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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 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.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 13 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this 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 9:30 and 11:00 am

The Fear Factor

 I believe this title "the fear factor" was a television show maybe 10 years ago, one of the numerous reality TV shows. The gist of the thing was putting people in competition daring them to do very frightening and hideous things (like eat bugs, jump off of heights, etc.)  I didn't like the show and I didn't watch it however I like the title.

I think the titled "the fear factor" might be subtitle of the gospel text today of Jesus and Peter walking on the water and the definition of faith. I'm sensing that the opposite of faith, according to Jesus, is fear. This fear is not from some manufactured reality show but it is fear experienced on the journey of  everyday life.   It is a fear that sucks all the oxygen out of our lives, the air which we rely upon for life, that oxygen which is faith and trust in the love that God has for us.

 So, we might be wondering if we have faith? The fear factor should reveal the answer to that question. Are you afraid? Of what are you afraid? How and to what extent has that fear caused you to take your eyes off of Jesus, to place your trust in something less than the truth about God, life, human beings, and eternity?

 Are you full of faith ( faithful) or full of fear (fearful)?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

August 6 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be preaching at all masses this weekend.

Take One Step toward....


Today the Church has the rare opportunity to celebrate the great Feast of the Transfiguration as a Sunday Celebration.  This interaction between the divine Jesus and His disciples has long stood as a call to all believers to be transformed, to allow the inner reality of our faith life to change the external realities of our lives. 
This call to transformation and expression of our divine life is at the heart of our Parish Vision 20/20, +ONE: Holy, Kind, and Giving!  The parish pastoral council has identified four goals to help us accomplish Vision 20/20 and the first goal is that "our Catholic members would better know ourselves to be holy, kind, and giving" and "that as a Catholic community we would be better known as holy, kind and giving in the world".  That sounds like transfiguration.  

Please consider in your personal life taking +ONE step into deeper holiness, +ONE step toward more kindness, and +ONE step out into generosity.  In this way we will know ourselves as an inviting communion of the faithful here and we will be known as a place and a people in which God can be found.

 Can we come to know ourselves more clearly as the children of God, disciples of Jesus, members of the household of God, living stones in the temple of the church, inviting doorways  through which  others may enter and encounter the holy communion of love, which is God.

 After consultation with the parish pastoral Council, Finance Council, School Advisory Council, Bishop Richard Lennon, and the parish pastoral staff it has been decided that we are to engage a consulting firm, Ziska  architecture, to assist us in the development of a master plan that will help us to accomplish vision 2020. In the coming weeks and months all parishioners will have the opportunity to contribute ideas, express needs and aide concerns about he master plan. 

 Likewise, to assist in the accomplishment of our vision 2020 I am introducing the Great Adventure Bible Timeline Bible study.  This approach to reading the Bible as Catholics will introduce to us the great  "love story" of God for God's people. Our hope is to connect our parish story and our personal stories with gods great story of salvation. We will begin the week of September 5 and all parishioners are invited to participate. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 30 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass on Sunday at 8:00am and 12:30pm

WWW - a good life versus an eternal one!

 Those three letters WWW have become synonymous with the Internet, in fact, they stand for World Wide Web.   Most people in the current situation are aware of what we call for shorthand "the Internet". While many of us pride ourselves on being "off-line", being "online" is to be connected to a whole "other world" and billions of people.

 The parables of Jesus, especially that of the buried treasure and the pearl of great price, invite us to consider whether or not the kingdom of God has  precedence in our life. Jesus presents the kingdom of God as the operating principle necessary for eternal life. Either one is living in the kingdom of God or one is living in the world.  Jesus is so serious about this that he has indicated that those "living in the world" will be separated from God for all eternity while those who are living "in the kingdom of God" will enjoy it eternal life.

