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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!



Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dec 28 homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00, 8:00 and 6:00pm

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dec 21 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available At email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 on Sat and 11:00 and 12:30 on Sunday

More God

I'm thinking that David's temptation and Mary's distraction in relationship to Gods Presence is the same thing that afflicts us: we don't want God where God is available.  Both Mary and David get sidetracked by details, protocol and procedures. In both instances God (through the prophet or the angel) is all about being present and received not about being "processed".

Are we not more interested in changing the procedures, details, and processes of a life with God then we are living with God as life is in God?  We usually want changed circumstances  and arrangements from God rather than more God in the circumstances that are.  Isn't it hard for us to find God in the messy details of a suffering life?

When life challenges us do we pray for more God and more life as it is? Or do we pray for changed circumstances and details in life? Could we pray for more God instead of more health. Could we pray for more God than more safety?  Could we pray for more God than less pain?

I think this turnaround might be at the bottom of our unsuccessful prayer life or spiritual life.

If we would begin praying and pleading for more God in every circumstance of our life then our prayers would be more miraculously answered. It seems God is always ready to give more of himself to us in our present circumstance. In fact, I believe that is God's identity and God's job description and God's mission. God is not able to overcome The painful circumstances of our own creation. God gave up that power when he created us in his image and likeness.

Then again, maybe it is precisely in having and knowing "more God" in a particular circumstance that is the path way through and out of difficulty.  in fact, that may be the purpose and the mystery and the meaning of life with God. Remember, with God all things are possible.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dec 14 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 9:30 and 12:30

"What are you so happy about"

I am thrilled (read rejoicing) over our return to a renovated church. It is right that we would make this move on Gaudete Sunday (rejoice).  What is the move in your life that has brought you such joy? Yes, true joy comes from the recognition of something ever-new in our lives. Your move!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dec 7 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at Sat 4:00, 8:00am and 6:00pm on Sunday

Comfort

Do you find any comfort in life?  From where, from whom?  Not at all?  What is the effect of repreatedly experiencing the hardness of life?  Can we lose hope in the God of compassion?

I believe the call to offer tender mercy in our world is the fundamental characteristic of the disciples of Jesus. After considering your personal encounters of the last 24hrs. what number of them would qualify as tender, merciful, kind?  How many wer missed opportunities?

Friday, November 28, 2014

November 30 homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is availableby email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 12:30 Sunday

Advent I -"watch me, watch me, watch me"

Like a three-year-old at the swimming pool jumping off the edge demanding that the parent, or in my case uncle, watch his every move. That is what our Advent  God reminds me of with these scriptures and the call to attention.

This is the most "childlike" that our God appears. Desiring and calling for our constant attention. Maybe this advent we might open our eyes and respond to our God calling us "watch me, Watch me, watch me, are you watching me?"

Why do we tire of "watching God"? Why is it easier to watch other things, realities, thoughts, games, problems?  Why do our artificial hearts easily distract from the real God?  Why do our broken human hearts drift off to the Foolsgold of entertainment, judgment, "reality TV"?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nov 23 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available By email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-Check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30, 9:30am and 12:30pm

Can You See Me?

This weekend's feast of Christ the King and the great gospel text of Matthew 25 provides the opportunity for continuation of my reflection Vision 2016 "every one add one: renew, reflect, reach out!" The opportunity to renew our faith lived in communion with God in the parish is most accessible by serving a compassionate ministry here with others.

If we can "read" or "see" the world and daily life through the lens of the gospel then we can recognize and encounter the Lord Jesus in the simplest acts of compassion which becomes a new path for "remaining in the Lord".

Our plan or vision is that others find us credible witnesses to the life of Jesus Christ risen from the dead. Others are most likely to see and "encounter" the communion of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by experiencing our sincere and compassionate service. Recall, that Jesus said "this is how they will know you are my disciples, by the love you have for one another."

Those words of Jesus indicate to us how we would make one small step more deeply into the communion of the love of God and that is by turning to our brothers and sisters in community with compassion. This is maybe less heroic service then turning to the stranger, however, it demands that we take a new look and see the littleness, neediness, Christlikeness in our brothers and sisters (our spouses, our children, our parents) and see it as openings for compassion and service right where we live.

This is what the vision "every one and one" means by renew. If each of us could renew the way that we are relating to our neighbor in communion we could deepen our faith in communion. This deepening or renewing of our faith is a necessary step to our reaching out to our neighbor in the form of invitation to return to church.

So, let's turn our vision to the people closest to us and see them as the needy Christ in our midst. Renewing or deepening our love for them through new compassionate service is the first step to inviting them to encounter the love of God that we have found in our parish "communion of the faithful here".

Friday, November 14, 2014

Homily Prep November 16 Feast of St. Albert the Great, Patron

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email request
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings 
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter 
-I will be preaching at all the weekend masses

Can You See It?  Every One Add One!

I will be presenting our Vision 2016; Every One Add One!  This is the feast of our patron, St. Albert and we will be introduced to our parish prayer, our parish hymn, our vision, its logo, and the six pastoral strategic goals that have been established to help us achieve this vision Every One Add One!

Pray for Us!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Homily Prep Nov 9th - Church Building

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter 
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat and 11:00 Sunday

Our Church Building

I would understand that those of us at St. Albert parish this year would read the title of this post and think "church building renovation".  But that's not what I mean by using it here.  On the feast of the Dedication of John Lateran Basilica we are given scriptures about "our church building" with and among the living stones.  You and me.....communion.

Last month I reflected upon the preciousness of each person's life - so much so- that each human life is an expression of God's life and presence.  A young woman told me that she had never really thought about "her" life as the presence of God.  I am thinking that this "blindness" to the quality and nature of our lives might be affecting our thinking about church.  Most of the baptized do not consider themselves to "be the church".

I think most of the baptized think that guys like me, we are the church.  Most people think the Pope and the priests - THEY are the church.  Well, the Vatican Council II reasserted firmly that it is the baptized, the faithful that are the living stones of the church  - the pope and the pastor are just two of those members.

I'm thinking that this blindness to your preciousness as a living member of the church might be getting in the way of our parish community "acting" like the church - building church or church building.  If one does not consider oneself a dignified member of the church then the mission of the church doesn't really involve you.

Let's open our eyes to see ourselves as living stones built into the Church, the Body of Christ and let's imagine how that identity and dignity might change the way we act. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Nov 2 homily Prep - Do you believe?

-Last Sunday's homily is available By email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-Check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter 
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 8:00am, 12:30pm, and 6:00pm

It's not about believing in God!

What makes us Christian is not our belief in God - but our belief that God raised Jesus from the dead. If we don't believe in the resurrection, then our "faith" in God is "in vain".

