From Father Ken's Quill

Father Ken Halbur is the Pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Parish in Ankeny, Iowa and these posts are letters written in the church’s weekly bulletin.

Going Phishing?

Have you ever gone through your email junk mail folder and looked at some of the titles of emails that are being sent? Sometimes they are humorous, sometimes disgusting, sometimes they are so bad that you just wonder who would fall for some of these scams. I personally have received hundreds of offers to help someone process millions of dollars from dying or deceased relatives in Africa. Being that my email address is part of a church account, I also get messages stating that someone has left millions to be given away to a church and all I have to do is to contact them and we would get lots of money.

A majority of computer viruses come from following the links in emails, even if they seem like they come from people we know. The fact is that we still receive hundreds of them a week, because it is easy to send them, it costs the sender very little, and they sometimes work. The whole reason that they work is because they appeal to our pride and desire for something more. The senders of the emails attack our pride and desire from different ways, some from the material aspect, “all you have to do is to respond to this email and I will deposit a portion of the $25 million that my husband left me into your bank account.” Some of these emails tug at our body image, “you can lose weight or enhance your body if you follow this link.” Some work at our emotions, they ask if you are lonely and need a friend or a “friend”, just respond and the most beautiful person in the world will come running after you. Some of them tug at our ego that says that we can have more friends or having people follow us online. Each of us has a soft spot for something or has a strong desire for something that we would really like to have.

Around a parish, here especially, money is a big thing. With lots of money, we could pay off the debt to the building, pay off the ADA, hire more staff, increase salaries, add on to the building, buy more supplies, the list is endless. All of us want to be happy and successful each in different ways and these emails go after those desires in different ways. We have a natural desire to be happy and getting something off the internet is not going to help us to be happy, it may bring a short-term pleasure, but it will never really bring us true happiness. We can be truly happy by following our faith in Jesus Christ and by fostering those good relationships on earth that can draw us closer to God, that is something that we can work on in our prayer life and it is something that we cannot receive via email.

Fr. Ken