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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!



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"?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 5 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 8:00 and 12:30 on Sunday

Resuscitation is Revelation

God hates death. All those who live in God are the enemies of death. Who is responsible for your dying?  Why doesn't Jesus and His Church resuscitate all dead and dying people?  What role does dying have in your eternal happiness?

Restoring dead people is a miraculous revelation of God's prophet. Listen to him.

Friday, May 27, 2016

May 29 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 5:30 on Sat and 9:30 on Sunday

Corpus Christi: mirror

 Great Saint John Paul I I wrote a document called the Church of the Eucharist in 2003. His point is that the Church takes its life from the Eucharist and the Eucharist is the fruit of the Church's life.  In other words, for Catholics the church and the Eucharist are mirror images of one another.

My question is .do we as church look into the Eucharist and see our life and calling?  Likewise do others look into the church and see the Eucharistic mystery in our living?  If not, why not?

Do you see the Eucharistic qualities of you life?  Take, bless, break, give?  Do you see the presence of your church in the mystery of the Eucharist you celebrate?

Wondering....

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 22 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 5:30 on Sat and 8:00am, and 6:00pm on Sunday

Trinity in Love

Last week I spoke of who we are as being determative of how we are - the DNA example. Well, I believe this feast is calling us to the same reflection: who God is determines who we are in the church.

Might not be new, but it's important.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 15 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 4pm on Sat and 11am on Sunday

Who you are is What is Sent!

 As I began mentioning on Easter Sunday, while Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, it is for us all about baptism. And baptism  is the means of our individual and collective conversion to life.

 We have begun every Sunday celebration in this Easter season with the recalling of our baptism and the sprinkling with water. In the waters of baptism,  we become a new creation. My question this Pentecost Sunday at the conclusion of this Easter season is: have we become who we are?

 Does our identity as the children of God, cause us to "walk always as children of the light" as the rite of baptism says?  Has our identity as members of one body, communion, caused us to enter this church today  recognizing ourselves as "temporarily separated and now re- constituted" members of an organic body in Christ  rejoicing in our communion and fortified to do what God has called us to do as one?  Does our identity as the body of Christ invigorate us to "go" and bear the life of Christ in our bodies  to every person, place, and situation we will encounter?

Pentecost is the celebration of God's chosen method (transforming unity) to turn individuals born and separated in sin into one face of mercy for the world and in the world. Have you seen His face on us? And do you see your face in us?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8 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 11am on Sunday

Us in God, God in Us

Ascension theology draws us back to last Sunday's gospel. Jesus revealed that glorified humanity resides in the heart of God. And God resides in the heart of humanity.  This week St. Luke in Acts says "see what Jesus did up to the resurrection..Now see what Jesus is doing in the church.

Be witnesses!

Friday, April 29, 2016

May 1 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 4:00 PM on Saturdayand 12:30 pm on Sunday

When you're in love, where is that?

You in me and I in them....communion.   We are celebrating first communion this weekend at the 12:30 PM mass and I am aware of how we understand that Jesus gets into our first communicants. My question is how are we in Jesus?




Friday, April 22, 2016

April 24th 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 5:30 PM and 11:00 AM on Sunday

What has God Done with You lately?

There are many reality TV programs on nowadays.  Many of them are competitions between contestants that are chefs, or furniture designers, or business entrepeneurs.  In all of these the contestants are presented with some "stuff" (either food, wood, metal, money) and they are challenged to "turn it into something" desireable.

In the first reading from this Sunday's Mass, the Acts of the Apostles says that Paul and Barnabas "called the church together and reported what God had done with them."  I couldn't help but notice this use of a phrase.  Paul and Barnabas are clearly being presented in the story as "instruments in the hand of God."  The verse prior to this "done with them" comment the bible says "in Antioch... where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished."  So, in the hand of God, operating under the grace of God a great deal can be "done with us".

I often speak to engaged couples is this way in order to express what the purpose of the sacrament of matrimony is all about.  I remind them that God has called them "for" each other so that through the joys and vicissitudes of married life, they might be turned into a greater image of Christ.  The spouses are instruments of God's grace for each other.  The number one job of a spouse is to get their spouse to the holiness of heaven.