To return to my opening image it is possible to live one's life "off-line",  that is pursuing fulfillment in life according to this world's power, standards, and successes.  It is equally possible to live one's life "online", in the world wide web, that is, pursuing  fulfillment in daily life through the  acknowledgment  of God's Kingdom, the practice of holy prayer, self-sacrifice for the sake of God, and the Christian kindness toward one's neighbor for the sake of the love of God.

 While it is possible to be rather saintly, kind, and a good person living according to the world, Jesus says that such a life would not continue through to eternal life. It is only by acknowledging and trading in one's worldly life for the sake of the kingdom of God that eternal life is possible.

How might we begin to think about  all those people who we like to judge as "good people" but not friends of God?  At the end of our lives, it seems to me that a good life lived "off-line" (ignoring the kingdom of God) is might even be a blessing for others, but it may fall terribly short when it comes to eternal life for oneself. If one comes to the end of his life and must admit that s/he does not know God it seems that the entire proposal of "a good life" is contradictory.  It has value but not eternally so.

Have you discovered the treasure of the kingdom of God and invested your entire life in it's accomplishment? If not, where can the meaning and value of your life be found?


Friday, July 21, 2017

July 23 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 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday

What Seeds are We sowing?

 Last Sunday's Homily and gospel about the sower and the seed prompted me to ask that we practice sowing seeds of the kingdom of God. I was prompted to this because so often we are asked to consider our lives as the soil into which the seeds are being sown.   I was suggesting that we are to see ourselves as sowers of the seeds of the kingdom..

 Today's gospel continues the parables of Jesus about the kingdom of God and the parable of the wheat and the weeds is confirming my question of last week. I am wondering about the quality, the holiness, and the loving quality of the seeds that we are sowing in peoples lives. It was Pope Paul VI who suggested to us in his document on evangelization that we are evangelizing all the time-sometimes it is positively for the kingdom of God and other times it is negatively. So, let's examine the seeds that we are sowing in peoples' lives.

 How often are you planting the seeds of criticism, judgment, resentment, self-defense, self-promotion, self-doubt, revenge, negativity, depression, hopelessness, etc.?  Especially in the lives of our children, our coworkers, our spouses?

 What is particularly troubling about this influence that we have in the world is that often we think we are being helpful.  Go figure.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 16 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter on the back of the parish bulletin or at www.saint-albert.org/lincletter
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Sat and 11:00am on Sunday

Sowing AND Growing

The parables of Jesus to which we are listening in these weeks of summer present us this Sunday with maybe Jesus' most famous parable, the sower and the seed.

 I believe most of us are familiar with the notion of examining our souls/hearts to determine as to whether or not we are fertile soil in which the Word or God's kingdom can be planted. I am hearing a second invitation to those of us who desire to be disciples of the Lord.   That second invitation or aspect of the parable that we might consider is how generous are we in sowing the seeds of the kingdom or God's word in our daily lives.

I believe we are called to be sowers and growers. In fact for the disciple of Jesus, the only true proof that the word or the kingdom of God has been deeply planted and grown in one's heart is the manifestation of the word being sown through us as evangelists in the world.

Throughout the years of "Every One Add One" we have been contemplating becoming more than mere members of the church but rather inviters of others. This inviting demands that the faith not only be grown in us as holiness but that we sow that love of God and the church with others through sharing. So we must be  growing the kingdom of God in our hearts and in our lives and we must be sowing the seeds of God's kingdom by sharing our faith and love with others.

 What do you think?

Friday, July 7, 2017

July 9 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 Sat at 4:00pm and Sunday 9:30 and 6:00pm

We have a missionary preacher this weekend at all Masses. Thanks for your generosity.

Friday, June 23, 2017

June 25th Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm and 8:00am on Sunday

Who Cares!

Several years ago I was in the habit of using the phrase, "I don't care".  Now, it may seem innocent enough and I was certainly using it in an innocent way.  What I mean is that I wasn't saying to people that "I don't care" I was just saying that in regards to the question they were presenting me "I didn't have an opinion one way or another."

