‘The harvest is rich for us’


Evansville’s Annunciation and Holy Rosary parishes hosted the annual July 4 cluster Mass at Annunciation’s Christ the King Church on July 4. Father Bernie Etienne, pastor of Holy Rosary and diocesan vicar general, concelebrated the Mass with Father Alex Zenthoefer, pastor of Annunciation; Father Martin Estrada, parochial vicar of Holy Rosary; and Father William Traylor, retired priest of the diocese.

Father Etienne welcomed those who filled Christ the King for a Mass “to give thanks to the Lord for our many blessings.” He also noted that the collection would be donated to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul ministries of Annunciation and Holy Rosary parishes.

A large crowd fills Christ the King Church in Evansville for the July 4 Mass held by Evansville’s Annunciation and Holy Rosary Parishes. Concelebrating the Mass are Father Bill Traylor, at the altar at left, retired priest of the Diocese of Evansville; Father Martin Estrada, parochial vicar of Holy Rosary Parish; Holy Rosary pastor and dicoesan vicar general Father Bernie Etienne; and Father Alex Zenthoefer, pastor of Annunciation Parish and diocesan director of vocations. The Message photos by Tim Lilley.

Father Zenthoefer served as homilist, and he began by referring to the day’s Gospel reading, which includes the parable of the rich fool who builds new, large barns to hold his abundant harvest, only to have God tell him that his life would be requested of him that very night.

“Undoubtedly, we have received an abundant harvest,” he said, referring to the harvest of grace from God. “The harvest is rich for us,” he said.

“Yet our response doesn’t often match the intent of the Giver. We don’t share it freely . . . we confine it to barns of our own building.” He explained that we often are too stubborn to share God’s gift of abundant grace by letting go of grudges or forgiving others. In such cases, he said, “it’s our own freedom that gets locked away.”

He said God is calling everyone to be courageous and “unleash this bounty on the world.” We can’t keep Gods abundant grace to ourselves, he added, saying it ought to be shared with the world unconditionally.

“Through us, the light from on high can be made visible in places of darkness,” Father Zenthoefer said. “The Independence Day ought to be a reminder of our dependence on God. Today, (may we) let freedom ring in the way that we live and the way that we love.”

Father Alex Zenthoefer and Father Martin Estrada share a sign of peace during the July 4 Mass.