Weakness and Strength: Homily for Feast of Saint James, July 25, 2017

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Readings for Today

When it comes to our relationship with God, it can be assumed that suffering is no more.  That when we accept God, we will always and everywhere be free from suffering.  And yet, it does not take long to learn that sin and evil are still present in our world.  We discover that we are fragile and broken still.

It is only when we remember the victory of Jesus that things change.  Because we learn that it may be precisely because we are Christian that we experience pain and suffering.  But when we love Jesus, we realize that in these sufferings we are not alone.  That while we as humans are fragile and broken, God is not.

Regrets: Homily for Monday, July 24, 2017

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Readings for Today

Sometimes we can think that once we say “yes” to God all of our troubles are gone.  We can believe that we will never suffer, never experience hardship, never be sad.  We can reduce our relationship with God to one as with a magician.  Magically, everything is always wonderful.

But such is not the promise of a relationship with God.  Because of sin in the world, evil is in the world too.  Bad things happen to people of faith.  There are still martyrs.  There are still those who experience injustice.  What God promises is that we are never alone.  And once we realize that, we are happy indeed.

The Fruits of Prayer: Preaching. Homily for Saturday, July 22, 2017

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Readings for Today

Contemplare aliis tradere.  To contemplate in order to give the fruits of contemplation to others. That is the connection between prayer and action.  For Dominicans, it is the connection between prayer and preaching.  Remember the Baltimore Catechism question about why God made us.  “To know, love and serve Him in this life and to live forever with Him in the next.” All prayer should lead to God.  God should be the focus of our prayer.  This week we have looked, with the help of the readings, at prayer as praising, resting and thanking.  Besides our own sanctification, what is all of this for?

On this feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, by looking at her example, we get an answer.  It is this service of others.  And if we examine the life of Saint Dominic, and the driving question he asked God (What is to become of sinners?) we understand he founded the Dominican Order for preaching and the salvation of souls.  While we know Saint Mary Magdalene as one who was transformed by God’s grace, we may not always think of Mary Magdalene as the first preacher.  She was the first to proclaim to the others the resurrection of Jesus.

Do you bring new life to those around you? Are you concerned with the salvation of others?  Do you take the time to contemplate the love of God so as to share the power of that love to others who may not know Jesus? The purpose of prayer is to get to know God more.  In prayer, we come to love God more. Authentic, true love must be shared.  So, share, what God in His mercy, has done for you.

The Power of Thanks: Homily for Friday, July 21, 2017

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Readings for Today

If you are like most, there are many things in your life for which to be thankful.  Some are obvious.  We are thankful for people we love and care about.  Parents are usually grateful for their children, and vice-versa.  We might be thankful for a job, or a nice place to live.  But do we express this thanks to God?  Or do we take all of the people and things in our life for granted? It can be easy to do so.  The very fact we love someone can easily be forgotten.  We can assume they know how we feel.  Expressing to God and others our thanks is important.

But have you ever thought about giving thanks for those things that seem to be bad in our life?  For example, maybe there is that co-worker in your life that really gets on your nerves. Have you ever thought about giving thanks to God for that person? Maybe they are helping you to learn patience.  Or maybe what seems like a hardship is really a path to detachment.  By experiencing something negative, but searching for God in that experience, we can grow in faith.  So whether it is good or bad, be sure to give thanks to God today.

The Power of Rest: Homily for Thursday, July 20, 2017

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Readings for Today

Today the focus is on rest.  It can be easy to overlook just how important it is to rest.  We live in a culture where rest is not always valued.  We are expected to be productive.  Rest can seem like a waste of time.  We are expected to be available for work.  Rest can take us away from work.

But Jesus was the primary example of rest.  He often went away, sometimes at the height of his popularity.  He called the disciples to go away with him.  Rest.  Pray.  Get in touch again with the God who called them.  Get to know again what really is important about themselves and others.  For some, summer can be that time to re-create.  We can take a vacation.  Maybe we go on a retreat.  But in all the busy activity of our lives, we can never become so busy that we lose sight of God and his place in our lives.

The Power of Praise: Homily for Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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Readings for Today

God is awesome.  But do you ever take the time to praise him?  It can be easy to go to God when we are in need.  When someone we love is sick, or someone we care about needs a job.  But do we really take the time to praise God for his goodness?

Today’s gospel gives us the words of Jesus in prayer.  He praises God.  We should do the same.  We should remember how awesome God is.  Moses experiences this in the first reading.  He stands on holy ground, for he is in the presence of God.  This encounter with God changes his whole life.  He is not the same man on the run, but is rather on his way to becoming the great prophet.

The Power of Repentance: Homily for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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Readings for Today

Tyre and Sidon did not really have a good reputation.  In the book of the prophet Joel, they not only rejected the religion of Joel, but placed the silver and gold from the temple into their own temple.  And when mentioned by Jesus, the big problem is the lack of repentance.  There is no acknowledgement of sin.  There is no desire to change ways.  And for this failure, Jesus chastises them.

What about us?  Do we recognize our sin?  Do we bring this sin to Jesus to be forgiven? Do we seek reconciliation? In the modern day it is easy to excuse sin.  It seems that in modern culture there is simply no longer a sense that there are bad or immoral actions.  There can be a tendency to allow anything as long as it does not seem to bother anyone.  Perhaps the challenge is that we no longer believe in miracles.  We no longer can see the action and presence of God.  Make the first words of the gospel your own.  Repent.

The Divisive Jesus: Homily for Monday, July 17, 2017

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Readings for Today

Divisive.  It is not common these days to think of Jesus as a divisive person.  It seems the popular notion is that Jesus is a warm fuzzy teddy bear.  He loves us.  He does not challenge us.  He never scolds us or thinks we do anything wrong or sinful.  Jesus reaffirms what we already believe.  But today is different.  Today we read in the gospel about a Jesus that comes to bring division, not peace.

It is important to remember that being a Christian is not always easy.  That is why we need grace.  We need the help that God gives us to be faithful to our relationship with Jesus.  Being a Christian means standing up for what is good and right.  And there is a cost to us when we do so.  Sometimes the cost is standing up for what is right and losing friends.  Sometimes the cost is not giving in to fear and welcoming the stranger.  Sometimes the cost is not accepting the priorities of the workplace and to make other aspects of life more important.  And always the cost is recognizing that as important as family relationships and friendships are, there is no relationship more important than the one we have with Jesus.

Revenge: Homily for Saturday, July 15, 2017

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Readings for Today

It can be difficult to avoid revenge. When someone harms us we want to get back.  If someone hurts us, we want to hurt them.  Being a Christian means rising above this.  Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.  Jesus tells us to pray for persecutors.  Jesus tells us to love enemies.

But this is not possible completely on our own.  It is only possible with God’s grace.  God gives us the means to do this.  Joseph could have taken revenge on his brothers.  But God’s grace enabled him to see a greater plan of God.  Since we can in no way be greater than Jesus, let us hear his words.

Hard: Homily for Friday, July 14, 2017

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Readings for Today

Buddhism starts with a statement.  “Life is hard.” Seems so obvious.  But it is not just Buddhism that recognizes that life is hard.  So too does Jesus.  Consider the call in today’s gospel.  “Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.”  Not too hard, right? And yet, in human life is not illness, death, and evil among the things that keep us from God?

And so the message that God is with us means removing these things.  God removes what separates us from his love.  God gives life. So when God calls you to do something hard, God also gives grace.