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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, February 16, 2018

Feb 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass on Sat at 5:30pm and 8:00am and 11:00am on Sunday

This is a test!

 When I was a kid at about midnight on Saturday night there would be a national disaster alert before the television shut off. Can you imagine, the television actually shut off!? The voice would come on the television say in very scary voice “ this is a test“.

In the gospel text today on this first Sunday of Lent we hear that the Spirit of God compelled Jesus into the desert for 40 days. In biblical imagery, 40 is a number  that means “test”.  A period of testing, examining, inquiring, determining,  discerning, revealing!

 What we can say about the Christian life, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, baptism and the spiritual life in the church is that it “costs us something”.   In other words if we are hoping to respond to God’s call in our lives it is going to test our resolve, it will demand something, sacrifice.

Again this Lent at Saint Albert we are being called to the experience “Church@Home”.  At the heart of “Church@Home” is the willingness of church members to “lay down their lives for their friends” or in this case their neighbors.   For most Catholics, this invitation is a real “test”, it is a challenge, it is a sacrifice. The theme of this year‘s “church@home“ journey is the willingness and the act of sacrificing, turning away from selfishness,  and extending ourselves toward our neighbor for the sake of the faith, for the sake of the church.

 Will you pass the test? Are you willing to step up and engage, accept the invitation to turn away from selfishness, privacy, introversion, isolation, alienation, distrust of others, and to open yourself to the presence of Christ in the church, the community of believers, your neighbor?

This is a test!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Feb 11 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass on  Saturday at 4:00 PM and at 8:00 AM Sunday


 We serve not because of need but because we need to serve

It is pretty clear from the scriptures that Jesus did not see himself as a healer, as if his mission was to heal all the sick people including the leper. In fact, his insistence that people not talk about his healing miracles makes it clear that his mission is to something other than healing. In other words, Jesus’s Mission isn’t to heal sick people rather Jesus  accomplishes his mission  to save all people by healing  some who are sick.

 This is what we are often saying in the church about our call to be generous to the poor in our Catholic charities appeal. We do not give because people have a need rather we recognize that we have a need to give. We are generous to the poor or not because the poor are Catholic or  deserving of our generosity.  Rather  we are generous to the poor because we are Catholic and being generous is a symptom of our faith and life in the church .


Friday, February 2, 2018

Feb 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass  at  Saint Albert at 6:00 PM on Sunday night. I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 PM, 8:00 AM, and 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Grace.

 On a mission

 What I noticed most vividly from the gospel text this weekend is the fact that Jesus is on a mission. While everyone around him can be distracted by various relationships, circumstances, successes, etc. Jesus keeps his focus on communion with the Father and announcement of the kingdom. That’s his mission.

This can be frustrating to those closest to him. They may have misunderstood  what his invitation to them was and what his goals and mission are. They actually think they are helping him. It is frustrating.

Like Jesus we have been anointed priests, prophets and kings. We have a mission. Our mission is Jesus’s mission. Do you have a mission in your life? Do you have a purpose?

Let’s look into that

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Jan 28 Homily Prep

-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass on Sunday at St. Albert at 8:00am and 9:30am and at the Cathedral at 12:15pm with our Confirmation candidates

Walking the Talk

Being a prophet is literally to “speak on behalf of”. Moses, the prophet, is referring in our first reading to his assistant Joshua as the one who will be raised up as another " speaker on behalf of God”.  In recognition of the one who is the prophet in our midst, who speaks on behalf of God, is to recognize that we have been visited by God. God is in our midst.

Jesus in the gospel is recognized as “the holy one of God” not only by his “speaking on behalf of God” (as one with authority) but also by his healing. Speaking on behalf of God or being a prophet is to “manifest“ the presence of God in our midst. So that there is such a thing as prophetic living.  So we might take the  popular phrase of “talk the talk and walk the walk“ and restate it prophetically "walking the talk."

