June 29, 2022
by Julie Kalkowski
Creighton University's Financial Hope Collaborative
click here for photo and information about the writer

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Mass during the Day
Lectionary: 591

Acts 12:1-11
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
Matthew 16:13-19

Praying Ordinary Time

Pope Francis' homilies on this Solemnity:
2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 |

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Enjoying Vacation Time

Before I write my reflections, I usually read the scriptures several times to see if anything is speaking to me. Often it takes a number of times before a theme emerges.  And then, occasionally like today, it leaps out at me. I had just come home from burying my father and was at loose ends. I thought going over these readings was one thing I could realistically do. I was amazed to see that today’s reading from St. Paul was the exact one we had just used at my father’s funeral. 

At the end, my dad fought so hard to stay alive. When I asked what he was afraid of, he replied, “I’m afraid Jesus won’t accept a jack-ass like me in heaven.” I so wish my father could have heard all the incredible stories people told me at his wake. The funeral home personnel said they had never seen so many people at a 90-year old’s wake.  People started lining up to visit at 3:40 pm and didn’t let up until the service started at 6 pm. 

My father died on Ascension Thursday. The reflection on that day from St. Aelred of Rievaulx in “Give Us This Day” summed up how my dad strived to live his life. “We ought….to raise our hearts from the physical senses and take up the ‘bright weapons of obedience’ [Rule of Benedict Prol.3]….our obedience ought to be on the mountain of charity, so that whatever we do, we do for the love of God.”

After numerous jobs, my father found his career in social work. It was surprising to see how many of his former co-workers showed up. He retired after 25 years from the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in the 1990s. As a young, newly minted social worker, Jane told me how patient my father was at teaching her the ropes. She said the most important advice my dad gave her was:  "Don’t accept the first “no.”  You have to fight for our guys the way they fought for us.” Another shared that my father could have gotten promotions, but “he just could not abide unfairness. If your dad would have just kept his mouth shut, he would have gotten promotions.”

Then there were the people who told stories about how he quietly helped them by bringing them food and/or encouraging them. “Your dad always remembered my name and that meant so much to me.” Or “Your dad was one of my few white co-workers who always spoke to me in the 1950s.” Or “Your dad would call and tell me that I was in a rough patch, but that it would get better soon. His support gave me hope to keep going.”

While my dad could be difficult at times, I believe he “competed well” and “kept the faith” as St. Paul wrote in today’s second reading. My dad’s strength came from God so he could often ‘be obedient to charity.’ May that be true for all of us.

The last thing I wonder about my dad is if he is still arguing with St. Peter about whether or not he should be admitted!

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