Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, June 9

School is out, Ordinary Time is back and Summer is here. I would like to remind you that while our schedule of activities here at St. Austin calms down somewhat in the Summer, this is still an active and busy place. You can keep up with all the events, activities and news by checking out our bulletin online weekly when you are away. No need to miss any of the exciting developments here at St. Austin, just visit or check us out on Facebook.

Last week I went to St. Louis for four days. While there I visited family. My Dad, who turns 92 later this month, is doing fine, though he finds balancing the competing claims of his three girlfriends something of a challenge. He is now off on a cruise of the Caribbean for a week. I also baptized a new grand-niece, Emily Ann, and that was delightful. I also attended the wedding of the daughter of friends of mine from when I was pastor of St. Andrew’s Church in Clemson, SC. I was present at the bride’s First Communion and Confirmation years ago in South       Carolina, so it was nice to be at her wedding as well. It turns out the groom’s family is very prominent in the area, with a lot of political and business connections, so there were 150 or so people at the rehearsal dinner (not the reception, the rehearsal dinner!) which took place at a fancy country club in St. Louis County. We were drinking and eating hors d’oeuvres and    wondering when the buffet would finally open when the staff of the country club announced that a tornado had been sighted in the area and we were under a tornado threat. For our own safety they herded us all into the safest place in the country club, which was the ladies’ locker room. I had the presence of mind to bring my glass of wine with me, and so I sat, sipping wine and chatting with other guests, all in the ladies’ locker room. That was, I am happy to report, a novel experience! After 25 minutes the all clear sounded, and we were able to go back      upstairs to the waiting buffet.

I want to point out that on Tuesday of this week we celebrate the Feast of St. Barnabas. He is a significant saint to the Paulists because it was St. Barnabas who got St. Paul started in the missionary business. When the Apostles were all afraid of Paul because of his reputation for persecuting Christians, it was Barnabas who introduced Paul to the Apostles (9:26-7). Later, Barnabas went to Tarsus, Paul’s home town, and brought him to Antioch, where non-Jews were beginning to convert to the way of Christ. It was Barnabas who acted as guide and mentor to St. Paul when he first started out (see Acts 11:22-26). Paul soon surpassed Barnabas and became the main speaker and head of the mission. But Paul was not always an easy person to get along with, as people driven by a vision can sometimes be. Several missionaries found it difficult to work with Paul and eventually even Barnabas, who was “a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts11:24), could take Paul’s single-mindedness (or stubbornness) no longer and separated from him (Acts 1:36-41). Saints are sometimes not easy to get along with.

Still, Barnabas is an important part of the early missionary effort of the Church and an important part of the story of St. Paul. So I wish you all a happy St. Barnabas Day on Tuesday!

God bless!



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