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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily idea...my main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!



Friday, December 2, 2016

Dec 4 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Sat and 9:30am on Sunday

Are You Changing Direction or Just Talking About it?

Repentance is the call to change the direction you are looking for happiness. Throughout this advent time we will hear this repeated call but nowhere as strongly as from John the Baptist in today's Gospel. Repent, he says. Change the direction you were looking for happiness. And I don't mean just talk about it.

John's admonition to the Pharisees gives us some insight into how we might telegraph to others that we are changing our direction, it is not with words. St. Francis is quoted often as saying " preach the gospel always and when necessary use words." When we have identified the cause of our unhappiness we can identify a new direction in which we are looking for happiness. However  that change cannot be simply in our hearts in prayer, in our words to loved ones who are offended, but it must be in the actions, the choices, the decisions, and our reactions to the difficulty of daily life.

Are you changing the direction you were looking for happiness? Don't tell me about it-show me-show me with your happiness.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nov 27 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30am on Saturday and 8am and 6pm on Sunday

What's New

With the beginning of Advent we start a new liturgical year of grace 2017. The question for us may be, "is there anything new?". The repeated annual liturgical calendar is a religious symbol for us as Catholics in which we are called to hear the invitation to conversion. Conversion is a fancy word that means "changing the direction in which we were looking for happiness".

 In what direction have you been looking for happiness? How successful has your search for happiness been? Do you see on the horizon a new direction in which you might find true happiness?  Maybe it is a direction which you have resisted in the past because it appears too difficult, to radical, to pious, too religious, too disruptive to your life?  That resistance is precisely the powerful "self" that refuses to die.

This Advent, this new year, may be the opportunity of grace to go ahead and follow the Lord's call into that direction which you have been resisting but which promises true, deep, and lasting happiness.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

November 20 homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm on Saturday 9:30am Sunday (and 12:30 at Our Lady of Lourdes on 55th St)

 Can we put Jesus Christ back on the throne?

 Some of you may remember July 20, 1969 like I do. You might know exactly where you were and the people you were with. It was the day of the Apollo space landing on the moon and Ohioan Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the surface of the moon. We were all  glued to a television set and filled with anticipation, solidarity, and pride as Americans.

The beautiful pictures taken from orbit of our planet earth spinning on its axis were relayed back to earth and for the first time we earthlings got to see  what we look like from outer space.

That image of the earth seen from space was a revolution in our "worldview". It was an experience of no longer being the center of the universe but being a participant in a galaxy much bigger than ourselves.

Changing one's worldview is a process that happens in our personal lives every so often. We suddenly recognize that the king at the center of our lives  and the universe in which we have been operating has changed from the center outward, and all of the relationships in our universe  have shifted along with it..

We could use another word to explain our changing worldview, a shift in our paradigm, or in the Christian dispensation we could call it conversion. These shifts or conversions usually follow a "bottoming out": we hit bottom or hit the wall when we fail in succeeding in life lived according to our worldview with its values, rewards, and costs.

In these frustrating and often sad bottoms or walls on our life's journey we are suddenly open to a new world view, a new perspective, philosophy, or path going forward.   For religious people or human beings created in the image and likeness of God this new path going forward is often the world view of the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ upon the throne.

The feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ king of the universe is the invitation for us to once again put God at the center of our world and of our lives.  The funny thing about religious conversion in our lives is that until we hit bottom or hit the wall we don't even realize that we have been walking the wrong road. This opening of our eyes to who and what is the king of "our personal universe"  is often shocking and painful. The death of a loved one, the loss of a lifelong career, the loss of personal health, the failure of our  primary wife project… All of these things and many more are the difficult opening of our eyes to see who is the God that we serve.

The conversation between the two thieves crucified with Jesus is an example of our options today. One thief sees the Lord Jesus even crucified as redeemer and king  offering him everlasting life while the other thief looks at the crucified Jesus and mocks him as diluted , helpless, and foolish in his proposed role as Messiah who can't even get us down off of this miserable cross.

 Who or what is the king of your universe and what is the world view from which you are operating? How could Jesus replace that kingship in your life and thereby change your world?

Friday, November 11, 2016

November 13 Homily Prep St. Albert "pray for us"

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Saturday and 11:00am on Sunday

St. Albert the Great, Pray for us!

