Category: Daily Homily

Earthen Vessels: Homily for Friday, June 16, 2017

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Readings for today.

One aspect of reading the Bible is that there are so many ways to understand it.  There is poetry, legal text, history and didactic teaching.  The imagry and poetry stands out.  Perhaps because the images are often so common.  It is easy to understand Paul’s point in the first reading.  We are of the earth.  We are fragile.  To be of the earth is the root of the word human.  While we can do good, we are also capable of real harm, real violence.

Contrast the natural analogy, earthen vessel, to God.  God is not natural.  God is supernatural, above the natural world.  It is often this contrast that causes people to misunderstand the claims of religion.  For as much as humans accomplish, they cannot accomplish eternal life.  That is gift.  It comes from God. As much has human beings can do tremendous things, God is far greater.  When we recognize this, when we allow that God enables the truly great, it is then that we understand faith.

Understand: Homily for Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Readings for Today

When I first started teaching religion, what quickly became clear is that simply memorizing information does not automatically lead to discipleship.  Just because a student knows a bunch of truths of the faith does not mean the same student will make changes to live a life in union with Jesus.  I soon discovered students in the classroom who knew all of the right information but did not believe it to be true. I realized that I need to help foster what to do with the information.  I needed to begin to provide opportunities for prayer, for practice.

The readings today emphasize deep understanding. Too often there can be a temptation to stop at the surface.  I do not kill.  That should be enough.  No, I need to avoid the ways in which anger can kill.  I must not only meet the letter of the law, but must go deeper to meet the spirit of the law.  How do I know I am deeper than the surface of the Word of God? By getting to know the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Challenge: Homily for Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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Readings for Today

As a teacher, I have been known to say “Christianity is not for wimps.” My point was that Jesus was not a teddy bear whose only purpose was to make us feel better about ourselves.  Following Jesus would require something from the disciple.  Following Jesus means discipline.  Following Jesus means sacrifice.  Following Jesus means standing up for what is right and true, even in the face of opposition.  Why engage in a way of life that can be so hard?  Why not simply strive for enjoyment?

Truth is, anything worthwhile requires discipline and sacrifice.  Ask those who are married about the challenge of being faithful to the demands of marriage.  Without sacrifice and discipline, marriage becomes a selfish endeavor.  Parents who make no sacrifices and have no discipline will not raise healthy children.  Good employees, good practitioners, good students, good laborers, good anything means discipline and sacrifice.  Those who do not sacrifice or have discipline will not receive the fulfillment hard work brings.  What are you willing to sacrifice for Jesus

Salt and Light: Homily for Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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Readings for Today

Remember salt pork?  It was not the most wonderful thing to eat, but it made quite a difference.  There are those people when eating a meal, even before they taste the meal it must be covered with salt.  There are foods that must be eaten with salt, at least in the opinion of some people.  French fries. Potato chips.  Eggs. Salt adds flavor.  But salt also protects.  Salt helps to preserve foods from going bad.  In an age without refrigeration, salt was an important ingredient in any kitchen.

By using this image, Jesus helps to create the analogy to faith, which has similar qualities.  Faith, too, adds flavor to life.  Faith too, preserves and protects important things.  A disciple is a witness.  A disciple has discovered how it is that faith protects.  And a disciple is one who makes sure to preserve the openness to God, to his grace, so that the flavor that changes life is not lost.

Motivation: Homily for Monday, June 12, 2017

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Readings for Today

Two people face the same situation, with the same challenges, the same risks, the same potential reward.  Why is it that one person chooses to embrace the challenge, whereas the other person does not?  What makes for the difference?  Even the same person can be drawn to take on a challenge in one instance, and pass on a similar challenge at another time.  While the question of free will and why humans choose what they do may seem easy, it should be understood that there are a lot of factors that go into even making a simple choice.

Today’s readings focus attention on the question of motivation.  Why do we do what we do?  In the first reading, Saint Paul describes a series of reasons for his actions.  The gospel recounts the Beatitudes, a section of Matthew’s gospel many are familiar with, having heard and read it often.  What motivation will you have for what you do?

Unity: Homily for Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017

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Readings for Today

There seems to be an awful lot of anger.  It appears there is not an issue that does not cause two people to get angry with each other.  It becomes difficult to bring up any issue in certain settings, because it is likely emotions will get out of control.  As a result of this anger, people might decide only to seek out those with whom they agree.  They might choose only to read, watch or listen to those news sources that share or confirm their own bias.  As a result, it can be even more difficult to find areas where a person can encounter a differing point of view.

Does anyone have a desire for greater unity?  More civility?  And in the midst of this anger, what’s a Catholic to do? How can Catholics both commit to the truth on the one hand, while on the other hand choosing the method of conversation and dialogue that leads another to listen? Perhaps the answer lies in the unity of three persons in one God.

Thank God!: Homily for Saturday, June 10, 2017

I am not nearly as grateful as I should be.  So much in  my life has been a gift I have not deserved.  Certainly the most important is the gift of my creation, my life, from God, which I did nothing to earn.  But there are the countless gifts I simply take for granted.  My basic needs are met.  My education has been provided by others.  The Dominican community which is so important to me has become so because of God’s mercy and the mercy of my brothers.  Again and Again, rather than seeing the overwhelming gifts I have been given, it seems more to me that I am too quick to take credit for my accomplishments, and too quick to focus on my sufferings.

Today’s first reading provides a wonderful picture of the fruit of gratitude.  With a grateful heart that seeks to be seen in a gift to a helpful stranger, Tobit encounters the living God in the Archangel Raphael.  While it certainly did not appear so to Tobit, God was always present in his life moving and acting in grace.  Show your gratitude today to see the active presence of God.

Help me to see: Homily for Friday, June 9, 2017

Yesterday we saw the prayers of Sarah being answered.  Today, it is the prayer of Tobit.  But was the most important prayer really the regaining of his sight? Or, was it rather the realization that his son had embraced the faith so important to him?  Was it because he could see physically, or was it that he could see with pride how the grace of God was active in his own son’s life, and indeed in his own life?

Realization of the presence of God is amazing indeed.  Life in fact, seems so much clearer when we can see the events of our lives unfold not simply with our physical eyes, but also with the eyes of our soul.  It is this type of sight that often accounts for our ability to prioritize, to make important, and to determine the path of holiness which leads us to God.

A Noble Purpose: Homily for Thursday, June 8, 2017

The reality of prayer, especially a petition (asking God for something) or an intercession (praying on behalf of someone else) can be a challenging aspect of the spiritual life.  When a prayer is answered for something that seems utterly impossible, the result of a prayer, answered in a way we wish, can be overwhelming.  

We can ask, why doesn’t God answer my prayers?  Why is it that when I see others who appear to have their prayers answered, mine do not?  When we pray to God, the authentic prayer is the result of an attitude of trust in the God who knows best.  It is not that God never answers our prayers, but rather, that God always answers our prayers, just not always in the way we expect.

Holy Suffering: Homily for Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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Readings for Today

There are moments in life where we find ourselves at a desperate place.  At these times, it seems that there is simply nothing more we can do.  They can be moments of such suffering that we are not even sure if we can bear it.  At other times, it is the result of such hardships that it seems too much.  It can be illness, tragedy, death, ruin, whatever.  What is it that can make suffering something that does not destroy but rather gives life?  Is there such a thing as holy suffering?

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