All Souls Day is a poignant occasion for us to "check our faith". With Martha we really need to ask ourselves about the effect that the death of our loved ones has had upon our lives. Do we grieve like the pagans do (as St Paul warns us against)?

If we believe in resurrection our sadness is the invitation to believe. If we don't believe in the resurrection our sadness replaces our life.

So, what is it with you?  Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, eternal life, reunion in heaven forever?  Or are you disappointed with the ultimate loss of life?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oct 26 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00, 8:00am and 12:30pm

Constellations

It is a fact of reality that we cannot claim a relationship with God that does not place us in relationship with our neighbor. Many of us claim to desire and depend upon a friendship with God but cannot make room in our "territory" for a relationship in love with our neighbors. Won't work.

If we desire to enter into God's orbit (which is love) we cannot reject or avoid relationship with others. Both persons occupy that "orbit" we call loving. In fact this is so true that to the extent that we have a "problem" with one of the neighbors we are not living in God's neighborhood.

Hmmmm

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oct 19 Homily Prep - Do You See It?

-Last Sunday's Homily available at: Oct 12 Homily
-This Sunday's Readings are available at Sunday Scriptures
-Check out this week's edition of the LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating Mass at 9:30 and 12:30 on Sunday

Do You See God's Image on Your Life

Our respect life month of October continues and we have yet another teaching of Jesus that challenges our society'spervading opinion about the value of life.  On respect life Sunday (October 5) I had proposed that the mystery that God has entrusted to each of us was our very lives. We are stewards commissioned to tend to this gift of life on behalf of God.

Can we see the image of God upon the human person - everywhere?  Recognizing the dignity of every human life because it is the very possession of God, the very presence of God would determine the way we "use" such a gift, such a possession. Jesus says that which belongs to God should be given to God. What would it mean if your life was given to God?

Some of our Protestant brothers and sisters have a ceremony for infants called dedication. This is in place of infant baptism. While they use a different name to describe the two ceremonies (dedication versus baptism) I would see the same intention of Christian parents in both cases - bringing the new life in our midst to God and giving it, returning it to God.

Have you understood your baptismal life as the returning of your life to God (whose image is bourne upon your life)?  What might it mean to the way you live your life, understand your life, share your life, in the world if you were intending to "give your life to God"?

Let me know

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 12th Homily Prep - Are You In?

-Last Sunday's homily is available Click Here: October 5th Homily
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30pm Saturday, 8:00am and 6:00pm Sunday

Are You In?

The parable of the King and his Son's Wedding Feast is a great opportunity for us to reflect again upon the single most important aspect of the Kingdom of God - participation.  The choice to live life according to God's gift of the Kingdom is at the heart of this parable and the others we've heard in the last few weeks from St. Matthew.

Remember the workers in the vineyard.  The Master wasn't worried about over-paying people for too little work.  He was only concerned that everyone worked - felt welcomed to participate in his mission - his vineyard.

The King's Son's Wedding adds something to this Lord's insistence that we participate in order to have life.  It is not good enough for us to show up at the wedding - we have to indicate our sincerity by dressing (externally manifesting our faith) the part.  The wedding garment seems to symbolize ones willingness to get "cleaned up"  - "dress the part" - "conform our behavior" to that which is appropriate for the Kingdom life.

This goes back to the parable of the two sons.....talk about being "in the Kingdom" or "with the Lord' is cheap.  Our life in the Kingdom must be accompanied by a converted life.  Remember, the prostitutes and tax collectors "changed their minds" and "cleaned up their lives" at the teaching of John.  We cannot accept the invitation to the wedding feast of heaven and stay in our "work clothes" or "play clothes" or "self-centered outfit".

The master wants nothing more than our participation in the communion of life and love which is salvation.  But we have to be willing to conform to the life of heaven by the grace of Jesus' invitation.

Are you in?  Just in words?  Or by the sign of your converted life?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

October 5 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available Click Here: September 28 Homily audio
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at LinC Letter
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 on Sat and 9:30 and 11:00am on Sunday.

Whose Life is it Anyway?

This is respect life Sunday in respect life month. It proposes that every human life deserves respect and defense due to the fact that life is from God, life belongs to God, God is life.  This fact is diametrically opposed to what the secular world's proposes:  that life is one's personal possession and success in life is pain-avoiding survival.

This Sunday's gospel parable teaches the virtue or vocation of stewardship, the life of a tenant or caretaker.  How would you be different in life if you believed that your life isn't yours, that your life is on loan to you by God?

Have you ever taken responsibility for something that wasn't yours?  What motivated your good care of someone else's stuff?

How would you explain this vocation of stewardship to an elderly relative who says that she "no longer wants to live her suffering life"?  How is it that so many pregnant women in our society today believe that the child in the womb is "theirs" to dispose of?

We as a Christian community have not evangelized our own membership to the Gospel way of stewardship (tending to God's gifts for God's sake). we need to reflect on the fact that "my marriage" as we often say, is God's, not ours.  My children, as we claim on our tax returns, are not ours. My body, as we mark it up with "a lot of ink" is not ours to do with as we like.

All these gifts belong to God and ought to be "handled with care" as if they we not ours.

What do you think?

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 28 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available Click Here: Sept 21 Homily
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found here : Sunday Scriptures
-Check out the Parish LinC Letter here: LinC
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 on Saturday and 8:00 and 12:30 on Sunday

Walk the Walk

Today's challenge of Jesus to the Pharisees, his favorite interlocutors, brings down the distinction between the religion of the Pharisees and the authentic spirituality of the gospel of Jesus. Jesus's explanation of the two sons exposes the lack of sincerity and authenticity in the pharisaical observance of the law-lipservice and no life commitment. All talk -no walk!

As the followers of Jesus we can be easily challenged to do a better job and "walk we talk" but I don't think Jesus is recommending that we disregard the "talk". We can't  "trash talk" God, religion, obedience and faithfulness simply because it's not important as if the only thing that matters is loving God and religion and being obedient and faithful "livers" of the gospel . No, walking the walk is of the essence of religion and being faithful to God and neighbor in self-sacrificing love is the walk of faith. We have to always grow in our authentic "walking the talk".

What the current moment in history is calling for is to us who are faithful he walking the talk that we would start eloquently "talking the walk". I think God through the church today is more interested than ever that we would also "talk the walk"-sincerely and lovingly expressing our faith that we are living.

The new evangelization is the ability to eloquently express our sincere Christian faith and it is challenging for Catholics. We don't talk about our religion. Even those who are living it authentically. We even pride ourselves on not "talking the walk".  I believe that this generation in the world and this time in history is calling for a new "expressive religion" from sincere believers like Catholics. We call it witnessing.