This intercession is often used at the ends of our prayers here at St. Albert.  I am convinced that 99.9% of us who have used that intercession have intended to intecede with our patron saint, Albert the Great.  This isn't an uncommon practice of the church throughout the ages.  In fact, one of the greatest musical prayers of the church has to be the Litany of the Saints in which we repeatedly invoke the individual saints by name and then pray...."pray for us".

On this year's celebration of St. Albert the Great our patron I am asking us to widen our thoughts about that phrase or prayer  "St. Albert the Great, pray for us".  You see, we are celebrating not only our patron saint, but our parish community.  Beginning this weekend we are introducing a new prayer initative called "Adopt a Friend in Prayer".  Over 450 members of our parish community are preparing to celebrate a Sacrament in this coming year, are serving in the military, or are grieving the death of a loved one.  St. Albert the Great (parish), pray for us"!

We have created seven different prayer cards on which the name of one of these brothers or sisters has been written.  "Adopt a Friend in Prayer" ministry is an opportunity for every member of our parish to adopt at least one of these people and to "pray for us"! We are called in this day and age to offer our parishioners a concrete experience of communion and that experience begins with prayer.  Let's open the doors of our hearts and the doors of our church to these members of our parish who are approaching the the sacraments.  Our prayer for them is a welcoming embrace.

Blessed feastday to all.  St. Albert the Great, pray for us! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

November 6 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8:00am and 12:30pm on Sunday

Symptoms of faith in Resurrection!

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.  The fruits of the Spirit (CCC).  In the face of pain, loss, persecution, hatred, death - these fruits are the symptoms o faith in the resurrection.

Do you manifest and faith in the resurrection?

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 30 homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 9:30am  6:00 PM mass on Sunday

  Appearing Little

 Evidently Saint Augustine said of Zaccheus that "he was willing to climb the tree in order to see Jesus".  In that willingness to be publicly vulnerable Zaccheus found salvation.  Saint Augustine was instructing his audience about the  hesitancy to appear needy of Jesus in public.  

In the current generation we have been called to grow the communion of the faithful by inviting others - "Every One Add One". Saint Augustine's interpretation of this gospel text says to me that   Before we are effective in evangelizing our world we need two things: a keen and humble awareness of our need for Jesus and, second, a willingness to make that neediness public.  And that, my friends, is a big problem.

On the first hand, admitting to our neediness is downright un-American let alone unlikely from our egocentric way of being in the world.  So Catholic parishioners-turned-inviters are not very likely to admit their need for anything, let alone friendship with Jesus. It sounds childish, it seems weak, it is too vulnerable for adults.  We have maybe too much Anglo-Saxon "put on a stiff upper lip" demand in our culture. We do not want to admit ( even to ourselves)  weakness, neediness, vulnerability.

However there's a second problem with Saint Augustine's suggestion that we need  not only admit to our need of Jesus but we need to do so publicly.  Again I don't know if it's Catholic culture or American culture or simply human nature but we really have a privacy issue when it comes to our relationship with God and or Jesus.  So we are not likely to admit even to ourselves our need for Jesus and we are certainly hesitant to make that dependence or reliance upon Jesus known publicly.

  But, that is what is required of us if we are going to be effective missionary disciples of holy communion in the world.  So, this Sunday's readings are inviting us to come clean on two very important and difficult features of our Christian discipleship. We have to understand and admit to our need for Jesus. How about that?  Secondly we need to consider how willing we are to transform our public persona allowing others to see our neediness and reliance upon Jesus.

 Tall order. Has anyone ever asked us to do this? I don't think so. Maybe Pope Francis.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

October 23 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
 -I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm on Saturday and 12:30pm on Sunday

What's Your Position?

On your communion map, where is God and where are you and where is everyone else?   Where is your position in relationship to the position occupied by God and others?  Like the Pharisee and the tax collector, our faith is all about relationship. Prayer is the expression of our faith. We live as we love and we pray as we live.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 16 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 Saturday and 9:30am & 6pm on Sunday


Don't Weary, Have Faith

 Bishop Robert Barron made a fascinating assessment of the first reading from this Sunday's mass and I can't think of anything more meaningful to say. The "warring with Amalek" can be a reminder to all of us that, like Israel, if one has faith to do God's will in the world they by necessity will be engaged in "the battle".  Saint Paul famously referred to this fact by calling it "fighting the good fight, running the race".