 How might we walk and talk or walk the talk in our daily lives so that others might recognize that God has raised up a prophet in the world and thereby conclude that God has visited his people?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jan 7 Homily Prep - Epiphany

-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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at St Albert at 6pm on Sunday.   I will celebrate masses at our Lady of Grace on Saturday at 4:00 PM, and Sunday at 8 AM and 11 AM


Turn, and Walk Away

 On this fourth feast of the Christmas season the message of incarnation comes to us in the image of the magi.  As with the other Christmas feasts the church is asking us to see God in the pilgrimage of human life.  That presence of God made visible is powerfully image in the journey of the magi. In Christian parlance we we might Re-image it with the concept of pilgrimage.  The Magi have a vision and they journey to fulfill it.

 Very important part of the journey of the magi and Christian pilgrimage is the notion of conversion. In fulfilling their vision (paying homage to the newborn King of the Jews) and returning home they change( conversion)  the direction or the manner in which they are walking. They went home by another way. The real purpose of pilgrimage  is to for fill the journey by changing the way we walk.

 In the journey or pilgrimage of the magi we can see an invitation to reinterpret our Christian life. That new interpretation would be marked by vision and conversion (turning about).  So, the question for us as we consider our Christian life is 1. Do we  see our life as a pilgrim journey toward deeper communion with God? And 2. Can we make the necessary turnabout(s) to fulfill that vision of our life‘s journey?

 What do you think?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Dec 31 Homily Prep. Not PC

-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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30 on Saturday and at 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday.

In God's Image

From the first book of the Bible with the creation of man we understand that God is not an individual but rather a communion of persons, speaking in the WE and creating humanity not as a single unit but as a complex communion of persons in love( male and female). This communion  that we know as holy matrimony is "the image and likeness of God”.

This concept of “male and female as a communion of persons in love” must be added to the next step in the first book of the Bible and that is God’s invitation to humanity to join God in his most basic function as Creator. So that man and woman/male and female/husband and wife is not only a reflection of WHO God is but, in their fundamental call to “be fruitful and multiply”,  they are sharing in the fundamental work of God...we call that procreation.   We might even be able to say that husband and wife are the image of God and in their procreativity they are the like God.

Why this is important to mention on the feast of the holy family is that we, as a biblical religious people, have to admit that the way we are expected to know who God is and how we are to be like God  comes out of our  imperfect however dedicated and committed and faithful moms and dads. The point of the feast of the holy family of Nazareth of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is that God is revealed to us and to the world through the love of husband and wife and theit divine work as procreating parents - a human family!

 Now if that is not the least politically correct thing I have said in the last 12 months I don’t know what is. Those two paragraphs about the existence of God, the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and the fundamental purpose of matrimony really sum up the entire Christian faith. Humanity was created by love, as love, in love and for love. God is love. It is only by us receiving the pattern of godliness and living our lives according to the plan of godliness that any of us can hope to live forever with God.

It seems to me that every other philosophical system, political system, psychological system, and educational system  are all trying to figure out another way.   And there just isn’t one. It started with Adam and Eve, quite frankly, and it is a raging fire in 2017. We do not want to admit who we are in God and we do not want to struggle with how we are to be in God  because it’s difficult.

 So,  inasmuch as we do not know our  married parents to be the face of God and the power of God then  human life becomes a difficult struggle to survive in a material world in which God becomes a Hidden mystery of no  apparent use in our culture. Since we will not accept God for God as God is and we will not accept our humanity as God has created it we cannot have life in God.

But, of course,  The opposite is true and possible.  The point of today’s feast and the truth of Christmas and the incarnation is that we can see and know who God is and who we are in God and we can choose to allow that to make all the difference. We can see the face of God where God has intended us to see him. We call that faith and it is ours for the asking.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Dec 24/Christmas 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating 4th Sunday of Advent at 4pm mass on Saturday evening, Christmas Eve Mass at 4:00pm on Sunday Evening, and Christmas Mass at 12:30 on Monday (also 10pm Christmas Eve on Sunday night in Hinckley, OLG)

 Poor banished children of Eve

As we listen to the Annunciation story on this fourth Sunday of Advent I have been reflecting upon the prayer of the Salve Regina-hail, holy queen.  Not that the hail holy Queen is a Christmas prayer however the perspective of the prayer is the Incarnation - The central mystery of Christmas.

