temptation to ask: How could we
possibly believe that the things we want for them sometimes may supersede what God wants for us?

familyWalk

Fortunately, or unfortunately family needs and worries are a part of one’s vocation but it becomes a problem when
we turn it into the only concern. We are the only ones who can save us and see to a successful end.

To be poor in spirit is to be big-hearted and openhanded, not to be overly concerned about legitimate worldly
purposes, but to be carefree about success and failure, because whichever comes our way, we know it is from God
either by His direct will or His permission. To be poor in spirit is to have a childlike trust in Providence, and so to
be freed from fear.

In our times now with economic instability and uncertainty how all the more we need to lean on God more. Spirit
of poverty assists us in acquiring trust in the Providence of God.

When we faithfully see to these needs than God will do the rest. If there is anything I have learned in my life and
definitely in my priestly vocation is that God will give us what we need when we need it not when we want it. That
is where spirit of poverty detaches us more from worry and often self-imposed anxiety. We know that we must do
our part in seeking employment, working justly for our employer and seeing to the legitimate needs of body as well
as soul.

One will hold on to things in self-worship as if on display for all to see which satisfies our vanity or our secret
pride.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with having a healthy pride is what one accomplished but if we are unaware or not
vigilant than our property and things eventually destroy freedom and peace.

Isn’t it true that when we have much, we often are not satisfied and we only want to acquire more.
Sometimes the mere cutting back of personal property is not always enough; we can lack in spirit of poverty if we
possess nothing more than a coat or a book, and we can be poor in spirit even though we may possess an entire
empire.

Much has to do with one’s intention that all things belong to God and we may possess much but without Him we
have nothing. The freedom from fear is indeed the characteristic of those who have learned to care and not to care.
To be grasping and possessive is to live always in anxiety and fear of loss. We should not expect people to love us
because of what we have but rather who we are.

The gospel today reminds us that all that we have is given to us as a steward. God entrusts to us many things and
this includes talents and gifts of body & mind. We must be openhanded with them as well and use them to glorify
our Father in Heaven, for the benefit of our neighour and our self.

If we hurt anytime any of the things that God has made by lust, anger, or vanity, for our own pleasure or profit, then
we hurt ourselves, our neighbour and the Church. So that if such things are taken away from us then we do not
mind and we do not resent God nor separate ourselves from Him. Yes, sometimes easier said than done. Yet all
things are Providence and there is no such thing as chance.

The desire within us to have lies deep and we are indeed compact of desire, but it should be a desire for eternity,
which the gaining of the whole world will never accomplish.

In light of the fast approaching season of Advent, when we prepare ourselves once more for the commemoration of the coming of Jesus Christ in His holy infancy, that we should meditate upon His holy birth and how very much
poverty is dear to His Sacred Heart. Our Lord having no riches, no worldly power or influence yet drew all things to Him, not by force or fear but in love.

Christmas 2017

Having come into this world with nothing and having left it by His Sacred passion and death upon the Cross with nothing, so how will His example of poverty inspire us with the desire to know the freedom of a child of God, the
carefree peace that follows upon spirit of poverty and the docility of the gift of fear.

We shall be glad because we shall not be solicitous, neither grasping or self-willed; we shall be glad because we will be openhearted and openhanded because in the depths of our hearts, that what we are and have is not ours but God’s, and we shall be blessed to know it; we shall be glad with all the new-found joy of the supernatural child reborn within us who has
everything to enjoy and love and nothing to lose.

God made us to know, love, and serve Him, and to be happy. The more we learn, by repentance and prayer to know
God, the more we will love; the more we love, the more we will want to serve; the more we serve, the more we will
be happy and have that small taste of what awaits us in eternity. That is the fruit of a good preparation during the
Advent season.

 

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