 I think I have been resisting this fact from before I entered the seminary. I think the dominant theme in the spiritual life at least for me is that if I am doing God's will and God is with me then I will not  encounter hardship, conflict, or fighting with others. It's a maybe a na├»ve understanding of peace. Maybe St. Francis, in the popular interpretation, with his prayer for peace and  his hanging around with all the animals and resolving conflict is my preferred notion of discipleship. However, it cannot be denied that all 12 apostles and St. Paul all died by violent conflict and rejection of people about fighting the "good fight"

 Who we fight against, compete with, struggle with, can be the power of evil, the spirit of the world, the weakness of the flesh, the broken and whining false self.   As a matter fact it is all of these and others. The example of Moses with his hands raised in prayer and the invitation of the persistent woman and the unjust judge in the Gospel both encourage two things.

 First, we must never grow weary of pursuing God's will in the face of opposition, rejection, suffering, hopelessness, etc.  We can never demand that we arrive in the destination of the promised land of perfect peace. We must admit that we are always aliens, homesick for our native land which is peace forever in the Lord.

 Second, this persistence this attachment to God's will is manifest, experienced, accomplished, and realized in what  we call prayer. Praying is the sacrament of our communion with God in faith.   Praying is the experience of our relationship with God.  Our relationship with God and our desire to be in deepening relationship with God can be compared to our most intimate human relations. The longing heart of the lover, the homesickness of the citizen in a foreign land, can be understood as the deepest and  fundamental praying that Jesus teaches and demonstrates in the Gospels.

So,  as people of faith we are possessed by the love of God and  our intentional commitment to do God's will in the world will be experienced as conflict, striving, yearning, longing, battle against the broken and empty powers  of the world and of our human condition. We can avoid growing weary in this good and constant fight by clinging to God's hand in prayer.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

October 9 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8:00am on Sunday

Gratitude

The telltale sign of a heart that is free is thanksgiving.  Gratitude in every circumstance is the sign of a heart that sees clearly what is a blessing and is free from fear, sadness, and anger over what is not.  Especially in moment of pain, loss, and persecution only the truly free person can be grateful for life, love, and eternal salvation.  The only things of reality.

Death beds are the place where this freedom is most evident or it's absence is so obvious. At the end of life when everything has been "taken away" the one who is grateful sees rightly. For the grateful heart, everything except sin is gift, grace, and blessing. So gratitude is the only response.

What has imprisoned your heart?  What are you NOT grateful for?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 2 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 9:30am on Sunday

Is it Good Enough to Pray?

Have you ever felt confused or disappointed by God NOT answering your prayer?    Today's gospel seems to say that simply praying  is not enough. You must have sufficient faith.  Any believer who says."God did not hear my prayer" is not believing in the God of Jesus.

Increase our faith!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sept 24 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8am and 11am on Sunday

What is Your Greater Sin?

The sin of the rich man is not richnesss, it is not lack of charity, idolatry, blasphemy, adultery, murder, or any of the commandments. It was blindness.  Pucillanimous indifferencee. Small souled self absorbed lack of empathy.

Got any of that?


Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 18 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm on Sat and 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday

That's Ingenius!

 The whole point of the second Vatican Council (1963 to 1965) was to "open the windows of the church" so that the gospel might flow more effectively into the world. This insight and purpose of the fathers of the church was repeated by Pope Francis at his election when he  assessed the church as being "closed in on itself - self-referential".

Many critics of the church in the time since the second Vatican Council have misinterpreted the  purpose of the council by evaluating the effects of the council on the church rather than seeing the effects of the church in the modern world. Many see that "opening the windows" of the church only as having  invited modernity into the church, to have "modernized" the ancient church. They don't mean that as a compliment.

 There is no denying that the efforts of the church to engage in and with the modern world has in fact invited modernity and worldliness into the church. However, this unintended  consequence possibly can be foreseen in the perplexing parable today of the dishonest steward.  What I mean by that is, that the use of the things, systems, technologies, communications, and other advances of the world in the mission of the church to the world  is what I believe Jesus was communicating in this parable of the dishonest steward.  Ingenuity!

 The "children of light" have to become more ingenius in their efforts at spreading the gospel. Ingenuity, a mixture of smart and effective,  is a tool and a path available to the ministries of the church to help them engage the hearts and minds of men and women in the world.  I recently had a conversation with a parishioner who was expressing her complete alienation from and disenchantment with the ministry of our parish( in spite of her dedication to weekly Sunday worship). She was expressing her longing for the pre-Vatican II hay days of the Baltimore catechism, Monarchical bishops and priests, cultural warriors, Gregorian chant,  antagonism with contemporary society.  By contrast, she was being critical of all of the attempts of the church to engage with contemporary men and women.