The beautiful line that I am thinking of refers to our being “poor banished children of Eve, sighing and mourning in this valley of tears".   It is quite typical and understandable that in our lack of faith  our vision can be distracted to noticing the valley of tears. However, the beautiful prayer goes on to announce  how we are to interpret our daily life and what we ought to be focused on, that is, “show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus“.

This seems to me to be an image of  not only the dominant misunderstood Catholic anthropology but also of the good news of our Christmas spirituality, meaning Emanuel.  The human family celebrates most days of the year from a suffering-broken-humanity perspective,  what they call in seminary class anthropology (the understanding of the human person) .   Almost all of us almost all the time are noticing, mourning over, medicating, avoiding or sighing about the pains of life-the valley of tears.  I do and have always very clearly blamed the power of evil and our broken humanity’s propensity to sin for the pain, sickness, suffering, and death in life.  God did not create us for these things, we chose it.  You remember the great letter to the Romans, "through sin, death entered the world“. Enough said.

I was recently in a conversation with somebody about “What  is God doing? Or why is God allowing all of this pain and suffering in our lives?” This misperception of God‘s role in our suffering completely ignores Original Sin, the “children of Eve” reality.  If God is being blamed for all of the difficulties, pains, & conflicts of daily life, he cannot be  simultaneously perceived as the comforting, consoling, and empowering presence of God with us, Emanuel.

That’s why the Hail Holy Queen prayer is applicable to this misperception and to this Christmas season.  If we are going to survive as the children of God and as believers being a light to the world we must acknowledge and recognize broken human condition as a result of the temptation and embrace of evil and sin ( remember: children of Eve) so that we can be on the lookout for God‘s presence with us ( show onto us the fruit of thy womb, Jesus). What Emanuel, the fruit of Mary‘s womb, is celebrating at Christmas is that we are to fix our eyes on God‘s presence with us in the valley of tears accompanying, guiding and leading us to holy and eternal life. That’s peace!

 Just a thought

Friday, December 15, 2017

Dec 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at OLG and at St. Albert the Great at 6pm on Sunday night.

The Voice

Not a TV singing competition, not Whitney Houston (who was considered “the voice”), but it is the joy of our faith! Gaudete or rejoice is the theme of the 3rd Sunday of Advent. Knowledge and recognition of the Savior is joy. So, if one has known the coming of the messiah the will speak or sing with joy.

Joy is the voice of Christian faith.  Is your life of faith God’s voice?  Is your faith revealed as joy? Could we say that no one will hear your faith if it is not given voice by joy?

 What’s the difference between sadness and joy?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dec 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating 8am and 11am mass on Sunday

Make room

 I am reminded of a homily I gave earlier in the summer about my dear niece Elizabeth who was expecting her first child and how in her body, in her home, and in her marriage she and her husband Jay were preparing room, space, and welcoming.

As I am listening to these advent readings on the second Sunday of advent I am thinking of the role of the prophet, John the Baptist, as precisely the same function-preparing room, space, welcome. I am proposing that this prophetic function, of making space, room,  welcome for the kingdom of God to unfold might be the call of the church today.

With our vision 2020 +One: holy, kind, giving, I am seeing our small steps in holiness, kindness, and generosity to be prophetic preparation that the kingdom of Christ might be welcomed in our midst.  Make room!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dec 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass  at 4:00 PM on Saturday  and 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM  on Sunday

Watch! Or should I say “notification“?

While the word "watch" has many roots in various languages the most familiar from the Bible is the military notion of “watch in the night“. The soldiers on military duty divided the hours of darkness into segments called watches, for example first watch, second watch, third watch… of the night.