Often at a funeral mass I will be impressed with what God "has done with one simple life".  When we live life or view life through the lens of this "instrumentality" we can see very clear expamples of God's power and grace working through simple human living.  The practice of "daily examen" might be recommended for all of us.  At the end of the day we take a moment to have our eyes opened to where and how God has used our daily journey for the building up of the Kingdom.  We, like Paul and Barnabas can be impressed with what "God has done with us."

Do you think most people see themselves as instruments in the hand of God?  Or do we too often think of our time and talent, our relationships and accomplishments as our tools for self-fulfillment, success, etc?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 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 weeks LinC letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM on Sunday


Rich Little It

When I was a kid Rich Little was the greatest impersonator in the world. He could make himself sound like anybody and everybody. I think he could even sing like famous people. I think the invitation on this good Shepherd Sunday is to make our voices sound like Jesus. I think Jesus is voice sounds like mercy. i'm thinking about calling it "rich little it".

Fr. John, Fr. Joe and I are all talking about the same thing this week. We stole the idea from Fr. John. He is talking about my dog buddy and how Buddy responds to the sound of my voice whenever I walk in the rectory. Fr. Joe desperately wants to make friends with Buddy and saw he has resorted to "imitating" my voice when he comes in to the Rectory to try and fool body into responding. So Fr. Joe has taken to impersonating me so that he can get a rise out of body.

I'm sure you can imagine how funny this is especially with father Joe's very distinctive voice. Fr. Joe thinks that he is able to fake out the dog. He says when he imitates me the dog will lift up his head with interest and then when he catches a glimpse that it is really Fr. Joe and not me the dog puts his head back down and goes to sleep.

 What is funny about this whole thing to me is that I don't think Fr. Joe's impersonation of me is credible at all even to the dog. He of course doesn't agree. And Fr. John has had to observe all of this. Fr. Joe and I also do other impersonations. For example, Fr. Joe's best impersonation is of Austin Carr commentating on the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games when a three-pointer is made and Austin screams "downtown".

 Anyway, all of this has prompted the three of us to hear the words of John's Gospel today about the sound of one's voice. I am thinking that we might hear the call to be mercy as an invitation to impersonate the Lord Jesus in his voice,  in what he has spoken to the human family on behalf of God.

How might we make our lives a more credible impersonation of Jesus the good shepherd? Maybe the priesthood and ministry is an excellent example of impersonating the Lord Jesus.  Let's pray for all the ministers of the church and for vocations to ministry.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 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 weeks LinCletter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass 4:00 PM on Saturday, 8:00, 11:00AM and 6:00PM on Sunday

Come, follow me


I am struck by the interaction between Jesus and his apostles in this resurrection story specifically in Jesus's command "come, have breakfast".  It appears that the disciples did not respond to that command because it then says that "Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them."  Apparently, they did not respond to his command "come"

I see a similar parallel in the conversation between Jesus and St. Peter. Jesus is asking Peter if he loves him and Peters answer is "yes".  However, Jesus' response is, " don't simply say yes, but if you love me then come, move, feed , tend, follow". 

Do we all suffer from this in authentic or incomplete response to Jesus's call? I am seeing a hesitancy on the part of those who are called or commanded  to simply give ascent rather than response.  

Do you notice this? Is this a distinction without a difference? I don't think so 


Friday, April 1, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday family prep

ast 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 5:30 PM on Saturday, 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM on Sunday

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Sunday 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 this Easter Sunday at 9:30am in the hall and 11:00am in the church

Jesus Embraced Violence and Death so that Reconciliation and Peace might Live

The effect of the sin of Adam and Eve was isolating violence among God and God's creatures.  Cain and Abel are the next generation and they manifest the isolated violence of envy and mistrust that results in death.

What God did in Jesus is to extend Himself to the most violent and hateful experience of human dying precisely so he could reveal so humanity that God is even there.  He liberates humanity from their addiction to self and to violent and separating imposition of self upon others.  Jesus' disciples, according to the broken human system, deserved the wrath of Jesus upon his resurrected return.  But he offers them peace.