What I came to find out is that in spite of my intentions, the words "I don't care" were heard by people as that I didn't care about them, their issue, or our conversation.  That's when I realized that I had to stop saying "I don't care" in every circumstance and in every conversation.  Because I DO care.

In this process of growing as a leader in the church especially, I became familiar with a very good expression.  It is this one, "People don't care about what you know, until they know that you care." Our God cares about us, cares for us, and will NOT leave us orphaned.

There is so much insecurity in the human family.  People are unfamiliar with the providential care of God.  The prophet Isaiah says, "I have carved you on the palm of my hand".  Religion today is not successful in communicating the preciousness of persons.  Our Catholic community is often too large and too liturgical and too dogmatic to communicate God's care for each person.

Do you know that you are important to God, that God cares for you, that God has carved you on the palm of his hand?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 18 Homily Prep

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

Something Gnawing at Me!

The word Gnaw is the one Jesus uses to describe "how" we are to eat his Body!  That is a much more aggressive word than eat. Gnawing is what dogs do to a bone.  By gnawing on the bone they grind off the outer skin and get down to the marrow, the heart of the bone, the GOOD stuff of nutrients and flavor.

So while many preachers in the church today will be trying to convince others of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I'm going to presume that we all believe THAT. Instead, I am going to ask about HOW you eat the Body of Christ, how do you consume HIm?  It is not good enough to simply "eat" and "drink" - we must ingest, we must consume Him....gnaw on the reality of Christ who died for us and has risen among us, and now lives IN us.

Gnaw on that in order to take it in and be taken in.

Friday, June 9, 2017

June 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 at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8:00am and 12:30pm on Sunday

More Like Mike

 This weekend we celebrate the feast of the most holy Trinity and our parish founders day family festival. The bottom of both of those realities is "communion" or its kissing cousin, community.

In April of this year Mike Venditti, the chairperson of our parish picnic for the past 10 or 15 years tragically died. In my friendship with Mike over the years and especially during his battle with cancer and in my knowledge of so many of his friends I have come to the conclusion that Mike was the personification of "communion"/community.

What do I mean by a personification of communion? Well, he is a person for others, a person selfless in his commitment to other people's success, a person of genuine joy and childlike laughter.  At Mike's funeral mass I suggested that all of us including me need to be "More like Mike".  The picnic planning committee who have worked alongside Mike over these many years have printed their typical picnic committee T-shirts for this year and on the back of them they have written this phrase "be like mike".

 The revelation of Jesus Christ as to "how God is" is what we in the church call the mystery of the Trinity. What Jesus came to celebrate and bring about in our midst was this reality of God, a communion of persons in love. This communion is the pattern of our creation, it is the nature of our life in the church, it is the grace of the sacraments especially the Eucharist and it is the call and the invitation to our lives in the body of Christ. To be more like God, to be more in communion, to be more of communion, to be more like Mike!

 Every once in a while God is really successful in exposing divinity in a local personality.  The first among these was of course Jesus himself. His mother Mary was another and I'm thinking Mike Venditti.  Let's take the lead of all of these "people of communion" and let's be "more like Mike". I'll see you at the parish picnic

Friday, June 2, 2017

June 4 Pentecost Homily Prep

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

 A new Pentecost

 I was fascinated to learn that the feast of Pentecost, the Jewish feast, that all the Jews had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate is a feast of 50 days after Passover (that's the name penta = 50).   As Passover celebrated the exodus of God's chosen people from slavery in Egypt, Pentecost celebrated the descent of the law on Mount Sinai in fire.

 What we see is the apostles on Pentecost, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, receiving the new law of the Holy Spirit written not on tablets of stone but on the fleshy hearts of the  rely formed people of God, the newborn church.

 This is new insight for me and it is helpful for my understanding of what is the role and the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. New law of God= "Love God and your neighbor as yourself"

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 28 Ascension Homily Prep

-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 on Saturday and 8:00am on Sunday

Move Over!

