Please join us in welcoming Deacon Jim Krupka back home to Molokai!

If you missed hearing his homily this weekend, here it is:

Aloha friends! So much has changed in the months since I was last here. Last Christmas, the world of Molokai looked good. Things seemed to be moving along on Molokai time in a good way. We had just the right amount of rain. Things were good in town and at Church. This place was filled with aloha with hugs and good wishes. Fran and I expected to be away for two and a half months and be back for Lent and Easter. Boy was our picture off!

I have no way of knowing exactly how everything has been here. But Frances and I have seen lots of change everywhere through our lives and kids. Two kids got put out of work; our winery business closed for months; we could not go to mass for two months. The picture was not pretty. But here we are. All of us made it through. This is a massive credit to who we are. It has been a good time to see if we believe Jesus when he told us not to fear.

Think about when we got back to Church, we changed how we did things but kept what was sacred. Especially moving for me was seeing families adjust on special days like weddings and funerals. In some ways, the weddings I witnessed this summer were more spiritual and intimate than the big celebrations the couples hoped for a year ago. In many ways, we moved to a simpler spot. In the process, we found God and each other with a new energy of love.

Sometimes I think God sees how we live and grabs us by the ears and says, “Wake up you guys, you can do better.” He reminds us, much of what we brought into our life is not the good stuff. God’s message is to get back to the simple basics of faith and life. I am convinced that it is happening now. I know none of us would ever hope for anything like COVID. But even in this, God has given us gifts. W appreciate each other more. We care for each other more. We’ve learned how to connect with those we love when we can’t be face-to-face. We slowed down to appreciate what we have.

The Gospel today is perfect for times like these. The Good News of the Gospel is ideal for people at a turning point toward a better future. The religious leaders quizzed Jesus about his preaching. They were picking on the details of his teaching, trying to trick him. They wanted to pin Jesus down on priority for the various rules and commandments of the Jewish faith. He brought things back to a much simpler place. I can almost hear him talk in language like we’d use at home. “Come on, kids. It’s not that hard.” The whole law and the prophets depend on just two commandments. Love God, first. He said that is the greatest. Then he says, the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Think about this simple response. All the ten commandments wrapped up in these two statements. In the ten commandments, the first four deal with love for God and authority. The next six are about living neighbor-
to-neighbor. Jesus’s simple summary is more than a statement of the law; it is a vision for life. In many ways, he gives us a dream for a better life.

The dream is one we can live. It’s one where we can measure whether we are living it or not right in this island and church.
Think about living that two-part law of love as a community and
Church. Think about it as a rule for living as a country and world. We put away things like greed, envy, thirst for revenge, prejudice. We put love in first place instead. We turn off the TV that feeds us so much negative stuff and look at each other with appreciation and joy instead.
Jesus spoke to religious leaders at a turning point in the whole history of the human race. It was a massive version of my image of these COVID times as a wake-up point. As Jesus spoke with those Pharisees, he moved the world from the Old Testament law to a new way of living.

Now 2000 years later, we can see how exciting and promising that change was. This law of love put some things in the old law in their place. Out went things like justification for revenge or an eye-for-an-eye way of life. In came a simple law of love.
I hope you take home this simple message today: We are at a turning point right here and now toward a better life. Much that was part of our way of living has changed. It’s been painful, like the birth of a child.

But what was sacred is still here. O’hana, A’ina, love for Jesus are all still all here. In many ways, COVID is giving us the gift of seeing that those things are what matters. Being away from Church for months made us appreciate our worship more when we came back. I know many have kids and grandbabies in places that you have not been able to visit for a long time. Getting to hug those people will be so much richer than ever when you get to do it.

I used the words vision and dream. I think Jesus was giving us that. I want to offer some of that today. None of us would have wished for this COVID thing or the challenges of the last eight months. But COVID is real, and so were the last eight months. But we are here now. We have a chance to come back to the Gospel. In many ways, I am sharing the dream I shared on Ash Wednesday. We said, “repent and return to the Gospel.” We started to make a real conversion and renewal of life
during Lent by fasting, penance, and reconciliation. We can do that and more today, moving forward from the challenges of this year.

Jesus gave us that two-part law of love. I ask you to dream a little. Imagine what life would be like if we lived that love and trust here. Especially at St. Damien’s. I can see a day with full churches and glorious music that grows out of our hope and dreams. I look forward to living those days with you. All say AMEN!