Insincere radical nonsensical violent hateful religious talk or rhetoric has taken over the religious mind of the peoples of the world. No wonder 38% of people under the age of 30 do not claim any religious affiliation. Religion has a bad name.

I believe the single greatest thing that we could do as Catholics who are sincerely walking the faith (worshiping God and loving our neighbor here at St. Albert the great parish and in many places) is that we could begin to "talk the walk" - reasonably humbly intelligently lovingly and invitingly talk to the world about the faith that we walk.

Can you sincerely speak to those you love about the importance that your faith in God and your life in the church plays in your daily life? Can you talk the walk? I think the world desperately wantsto hear you "talk the walk"

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 21st Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email Sept 14 Homily
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday's Scriptures
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Saturday, 12:30 at OurLady Lourdes

It's not about the pay, it's about the work!

This Sunday's gospel parable of the overpaid workers in the vineyard is the scriptural background for our parish ministry fair. As the title of this homily prep says, if we are distracted by the unfair wages being handed out than we have really missed the call of the Gospel in the text. The kingdom of God revealed through Jesus Christ is all about participation and not about compensation.

In our consumer society and materialistic world and mindset, this redirection of our focus onto participation and away from compensation really doesn't make sense. That's okay, it didn't make sense to Jesus' first audience because they, as the children of Adam and Eve, experienced life in the world and even in relationship to God from a broken perspective.

This principle of "participation instead of compensation" brings to mind the worldly approach to marriage. So often and too often people in the world today consider marriage to be a "50/50 proposition".  In other words, the spouses are overly conscious about who's doing more work in the relationship.  Of course, the contemplative approach to the sacrament of matrimony sees it as a "100/100 proposition".  Marriage can only be what God intends it to be when both spouses are in it for the "participation" (sharing of life and love without reservation) and realizing that it is the ability to "participate" that is the "compensation".

St. Albert the great parish, on this ministry fair weekend, is proposing this "participation model" in relationship to our life in the church. There is no compensation for the ministry and service that we each offer through the ministries of St. Albert. That is, of course, unless our "giving ourselves away" is the compensation that we've been looking for.  I asked our PSR students last week what is a "sacrifice". They answered readily "giving up your time and effort for the church and the good of others". I know St. Francis said it better however, "charity is it's own reward".

Anyone who is approaching the church or the kingdom of God from the perspective of "what's in it for me?" is in fact not entering the kingdom of God nor the church. The Lord calls us to the church and to the kingdom so that we can participate and sees that participation as the sharing in the life of heaven. There is no better compensation then  eternal life.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sept 14 Homily Prep

-Hear Last Sunday's homily at this link:Sept 7th Homily
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB daily readings
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm Saturday, and 9:30 and 11:00 Sunday(visit St. Albert Website)

Hang in there!

The image of Jesus hanging upon the cross is the image and central feature of this week's feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  The corpus of Christ UPON the cross is the unique feature of this feast.  As with Moses and his lifted up the serpent on a pole - it is not so much the pole - but the image upon it.  So it is with the Cross of Christ - it is him "crucified and forsaken" ON the cross that transforms the cross from simple torture to tree of life.

What the church is encouraging us to see in this pitiful Christ hanging on a tree in torturous death is the "cost of love".  True love is self-sacrificing.  In fact, Jesus Crucified becomes the litmus test for all human loving.  No one since the death of Jesus can claim to truly love without sacrifice.  See how much our God loves us - he gave up everything (even his claim to divinity..."my God why have your forsaken me?") for the love of sinful humanity.  

In fact, God became sin itself in His desire to love us.  Do we recognize our sin on him?  What is the "wages of sin"?  Death: isolated, rejected, lonely, God-forsaken, extinction.  That is the fruit of our first parents in their sin.  Jesus is not only the Human Face of God but, on the cross, he is the epitome of broken humanity dead in our sin: isolated, rejected, forsaken by God, life-less.  

Like the Isrealites in the desert we can be healed of our affliction (death) only by looking at it held up before us.  But, will we look and see - and thus be healed?  Or will be look and NOT see and thus remain dead in our sin?  

Do you see yourself in the crucified Savior on the Cross?  If so, don't be afraid - be healed by God's love for you there.  If you do not see yourself in Him then there is no amount of mercy that will heal you.  You cannot be saved from that which you do not see.  Once you see your sin then you are set free.

Does any of this help you make sense out of the suffering in your life?  Is it all for love?  It can be.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Homily Prep Sept 7th

-Hear Last Sunday's homily at this link: August 31 Homily
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at Sunday's Scriptures
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 on Saturday and 8:00, 11:00, and 6:00pm Sunday(visit St. Albert Website)

Church -it's Simple, not Easy!

That's right, Church, "ekklesia" as it is called in Matthew's Gospel (the convocation, literally) is a pretty simple-sounding reality in life.  However, rather than simple I know "church" is anything but easy.  The reason we can acknowledge that about "church" is because church is a gift from God of "relationship".  And relationships are about love. And love ain't easy.

Church is the most basic and ancient of relationships.  It is modeled upon the "relationship at the heart of all reality" - the Blessed Trinity. So church is about our capacity to love one another.

A long time ago I had a well-intentioned "Catholic-living-as-a-fundamentalist" sit in my office and describe for me why she didn't want to worship with me, as she said, "You are all about religion, Father, while I am all about relationship with Jesus."  While that was a pretty insulting tactical barb she learned from her mega-church pastor, it very clearly revealed two things:
1. the lack of understanding of Jesus being preached by the non-denominationalists
AND
2. the ineffective messaging of the Catholic Church in the world today (even to our own members).

I must admit that when most Catholics hear the word Church (the English word for ekklesia ) they think of organization, hierarchy, the Pope, the Vatican, a rather cold and ancient INSTITUTION. That's a far cry from what the biblical word means (literally, "those called out") or what the church teaches and celebrates from the catechism to the Holy Mass.

The church is first and foremost the "loving relationship among believers in the Holy Spirit".  That is what I have been preaching about this summer and calling, "communion".  Church is the human, incarnate version of the life of the Holy Trinity. Communion.  Church as communion is what we celebrate at every Mass - communion with God and neighbor.  No Catholic can claim to understand Jesus if s/he does not understand him/herself as a part of the church living in communion.

The gospel this Sunday (in what is known as the Discourse on the Church) speaks of the nature of the church (which is unity)  and the enemy of church (which is dissension).  The greatest charge of the Christian disciple is to "love one another as the Lord has loved us."  If one is a "follower" of Jesus who is not living in communion with the Church, then s/he is no Christian at all.  Pope Francis said recently, "if your first name is Christian, your last name must be church."

