Category: First Down

First Down with Fr. Eric (September 8, 2019)

Dear Friends,

Recently, we all became aware of two mass shootings over a weekend. The first was in El Paso, Texas and the following day we heard of another shooting in Dayton, Ohio. These are just two incidents that made the national news. It has become commonplace in our country to hear news of shootings. This trend has been happening for some time. Two responses are possible, the first being numb to the news along with feeling helpless or fearful. The second response requires more thought and conversation as we are invited into a process of discussion, listening and discerning what we can do to encourage our leaders to respond.

I recently met with my Pastor’s Advisory team and we began some discussion of what path we might take to have a Catholic response to the gun violence our nation is experiencing. I know as Pastor, even when I was preaching on this a few weeks ago, that there are no instant or quick answers to this challenge. This might disappoint those who are accustomed to quick responses and wanting to see instant results. Yet, in dealing with people, it takes time to bring them together to begin the discussions and to learn and discern how to move forward. We are putting together some civic academy evenings at our parish. Evenings of information, discussion, learning to listen to viewpoints and eventually offering the parish ways to talk to civic leaders. Valley Interfaith Project will host a clergy meeting in late September to discuss this issue. Auxiliary Bishop Nevares spoke at a recent VIP meeting and encouraged the Church to have a response to this problem.

It is a beginning and it is a long term work in progress. Our ultimate goal is to set up a process that in the future, we will be able to address all kinds of hot topics, in other words, a readymade set up to help parishioners gather to address important issues.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Homily – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Eric Tellez

Jesus accepts the invitation for a meal from those who are difficult. They watch Jesus closely to see if he makes a mistake. It is interesting that Jesus would say, “yes” to eat with difficult people… What does he teach us from doing this?

First Down with Fr. Eric (September 1, 2019)

Dear Friends,

I was a busboy at Little America in Flagstaff during the summers while in college. Working in the coffee shop, if you tried, one could overhear conversations at the tables. Usually I couldn’t really hear the conversations and at other times I couldn’t help but hear what they were saying. I still remember two older women reading the paper and talking about a gentleman named Cesar Chavez, a farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist. The two women were not very complimentary towards him. They viewed him as a troublemaker. At that time Cesar Chavez was organizing the farm workers for better conditions and better pay. He was being an advocate for those who were not always treated humanely or fair.

In those years, I really did not know what to make of the situation. I wasn’t aware of what workers had to endure. I was not aware that the work force is always in need of advocates, to ensure that the dignity of a worker is protected.

We have Labor Day as a National holiday this Monday, as the nation remembers all in the work force. The Church, as one of the seven Catholic social teaching principles, has much to say about the Dignity of Work. It is the belief that God desires that work is used to benefit humanity. The reason behind the Sabbath, resting on the seventh day comes from giving rest to those who worked very hard and many times not in good conditions. Jesus was a tekton, someone who worked with his hands. He worked very hard and not in a nice carpenter’s office. The conditions of work in his time were very difficult.

As we honor all workers on Labor Day, we also recall the many people who were, and are, advocates for the dignity of the worker. They need our prayers to be sure that such leaders place the needs of the workers ahead of personal or solely monetary gain. And even pray for the Church, that we become better models of treating our employees with dignity and respect.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric