June 30th, 2024

.... In this last sermon I will give you before leaving for St. Andrew and my next
journey, I would like to reflect upon the words of the Apostle to the Gentiles, St.
Paul, as he wrote to St. Timothy one last time before he met his martyrdom. They
are words on which to reflect for all of us. If we read chapter 4 for 2 Timothy, St.
Paul exhorts Timothy, a newly consecrated bishop to care for the community that
Paul leaves behind.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and
the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  2  preach the word, be urgent in season
and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in
teaching.  3  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but
having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own
likings,  4  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.  5  As for
you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your
ministry. 6  For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has
Paul continues with all of these great particularities about what to be aware of, what to bring,
and what and who he will miss and ultimately, in Whom He puts His Faith—
10  For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to
Thessaloni′ca; Crescens has gone to Galatia, [a]  Titus to Dalmatia.  11  Luke alone is with
me. Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me.  12  Tych′icus I
have sent to Ephesus.  13  When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at
Tro′as, also the books, and above all the parchments.  14  Alexander the coppersmith did
me great harm; the Lord will requite him for his deeds.  15  Beware of him yourself, for he
strongly opposed our message.  16  At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted
me. May it not be charged against them!  17  But the Lord stood by me and gave me
strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was
rescued from the lion’s mouth.  18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me
for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Although this text is written to St. Timothy, a newly consecrated bishop, it applies
to all of us. IF there is one thing I want you to remember from my time here—we

are here to worship. Worship of God changes us, transforms us. And it transforms
us to the point that we become like the Word that we hear—we become fearless
in the face of death, willing to preach the Gospel at all costs. We become holy.
We know ears will itch, we will tempted to find the next shiny thing, but I exhort
all of you today—keep the Faith that the LORD has instilled in you from this place.
As my own ministry comes to an end here, I am personally filled with gratitude.
When I came to Plattsburg island in Clinton County, an ocean of corn and
soybeans, I had always feared rural ministry. And it was in this place, that God,
through all of you, taught me to trust Him again. Here, I saw the magnificent
Power of God’s Goodness, His Providence, His healing balm, and I am filled with
gratitude. As St. Paul says, truly, “I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” And it is in
meditating upon this Scripture verse that I am now restored and healed to be
“sacrificed” as St. Paul also writes, once again. God constantly allows us to be
sacrificed in the image of His Divine Son, and paradoxically at the same time, to
be saved from the Lion’s mouth. It is in this interplay of priestly ministry and
Christian life in general, that God calls us to conform ourselves to the image of His
Divine Son who emptied Himself out on the cross for our salvation. The greatest
thanksgiving is the cross—if Eucharist means “Thanksgiving” the greatest
thanksgiving is always the greatest act of generosity and outpouring. God has

poured out Himself for us; we come to Him in this great Sacrifice of the Mass in
thanksgiving today for all that He has done for us.
In every parish, there are characters of Demas—those in love with the world
who will quickly disappear. St. Paul exhorts us to be lovers of Christ. There are
“Luke’s and Crescens and Titus” who are with the Apostle, who also preach the
Gospel. There are Alexanders who we are called to forgive. And if I left anything
behind in the rectory, as St. Paul left his cloak in Troas, please send it to me. St.
Paul writes that at his first defense, no one took his part.
When I arrived five years ago, I wouldn’t have even believed that we could’ve
accomplished what we did together in this church and in this place. I learned to
rely upon God at this parish, and less and less myself. For that, I will always be
grateful—your example of family life, of generosity and trust in God restored and
strengthened my own Faith.
The Son of Man, Jesus says, has nowhere to lay His head. In imitation of the Son
of Man, we priests live only transitively in place to place—our true homeland is in
the next life. That being said, when I want to think of the place that looks like our
true homeland, I will picture St. Ann as that home in my own heart. As I’ve been
packing my things, I thought of all of the good things that happened in my own
life here—at our church, our rectory, our hall. These are all shadows of the final

fulfillment of what is to come—where we will have in Heaven a place to lay our
head, to adore God, and to be together in unity. As God has rescued me from the
“lion’s mouth” and has now sent me to “sacrificed” again, your example in these
last five years has made me believe His final words—“The Lord will rescue me
from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom.” To Him be glory forever!
Thank you for your love of God, your love of worship and reverence. Thank you
for your generosity and kindness and your goodness and wholesomeness. Those
things I will never forget.
We are never far from one another when we are in front of the Eucharistic Lord.
As transitions take place, people and go, WE keep the faith, in season and out of
season, convincing, rebuking where necessary, and exhorting, being unfailing in
patience and teaching. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the last five
years. Please pray for me and I will remember all of you!

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