Individualism, self-fulfillment, and the drive for personal salvation have blocked us from living the faith of Jesus which is communion in love of the brothers and sisters.  Remember, "if you come to offer your gift to God at the altar and there recall that your brother has something against you, go and reconcile with your brother, then come and offer your gift."  There is no real friendship with God when we are at odds with our brothers.

Have you understood your Christian faith to be such an inter-personal reality?  How do you understand the simple truth about church?  It ain't easy, right?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 31st Homily Prep

Last Sundays homily is available at this link August 24 Homily
This week's scriptures are available at this link Sunday Readings
I am preaching at the 4:00 and 11:00. Masses this weekend St. Albert Website

See it, Say it, Live it!

Over the past few weeks I've been hearing the Word of God calling us to a new and deeper experience or path to life - communal life, that is. This Sunday's contribution to that discussion addresses the particular path to communion - which is beyond self!

Yes, that's it!  The life that  Jesus promises his disciples is not without the self, it is not within the self, it is beyond the self.  To have the freedom to extend one's love beyond one's neighbor with an eye on The Lord is the secret to experiencing the Kingdom present now unto eternity. It's what we call communion.  You can't have communion without bringing yourself.  But that self has got to be "self-forgetful" enough that one can "keep the heart focused upon the Kingdom that exists "beyond the self" in love.

That is the gift of grace and faith that is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  It is the power to realize that one's life isn't about preservation of the self but the liberation of the self from self-consumption which is the freedom to love. Jesus crucified and forsaken is the model for this freedom. Unity with Him by faith is the means to such freedom.  Communion with others around the table of The Lord is the sign of this new life. And love of neighbor is the telltale sign that one sees it, says it, and lives it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homily August 24th Prep - New Link to Last Week's Homily!

-Last week's homly is now available at this link; August 17th Homily Audio
-The Scriptures for this coming Sunday are available at Sunday's Readings
-I am preaching this weekend at 9:30 and 12:30 on Sunday St. Albert Website


Can You Say It?

Last week I was asking if you can "see what I'm saying" emphasizing the need for us to have a picture of ourselves as "a communion of the faithful" dependent upon one another for our connection to God's Kingdom.

Jesus' question of his disciples this week reveals a more powerful aspect to this picture-thing.  What if the person next to you at worship asked you the question Jesus asked the disciples....."who do you SAY that I am?  Remember how God allowed Adam to "name" all the creatures on the earth.  He had relationship with them, dominion over them, he named them.  Remember Moses asking what God's name was - if you knew someone's name you could claim a relationship to them.

So, how is your relationship with the Body of Christ - right next to you?  Do you see them and can you SAY that they are your brother and sister in Christ?  Can you SAY that they are important to your relationship to God?  Can you SAY that you have some power over their ability to meet God in this Eucharist?

There are four ways that Jesus wants to be recognized in the Holy Eucharist. In the Assembly, in the Priest, in the Word Proclaimed, and in the Sacred Species of Bread and Wine.  The FIRST place is in the community gathered.  Can you SAY who we are in Christ?  If you can't SAY it then you canT claim to know it.

Who do you SAY that I am?  That says a lot about who you SAY you are.  This is powerful stuff.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Homily Prep August 17th

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat., 8:00am, and 6:00pm Sunday

Exercise! 

Everybody is encouraged to exercise.  Especially those who are preparing for a big contest.  Practice or conditioning is what we might call that.  So what all of these things are is an "exertion" of energy, effort, and discipline that apparently "doesn't count".  It's like a pre-season or scrimmage game - it's a lot of work but it doesn't really count.

All of these physical exertions are difficult but not real, they are not the "game" but they are essential to the game.

Apparaently, Jesus was putting this syro-phoenitian women through a bit of "testing", a scrimmage, an exercise that not only revealed her faith but it deepened her faith.  

Do we ever experience confusing challenges to our life plan as the preparation for the real game?  I think I have had this experience....I was led into a challenging situation in life and ministry for no apparent reason.  In fact, it felt almost "unreal" at the time.  I really couldn't understand why this particular thing was happening to me and why I was enduring this challenge.  But I hung in there. 

Then, years later, I encountered something very real that required the precise grace, skill, wisdom, perseverance, etc. that I had gained in the earlier testing.  It was then that I realized the good God at work in me "back then" Who was responsible for the success or perseverance now.

I think that's what the daily dying to self involved in spiritual discipline and devotion does in our faith lives.  Like the treadmill everyday - I can often times "feel" as if I'm going through a repetitive and disconnected exercise - only to discover that it was precisely the preparation I needed for the real struggles in life. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Recognition vs Seeing

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm on Saturday and 9:30am on Sunday

You Wouldn't recognize it if it Bit you on the Nose!

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and he is alive for us.  Jesus Christ is not only risen and alive, he is present and active in our midst. This is the fundamental truth of the Christian religion.  No one is arguing about the truth of it.

What we are admitting all the time is that we do not recognize him AS HE IS.  Jesus breathed upon the apostles and pledged to be with them always. And yet we do not recognize him AS HE IS - in the Body of Christ the Church.

Many of us who claim to be "in the church" manifest our blindness to him because we are lacking in the unity he created and we are afraid of others, afraid of vulnerability, afraid of death, afraid of life.

Many who are "outside the church" secular-shaped hearts and empiricist minds observing the church from outside fail to recognize Jesus AS HE IS in the imperfect communion that he has chosen to establish(the Church).

Within the church we reveal our blindness to Jesus in our midst by our individualistic drive for control of church tradition, clinging to private devotion, and judgment and distrust of others. We're like the disciples in the storm-tossed boat. Petrified and every man for himself.

Within the society we look a lot like Peter, demanding that if Jesus (faith and religion) is really calling them to life he better prove it beyond the feeble proof that is the Church ( the only proof. Jesus prefers to give).

So, we have a church community blinded to the presence of Jesus dwelling powerfully within their mutual communal love - where and how he said HE WOULD BE. And we have a suspicious world not at all impressed by Jesus' feeble display of presence in his chosen vessel, the broken Church.

Save us, Lord!

But look who DID recognize him - the sick, the lame, the rejected, the dying.  How can you tell?  They came to him and allowed him to be strong in their midst.  No fear - all acceptance AS HE IS!  Maybe the recognition of Jesus has to do with the condition of the beholder rather than the manner of Jesus' appearance AS HE IS.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Homily Prep August 3

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
 -I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 8:00am and 6:00pm Sunday

Tempted to Isolate!

What is your gut reaction to violence, hatred, opposition, ridicule, persecution?????  Do you welcome the comfort of others, do you seek the consolation of friends, do you look for, long for and appreciate pity???  Or do you flee from, shun, and run away from human companionship?