I think the Lord's parable of the dishonest steward is a critique of this "self referential" anti-cultural, otherworldly approach to church and ministry. I am as frustrated as anyone with the failure of the church to become a priority in the lives of modern men and women,  however, resorting to the pious, devotional, isolated, defensive disengaged, fortress-like existence of the pre-Vatican II church is not the solution. Besides, we cannot put the genie back in the bottle and even if we could, which several have tried, we would not succeed in Jesus's command to bring the gospel to all nations.

 We must rather persevere in the ingenuity of engaging with the gifts and the minds and hearts of modern men and women with the purpose of drawing them more deeply into the heart of Christ which is the  centerpiece of our Catholic faith, eternity lived in the communion of the faithful from now unto everlasting life.

September 18 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm on Sat and 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday

That's Ingenius!

 The whole point of the second Vatican Council (1963 to 1965) was to "open the windows of the church" so that  The gospel might flow into the world. The inside of the fathers of the church was repeated by Pope Francis at his election when he  assessed the church as being "closed in on itself - self-referential".

 Many critics of the church in the time since the second Vatican Council have misinterpreted the  purpose of the council by evaluating the effects of the council on the church rather than seeing the effects of the church in the modern world. Many see that "opening the windows" of the church as having  invited modernity into the church, to have "modernized" the ancient church. They don't mean that as a compliment.

 There is no denying that the efforts of the church to engage in and with the modern world has in fact invited modernity and worldliness into the church. However, this unintended  consequence possibly can be foreseen in the perplexing parable today of the diss honest steward.  What I mean by that is, that the use of the things, systems, technologies, communications, and other advances of the world in the mission of the church to the world  is what I believe Jesus was communicating in this parable of the dishonest steward.

 The "children of light" have to become more ingenius in their efforts at spreading the gospel. Ingenuity, a mixture of smart and effective,  is a tool and a path available to the ministries of the church to help them engage the hearts and minds of men and women in the world.  I recently had a conversation with a parishioner who was expressing her complete alienation from and disenchantment with the Ministry of our parish. She was expressing her longing for the pre-Vatican II hay days of the Baltimore catechism, Monarchical bishops and priests, cultural warriors, Gregorian chant, disengagement with contemporary society.  By contrast, she was being critical of all of the attempts of the church to engage with contemporary men and women.

I think the Lords parable of the dishonest steward is a critique of this " self referential" anti-cultural, otherworldly approach to church and ministry. I am as frustrated as anyone else with the failure of the church to become a priority in the lives of modern men and women,  however, resorting to the pious, devotional, isolated, defensive disengaged, island existence of the pre-Vatican II church is not the solution. Besides, we cannot put the genie back in the bottle and even if we could, which several have tried, we would not succeed in Jesus's command to bring the gospel to all nations.

 We must rather persevere in the ingenuity of engaging with the gifts and the minds and hearts of modern men and women with the purpose of drawing them more deeply into the heart of Christ which is the  centerpiece of our Catholic faith, eternity lived in the communion of the faithful from now on to everlasting life

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 11 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email or on my facebook page.
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Saturday, 8am, 11am, and 6pm on Sunday

Profiles in Lostness

In the scriptures for this week I am seeing a profile of "lostness" that I haven't seen before.  I'm wondering how it sounds to you?

The great parables of "lostness" are the coin, the sheep, and the son.  Let's look at these "profiles in lostness".

I am seeing the lost coin as a sign of those who are lost from the love of God in their embrace of a completely material existence.  Like the coin, these souls are actually "inanimate" persons - they are lost from the love of God by their conviction that human life is completely devoid of God, faith, and eternity.  They do not know that they are lost.  They are fairly contented in the "material" world, its pursuits, and its rewards.  They have no need of repentance.

The second profile in lostness is the lost sheep which is a sign to me of those who are lost from the love of God in their slavery to their emotional existence.  This rather innocent creature knows through its basic instinct and its 'senses' that it is in trouble, it knows that it is isolated, it hurts in pain, it cries out for help from mother or flock.  This emotional lostness believes IN God however the love of God is not influential in their daily life.  Rather God is a distant figure who CAN make me feel better if and when He is so inclined.  They are fairly pre-occupied with the roller coaster search for happiness in life.  They have no need of repentance.

