Jubilee: Homily for Saturday, August 5, 2017

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Readings for Today

A characteristic of God that cannot be missed is his love for all people.  Again and again, both in the New Testament and the Old, we see the care and concern of God for all people.  It does not matter if one is poor or rich, God loves all.  One way in which this is seen clearly is in the idea of the Jubilee.  There is a making things right attitude that helps all to get their due.  It is the horizontal justice we should have, one for another.

It can be the case that we may want mercy from God, but not be willing to extend that mercy to others.  The Jubilee reminds us that all is a gift from God.  Nothing is ours alone.  All of us have received underserved blessings.  Today, revel in God’s glory and generosity.

Manifest: Homily for the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, August 4, 2017

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Readings for Today

Things are not always as they seem.  If the life of the saint we have today was only about his academic achievements, we might never have heard of him.  Due to the circumstances of his life, his education was spotty at best.  He spent years as a deserter for the army.  His ordination to the priesthood occurred only by intervention of another.  On the surface, one could be excused for writing off Saint John Vianney.

But, thanks be to God, things are not always as they appear.  For what the Cure D’Ars, as he was sometimes called did not have in academic prowess, he more than made up for in holiness.  The people of his day soon came to see his holiness.  Sixteen and eighteen hours a day he heard confessions.  He was constant attentive to his people’s needs.

who do we miss because we limit them?  Who is that person who is not who they appear to be?  Do we miss holiness because we focus on the wrong things? To be sure, things are not always as they appear.  So do your best today to pray for God’s presence in your life.

Presence: Homily for Thursday, August 3, 2017

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Readings for today

It is interesting that there is sometimes a little bit of wisdom in our misguided human actions.  What the people wanted in making the Golden Calf was a tangible sign of God’s presence.  What God gives them, through Moses today, is the Ark of the Covenant, the sign of the covenant God has made with the people. This is the sure sign for a frightened people that God is still present.  By the Ark of the Covenant, the people know they will not be abandoned by God.

We can feel that same anxiety at times, and seek out certainty in a way that does not show forth the holiness of God.  But just as the Ark of the Covenant was given as a sign of God’s presence, so to the Eucharist, present in so many Catholic churches is the reminder of the presence of Jesus all around us. Perhaps today God is asking you to seek him by visiting a Catholic church for adoration or a visit.

Changed: Homily for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

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Readings for Today

Change is the first word of the spiritual life.  We must change from sin to life.  We must allow God to change us.  Even a quick look around our world today can show us there are many evil actions by men and women.  There is violence.  There is greed.  There is selfishness.  And yet, when we encounter God, we are changed.

Moses was changed by encountering God.  We are changed too.  The change in Moses was obvious.  His face became radiant.  He was not the same.  While we may not experiening the physical changes that Moses did, when we pray, we too are changed.  The presence of God, which is all around us, changes us when we acknowledge God’s precense.  Open your hearts to the power of God to change us back to what we were meant to be.

Mercy: Homily for Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, August 1, 2017

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Readings for Today

There is a natural tension between justice and mercy.  On the one hand, it is important to know that there are actions that are wrong, and that when we commit them we need to seek mercy.  On the other hand, God does not condemn us when we sincerely seek his forgiveness.  He has mercy.

Today we celebrate Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, founder of the Redemptorist Order.  He lived at a time with harsh rules and a spirituality which considered the human being to be fundamentally evil.  Against this backdrop, Alphonsus stressed the mercy and forgiveness of God.  Moses does this too.  He seeks God’s mercy for the sins of the people.  Perhaps today, in honor of Saint Alphonsus, you might go to confession to receive God’s mercy.

The Jesuits: Homily for the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, July 31, 2017

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Readings for Today

I do not know of too many people that like tests.  And yet life is full of them.  There are the school tests.  There are life tests.  There are the tests caused by another person.  There are tests that are passed, and others that are failed.  Today we celebrate Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who appeared to have failed.  Yet this apparent failure led to his greatest success.

And so it can be with us.  When things do not go as we expect, we can become disappointed. And yet, sometimes it is precisely when we fail that we learn from it to go on to do something we cannot imagine.  We lose a job, only to find a job we could never imagine doing.  We struggle in a relationship only to find the person we truly love.  Illness can sometimes help to provide clarity.  For Saint Ignatius, the injuries that ended his dream of being a great soldier led him to find the way to God.

Anxiety: Memorial of Saint Martha, July 29, 2017

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Readings for Today

I can readily identify with Martha.  Anxious.  Worried.  Will everything turn out ok? What if it doesn’t? Her mind likely runs a mile a minute.  Everything little and not so little thing produces the same anxiety.  How she must envy her sister Mary.  Calm.  Able to relax.  Able to listen to Jesus without the worry and anxiety of making sure every little thing is perfect.

Anxiety arises when we do not have control.  Faith arises when we recognize God is in control.  Today we celebrate Martha’s holiness even as she is anxious.  She comes to believe in Jesus.  She becomes holy by trusting God.  She comes to believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  Pray that in spite of our anxiety, we too may come to believe more in God.

Rules: Homily for Friday, July 28, 2017

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Readings for Today

I do not like rules unless I make them.  I like to do what I want to do.  I think I know best.  I think I know what I should do with my life and how I should act.  But I am not always right.  Sometimes I make errors.  In fact, often that is the case.  The first judgement about a person is not always right.  Engaging in a certain behavior does not always lead to happiness.

Why? Because my perspective is limited.  I do not see God clearly, and what I do see, unless I am open to God is clouded.  I sin.  I judge others unfairly.  I choose behaviors that seem good at the time, but lead me astray.  If I could only trust God enough to see the world as he does, I would be happier and more fulfilled.  And for that, I need to follow the rules of God which lead to life.

The Power of Story: Homily for Thursday, July 27, 2017

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Readings for Today

Who doesn’t love a good story? Or who has not been ever caught up in a powerful movie? Things that appear to be untrue, can fool us by their power into thinking they are true.  Today’s gospel features the disciples asking Jesus why he tells stories.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to tell them what they need to know directly?

The truth is that God, and God’s kingdom, is beyond our comprehension.  We can only come to know and understand God a very tiny bit.  And the way we approach the unknowable is to start with what we know.  This is not only good education, but also good theology.  By telling the people stories they understand, they might come to know a little better the God they cannot understand.

Family Vacation: Homily for Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, July 26, 2017

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Readings for Today

Probably everyone has an image of the family vacation.  Those long trips in the car headed towards a destination of promised fun.  And as long as the focus is on the exciting vacation, things go well.  But if the vacation is slow in coming, then we grumble.  We fight.  “Are we there yet?” As the destination becomes cloudy and distant, we become discouraged.

And when this happens, bad things appear good.  We begin to think that maybe the destination is not so good.  We wonder if it even exists.  This is what happens to the Israelites.  The destination of the promised land is not clear.  It has become cloudy and distant.  Ask God to renew the promise and give life.