Withdrawal(either physical, psychological, or spiritual) is the triumph of the evil one.  Withdrawal is different than retreat - the rare and intentional spiritual exercise or the conscious choice to seek God in solitude. Withdrawal is not the choice to seek God but the fear-driven lack of trust in anyone other than the self.

Jesus hears of the violent death of his precursor and kinsman John the Baptist and he "withdraws". He is tempted, just as he was in the desert, and this time to get away from the companionship. As in the desert,  Jesus is saved from this temptation to isolate, to withdraw from companionship, by angels -  those more needy than he who sought his companionship...he was rescued by empathy.

His empathy pulls him out of the temptation to withdraw and drives him outward into communion with those who longed for him.  This temptation of Christ is a sign to all of us to resist and reject the strategy of evil (withdrawal) when life frustrates us.

The. Letter to the Romans is clear - nothing should separate us from the communion with God that we have in Christ Jesus.  Easier said than done.  How many of us when we fail - first think of hiding from others?.  How many of us when we are diagnosed are tempted to hide - withdraw, not to burden others with my pain.  How many of us when reflecting upon our death have this temptation to be disposed of - not wanting others to "be looking at me"?  It's all isolation, hiding, evil.

We revolt against the pity of others who genuinely love us. We allow a lot of stuff to separate us from the love of God. A spirituality of unity or communion calls us to reject the temptation to isolation and to move into empathy, consolation, solidarity, community.

It's natural to our broken humanity - withdraw.  It is natural to our divine likeness - communion!  



Friday, July 25, 2014

Homily Prep July 27

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Saturday and 11:00am Sunday.

Church Matters!

Is that a description of details about church life or is that a declarative statement of a truth about our lives.  Does Church Matter?!  The parables of the Kingdom of God in this week's Gospel raise the issue of how important the Kingdom of God is in our lives.  Does God matter? 

Isn't the Catholic Church famous for a rather anonymous christianity....aren't we proud of the fact that we can walk into a catholic church anywhere in the world and "be at home" there?  As I get older I would like to see us be less happy about that satisfaction.  Would that all of us at St. Albert for sure, recognized the personal meaning that worshipping in our community has for us. 

Does Church at St. Albert the Great matter?  Why does your worship of the Holy Eucharist at YOUR parish matter?  What does it mean?  Are we making a conscious decision to "go to God together" as friends, members, family, Body of Christ, Communion? 


The pearl of inestimable value is the presence of Jesus Christ "in the midst" of those who believe.  Do you find it anywhere in the world? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Homily Prep for July 20

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 Sat. and 9:30 and 12:30 on Sunday.

Mixing It Up!

Jesus, for the second Sunday in a row, is preaching from the 13th chapter of Matthews Gospel and he is commenting on the use of the "parable".  Last Sunday I introduced this situation as concluding that there are two types of people that Jesus is ministering to - those who "get it" and those "who don't".  Those who "get it" are the ones with faith.  They hear and see Jesus as he is - the Son of God, the messiah and Christ.  Those "who don't" are those without faith who need to receive the Good News in parables - a preaching that subverts their closed eyes, clogged ears, hard heads and hardened hearts. 

Jesus again refers to the need to use parable in some cases.  The parable of the weeds in the wheat is a story about this very reality:  In the world some people use their freedom to choose God while others use that same freedom and cling to the evil one.  What is startling is that those people of two very different stripes, like the weeds and the wheat, can at one time occupy the same space, they can appear very similar in their behavior, while all the time being very opposed to one another in intention.

It takes a graceful and discerning heart to see "whose who" and to put some distance between the weeds and the wheat in life.  

How firmly are you set in the ways of the Gospel (wheat)?  How discerning is your eye to recognize those among you who are not for you (weeds)?  How confident are you in separating yourself from the broken and often sinister(selfish) intentions and pathways of many people around you (media, workplace, social life, family)?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Homily Prep July 13th

-There was no homily last Sunday cause I was on vacationšŸ˜€
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 8:00am and 6:00pm

Free to See(d)

I am most attracted to St. Paul's letter to the Romans in which he speaks of the gift of faith which is liberation from slavery and freedom of the children of God.  This liberation or this freedom, this believing is what empowers and enables St. Paul to see "I consider all the sufferings of the present age to be as nothing."

What I like about that is that faith, believing in the love that God has for us does not cause us to deny the difficult and painful realities of life. Rather, faith is the freedom to see through those sufferings or better to see those sufferings as what they truly are, "nothing".

Faith like St. Paul's enables us to transform reality.  Faith empowers the believer to change or morph the difficulties of the present age into an experience of transformation in the light of the age to come. Someone has said to me that, by faith every moment, person, situation, or incident in my daily life has become either "lover" or "teacher".  What that says to me is that a believer, by faith, can "see" every feature of daily life as either the consoling presence of the love of God or a helpful or growthful opening of ones eyes to better see the love of God present.

This teaching connects  St. Paul to the Gospel text for this weekend, inasmuch as the presence and love of God (which is the reality of life) grows only in the "healthy soil" of a life built on faith.  Where there is no faith, the power and the love of God cannot enter into the human heart. Are we creating in our selves, our spouse, our children, our parish the culture of faith, an environment that is "susceptible" to God's Word, the love and presence of God can produce 100-fold?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Opponents or Partners? The Whole Picture!

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm Saturday and 11:00am Sunday

Feast of St. Peter AND St. Paul - Why Together?

You know, when we place two peoples' names in a title or on a marquee or in a song it legitimately raises the question as to whether they're competitors or partners?  David and Goliath, Romeo and Juliet, peanut butter and jelly, mom and dad, oil and water?

The title of this weekend's feast, St. Peter and St. Paul, is no exception to this conundrum. Are they competitors or partners? Do they compare or contrast? I think, as with  many of the mysteries of our faith, the answer to that question is "both".  What I mean is that St. Peter and St. Paul represent two sides of our beautiful Christian faith AND they represent the competing poles of our discipleship "head" and "heart", "pastor" and "teacher", "love" and "truth".  I am presuming that the icon of Peter and Paul is the invitation and the "target" of every baptized member of the church that we would all have the solid faith in the love of God that St. Peter represents and the zeal and eloquence for announcing that face like St. Paul.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI wrote his fundamental encyclicals on love, faith, and hope. In the first of these, God is Love, the pope explained the need to keep the truth lovingly and to express love truthfully.  He warned there that to separate the two would be to empty both of their power and their God-likeness.

Maybe this feast of St. Peter AND St. Paul encourages us to what Pope Francis calls "missionary discipleship". What I think he means by that is that we should each have the love, friendship and attachment to Jesus Christ reflected by the witness of St. Peter AND the zeal and the dedication to spread the love of God in the world witnessed by St. Paul.