 I think most of us when we hear the word “watch“ are not thinking of an activity as much as a thing. A watch is a timepiece. In fact, I understand that a watch originally was a small device attached to a clock that functioned as an alarm.

However, in this day and age, what I think of when I hear the word watch is a miniature timepiece that one wears on his wrist, we call it a wristwatch (or at least used to).  I guess originally small wearable time pieces were actually pocket watches. These were worn by men in their vest pocket or pants pocket. The innovation of the wristwatch was really a decorative bracelet worn by women.  During the first World War at the turn of the 20th century the wristwatch (which the soldiers could observe without holding it in their hand for the ease of synchronizing military actions) became an important part of the soldiers uniform.

Now, the most  frequent use for the word watch is a tiny wearable electronic device,  a wrist-born gadget called the Apple Watch.  And one of the greatest features and innovations of the Apple Watch is “notifications“, little alarms at one's wrist notifying you of an appointment, a message, or an incoming phone call. The feature of notification returns the purpose and functionality of the watch to maybe it’s original  use as an “alarm“.

 When the craziest innovations of this electronic device at the wrist is the activity monitor. Now the watch/fit bit or what other name you might give to your wrist watch has a whole set of activities steps, movement, heart rate, standup,. Now throughout the day people all around you are getting a little jiggle it the rest reminding them it’s time to stand up , You’ve taken this many steps today, you’ve met your goal for activity, what’s your heart rate. This has brought together the two meanings of watch in the sense that someone is keeping watch and it is happening on your watch. Giving you an alarm about what’s happening at the current time.

The Gospel today on this first Sunday of Advent calls us to watch. So add vent is a particular time and it is a particular notification and it is a particular alarm. Be alert, be awake, be on notice, pay attention,  someone is contacting you, it’s time to stand up, you have not met your goal for activity today. . The time is near. The Lord is near. Watch!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Nov 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass  at 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM on Sunday

 What the hell!

 I’m thinking that one might need to challenge the popularly held opinion of many Catholics that hell doesn’t exist. What Jesus describes in the Gospel today is what the catechism calls hell, that is, the freely chosen separation from the communion with God for all eternity. That’s hell.

I do believe that this problem with Hell developed after the second Vatican Council when people started to talk about realized eschatology and the sacramental nature of one’s conscience etc. You know, people have often times been heard to say "I believe hell is life on this earth without God.". I wouldn’t disagree with that however I would also say that participation in the holy Eucharist is heaven on earth. But because I can experience heaven on  Earth through the Holy Spirit, the church, and the sacraments doesn’t mean that heaven as in eternal life doesn’t exist.

I wonder does anyone still believe in heaven and hell?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Nov 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 week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass  at our Lady of Grace at 4 PM on Saturday and 11 AM on Sunday and at St. Albert at 6:00 PM on Sunday

Has God Given You Anything?

 The parable of the talents which we hear in Matthews gospel today as we come to the end of this liturgical year raises the question in my mind as to whether or not we as individuals and as a community can acknowledge any of the gifts in our lives as coming from God. So often I am in conversation with others and in reflection upon my own life regarding life‘s project, purpose,  mission, goals, fulfillment, etc. In those conversations I am amazed how infrequently God‘s purpose, God's gifts, and God‘s mission comes up.

What I mean is that we as believers can often times in our daily lives operate like contemporary secular atheists- living as if there is no God.  Everything is about my skills, my talents, my goals, my retirement, my health, my kids, my success, and our struggles in all of it. Very infrequently is God acknowledged.

The gospel text says that the king gave the talents to  servants according to their abilities. So the master was not asking anything of the servants that they were not “up to“. But it was not just the talents that they received-the ability is also a gift from God.

Father Richard Rohr has often quoted the five lessons of  primitive societies male initiation rites. The first one  is 1. You are going to die. The second one is 2. Your life is not about you. As we come to the end of this liturgical year and as we approach the great feast of Thanksgiving in our nation I wonder how many of us Recognize the abilities and talents and people in our lives as gifts of God.  In recognizing them as such our gratitude can be turned to God. If we don’t recognize  them as having their origin in God, then who are we thanking?  The great pumpkin? Ask your atheist neighbor or your enlightened secularist college student who is celebrating Thanksgiving with you, "what gift are we acknowledging here and who gave it?  To whom are we grateful?

