In Christ, Fr. Hart
I am looking forward to being your pastor. I am here to be with you and to minister to you as your shepherd. I ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts in growing spiritually closer to Him in doing His will in building His kingdom. We are a community of faith that longs for His peace and consolation. It is a great honor to have my first Sunday Mass here at IC on Father's Day. As your spiritual father I am to give you guidance, to grow with you, and to invite you to grow closer to Him though His graces. God is always with us as it says in scripture especially through times of struggle and personal challenges. I want to commend all of our fathers and grandfathers for being men of courage and strength in your support and guidance in raising your children and nurturing your grandchildren to know, to love, and to serve God. May the Lord bless you all abundantly.
In Christ, Fr. Hart
The book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) speaks of time. There is an appointed time for everything …a time to plant, a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to come, a time to go … . Our life is constantly in motion. Sometimes it is more felt than other times.
Three years ago I came to Blytheville not knowing what is going to be. Not only in Blytheville but also Osceola and Marked Tree as well. After two years of pastorate at St. Norbert parish, Marked Tree, it is blessed with another pastor. As I look back to the last three years I see that we have faced challenges and we still stand firm to face the future challenges. We kept up the faith, we grew with the community through our involvement in Blytheville Ministerial alliance, Chamber of Commerce, Festival in May, and other religious and social programs. To reach out to the less privileged and needy we started the St. Joseph’s Kitchen. We continue to support the Food Pantry, The Haven, Great River Charitable Clinic and Mississippi County Union Mission.
Contentment with our social and material progress alone would be a sad perception of our goal as faithful, worshiping community. If we have moved one step towards Christ we can call that progress. I believe I worked for that. Here I am reminded of the words of St. Paul to Philippians, 3:12 and following. “I have not yet reached my goal and I am not perfect… So I keep on running… I don’t feel that I have already arrived.
Now it is time to say Adios to each of you with gratitude to God and each of you for your support and cooperation. I thank you for everything you have done for me. I am glad that I could offer three years of my life for Blytheville, especially for Immaculate Conception parish, St. Mathew’s parish in Osceola and St. Norbert’s at Marked Tree. I consider that to be a good offering acceptable to God and good for the people. I apologize for whatever failures may have happened. I assure I continued prayers for each of you. God bless you. Adios.
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 12, 2016
St. John defines God in three words – God is Love.” Reading the Gospel and reflecting on the words of Jesus we discover that God is a great lover, that he sent his Son go in search of the lost sheep; and that he welcomes us as the father welcomed his prodigal son. From the gospel we learn that as Jesus was dying on the cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them.” He went so far as to offer excuse: “They do not know what they are doing.” That is the kind of God our God is.
In today’s gospel, Lk. 7:37-8:3, we learn an extraordinary lesson from Jesus. He shows God as one who not only searches out sinners but uses every means to win our love. Simon the Pharisee believed in God but had very limited understanding of God. In His relation to god he put himself at a higher level that other people. His contention was that he followed the law and so he is better than others. He could not comprehend how Jesus could look with favor upon the sinful woman who washed his feet. He did not realize that Jesus was eager to forgive her sins so that she would respond with love. Jesus wanted to win her heart. Certainly Jesus loved the conversion of sinful lady far more than the dinner the Pharisee offered.
Fr. Thomas J. Hart