Good afternoon dear brothers. We come together as brothers in the Lord and as brothers in this great fraternity of the Knights of Columbus.
I suspect that Fr. McGivney would approve of our gathering on this second Sunday of Advent to renew our commitment to the unity, charity, fraternity, and patriotism which are to mark us as Knights.
This is the mid-year meeting for our State Family as the leaders of the Knights of Columbus in Iowa, while at the same time this is the New Year for us as members of the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. So, we are in the beginning of something and at the same time in the middle of something. Sound confusing? It needn’t be, for this is precisely where we are in terms of the kingdom of God. We describe the Kingdom of God as being—at the same time—“here,” but “not yet,” and “already,” but “not now.”
What we mean theologically is that the Kingdom of God is already present among us, but it is not yet fully accomplished. An easier way to consider this is that we are on the way, but we are not yet there.
And so the questions your children ask from the back seat of your vehicle while on a long journey, “Are we there yet?,” are indeed appropriate inquiries, even theologically appropriate for us.
“Are we there yet?” Theologically we are not, because there is still work for us to do in building the kingdom of God on earth.
And for us as brother Knights, the same thing applies. “Are we there yet?” And the answer is the same: “We are not there yet.”
There are still more Catholic men to be inspired by the honorable and important work of our Order in such a way that they will wish to join us.
There are still more children to be given a rosary at their First Holy Communion by the local Knights’ Council, and more importantly, more rosaries to be prayed by the members of that Council for those children, and to be prayed so that those children see and hear Knights praying for them.
There are still more pancake breakfasts and fish frys to be served, so that Knights working together can give witness to the missionary nature of the church, and give witness to the value of helping others. In this the Knights not only perform the charitable work for which they are known, but also offer an example for other men to be inspired to join our honored order.
There are young boys in our parishes and communities who have no father figure in their lives, who need a Knight to take them fishing, to play catch, with whom to shoot some hoops.
There are boys and men who are considering serving the church in ordained ministry or the consecrated life who await the support and encouragement of the Knights of Columbus in order to say “Yes” to God’s invitation to dedicated service in the Church.
There are special needs children and adults who have more smiles to share as they compete in the Special Olympics. Smiles for Knights to see and treasure; smiles for Knights to engender and enable.
There are boys and girls who might consider being an altar server for holy Mass, whose efforts are encouraged by a Knight of Columbus who is also an altar server.
There are unborn children whose lives are vulnerable, whose mothers are overwhelmed and afraid. Knights are needed to provide an ultra-sound machine so that such a mother might be encouraged to respect the growing life within her and decide against abortion. Knights are also needed not just to dissuade that woman against abortion, but to also assist such mothers and their children so that they can be happy, healthy, and successful in life.
There are Knights who have not yet received the patriotic degree. Fourth degree Knights must offer an encouraging and inspiring example to invite and inspire such men to embrace the patriotic degree.
This past week we have heard of the life and service of President George Herbert Walker Bush. On August 18, 1988, during his acceptance speech to the national convention of the Republican Party, George Bush spoke of a thousand points of life. We all know what the thousand points of life mean. But what you may not know, is that Candidate George Bush gave a litany of examples of those entities which were a shining light in the thousand points of light. The first entity he mentioned—the first group he acknowledged—was the Knights of Columbus. He also mentioned various Protestant and Jewish organizations and later mentioned Holy Name Societies, but the first point of light amid a thousand points of lights was the Knights of Columbus.
Thirty years ago we were the first group described as a point of light. Is our light still shining brightly?
In just two short weeks will attend Holy Mass to commemorate the birth of the savior.
Dear brothers, at this mid-year State Family meeting of the Iowa Knights of Columbus may we strengthen—for our councils, our assemblies, and our parishes—for our neighborhoods and our communities—for our spouses and our children and for our children’s children—for the widows of our deceased members—for the dignity of the Church which is now so challenged by the scandal of abuse—may we be both the Knight of Columbus, and the Knights of Columbus, we are called to be.
Rev. William E. Reynolds
Iowa Knights of Columbus