Fr. Charles' Chapter Homily After Being Elected Provincial

Homily – Chapter Closing 2007 (Full article)
April 13, 2007
Scripture: Acts 4:1-12; John 21:1-14
How many times have we heard this Gospel reading, the first reading, and the other Scripture readings proclaimed to us during the past week?
Only one assembly in our thirty years was not in Easter week, as I recall. That was the assembly we held in January (I can’t remember the year off hand).We said we would never do it again, because of the uncertainty of the weather and possibility of snow. I remember how friars from both directions were glued to the Weather Channel and phoning home and wondering if they would ever get out of here or if they would be held prisoner in Victoria – by the weather. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?
During our sessions this past week, we reflected on and talked to each other about obedience, about aging, about hurts. We talked about obedience…and we said we would listen. We talked about hurts…and we said we would forgive. We talked about aging…and we said we would live.
We elected leadership to help us in our pledges and our desires to listen, to forgive, and to live.
We were together, once again, in our Chapter boat.
We returned to our native place, like the apostles returned to Tiburius. We came to the place where Matthew Hau, Joseph Calazanz Meyerhofer, and Eleutherius Gugenbickler started out here in the west. We fished. We were almost naked to each other as we laid bare our thoughts, our hopes, and our ideas. Like Peter must have been.
We heard someone calling to us…calling to us to appoint a full time vocation director; calling to us to look at our formation and to make it a priority; calling to us to trust one another, to reconcile with one another and with even those who have been hurt badly and publicly; calling to us to commit ourselves to, and to live, Abrahamic faith.
Today, as we prepare to leave here, we recognize and acknowledge that that voice was and is the voice of the Lord.
The time has come – again – to respond and to lower those nets, even though we have been doing that for 30 years and for four days…to lower the nets, tuck in our garments, (for we are lightly clad) and swim to the Lord. He is not far…only 100 yards…less than that, really. He sees what we need to do from his perspective. He sees much better than we do because He is on the shore and we are being rocked in our Chapter boat. We can’t see what he sees from the shore.

But we are not far at all from Him. He is on the shore in our prayer, in our Eucharist, in our tabernacles. He is in our fraternities…he is only about 100 yards. And if we DO what we heard him say to us, our catch will be great…not just in vocations…but in the graces we need to live our life. In fact, the catch will be so great that we will need the help of all in the boat to bring the catch to shore. We need each other, to pull together when assignments are made that will affect not only the one asked, but all of us who will have to pull together to make the “yes” work.
Brothers, we go forth, again, as if for the first time, even though it is the thirtieth time. We go forth to listen with Abrahamic faith, to forgive with fraternal love, and to live with eternal hope.
Remember: it is the Lord. He is not far. He is, as Bob McCreary said from this very place on Wednesday evening, “Emmanuel,” God-with-us.