Probably too many of us pride ourselves on being Christian by "loving everyone" (while we avoid the difficult and necessary confrontation with falsehood, evil, and sin). Others of us are tempted to live as the righteous followers of Jesus in the church claiming to be right and justifying our alienation from others because they are wrong. The head and the heart in competition.

Let's allow this feast of Saints Peter AND Paul to help us to adjust our roadmap to holiness. From whom do we need to learn most today so that "our witness" in the world might be the whole picture of missionary discipleship in the world?












Friday, June 20, 2014

Becoming What You Are Celebrating

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm on Saturday, 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday

Turn Around Time

That expression "turn around time" is usually used by people that are attempting to get something done for us - they need "so much turn around time."  I am using it today because of the call to "conversion"  that is imbedded in the Feast of Corpus Domini, or The Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi. 

You see, "conversion" comes to us from the Latin word to "turn", thus turn around.  I am seeing in the Church's teaching on the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, in the consecration, that we believe this bread and wine is "turned into"(in its substance), the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Another word of "turning into" is transubstantiation. 

So, you can see why I have thought of the Mass every Sunday or everyday (transubstantiation) as "turn around time".  However, there is a second consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer that is prayed over the assembly at prayer - that they/we would become "one body, one spirit in Christ".  St. Augustine charged the church to "become more of what we celebrate", to be "converted", turned into.... turn around time.

Conversion, being turned into something that we are not quite fully yet - that's the fundamental journey for Christian believers in the Holy Eucharist.  That once again today, here and now, in the power of the Holy Spirit and by the prayers of the priest, I would be turned, changed in my very substance, from alienated, broken, isolated individual to the very life and presence of Jesus Christ Himself. 

So, again today for the Bread and Wine and for Little 'ol me and actually little 'ol US - it's Turn around time.  Be changed or die!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Trinity: Our Beginning, Our Calling, and Our Path! +ONE 2016

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 on Saturday, 8:00am and 6:00pm on Sunday

Blessed Trinity: Renewing Our Communion!

The Trinity is our call and pattern for the life of faith - to love. Communion is the height of our worship and the path of our lives of faith.  I will speak at all the masses this weekend and present the liturgical engagement survey as the beginning of our quest to renew the life of communion at St. Albert and to widen that communion to include 6000 worshippers.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pentecost - June 8th

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email -This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org -I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00, 8:00, and 12:30

Forgive or Forget It #8 - Spiritual Forgiveness

On this Pentecost feast our gospel text returns us to the upper room and Jesus' commissioning of the disciples BY forgiveness FOR forgiveness. What we need to see in this final Homily of the Easter season is that our practice of intellectual forgiveness and emotional forgiveness can lead us into conformity with Christ-the forgiving Redeemer - spiritual forgiveness.

As we are convinced of the rightness and the truth of forgiveness in our spiritual lives, we begin to take on the likeness of Christ. This likeness can be construed or seen as a "spirituality".  A spirituality is the tone, color, characteristics, habitual manner of relating to God and neighbor. When we intentionally take on the spirituality of forgiving we can claim to be practicing spiritual forgiveness-our way of being like Christ is in imitation and participation with his forgiving mission.

I don't think most Catholics have thought about becoming known as people who are living a life or a spirituality of forgiving. This is fundamental to our baptismal faith and to our happiness in the church and the world. Could you see yourself as a child of God who employs forgiveness as the primary, principal, and most often chosen means of living life in communion with God and neighbor?

 As you have heard in these homilies over this Easter season, I am convinced that those Catholics who prefer a "spirituality of charity", being loving and kind, getting along with everyone, of necessity must first adopt a spirituality of forgiving. Forgiveness is the fuel for charity, forgiveness is the gateway to authentic Christian loving. Are you ready to adopt a spirituality of forgiving? Spiritual forgiveness. I am trying.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Homily Prep June 1st

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at Sat 4:00, Sun 9:30, 11:00 and 6:00pm

Forgive or Forget it! #7


Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 25th Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat and 12:30 on Sunday

Forgive or Forget It #6


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A holy Thursday Homily/"I have a dream"

This Homily is transcribed from the holy Thursday Homily that I delivered. It is being referred to as one "the morphing Homily", "the bat homily" or the "I have a dream" Homily. Someone asked that I publish it here

Throughout my priestly life I have had seven different assignments and in each case I had to live in the quarters that were provided to me. In one of those assignments I lived in a very old house. Maybe similar to the farmhouse where Fr. Winters lived on this property many years ago. The features of this old house were  that it was not only old but it had a third story walk up residence in and among the eaves of the house surrounded by the attic.

What was important about this living arrangement was ....by the way, did I tell you that I am deathly afraid of bats?  One night when I was asleep in my bed I heard the fluttering of wings which I presumed to be a moth. However, this fluttering of wings was so powerful that it was moving the plastic rod that hangs down from the miniblinds that you turn to open the blinds. I realized that the wings of a moth could not produce such movement-it was a bat. 


I quickly slithered off the bed onto the floor, pulled the comforter down off of the bed on top of myself, and then in rather "commando style" on my belly elbowed and kneed my way out of the room in a panic.

Of course, the next morning I pleaded with the pastor to take care of the bat problem. He called the exterminators and they quickly informed me that bats coming into the attic of the house during the winter months to prepare for childbearing is nothing easy to stop. I asked if they could plug up the openings through which the bats were entering. They informed me that when bats desiring to  get into the house for the purpose of having their babies they can reduce themselves, morph themselves, as small as one tenth of their body mass-maybe the size of a cigarette or cigar and fit themselves through a dime-sized hole. That was some new and horrifying information for me and of course it did not make me very happy.

"Morph"  it is a Greek word that means "shape or form". We are familiar with the term from our science classes - metamorphosis, the changing of shape or form.

Brothers and sisters this notion of morphing, of changing the shape or form or appearance, is central to our experience of this Easter mystery - this most solemn Triduum. Our God from the beginning of time has been driven by a singular mission or purpose and that is to be in communion, in love with us, his creatures. God formed  humanity as the only creature "for himself alone".  Throughout salvation history God has continually striven to "touch our humanity with eternity" - his love. God's method of reaching out to us has been emptying himself, throwing off his glory, assuming the lowly, humble, yes even human, accessible form - morphing into the effective form so that he might touch us and save us in love. 


This is most beautifully revealed to us in our Christian Scriptures and especially our gospel text today in which Jesus assumes the shape or the form of a slave and washes the feet of his disciples. It is a most poignant example of this mission of our God of morphing so that humanity might be touched by eternal love and thus transformed itself into love alone.


Of course the most famous morphing of our God is in the womb of the Virgin Mary where he casts off his glory as the author of the Hebrews tells us, "in the fullness of time, he lowered himself and took on our human nature, he clothes himself in our humanity". He morphs into an effective agent. He abandoned his divine glory and embraced our humanity, humbling himself so that our human nature could be touched and given access to eternal love.