Has God Given You Anything?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nov 12/feast of St. Albert the Great

-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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/
-I will be celebrating mass  at 5:30 PM on Saturday and at 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM  on Sunday

 Keep your lamp burning!

 As we celebrate the feast of Saint Albert the great at all of our weekend masses we are acknowledging not only our patron but our community. The form of this acknowledgment is in our “adopt a friend in prayer“ ministry.   All of the members of our parish community who are: preparing for the celebration of a sacrament (communion, confirmation, matrimony), are serving in the military,  are discerning a religious or priestly vocation, or are bereaved  have had their names written on a prayer card designed for their circumstance. Parishioners are invited to pick up one or more of these individuals in prayer. The cards are available at the entrances of the church.

 St. Augustine has famously interpreted the parable of the 10 virgins ( and  the oil in their lamps specifically) as our call to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ’s kingdom through good works. It is insufficient to claim a relationship to the bridgeroom (let us in), rather  we must manifest or express our relationship to the bridegroom through good works.

 One might see our celebration of our patron and our parish community of St Albert in the same way. It is insufficient to claim to be a member of St. Albert the Great parish community without intentionally and actively caring for the members of the community in their most important journey of faith.  By praying for individuals in our community we might be able to better claim “I know you“.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Nov 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 week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30 on Saturday and  9:30 and 12:30 on Sunday.

Religious Leader Sunday

 Last weekend we celebrated priesthood Sunday throughout the United States. In our parish a seminarian Joe Menkhaus came and spoke about his vocation at all the masses. This Sunday, the 31st Sunday of the year, presents us with some challenging scriptures that might make us think it's “religious identity Sunday“.

 Jesus' instruction to his disciples about their role in the ministry and mission of the church is in contrast to the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees. Anyone who takes on religious leadership in order to promote him or herself would be guilty of exalting himself.  In contrast, one who responds sincerely to the call of service in the kingdom (servant leadership) and does so with a sense of unworthiness and humility-that one will be raised up by God.

 It seems that “what you call yourself“ is of importance to Jesus. What you insist that other people call you is a concern for Jesus.  So, maybe the question of the day is "what do you call yourself", or "how do you conceive of yourself" in the midst of the community of faith? That might make all the difference in how Jesus sees you in  relationship to himself.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 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 week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating the 6pm mass on Sunday at St. Albert the Great and the three weekend masses at OLG in Hinckley.

Thumbnail image

The gospel text today gives us a thumbnail image if you will that summarizes all the teaching, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ. I titled this post as “Thumbnail” as a reference to a profile picture, thumbnail, on ones Facebook Acct, Instagram, Twitter, email or text messaging account. To love God and your neighbor as yourself is this thumbnail version of all that God has called us to.

 In fact the 10 Commandments, as we learned during this falls Bible study, are a similar thumbnail image of this teaching of Jesus. The first three commandments are about love and honor of God and seven remaining are about the love of neighbor.

 I’m imagining that Jesus has introduced to us a new quote Trinity” that might be helpful to us in our respect life month which we are concluding this weekend. The trinity is God, self, a neighbor. What Jesus is expressing is that we are to see in all three of those persons that God who is love. We have to know God as love, we are to know and love ourselves as the image of God, a child of God, and we ought to see God‘s face upon our neighbor and love him/her as we love God.  A new Trinity.

We  might see this summary statement, thumbnail icon, in the holy Eucharist, the celebration of mass. It is a thumbnail summary of our Christian lives. We are what we celebrate and what we celebrate is what we are called to be now and into eternity.




