ON THIS FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we might recall watching the evening news for the past few weeks where some people are blaming God for the bad weather (heavy rains and flooding) and find themselves angry with God. God does not send us anything bad. God only sends us what is good. If we turn from God because of bad weather, health problems, or because of any other crisis that comes upon us, to whom will you then turn? God is the only one who can help us through any situation. Unfortunately some people are turning to New Age practices, and to practices like palm reading, tarot card reading and all sorts of other practices seeking solutions to life’s challenges and problems. They should know not to expect good to come if they dabble in such practices. Turning to such people for advice is the same as saying that you no longer believe God is in control of your life. Either such people and their powers are in control of your life or God is in control of your life. Decide for God. In our second reading today we hear, “there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end of the misdeeds of the body you will live” (Rom 8:12-13). God is stronger than all worldly and pagan practices. Decide for God. Remember the first commandment, “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no strange gods before me.”  Also, in our Gospel today Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 25:28). We all need rest.  But let’s also make sure that when we seek rest that we choose carefully.  Choose God and not someone who is not of God. We go trips and enjoy holidays every year. Why not consider going on holidays with God in a pilgrimage or retreat. One person who went to Međugorje (Medjugorje) last year said to me she found such peace there it was like stepping off the world. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Ask yourself: What do I do to rest? Listening to the radio all day long or watching TV all evening will not bring us rest. It will fill our minds with thoughts and we will not have room in our minds for God or for spiritual matters. There should be a health warning on radios and TVs. Listening to radio all day long or watching TV all evening will block God out from our lives. When we want rest, we should go the Lord in prayer. In the Gospel today Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In our second reading we heard, “Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you.” I am fully convinced that we should all spend a few hours in prayer every day. I have spoken to you several times before about the importance of praying every day – especially spending some time each week praying before the Blessed Sacrament – and I will continue to do so because of the bountiful goodness, blessings and graces that can come from a strong spiritual life.  Let’s not cheat ourselves – let’s turn to the Lord daily, several times a day, and cement that spiritual bond with Christ that if ours for the asking.

PLEASE WELCOME Fr. Jordan Lenaghan, O.P., to Saint Joseph Cathedral.  Fr. Lenaghan will be helping out while I am on medical leave.  Fr. Lenaghan was one of my professors at the Josephinum, and also assisted with Masses while I was Pastor of Saint Catharine’s.  He heard about my medical issues and asked if he could help out during the month of July, which he has off from his duties as Chaplain at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.  Thank you, Fr. Lenaghan, for helping out!

 HEALTH UPDATE… I was discharged from the OSU-James Hospital on June 28, and am in a period of recovery for the next three-to-four weeks.  (I am amazed how just taking a shower can wear you out following major surgery like this!) I was told going into this about the possibility of follow-up chemotherapy given one or both of these scenarios — (1) the tumor piercing the colon wall, or (2) cancer spreading into the lymph nodes.  Pathology reports show that the cancer did not get into the lymph nodes, however the stage two tumor did pierce the colon wall, meaning that cancer cells shed from the tumor are lurking about in my colon.  Chemotherapy is needed. Over the next few weeks of recovery I have a battery of follow-up appointments with my surgeon and his staff, and an oncologist who will devise the plan of chemotherapy treatment.  What I have been told thus far is that the chemotherapy will likely begin four-to-six weeks from now, and will last approximately three-to-six months.  I know nothing more than that; firm details will become known after my meetings and tests with the oncologist. After 11 days in the hospital I was climbing the walls, and no doubt being in a rest and recovery mode for the next three-to-four weeks will be challenging, but the surgeon said “do it” because I need to build up my strength for the first waves of chemotherapy.  This is all curative, folks – along the 90-95 percent range – it’s just that my healing journey is going to take a little longer with some added steps and time along the way. I cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers and words of encouragement and support — they are very much appreciated.  I also cannot say enough good things about the quality of care I received at the OSU-James Hospital.  In the meantime, please keep me in your prayers.  Thank you!

-Fr. Lumpe