Today's celebration of  the Ascension of our Lord,  like the  common expression "move over", is the invitation to make room  in our lives for another. The reading from the Acts of the apostles, Saint Luke's second book, says very clearly that "this Jesus who has been taken up will return to you in the same way."

Rather than another new idea about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, our ascension theology or spirituality might be understood as  an invitation  to open ourselves, making room for a deeper relationship with God in our lives.

This speaks clearly to the notion of communion and the spirituality of encounter and the theme of resurrection  that I have been sharing throughout this Easter time.  The resurrection is not only something that happened to Jesus but something that has transformed our world. Step into the resurrection which is new life.

This notion of making room or "move over" can  especially affect our attitude in prayer. If praying were understood as the spiritual practice in faith of moving over to make more room for God in our hearts we might pray very differently.

This notion of "moving over" might also be helpful in our desire to live a more compassionate life in communion. The world talks to us about "tolerating others" while we in our ascension spirituality might better understand it as gently moving over and making room in our lives for others-welcoming others into our hearts.

Move over!

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 21 Homily Prep

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

 Would anyone ask?

 My barber had foot surgery a couple months ago and, for someone who spends their entire day on their feet, it was a big problem. On my last visit there I  watched him walk across the room and then I said "your foot still hurting you?"  He said "No, the  foots fine".   I said "oh? You were limping."  He  said, "I was limping? My foots not hurting. Maybe I just got into the habit of limping."

 The second reading from this Sunday's mass encourages us to be prepared with a valid explanation for others as to why we are so full of hope. My question is would anyone  inquire with me or with you about the obvious hope in our lives? Is there any symptoms noticeable in our life that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and has changed  The way we walk through life?

That's my question. What would be a symptom of hope that would be noticeable about our lives that would cause others to inquire?

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 14 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8:00 and 11:00am on Sunday


 Stairway to heaven

 Jesus in this late Easter season turns the word toward the movement, the movement of the Ascension and the movement of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. In his conversation with his followers  it is Thomas, again, who provides the introduction of Jesus as "the way, the truth, and the life." This introduction of Jesus his identity a rose out of the Lords prophecy  of his going away.

The twist in our spirituality and in the gospel is that Jesus is the destination of his own journey. This changes all of reality for those who believe.  By following Jesus "the way" we can encounter the Father.

 I am comparing the life of grace in Jesus in the church to the stairway to heaven. What I mean by that is that every step on life's journey can be transformed from emptiness into the kingdom of God. The mystery of encounter continues and extends itself into the life of the church and the life of a Christian.

Take the next step into the kingdom of having "the stairway to heaven," by entering into the moment before you.

Friday, May 5, 2017

May 7 homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4pm on Sat and 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday

Where did this Shepherd idea come from?

Jesus was a Jew who knew and loved the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus was also the divine son of God.  The prophecy of Ezekiel claimed that God would shepherd His people Israel. Jesus knew Himself as God, the new Shepherd of the flock.  When God raised Jesus from the dead he broke open a new any ternal world into which he called all humanity to live in freedom and life.

 Those of us who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead can walk in God's world, and God's ways. That would make us part of the flock of God who is our shepherd.

Do we know God to be our Shepherd?   If we do not know God as our shepherd and God's world as our pasture and gods voice as our Way, Who IS the shepherd of our lives?   In whose world do we exist? In who's away and whose voice do we follow?  Are we open to hearing the voice of resurrected Jesus our God who is a shepherd for us?

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 30 Homily Prep

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

 Blind seeing!

This great resurrection story of the road to Emmaus is the scriptural basis for Pope Francis theology of encounter.   You might recall that this theology or mystery of encounter was also the basis for our Lenten mission called Church @home".

The Gospel story of the  road to Emmaus and the spirituality of encounter teach us and call us to meet the Lord Jesus through the encounter with our neighbor, especially the poor neighbor in need.  The two disciples on the road to Emmaus are for me an image of how many of us as Catholics have walked our journey of faith. We have gathered together as believers looking for Jesus  however not recognizing him as he is in our midst.

