Category: Sunday Homily

Priorities: Homily for Sunday, February 26, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Priorities.  Living a good life means choosing the right priorities.  What is important to you? What activities matter to you? What people matter to you? What choices do you make about how you live your life? What choices do you make about which people get your time, your care, your concern?  Today’s gospel especially focusses on priorities and making those choices that matter for ultimate and eternal happiness.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  This line of the gospel makes it clear.  If your vocation is married life, then you seek the Kingdom of God in a way that makes you the best father, the best husband, the best mother, the best wife.  You make decisions based upon bringing yourself and those around you to Jesus.  You recognize that nothing is more important than living your life for Christ.

This is really what life is all about.  Yet, how often do we seek other things? How often do we seek Netflix, or social media, or games? How often do we first seek job and career success, money, success and wealth? How often do we seek to satisfy sexual desires, not as intended by God, but in pornography?  How often do we seek security for our family by working so hard we never see them?  How often is our quest first our smart phone, and not the people we find ourselves with?

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  As we stand on the cusp of Lent, this is a good time to think about priorities.  This is a good time to consider exactly what is important.  This is the time when we ask ourselves if we are seeking God and his kingdom first, which causes us to value all of the right people and goals, or whether we allow ourselves to seek something far less.

Law: Homily for Sunday, February 19, 2017

Law. If I were going to make a recommendation for someone who wanted to read the Bible, I don’t know that my first choice is a book to look at would be the book of Leviticus. That is because, most of the book of Leviticus is a book of laws. And while there may be some lawyers who really love reading the annotated laws of their particular state, most of us do not find such legal reading as being terribly engaging. But then there are sections, like the one we see today in Leviticus, that are particularly interesting to examine.

Law is an important topic for us to explore as human beings. That is because it has so many applications. There are different kinds of laws, and we use these different kinds of laws often times in a sloppy or messy way. States have laws. The church has laws. God has laws. We talk about laying down the law. We explore in families this question of law. Some people even refer to the fact that they make the law. But I think today’s readings help us on this particular Sunday, to explore a little bit more completely this question of law and how it relates to our spiritual life.

In the book of Leviticus we read, Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. That is a very good summary of the purpose of all law, regardless of who proposes it. You see the purpose of law, is to be holy. This is not to say that all law is divine. In some ways quite the opposite. Following the speed limit makes for good law. Because when we don’t harm others, we are more likely to be holy. The ultimate law, is that law which articulates a way of life that brings us closer to God and manifests the holiness of God. So now you know what you need to do.

Both: Homily for Sunday, February 5, 2017

To listen to today’s homily, click the links above.

It is interesting to me that when there is a debate about helping other people, especially from other countries, there is always mentioned that we should be helping those who live in our own country. All of a sudden, the homeless in the United States are on everyone’s mind. How can we help other countries, when we have so many poor people here?

It is interesting because we have always had the poor. It is not as if suddenly homeless have been appearing on our streets. It is also interesting because those poor who do receive assistance are often insulted by the very same people not wanting to help foreigners. Why can’t these people get a job? Why do they spend their money on this or that? We don’t help foreigners because of the people who need help here. And we insult the people who need help here so that we do not have to give them anything either.

Today’s readings do not mean that we have to choose. It is not just about helping our own. It is not just about helping the stranger and the foreigner. It is about that generous spirit that helps both. “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.” It is not an either-or; it is a both-and. If we must choose, we choose both.

This part of Isaiah happens at the return from exile. As can happen over a few hundred years, people who were exiled and people who stayed were no longer known by one another. And so the reminder about the foreigners, and the natives, was quite important. Giving to the poor, to the oppressed, the homeless, was indeed needed. And the hearts of all needed to be changed to make this happen.

We live in an age right now where we seem more divided than ever. It is as if people must be placed into categories. It proved interesting to me during the election and since. When I criticized a policy I believed to be wrong, people assumed they knew what team I was on, what team I was rooting to win. You see, it has become all about winning and losing, and not as much about right and wrong.