The third profile in lostness is the elder son on his father's plantation. These stand for me as a sign of those who are lost to the love of God in their religious existence.  These persons are lost to the love of God in their arrogant and self-satisfied religious convictions.  These are the strangest and most resistant of the lost - because they think they are found. In fact, these religiously lost people believe it is God who is lost, who has abandoned them in the pain of life because God has not been as faithful to them as they are to God.  These persons live their lostness in resentment - resentment of God, of other religious people, of other lost people.  They have no need of repentance, in fact, they have a theology of staying the way they are.

Repentance is the recognition of one's lostness and the acceptance of the never-changing, never-ending, never-withheld love of God.  You are my beloved Son.  Without repentance we remain lost.  Lostness is the greatest and most powerful enemy of God's gift of salvation.

Does any of that connect with your story?  Have you ever repented in your lostness?

Friday, September 2, 2016

September 4 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm on Saturday and 9:30 and 12:30 on Sunday

"I can SEE you"

Remember Miss Barbara on Romper Room when we were kids?  She did that crazy thing at the end of the show when she help up a mirror and then pretended to be able to see through the TV screen into the living room and she would call out everybody's name.  "I see Bobby, and Susie, and Ricky, and Eddie..." ok, well she never said Eddile, but you remember.

I think this pretending kind of messes with our minds.  Here we thought we could look into the TV and see her and she turned it around on us and appeared to be looking "in on us".  Transparency - to be able to see through.

I believe Jesus' challenging saying in today's gospel is the invitation for us to peer through the created realities of our lives and to see God in all of it and under all of it.  To love and serve and celebrate life BECAUSE God is under, beneath, behind, and at the end of all of it.  Life must become more transparent for the disciples of Jesus.

The danger is to love, serve, or celebrate andthing in life as if it were an end in itself.  Opaque.  To see people, plans, things as goods inandof themselves is to be deceived.

What do you think?  Do you see through the most important things in life, like Miss Barbara, see through them as if they were transparent and see God's behind them

Friday, August 26, 2016

August 28 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by emails
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.pariskhlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4:00on Sat and 8:00am and 12:30pm on Sunday

What are you up to?

In both teachings of Jesus this weekend the basic question put to disciples of Jesus is this: what are you up to?  When one accepts the invitation to a banquet what are you doing as you enter the banquet. Are you there for your host and his occasion or are you trying to accomplish something for your own ego- satisfaction?

Same thing with your invitation/hospitality.  Why are you generous to others?  What are you doing?  Loving or building your reputation?  Wow.

Just asking what is your motive in every choice you make?  That's what is eternal.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 21 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Sat and 9:30am on Sunday

What makes the gate narrow?

I cannot help but think of the gospel passage about the camel  passing through the eye of a needle. That camel is burdened with all the luggage and the goods of a beast of burden. Because of that heavy bulky burden the animal cannot fit through the opening.

When Jesus mentions the width or the size of the gate that leads to salvation I am anticipating that  the "size" of the individual is what determines the width or the narrowness of the gate.  So, the invitation or the opportunity for salvation is not the restriction. The restriction on who will be saved completely lies with the girth of the individual.

 One can change the width or narrowness of the gate that leads to salvation by conforming his or her life to that of Christ.  Trim the fat, lighten your load, lose the excess, dispossess, detach, and you will fit just perfectly

 Remember the old playdoh machine in which you placed the Playdoh and then a fixed pattern or a dye to the front of the machine? We pushed the Playdoh down and it took on the shape of the pattern on the front. The playdoh was conformed to the "gate" rather than forcing a immalable mass through a definitive opening.

 The material must be conformed to the pattern not the pattern changed to accommodate the material. Salvation is in Christ and through Christ and the way is only narrow to those who have not laid down their lives in imitation of his.

Friday, August 12, 2016

August 14 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30 on Sat and 11:00 on Sunday

Division

This summer the people of the world and especially we in the United States have been bombarded by the divisions among us. Holy War attacks by ISIS, violent racial conflicts, personal rancor between politicians, guerilla warfare executions of innocent law enforcement, gender-confusing impositions upon our school children......that's enough. All of it reveals and reminds us of the radical divisions within the human family. In fact, re-reading these sentences gives me a new understanding of the biblical image of the "tower of Babel".  People are not engaging in passionate debate and dialogue, they are living on philosophical islands exchanging violent missiles in order to annihilate their enemies.