 Much of our inability to recognize Jesus as he is in the midst of us has to do with our religious training. What I mean is that we have been trained from our youngest days to recognize Jesus only in certain places and certain ways, for example in the word of God, in the priest, in the blessed sacrament.   That religious training may have caused a certain blindness in our seeing.

I  call it  blind seeing. We have trained our eyes of faith  and that training has limited us and actually become a certain blindness.

Through the church at home process and through the call of Pope Francis we are being invited to have our eyes open and recognize Jesus  in all the traditional places however in an additional place-in the midst where two or more of us are gathered in his name.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 23 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4 PM on Saturday, 8 AM,  11 AM, and 6:00 pm on Sunday

 God or mercy with skin on it

 On this Mercy Sunday we will really not be preaching with words but rather with a gesture of mercy-the anointing of the sick. At all the masses this weekend we will be anointing all those who present themselves as chronically, critically, pre-surgically ill.  For the celebration of the sacrament is what I call Mercy or God with skin on incarnate.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Homily April 16, 2017

-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at the 8:45pm Saturday Easter Vigil, 9:30am Mass in Church and the 11am Mass in the Hall on Easter Sunday.

Baptism, New creation, and the Sign of the Cross.

What do those three things have in common?  The Blessed Trinity. My hope is to transform the prayer and practice of the Catholic community in one simple Homily. That prayer is "the sign of the cross" and the practice of using the gesture/prayer as a connection to baptismal water.  In this prayer we are reminded of our being created as a new creature made in the divine image which is a communion of persons in love.  Could this connection change the way you live, pray, and have your being?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

April 9 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 8:00 and 11:00am on Sunday

Come out

 This Palm Sunday of the Lord's passion invites us to "participate". Throughout this Lenten season I have been reminding us of the call to "go to God together" which is challenging the religious attitude of many Catholics. Too many of us have a private  spiritual well-being plan as our religious life. We are called like the crowds in the company of Jesus to go to God together, to come out of the tomb of our private spiritual well-being program (that we call our religious life) and to  take a chance on a communal journey to the heart of God which we call communion.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 2 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30pm on Sat and 9:30am and 6:00pm on Sunday

Come Out!

St. Albert the Great "Church@Home" mission this Lent admittedly was a stretch for many of us.  For most of us our sacramental catholic faith encouraged us to meet Jesus in the sacramental rites and grace of the Church - but not necessarily in the sacramental nature of the church community itself.

So the call to encounter in our "Church@Home" mission was an invitation to step out of our religious comfort zone -  what I am imiging today as the tomb of our old Catholic thinking and believing. Martha is the primary example of this type of dead faith - all the right answers without communion in the faith of Jesus Christ!  It is possible for us to have a relationship with Jesus Christ but to be dead in our limited faith in what that means.

Just so, it is possible for us to have full membership in the Catholic Church through the sacraments and be entombed in our relationship to the living Christ in the church. So,  St. Albert the Great "Church@Home" is a call to all of us to "come out" of isolated private religious lives and to be free of fear and suspicion, and to join our hearts to the living Christ - the church.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

march 26 Homily Prep

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

You can't encounter what you refuse to see

 This issue of seeing is really a metaphor for the change of mind that is meant by repentance or conversion. This is so true that we might say instead of "seeing is believing" we would say "believing is a certain type of seeing".

 Pharisees in today's gospel cannot see or will not see as God sees-that we all belong together to God. The Pharisees can only see how others don't belong to God  like they do.

This is a very dangerous temptation for religious people even in our day. We can become obsessed with the distinctions and differences between us rather than the fundamental unity among us

Friday, March 17, 2017

March 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 at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 12:30pm and 6:00pm on Sunday

Prohibited Encounters of the Christian Kind

 We might be able to call this meeting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, the woman at the well, a "prohibited encounter of the Christian kind". That's a little twist on a movie made famous in the 1970s  about extraterrestrial visitors.