Friday, October 20, 2017

Oct 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 week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter -
I will be celebrating mass  at 4 PM on Saturday and at 12:30 PM on Sunday

 All life is valuable, even when it hurts

 There will not be much of a homily at the masses this weekend (preached at least) rather it will be a “sign language“ Homily as we anoint all of the sick, those preparing for surgery, and the aged.  Let’s be reminded of the value of life even when life hurts through sickness.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Oct 15 Homily do NOT come as you are

-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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating 4pm Mass on Saturday and 9:30 Mass on Sunday

Christianity is not a “Come as you are Party". Get changed!

 When I was a kid people participated in “mystery trips“. On a mystery trip you were told how long you were going to be gone, what kind of clothes you needed to pack and nothing else.  I don’t know why that is fun but people did it. A more ancient type of adult fun back in the 1960s was a thing called “come as you are party“. A come as you are party resulted in people showing up at your house and kind of kidnapping you exactly as you were (I guess hoping to catch somebody in their pajamas, somebody else in there work clothes, etc.).   I guess some people would walk around all weekend with their hair fixed and their party clothes on, in anticipation of being kidnapped. Doesn’t sound like much fun now but the 1960s were funny.

The gospel parable this Sunday  instructs us as to the nature of being saved, sharing in the life of heaven, being welcomed into Paradise. From what I understand, receiving an invitation to life with Christ does not come without expectations, requirements, or conversion.

So the 21st century attitude that many people have that “people just have to accept me as I am“ does not ring true with the call to Christian life. The invitation to share in the life of Christ, the life of heaven, is an invitation to conversion and to conformity.

 It seems to me that many people like the idea of being a member of the church, enjoying good liturgy, receiving a Catholic education, etc. However, many of those same people do not appreciate that the Catholic way of life demands that we change, be converted, be daily conformed to Christ himself. That involves change.

So, Christianity is not a “come as you are party“. Like the ministry of John the Baptist the invitation to the feast of having demands that we “get changed". We need to consider the demand to be properly dressed.

We have to get changed into our Christian feast apparel. We might call that line of clothes the virtues.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Oct 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 week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm Saturday and 8am and 11am on Sunday

What you fear is how you choose!

 Both the father and the tenant farmers are looking at the same person, the son, but they are seeing two very different realities. What they see reveals what they value. The son in the story is functioning like a biblical Rorschach test (the psychologists show us ink blot images and ask us what we see).  What we see reveals how we are. Depending upon one’s emotional/psychological disposition, we can see very different things  present in the same ink blot . What the father sees is a precious and valued son. What the tenant farmers see is an enemy, a competitor, a threat to their plans for  personal fulfillment and success.

This is a very dangerous and costly consequence of Original Sin and a testament to the power and presence of evil in our lives,  throughout our human history and in our world .   Our hearts are imprisoned in our own fear, sadness, and anger so much so that we cannot see the other as God sees them. What we do see reveals the  condition  of our hearts.  What and who we see dictates our choices, our loving. We see this at work in our very personal lives, our family lives, our political lives, and in our international relations. Depending on one’s values, one’s relationship to God, one's sanity,  one’s freedom, we alter or change the value of the neighbor, spouse, child, coworker, international partners, etc.

Here are a few images...what do you see?
a moody sad teenager or a truly depressed kid at risk for suicide
A 20-week gestation fetus who can be aborted or a person who can feel pain
The disrespect of the flag or protest of real racism
The person in the womb or the threat to your 16 year old daughter's successful life
A criminal alien in America without papers or an economic refugee fleeing a life of poverty in latin America

What you see reveals what you value.  What does God see?

 What our Catholic faith is calling us to is to be liberated from the prison of our self defensive, self aggrandizing, and life-destroying egos so that we can begin to see our brother and sister as God sees them.  That freedom will help us to choose to love, hate, kill, judge,  fear, reject, abort.   That’s what it means to be a child of the father, to know to love and to forgive from a heart that is free. From that type of liberated heart we can and must choose.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Oct 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 week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 8am and 9:30am on Sunday

Are you talkin' to Me?