There is an urgent need for another way. We need to stop viewing people as a threat — but rather as persons made in the image and likeness of God. We need to stop blaming the poor for being poor. Rather, we need to see the poor Christ in them. We need to stop insulting one another. We need to stop yelling at one another. We need to stop second guessing all of the motives of the people with whom we live.

Because these readings remind us to care for those we know and those we don’t. We need to care for all people who are in need. There are not conditions on which homeless, which hungry, which oppressed and which naked are to be helped. All must be helped to receive what they deserve as human beings. And when it comes to a choice, we should not choose native or foreigner, we should choose Christ.

Humility: Homily for Sunday, January 29, 2017

(Listen to today’s homily, “Humility” by clicking the links above.)
Humility. Knowing who you are and who you are not. Knowing yourself honestly. Knowing that you need others. Knowing that you need the help and love of others. Today’s readings present to us a different way of seeing the world, and of seeing life. Today’s readings focus on knowing the right relationship to which God calls us. Too often we hold to the notion that we always know what is best for ourselves. We know what we should do in every situation. It is simply what we think best. We are the final arbiter. We are the only one who knows what it is that we should do.

Today’s readings destroy this notion because today’s readings remind us that humility is the basic stance before God. We are challenged to wisdom. We are challenged to goodness. And we are challenged to a way of living that demands absolute trust in the Lord Jesus.

To be sure, to trust the Lord absolutely is difficult. It does not come naturally to a culture with a can-do attitude. It does not come naturally to a culture built on rugged individualism. We do not like to depend on others. And we do not always like the way in which God wants us to live.

God’s Call: Homily for Sunday, January 15, 2017

Do you really know that God is calling you specifically? That you are bound for something great? Do you really understand that God wants you to fulfill your part in witnessing to God that only is for you, the beloved creation of God? Often we fail to see that we can be called to great things, and we certainly do not always realize that it is God’s grace that gets us there. What is it that God is calling you to do? How is it that God is calling you to be great? In reading the stories of Isaiah, Saint Paul, and Saint John the Baptist, we can find ourselves inspired by the same God and the same grace that lead them to holiness.

2nd Sunday of Advent: Time to Get to the Spiritual Gym (December 4, 2016)

Anyone who belongs to a gym and exercises regularly knows that gyms will get crowded soon.  People give gym memberships, or others make New Year’s resolutions.  Either way, shortly after the first of the year, the gym is crowded.  But soon, people begin to fade away, the initial resolutions become weak, and the commitment to get in shape is gone.  Our spiritual lives can become like that too.  We have some initial enthusiasm, but without commitment and discipline, we find that we do not remain engaged in growing spiritually. 
And so with the start of the second week of Advent, time to get into spiritual shape.  Read the bible.  Pray the rosary.  Seek out adoration.  Find the sacrament of confession.  Read a good spiritual book.  Talk to others.  Share your faith.  C’mon!  It is time for all of us to get into spiritual shape!

Homily for Sunday, February 7, 2016

It is easy to forget that so much of our relationship with God is not dependent upon us. All we need to do is to place ourselves in the presence of God. By doing so, we both lose those sins and shortcomings that keep us from being the person God has created us to be, and we are able to be sent forth for the mission that God gives to only us. As we move into the season of Lent this Wednesday, let us place ourselves in God’s presence to receive the powerful and life-changing love of God.

Homily for Sunday, January 31, 2016

In the Broadway musical Oliver! based on the novel Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, a musical question is posed that is important to all of us: “Where is love?” The prophet Jeremiah reminds us of the deep eternal love God has for each one of us, and the apostle Paul writes about the qualities of love. In a world filled with such evil and sin, such moments of uncertainty, it is the love of God for us that can provide the firm foundation to see us through.

Homily for Sunday, January 24, 2016

Readings for Today

Audio Readings for Today

How is it we avoid giving into despair when we see so much death and destruction around us. We fear terrorism, we see destruction in the Middle East, the tremendous death and martyrdom of Christians in the Middle East, those who go without basic necessities and other things we so often take for granted. Just as Nehemiah and Ezra reminded the people that despite the destruction and death of their day the Lord is still with them, so too, by acknowledging that Jesus is the Messiah we can avail ourselves of the same hope, mercy and grace of God Ezra proclaimed to the people.

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