This is our first week of "church@home: friends encountering Christ!" The entire premise of this Lenten "Home" mission is the gospel call to meet Christ in the human encounter of love. We call those encounters of love communion.

The strange thing about  this first week's encounter is the prohibited nature of it. Because of the people involved, the location, the religious orientation of each, the time of day, and the personal story of each this  encounter is not only unlikely, unexpected, but almost prohibited by the mores and the traditions of the time.

 The call and the lesson for us as the disciples of Jesus is 1. Do we believe that Christ is available to us and to other people through human encounter? And 2. How many people, persons, types, groups, etc are "prohibited" for you, meaning "off limits" for us?  Some of these barriers to encounter might be based on our upbringing, our religious thinking, our sense of what is polite, our fear of others. Others of these barriers are imposed by our hurt feelings,  past injuries, resentments.   We are not anticipating, expecting, nor looking forward to meeting Jesus through encounter with any of "those" people. What a shame

This Lenten journey is an  invitation for us to "get over it". It is an opportunity to have our minds changed, converted, the freedom to look at these people not as  something to be avoided but rather as an opportunity to draw closer to real life, real God, heaven.   It will demand some understanding, forgiving, accompaniment, and integration...a change of heart!  But that's what religious life in the Catholic Church is all about, repentance, conversion, change of mind and heart.

So who's on your list ? And how might one of these prohibited encounters draw you more closely to the church, to heaven, to God?

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 12 - Lent 2

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

#gotoGodtogether

How has Jesus revealed himself to his closest disciples?  As One in relationship, One belonging to others in the family/history of faith.  Moses, Elijah, Beloved Son, teacher of the Truth....relationship!

Are we seeing ourselves in the spirit of Jesus...as members, belonging? In fact, can we say that belonging is the heart of our believing?  Why not?

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 5-Lent I

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

 We go to God together

 This is the theme that I have struck for this Lenten time  particularly focusing upon our Lenten spiritual formation process called "church@home: friends encountering Christ".   This first Sunday of Lent has the traditional temptations of Jesus in the desert. It is also the weekend when we send our catechumens and candidates for initiation into the Catholic Church to the bishop for the Rite of Election.  My call and invitation is against the traditional individualistic pietistic interpretation of the season of Lent. I believe that most of our  lenten thinking, praying, and spirituality is not very Christian.

What I mean by not "Christian" is that it is largely a denial of our membership and participation in Christ, the church. So much of our  religious thinking around the season of Lent is about our personal sinfulness, our individual unworthiness, and our strategies for convincing God that we are not be sent to hell.  Nothing could be less "Christian" than that.

 I'm suggesting that the spirituality of communion, that we "go to God together" is at the bottom of our baptismal theology of salvation. We are baptized "into Christ" so that we do not approach the throne of grace or the Father as individuals but rather as members, branches on the vine,  members of one another, belonging.

 I am going to be focusing upon the prayers of the mass. Notice with me that they are all spoken in the plural first person or the plural subject of the preposition so it is all "we, our, us, your people, etc". Maybe the grammar of the mass ought to challenge the grammar of our personal prayer, our personal spiritual lives, and our personal confession of sin. Do we pray, think, and confess as a member of the body of Christ or as an individual, "me and Jesus" mentality?

 This corporate, communal, "believing as belonging" is underlying the spirituality of encounter or the spirituality of communion that we are growing in through our Lenten program of "Church@home".

  Do you believe this? How do you see yourself approaching the throne of grace? Is there anyone with you? Let me know

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January 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 at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
 -I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 on Saturday, 9:30am and 12:30pm on Sunday.

What's Your Profile?

 I would say that about half of the couples who is weddings I am asked to have every year have met on "match.com" "eHarmony" or some other website. I always ask them and I am interested as to what made them  click on to their fiancĂ© online.  The wisdom of these online programs lies in the profile that the individual registers with. What is your profile?