 I am convinced that the problem that Jesus is addressing in his parable of the two sons is the failure of the Pharisees and scribes, upon the preaching of John the Baptist, to  realize that he was talking to them. They did not notice that they needed to repent. If you don’t know where you are failing you are deaf to the invitation to reform. The  prostitutes and tax collectors had no misgivings about the fact that they were not living according to God‘s law and God’s call. The words of the Baptist cut right to the heart, their consciences were vulnerable.

The Pharisees and scribes had no inkling that they were living anything other than a righteous life.  Their strict observance of the law became a teflon shield to their recognition or admission that they were not perfectly the children of God.. Therefore, the Baptist's call to them fell on deaf ears.

 To what extent are all of us deaf to the call to repent?   What is it about our response to the gospel that is an insurance policy against needing to repent?  I think in my life it is a danger.

 In the parish Bible study this fall we have been noticing how those called by God often times take out an insurance policy against the perceived possibility that God might not be able to fulfill his promises.

 I think that we all could benefit from examining the “deal“ or "insurance policy" that we have against God's possible failure. It is that thing that stops us from sincerely examining our conscience and repenting wherever we see the need to do so. Interesting

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sept 24 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email -l
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating masses  at Our Lady of Grace this weekend 4:00 p.m., 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM. The Deacon will be preaching.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sept 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30 Saturday and 9:30 and 12:30pm on Sunday

  Forgetting is forgiving

The manner with which the master in the story treated the ungrateful/unforgiving servant is the way that God will treat any of us who do not forgive our brother or sister from the heart.  How is that? That God will turn those of us who will not forgive over to the torturers until we forgive. I had never before heard that and never thought about it.

What I have thought about often  is what is the cost of "not forgiving". I have always understood the punishment for being unforgiving is leveled against the one who is not forgiving. The people that we will not forgive don't even know that we are not forgiving them. Unforgiveness is a complete self-destructive behavior. So when we do not forgive our brother or sister from the heart the torture that we are handed over to is are unforgiving self. The only release from that torture is to forgive-pay back the entire debt.

 What I'm hoping to preach about is this grave misunderstanding of those who say "I have forgiven so-and-so but I will never forget". That is in effect non-forgiving. That  type of remembering or never forgetting is not forgiving.  "Never forgetting"  is the self-torture about which Jesus speaks in the Gospel today. That "never forgetting" is just a nice way of talking about the self-torture of unforgiving.

 Jesus shows us the type of Christianity that we are to live, let us call it crucified Christianity. Such crucified Christianity is one that does not notice or give attention to the pain and injury being caused to oneself but rather actively forgives it,  not holding others accountable or indebted for that injury.   So, crucified Christianity is also the practice of forgetting the injury caused, don't think about it, don't give it any more power than its original pain.  Forgetting is to starve injury of its power to affect us. Just simply ignore the pain and injury is to forgive it. But you have to do that consciously.

So, forgetting is the purest form of forgiving. So, I don't will never believe someone who says "I have forgiven I just will never forget".  I would like to hear one say "I have ignored and forgotten the pain and injury by forgiving it."

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sept 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 4 pm on Sat and 9:30am and 6pm on Sunday

Love them anyway!

Jesus is not letting us off the hook when it comes to loving those who hurt us. In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus gives us a process not of remedy for the broken, but of transformation of the self.

            People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.      
             Succeed anyway.
            If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
            Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
             In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

The beautiful poetic text known as "anyway" is an original composition by Keith Kent re-worked by Mother Teresa.  It is a list of typical complaints that people make about others, if you will, their sins, shortcomings, and lack of love.  The poem says in reply to every complaint about other people-"love them anyway".

The gospel for the Sunday appears to be a method for dealing with difficult people in the church community.  For those social scientists in the group it might give us a sense of security  to know how to deal with difficult people, how we might make them behave according to our standards. I am recognizing however that the prescribed strategy for dealing with difficult people, misbehaving people, problem children in the family, annoying relatives, difficult bosses, as with mother Teresa's poem is ultimately a call to love them as God has loved you. Jesus says to treat the unrepentant sinner like you would a tax collector or a Gentile. In other words,  Love your neighbor as yourself.

