Tag: baptism

Grace: Homily for Thursday, January 26, 2017

Grace. I remember the old definition of a sacrament. Especially that every sacrament gives grace. And so I was reminded today of my ordination. Saint Paul tells Timothy that he should be attentive to the flame that is burning in him because Paul has imposed hands upon him. And as a result of this, Timothy is filled with courage. Timothy can proclaim the gospel. The grace given is powerful and has changed his life.

I thought of my own ordination because like Timothy, I too have received grace from the imposition of hands. And so have you. At our baptism, and again at Confirmation, we received grace from these sacraments. At ordination, again, I received grace. If you were married, you received grace. And this grace is given, and hopefully received.

It can bring us the amazing courage to witness to the gospel. It can help us to be those deeds God does through us that we are all called to receive. This grace is given to us so that we can be the light to the world. This grace allows us to show others in our words and deeds the power of Jesus.

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, September 6, 2015

The American spirit seems to like things that are made strong and tough. Trucks are advertised this way, a popular vehicle in our country. People are often encouraged to be strong in the face of adversity. Little boys are wrongly told not to cry, to “toughen up”, in the face of difficulty. We are told there is “no crying” in any number of things.

But what is it that makes someone truly strong? Is it the false elements I just mentioned? Is it the house built on rock that Jesus uses as an example in the gospels? And how is it we reconcile this idea of strength with Saint Paul who says that when he is weak, it is then he is strong? When we hear the words in today’s first reading, “Be Strong, Fear Not!” what exactly does that mean, and how and in what ways is such a phrase intended for you and me?

As is often the case, as we explore this idea of strength, the world gets turned upside down a little bit. Bold words are expressed to those in the time of Isaiah, to be strong, because they feel anything but strong at the moment. The words are meant as an encouragement, because when they consider their current situation, they do not feel very strong. Weak knees, feeble hands are the way the people are described.

Homily for Saturday, August 29, 2015

It might seem strange that the first reading today discusses remaining tranquil and to mind one’s own affairs on the day that we celebrate the beheading of Saint John the Baptist. First, tranquil is not the first word that comes to mind when thinking about him. Second, it also does not appear to be the case that Saint John the Baptist was one who could mind his own affairs, since it was his challenge to Herod that caused his ultimate death. He was able to take on Pharisees, Herodians, and others to make sure that the knew clearly that to follow Jesus required an absolute choice to live in a particular way. In describing Saint John the Baptist, it is easy to remember there is simply nothing halfway about living the life of faith.

On one level, this is coincidental since the first reading is the reading for today is the continuation of the Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians we have been reading over the past few days. But since they are together, it does raise the question about whether there is a way that Saint John the Baptist could be seen as one who is tranquil. I think there is.

To be sure, first, it must be considered that there is evidence the preaching of Saint John the Baptist had appeal to a wide number of people. Leaving the comfort of the the known to follow this odd preacher out into the desert and to be challenged to reform their lives does, on the one hand, seem to be a challenge. Yet, it happened. What is it that appealed to those who went out into the desert?

This is precisely a version of the question Jesus asks about John. What did you go out to see? Why is it the challenging message of John made such a difference in people’s lives, when it could be seen at the same time as very unsettling? Perhaps what was most appealing to the people was the authenticity that was readily apparent to those who came to hear John speak. Could they have witnessed in John’s life and message the authentic witness that does bring tranquility? Was that the case?

Homily for Monday, May 18, 2015

Readings for Today

In the early Church there was a problem with distinguishing the place and relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist, especially when considering the question of baptism. John moved into a baptism that was a sign and symbol of repentance. Yet he baptized Jesus, who was in no need of repentance. There were those who heard John preach and thought he might be the Messiah, the anointed sent be God for the Jewish people. And even today’s first reading shows the confusion between the baptism received by John, and the baptism celebrated by the early Church after the resurrection of Jesus. So just what is the difference?

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Homily for Saturday, May 16, 2015

Readings for Today

It is important to acknowledge great people of the faith. Each of us in our lives probably have a person or two (or maybe even more) who served as a great inspiration for us in the ways of the faith. For me I think of my grandmother, my parents, and other relatives, as well as priest and friends I have met along the way. From them I have learned much about how to live the faith, how to be a Christian. This is not to say I have always lived up to these examples, but it is to say that I have learned much from these people who believed so deeply in Jesus.

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Homily for Sunday, May 10, 2015

Just who do you think you are? Usually when we are asked such a question it is not a good thing, at least in my experience. I find that too often I am being “put in my place” (usually rightly so). In these instances, when I hear such a question it is because I am thinking too much of myself, or I am not being kind, or I am not loving. Such a question is not usually seen as a compliment.

Homily for Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Readings for Today

“What are we to do, my brothers?” In this question to Peter and John, we encounter the ultimate question of our faith. “What are we to do, my brothers?” And as we hear this question, what is interesting is not simply the answer given by Peter, but as much what it is that Peter did not say in answering this question. The answer they do give is both general enough to apply to all, but specific enough to satisfy those who were “cut to the heart” by the words spoken by Peter.

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Homily for the Easter Vigil, April 4, 2015

Readings for Today

We live in an age where technology has made so many things instant. The news comes to us immediately, we can text one another at the moment, and in many ways the world is just a click or two away. But this immediacy comes with a cost. Maybe it is not true for everyone, but I find in my own life I need to work at a longer attention span, back to a time when I find it (a little) easier to wait. There is the “black hole” that technology and its uses can become in our lives. Perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses is that the immediacy of technology can cause us to forget and become ignorant of our history.

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Homily for Sunday, January 11, 2015

Readings for Today

Christmas. Epiphany. Baptism of the Lord.  There can be a temptation to focus only on our own baptisms on this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. While not trying to minimize the great day that was our own baptism, today is really another day that is about knowing who Jesus is. It is a Christological day today, as we learn again about the identity of Jesus.

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