What's funny is that all of this division is born of a beautiful sounding concept: tolerance. Tolerance is a Socio-political Trojan horse, the love child of radical relativism and plain old sin.   Sin is the devil's work of separating individuals(no longer human creatures) from God and one another. Relativism is the  declaration and embrace of the notion that there is "no objective or revealed truth" beyond any one individual's perceived needs.  

So, tolerance  is the plan sold to us reasonable minded people. It appears to be the only way to survive. Tolerance demands that everybody identifies their own needs, identity, and pathway to personal fulfillment , happiness.  Nobody, no God, no church, no laws can judge me (judgment is the only crime in relativism). Tolerance is the obligation of everyone to accept your feelings and stay out of your way in making yourself happy.   After all, "the pursuit of happiness" is the American way, it's my right.

 The way of diversity, tolerance, and relativism has broken our families, countries, and world into "Division".

Jesus prophecied  that he Would bring such division on the earth in this weeks gospel.  He knew that the appearance of "truth and love" in the flesh would be met by the powers of this world and they  would annihilate/eradicate it from the face of the earth.

 The resurrection of Jesus Christ over death and division – (remember my againstness homily) is the only path to healing the world. Division = death.  Unity= life.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 7 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
 -check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8am and 6pm on Sunday

Pop Quiz

 Remember the thing called a "pop quiz" back in high school? You walk into the classroom and the teacher says "take out a piece of paper for a pop quiz."  Ugh.  The pop quiz is very different from a midterm or final exam.  The exam is scheduled, explicit in its subjects, and the professor often provided study guides even.   An exam measures the ability of the student to become familiar with a certain material (called "cramming") and to regurgitate it according to the professors requirements.

 Not so, the "pop quiz"  you may say.   The pop quiz, we may complain, cannot be prepared for.  However, that is a delusion. If we think about it the  preparation for the pop quiz really is known, assigned, published and explicit. It is called homework.  In fact, the pop quiz is a better measure of the quality of a student/learner than the exam. The pop quiz reveals whether or not the student is living a learning and obedient life, daily doing the reading  and the assigned homework.

 The Lord in the Gospel today is presenting us with two styles of discipleship( A certain type of student).  On the first hand, those who are  not concerned about doing the daily and diligent work of study being only concerned about the final exam/personal judgment and hoping to  succeed in impressing the great master.  In the second case, the style of discipleship which is regular and constant, obedience, steady, authentic learner.

 Remember the kid in school who, during a passionate rant by the teacher, puts his hand up and asks (much to the teachers chagrin) "is this going to be on the test?"

 Which type of disciple shall you be? The one counting on cramming for the exam or the one always prepared for the quiz-so it doesn't pop?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July 31 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 Saturday and 12:30 on Sunday

Call to Give

This week we have a missionary speaker for 2016 representing the Franciscan Mission Service.  So I will not be preaching.  Thanks for your generosity. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 24 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
 -I will be celebrating mass at 5:30bon Sat, 11:00 and 6:00 pm on Sunday

Not what but how

I think Jesus is pretty clear about the format and the content of prayer. What is challenging is the attitude, the goal and the purpose of praying. Why do you pray?  The how you are praying should reveal to you the Why.


Friday, July 15, 2016

July 17 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email -This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org -check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Sat and 8am and 11am on Sunday

 Are you in it or just doing it?

 The Gospel text of Martha and Mary is a classic and it has been the center of some serious debate about the spiritual lives of Catholics.  For centuries the life of Mary has been the model of the "contemplative or religious life". Martha, to the contrary, has been the model of the "active life".

 The problem with this stark distinction is obvious inasmuch as one might presume that all the "active" people do not have a sensitive heart listening to Jesus while all those who have a listening and sensitive heart to Jesus cannot be active.

In the latest generation I am pretty much convinced that the answer is not either/or but both/and - those who have an active life have a deep connection of a heart attached to Jesus and those who have an explicitly contemplative life/religious life  must have love and service to one's neighbor.

So the question for each of us regardless of our life style or vocation must be asked, "are we "in it" or are we just "working it"?  Whatever your "it" is, are you in the communion of God who is love?