So the misbehavior, the sins of others cannot be an excuse for us withholding our love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness.  The unrepentant sins of others cannot be an excuse for us to "alienate" the sinner. Rather, it is just another opportunity for us to exercise our Christlike holiness.  Love them anyway.

Maybe we have another strategy here to go along with trying to correct the behavior of difficult people, trying to "make people get along",  we can  turn those moments and difficult situations into the opportunity for us to step into holiness by simply "loving them anyway"!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sept 3 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass AT OUR LADYF GRACE all weekend

Hurricane and Pain

All the losses in life are NOT discouragements or punishments but INVITATIONS TO GRACE!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 8am and 12:30pm on Sunday

cred


nounSlang.
1.
the quality of being believable or worthy ofrespect, especially within a particular social,professional, or other group: If you wear this t-shirt, you’ll be earning geek cred.
Both chefs have plenty of Southern cred.
See also street cred.

 This slang expression captures the gospel message and our call as disciples of Jesus Christ in the church. Historically we have  understood this gospel passage  as a challenge for Jesus' disciples as to whether or not they are understanding who Jesus is. We have also understood this exchange between Jesus and Simon Peter as giving Simon Peter their identity and mission.

In our vision 2020:  "+one holy, kind, and giving"  the very first goal that the parish pastoral Council has assigned for our accomplishing this vision is that "the parishioners of Saint Albert the great would come to know themselves and become known in the community as a compassionate kind welcoming community of faith". 

  So, my question for the assembly this weekend in the preaching is 1. Who do you say that we are as a parish community? And 2. Who do people in our community and neighborhood say that we are as a Catholic community? 

 Do we have any "cred" as the compassionate and healing and generous body of Christ, the face of Jesus? 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August 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 on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter -
I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Sat and at 111amm 6pm on Sunday

NOT what I wanted to hear!

.Difference" is certainly the measurement or the metric that is central to our American and maybe human consciousness at this moment in history.   The scripture readings for this Sunday's mass point out to us that "difference" might be just a nice name for "hatred". In fact "difference" may be a modern wod for "original sin".  You might recall that immediately after committing the "original sin" Adam and Eve reportedly covered themselves because they noticed that they were naked. Difference.   Just prior to that covering of the difference Adam had exclaimed when looking at  his newly created bride, "this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh".  He did not recognize the difference between them because it was not difference it was "complement".

 That's an interesting distinction isn't it? Between an attitude of "difference" or the appreciation of "complementarity".  One is an experience of isolation and separation and the other is that of unity and communion.  One is of God the other of the devil.

The interaction between Jesus and the cannanite woman  is understood by most scholars to be a rhetorical lesson for the disciples of Jesus( with the potential of being painful for the poor woman). What that means to me is that Jesus is using irony or sarcasm in his response to the Canaanite woman  to point out the error or the sin in the politico-religious thinking his disciples.  That is to say that the disciples were manifesting a religious opinion about the Messiah, whom they presumed Jesus to be.  Jesus,  rather sarcastically, articulates this mistaken understanding of the disciples that "the Messiah would come to save only Israel, God's chosen people".  Not foreigners!  Not true!

 Jesus, the Messiah, the son of God, came to live among God's people not to elevate one society, nation, race, or people above others. Jesus, the Messiah, came to be the universal access point of the human family's reconnection/reconciliation with the God who made them and loves them.

So the message of this weeks Gospel has nothing to do with Jesus's rather disturbing and disrespectful comments to a foreigner, it really has nothing to do about the pagan Canaanite woman's sick daughter, nor does it have anything  to do with the disciples disrespect for the Canaanite woman. I believe the message of this week's gospel is  that there is not a dime's worth a difference between a cannanite, Israelite, Muslim, Christian, black, brown, white child of God.  By faith, they have universal  access to God.   All human beings are creatures of a loving father and they cling to God's hand through every storm, they persevere by faith.