The beatitudes from Jesus is sermon on the mount are the subject of the gospel reading for this Sunday of the church year. While the beatitudes have always been understood as the law of the gospel so that they are understood as "should do" principles,  I have come to understand them to be not only the profile of a disciple of Jesus but they are Jesus his profile.

How can we understand living the beatitudes as living life as Jesus lived it.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 21 Homily Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org
-check out this week's LinC Letter at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 5:30 on Saturday, 12:15 mass at the Cathedral and 6:00pm at St. Albert on Sunday

Back to Square One

Jesus in the Gospel today fulfills the ancient prophecy regarding Zebulon and Naphtali as the beginning of his public ministry. Why so? Evidently Jesus saw the beginnings of his work of salvation in the light of reclaiming the ancient tribes of Israel beginning with those first lost. Nine centuries before the time of Jesus Christ the tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali were exiled by the Assyrians.  Six centuries before the time of Jesus finally the southern tribes of Judah, Israel, were exiled. They all had to be reclaimed according to the order they were lost. Jesus, according to the angel who gave him his name, "Will save his people".

 It is also in that ancient territory to be reclaimed for God that Jesus found and called his apostles. He called his apostles for two purposes. First, he called them to be with him.  Second, he called them to be sent from him. This being "called and sent" out of the place where one is lost might invite us to consider the beginnings of our separation from God and the source of our salvation.

So, let's go back to square one. Let's remember where we were when we were saved. Let's recognize that we were in fact called not simply to come home from exile but we were called from being lost so that we might be sent. The apostle is one who, most perfectly like Jesus from the Father, is sent.

Where were you when you were lost? Well, where were you when he called you? And how have you been sent?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jan 15 Homily Prep

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

He's the Lamb, Who are You?

In the scriptures many persons are identified for us....who are they?  Israel, Paul, the church at Corinth, John, Jesus....

Identity is at the heart of mission.  So, who are you? In what relationship do you know yourself best, first, most dominating in your life?

Do you know yourself first and foremost, fundamentally and existentially, in your waking moment and deepest dreams as one related to God? Or, is your self-knowledge in reflection of some lesser entity?

Does that identity affect your daily walk, mission, happiness?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Jan 8 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 at www.parishlincletter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass at 4:00 on Sat and 9:30am on Sunday

Home or Comb

 I am thinking about the revelation of Jesus Christ as Savior of the whole world as seen in the adoration of the magi and the home blessing that we are providing  at all of the masses this weekend. All of this under the umbrella theme of living a shared life in communion.

 On the feast of  the nativity and of Mary the mother of God I was encouraging us to examine the insular or insulated lives that we live even in very close quarters, habitual relationships, marriage,  Family, church. While we can on the outside and even in our minds believe we are sharing a life, too much of life proves that we are simply sharing space.

I have used the image of a beehive or honeycomb to present this "very close quarters but separate insulated lives". We can accept simple geographic proximity as a Shared life. Such proximity is a sad imposter to sharing life and love-communion.

As I described on the feast of Mary the mother of God we can insulate ourselves  in life by putting up the walls of resentment, anger, defensiveness, fear, self loathing etc. It is also possible, however, that we pigeonhole the people in our lives so that we enslave them or inprison them in our judgment of them.   So we build a wall around them because we think we know them and of course we cannot trust them to change.

 The feast of the epiphany is a startling revelation of the fact that all of humanity is called to worship our God. That we are a human family made in the image and likeness of God and that our God has come to save all of us. The home blessing that we will distribute at the end of masses today  can be seen as an invitation to open the door of our heart to at least one person. As we say the prayer of blessing and mark the lintel of the door of our home let's say the blessing over our hearts, our families, our marriages. Let's break down the wall of emnity  that divides us ,separates us even when we are living in such close proximity -  one to the other.

In Christ Jesus we are one person. This delusion of private life, that it is my life, and that no one can  be involved or certainly impact my life is the spirit of the world which Jesus Christ came to conquer.

 Let us come to life in our home by sharing life with those closest to us. It is God's intention from the beginning and it is Jesus' mission as savior of the world