 Let me know how this sounds to all of you Marthas and Marys!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 10 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 11:00am on Sunday

Compassion as the telltale sign of the Kingdom

Are you kind?  I won't ask you to raise your hand but I'd like you to answer that question in your heart.  Are you a kind person? People who work in the area of kindness education tell me that most of us would respond to that question by raising our hands.

The next question that I'd like to ask us is "when was the last time you were intentionally kind to someone with a kind act?"  What we're the circumstances of that kind act?  What prompted you to make that kind gesture?  Was it sympathy? Pity? Empathy? Compassion?

That sensitivity, that alarm bell indicating to you that someone needed comfort, relief, mercy, help, a kind word, a hot meal....that is what the Lord calls the Kingdom of God within you.

How often does that alarm bell go off in you?  If I were honest I might say that a different alarm bell goes off in my heart way too often: insulted, frightened, threatened, sad, offended, disgusted, condemning, criticism, etc. Those alarms do not call us to kindness, mercy, patience, love.

Might we need to sensitize our consciences

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 26 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at Sat 4pm, and Sun 8am and 6pm

No Home Allowed

Two years after declaring that he was coming home and promising to bring a championship to his hometown, this past  week LeBron James fulfilled that promise. At the celebrations  of that victory this past week LeBron frequently reminded the crowds that he's "just a kid from Akron Ohio".   Somebody very nicely made a video of all the kids that were at the parade on Wednesday and had them say the same line "I'm just a kid from…" but filling in their hometown.

 As we know, there is "no place like home". I'm presuming that's why the teaching of the Scriptures today especially of Jesus in the Gospel is so hard for us to take. How can Jesus deny our attachment to home?  But that's what he does. He holds himself out to his disciples as an example of one who does not have a home in this world. Where is his home? Well in the heavenly Jerusalem toward which he has resolutely set his sights.

 I think this discussion of home and Jesus' discouragement from over attachment to our earthly home is an invitation for us to examine our priorities. Another teaching of Jesus  comes to mind in this regard, "where your treasure lies so also your heart."   Jesus is inviting us to follow him, to become his disciples, in fact to become his very voice hands face and heart for the world. That cannot happen as long as our deeper commitment is to family, self, comfort, satisfaction, and home.

This is radical teaching and it strikes at our natural over attachment to this world's treasure. Can we live in the world but be not of it? Can we be free to love others  and the good projects and stuff of this world all as secondary to our love for God and our longing for heaven? It seems rather unnatural.   But it is the invitation of Jesus and the call to conversion in our lives.

 Can we, like Jesus, live and love in this world without dislocating our love for and desire for eternal life, life with God, life in heaven?  Is there any detachment from our earthly and worldly "home" that allows for a deeper and more profound love of God and eternal life?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June 19 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this weeks LinC letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday

Who I am is who you Are, hopefully!

Jesus' conversation with his disciples about his identity and the path to discipleship in this Sunday's gospel reveals something "secret" about not only who Jesus is but who we are called to be in him and like him.

Usually in our democratic system, people elect or support a candidate for leader who is LIKE them and because that leader is promising to DO something for the followers.  Jesus, as messiah, is revealed in  The Gospel today as one who is very unlike his followers and promises that by us making him our leader ( becoming his followers) we will become like him as different as he is.

Even more complicating, the way that Jesus is going to be Messiah and leader for us is by suffering and death on the cross. So it is revealed that the only way for us to be authentic followers of him is to take on a cruciform shape of daily life   We are not necessarily called to be crucified LIKE with ( on the wood of the cross of Calvary) but by our embrace of this cruciform approach to life, dying for the sake of others.

 Would you vote for that?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Homily Prep June 12

Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this weeks LinC letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30 on Saturday and 6:00pm on Sunday

Did you get that?

 The gospel scene observed by Simon and the others of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman is a reminder of the gospel text last Sunday of the raising of the widow's son. If you recall,  when the people observed Jesus's miracle of raising the dead man they announced "a great prophet is among us. God has visited his people".

 This week's Gospel story of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman produces almost the identical reaction, "who is this that forgives sin?"   Both of these public acts of Jesus "reveal" who Jesus is.

This Sunday's miracle and revelation of who Jesus is strikes at a more personal note to all of us. It is by the forgiveness of sin  that others come to see "who Jesus is". He is the savior, Joshua, who will save his people from their sins (as the angel said of him and his conception.)

Have you ever experienced the action of God in your life that has revealed to you that God is for you? Have you ever experienced the great mercy of God or forgiveness that prompted you to say "this is my God"?