His message and power is the liberation from our slavery to self and our "againstness" toward God and others.  We didn't know we could survive by loving as God loves.  We thought we were doomed to violtent, isolating, competition, envy, rivalry, resentment, dog-eat-dog survival.  God created us "for others"  - we broke it by being "against" everyone but ourselves.  Yuk.

Can we accept the liberation from the slavery of "againstness" and be seet free to be for God and others?  That is the resurrection.

How can I say that to C&E christians?  Any examples?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

March 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 weeks LinC letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm, 9:30am and 6:00pm

Enter in...

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 13 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 this weekend at 8:00am and 11:00am

The Misapplication of Faith

The Pharisees, who are the teachers of the Law are not the least bit concerned about this incident of the sin of adultery in their community.  The Pharisees, who are the public keepers of the Law, are not at all concerned about ridding their community of such adulterous people. The Pharisees are not using their religious faith and authority to grow and protect their flock from the wolves of sin and error.

What the Pharisees are doing is using their considerable religious knowledge and their authority as teachers of the faith to destroy their brother rabbi, Jesus', credibility among their people.

The question for all of us who believe may be: are we misusing our religious faith in an effort to protect ourselves from something that is threatening our position, our standing, our comfort in the world?

What do you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 6th 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 this weekend at 5:30pm, 12:30pm

Which Son Was Not Living at Home?

This famous and beautiful story of the Prodigal son has always focused upon the runaway son and the merciful father, and rightly so.  Few of us have committed such a hideous abandonment of our elder's love and trust.  However, the figure of the older brother and his relationship to the father's love is classic and repeated in all of our lives to a certain extent.  We have been so busy avoiding the behavior of the younger son that we may have missed the imitation of the older brother.

What exactly is the older brother guilty of?  Not living our lives.  While he "apparently" remained faithful and hardworking on his father's plantation, the older son was not really alive to his father's loving embrace, he never really lived the life of a son.  Although he was giving the impression of a faithful son, his heart was hardened against his father and his brother.  He never felt appreciated by his dad.  He was not living on the land as if it all belonged to him.  Which it did.

Aren't many of us living a life of hardened hearts.  Suffering from the imperfect parenting, sibling rivalries, wounded egos, disappointed dreams.  We are just living lives of quiet desperation with no real meaning or blessing in our lives.

Let's wake up.  Let's recognize that our lives are not about us.  Let's receive the gift of life as from the merciful Father's hand.  Then we can really live life as IT is rather than as WE are.  Who in your family is really not living at home (although they are occupying the property)?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

February 28 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 this weekend at 5:30pm, 11:00am and 6:00pm

Got mercy?

 A living tree without fruit is not alive!

 I am reading the parable of the fig tree in a different way than I ever have before. Jesus' point, it seems, in describing this fruitless figtree is to point out that the tree has no value except  in its fruit. The gardener, in contrast, seems to think that the tree is a living and valuable thing regardless of no fruit.

 I cannot help but think of all of those people in the world that I encounter who claim to "love God" but have no association with God's values, God's son and God's church. I guess it's like the passage from St. James, "Faith without works is dead".  The office it is an interesting thing to consider "good works without faith are valuable". At least those good works contribute to the benefit and the blessing of community.

 I think in this year of mercy we might apply this teaching to the two features of God's mercy. One who relies upon  and claims to have received the mercy of God for his sins and healing but does not show Mercy to others may very well have not authentically experienced the mercy of God in his heart.  This would be the point underlying the Lords prayer "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others."  So that if I am not forgiving others in my life I cannot claim and am not experiencing true forgiveness of God for my sins.

 So the Christian who is not demonstrating the works of mercy in their life may very likely be considered a barren tree. In fact, we might be able to say that the faith  of such a fruitless or merciless person has no value before God or within the Church. Such a one is dead. Remember the parable of the final judgment in Matthew 25, those who have not shown mercy to the least of my brothers and sisters will go off to eternal punishment.

Got mercy?

What do you think?