This mission, this means, this mode of saving us -this lowering himself, coming down, condescending as the theologians tell us, was so beautifully expressed in this past Sunday's, Palm Sunday's great Philippians Hymn, in which St. Paul writes "that he did not deem equality with God something to be grasp at rather he emptied himself taking the form of a slave being obedient even to death, death on a cross." This is the divine method, the mode, and the means of our salvation - God throwing off his glory and taking on, morphing into, "humble servant love". Kenosis is the word - to empty. 


So in this Gospel today, as we commemorate this greatest night, this institution of the holy Eucharist, this commissioning of his disciples as priests, is just a most brilliant example of God's method of saving humanity - "humble service in love".  Jesus stands up and takes off his garment, throws aside his "status" as teacher, master, Lord and he assumes the shape, or the form, he morphs into his preferred appearance as the humble servant in love.

Of course this gesture of washing feet, this servitude in humility and in love is just a foretaste of his greatest morphing into the sacrificial lamb on the cross. However, in the holy Eucharist which we commemorate on this most holy night, is yet another example of this morphing from greatness into the little, the least, the most accessible "he took bread, broke it , blessed it, and gave it to his disciples and said "this is now me". So that the bread that you eat and the wine that you drink is now no longer that lowly basic simple food but it is the accessible, attainable, ingestible, humble divine touch of eternal life - the salvation of our humanity. 


Morpheus, as you probably know, is the Greek god of dreams, the maker of shapes and forms in our sleep. (I was discussing this at dinner with the Priests this evening and when I said the name Morpheus the youngers said - yea, he's the character from the movie Matrix. I had no idea of that) Morpheus comes to mind in this reflection of God morphing himself into accessible "humble service in love" because of his role as the dream maker. He reminds me that I have a dream and it is a dream about morphing- a dream for our parish ministry. Morphing like God. 


Pope Francis has been teaching, especially in his great and first document to the church "The Joy of the Gospel", that we are called to be missionary disciples, a missionary church. What the holy father is indicating to us is that we must be always focused on this mission of God's I mentioned at the beginning which is to present His eternal love to the world through humble service. Emptying ourselves for the sake of eternal love. God's mission can change enslaved humanity into the freedom and joy of eternal life. 


My dream is that we as a great Parish would be morphed into this God-shaped Mission as "humble servants for the sake of love" and that we would allow the eternal love of God to touch and change the human lives in our midst by this humble service. St. Albert is a great Parish, no doubt, but we are called to morph into a missionary parish. This would begin of course with our own lives being touched by eternal love here, like the bread and wine, and be turned, each of us and all of us, into humble missionary parishioners. 


And what this dream of mine entails is that we would each be morphed into God's humble serving love in the world for just one person. We each know that brother-in-law, that sister-in-law, that neighbor, that father-in-law, that coworker, who would be so opened to the eternal touch of God's love IF it would come to them through your humble and tender concern. It is by our humble service in love that God intends to save the world one heart at a time. Each of us and all of us can be morphed into these effective, humble servants-missionary parishioners

Join me in considering this fundamental means or mode of God at work in the world - morphing the divine glory into humble service in love for the sake of changing human lives that are dead, empty and hopeless into Christian lives of communion in faith, hope, and love.

This is our calling, this is our opportunity, this is God's mission and purpose, this is the purpose of the church, and this could become our purpose-morphed into a missionary Parish. This is the commissioning of the disciples by Jesus at the Last Supper.  Yes, this is about the sacramental priesthood - but it is more deeply about the Body of Christ, the life of the Church.  We are to become the priestly missionaries off baptism - morphed into God's humble servants in love - missionaries to the world that the world might be touched and transformed from hopelessness and slaves of death into joyful servants of Christ in freedom and eternal life. 


Help me in the days and months ahead to realize this dream, this morphing of our individual lives and our parish life, that we might become the very "humble servants for the sake of love" transforming the world one life at a time into a holy Communion of Christ's missionary disciples.



Why not?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Homily Prep May 18

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00, 8:00, & 11:00

Forgive or Forget it #5: What Forgiveness is Not




Friday, May 9, 2014

Homily video prep May 11

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 11:00am and 6:00pm

Forgive or forget it! Part IV



Friday, May 2, 2014

May 4 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 12:30 Sunday

Forgive or Forget It - Again


Friday, April 25, 2014

"Forgive or Forget It"

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat, 9:30am and 6:00pm Sunday

Sent to Forgive

I am entitling this homily "sent to forgive" because I cannot decide which of these things is more pressing-that we are sent or that we are called to a mission of forgiveness. I am thinking that the mission of God (to be in communion with his beloved human creatures) would vote for:  forgiveness. What I mean is that Jesus' great work was reconciling humanity with God(that involves the forgiveness of sin). Because of our Godlikeness and our Christlikeness we humans cannot be reconciled with God without being reconciled with our brothers and sisters. There is the forgiveness piece.

I am reading a new book entitled "facing forgiveness". Evidently, those who are happy identify forgiveness as the quality most associated with their happiness.  This forgiveness/reconciliation is the crux of the Paschal mystery that we have just celebrated in the Lenten/Easter event.  

Forgiveness is also the most troubling and difficult act/mystery for Christians who are serious about their spiritual life. Forgiveness or mercy is certainly the least attractive or recommended virtue by our secular culture. We do not have good examples from public life of those who forgive or how to forgive or the benefit of forgiving.

Would you like to learn more about forgiving?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Holy Week Homily April 13

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm on Saturday 8:00am and 12:30pm

 Holy Week?  Holy Spirit? Holy Catholic Church?

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 6 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org 
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 11:00am

Do you believe in Jesus Christ???


Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 30 -Fourth of Lent

-Last  homily is available by email 
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will celebrate Mass at 5:30 Sat and 9:30am and 6:00pm on Sunday

Is your believing "seeing"?

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 23, lent 3 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 PM, 8:00 AM and 12:30 PM on Sunday

Do you renounce Satan and all his empty show?



Friday, March 14, 2014

March 16 video Homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 and 9:30 and 12:30

Have you rejected Satan, and all his works?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Do you reject Satan?-Sunday, March 9 prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 sat and 11:00am Sunday

Do you reject Satan?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Homily Prep March 2

 -This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
 -I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30, 8:00, 6:00pm.

Servants of Who?

Servant of the "Self". It may be just my perception rather than a fact but the message I hear in the public square is constantly saying that simply obeying the law (avoid hurting other individuals) makes us virtuous, paying taxes (with all of our legal deductions) is an unjust burden of having to care for the lazy poor, and being tolerant (no hate crimes) is the highest form of civility(being a good neighbor)

There's a few obvious problems with this.  One, it has resulted in a distorted sense of what it means to be human, especially in the young. Two, it is an understanding of goodness or morality(civility) that is imposed upon us - not chosen by us out of devotion to our beloved citizenship.  Three and most troubling, it has produced a very low functioning "collective" of individuals we call society. The participants int this collective busy themselves with adoration of broken heroes (that make us feel good about ourselves), celebration (with religious devotion and fervor) our annual "high holy days” of Superbowls and shopping frenzies, excitement in almost weekly fads (to dull our sense of loneliness) - all with an almost schizophrenic demand that the world "leave me alone"(privacy).

That's apparently who human beings are in American society.  Servants of the "self".  At least that is what our behavior and story line says. This Sunday's scripture call us to be something very different: the Servants of Christ.

In contrast to the worldly servants of the "self", the servants of Christ are formed into their identity by living with and among a community(not a collective of individual isolates), a living organism, a body, whose mutually dependent members (not privacy-demanding paranoiac's)  are dedicated to God our creator and redeemer as the beginning, center, and goal of life. What we learn from these children of God is that obeying the law is simply the beginning of righteousness (which is the cause of holiness), paying taxes is what others can demand of us and ultimately is all about our our survival ( having very little to do with our need to give ourselves away for the sake of love and the least), and tolerance is not loving at all and it is to be applied only to the unavoidable pain and losses of life so that through those, the wisdom of our Suffering Saviour, can increase in our hearts and minds.

As with the servants of the "self "in our society, there are a few obvious problems with the storyline of the servants of Christ. A huge majority of Catholics (75%) live lives in the world and in relationship to the church that say that the communion of the faithful is not necessary for a full and happy life. Even more startling may be that some Catholics who regularly celebrate the holy Eucharist do so from under this worldly delusion  or storyline. Jesus has identified this worldly attitude of the self lived by religious people as that of the Pharisees. Remember, that his sermon on the mount of this Sunday's Scriptures was begun with "your righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees".

Which storyline is your life the product of? Which storyline is closest to your experience of church? Which story line is your life in the church communicating to the world?

Servants of who?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Homily Prep for February 23 - right?

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-his Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00, 12:30, and 6:00pm

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is being right, righteousness? Don't think so.

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend on Sunday at 9:30 and 11:00am


Is Right Righteous?

I think we might be in for a big surprise this weekend with the call to be righteous.  I'm thinking that we won't be able to respond to the call because our society has basically forgotten what righteousness is. Our society has replaced the call to righteousness(which by the way means right with God and neighbor according to justice) with the insistence with simply always being "right". 

This idea of being "right" all the time is the manifestation of our society's loss of humility and a sense of personal sin.  People today pretty much strive to always see themselves as "right".  What I mean by right is that I can never admit to any fault, sin, or wrong.  So that endless television programs and radio talk show keep presenting to us this line of thinking...."according to my self-created standards, I haven't done anything that anybody else can judge as wrong. In fact, no one has the right to judge me at all."

The fancy word fo this societal rationale is relativism.  It is at work in our daily lives.  Everyone has decided that no one else is allowed to judge them for believing what they believe.  And everybody is allowed to do or say whatever they feel/determine is best for them at that time in their circumstances.  And even if other people don't like it, that doesn't make it wrong.  That just makes other people cranky and judgmental.   The mantra of this "rightness" is "Only God can Judge Me(by the way they have created their version of God so even God won't judge them".


A Pharisee was someone who had achieve a certain level of righteousness (right order with God and neighbor), someone who also took created for it.  Just another self-centered, God-imitator.  Jesus says that we ought to be minimally as righteous as the pharisee - but exceed that to give God the credit.  It is tough being someone who plays by the rules in a world where everyone else is changing the rules whenever it suits them. 

So Jesus is calling us and empowering us to recognize laws that come from God, obey them as they are interpreted by the Church, and live them in humility and service to other who have no clue or interest in God, obedience, faith, Church, humility or love of neighbor?  That is righteousness. 



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Homily Prep 2/9

-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 Sat and 8:00am and 6:00pm Sunday

"Revelation is Re-creation" or "Show Your Stuff"

Do you know that we lose 10% of our muscle mass for everyday that we lay in bed?  We must exercise the muscles we have to preserve them for tomorrow. The point of the scriptures this week is "use it or lose it"

The disciples of Jesus and the people of God for that matter are taught to be what they are. A light.  In fact, be what they are by shining (through good works) and you will become more of what and who you are. So, revealing who we are as the children of God makes us more of who we are. Revelation is re-creation.

I hear two challenges for contemporary believers.

1. Many of us are not convinced we are light in The Lord. That's a believing problem. So, we have to hear again and believe.  So, a lack of spiritual "self-esteem" is causing us to atrophy. Fake it til you make it would. E the advice for this crowd. Shine AS IF you  are light and your wound will be healed.

 2. Many of us believe that we must do good works in order to become light in the Lord. That of course is backwards and problematic because it denies God's power in us and for us. God and grace precede us in everything. Rely on God even in blindness and you will see and be the light.

Any thoughts from your life?


Friday, January 17, 2014

January 19th Homily prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 9:30am and 6:00pm Sunday

I Did Not Know Him

Is it possible that those of us who claim to be the children of God, the members of the church, baptized Christians, like John the Baptist "do not know him"? How could John, who is so closely related to Jesus, claim twice in the Gospel text today that I "did not know him"?

I wonder if this all has something to do with this "familiarity breeds contempt"? What I mean is, that we finally realize at the latest revelation of who Jesus is that we have "not known him"?  That's a pretty honest and bold admission for those who are so presumably close to Jesus.

I wonder if this is not the danger of being a church person? Meaning isn't not possible that we have clung to some knowledge or impression of Jesus and operated out of that impression and only to find out now that we "do not know him"?
What do you think?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Baptism of The Lord - get it?

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat and 9:30 Sunday


Click here to find video prep

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 5 - the Epiphany

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email -
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 on Sat an 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM and the 6:00 on Sunday

Little Christmas

Back in Pennsylvania (where my parents grew up) my grandparents used to speak about "Little Christmas" or "Russian Christmas" which was typically January 6 the feast of the three Kings : The Epiphany of today. As I came to find out the ethnic groups from Europe brought to these little coal-mining towns the European custom of celebrating the Three Kings as Christmas or according to the Russian orthodox calendar. My grandmother always said that the Russian lady across the street always got her Christmas tree cheap because they celebrated Christmas two weeks late.

What does the feast of the three Kings, little Christmas, or epiphany hold for us. It is another Christmas "epi - phanie" = revealing to everyone. Do you see the star? Can you find the king? Are you looking still?