Tag: blessing

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.

Choice: Life or Death, Blessing or Curse. Homily for Thursday, March 2, 2107

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Choice.  I am a fan of Servais Pinckaers, a Belgian Dominican priest who was a significant moral theologian of the last century.  Pinckaers helped to identify the ways in which humans can understand choice.  On the one hand, there is that choice which can be limited to this or that, a choice between two things.  This is what we might call today license, and what Pinckaers called a freedom from.  When freedom is understood as license, then anything that in any way restricts our choices is bad.  Often when a teen complains to parents, “Don’t tell me what to do” they say this because they do not like having their license to do whatever they please taken away.

The other type of freedom is what Pinckaers described as a freedom for.  In other words, choices are made not because it is something I want to do and you cannot stop me, but rather because I want to become someone.  In this understanding, I choose to tell the truth even when it is hard to do so because I want to be honest.  I choose to stop eating chocolate covered cherries by the boxful because I want to be healthy.  I exercise even when I feel like sitting on the couch because I want to be fit.

It is in this sense that we can understand the choice of the first reading.  “Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.”  When we first hear that question, we might ask ourselves who would possibly choose doom?  Who would possibly choose death?  And we would be right to wonder those things.  And yet, anyone who has seen a person suffer from an addiction knows that death and doom can be chosen.  Anyone who has watched someone seek to acquire an endless amount of money or material possessions, and to then be worried about it being taken away, so much so they never give it to anyone, knows how the death and doom that is greed can be chosen.

Death and doom are chosen when people only focus on doing whatever they want, not on what they can become.  Death and doom are chosen because “no one can tell me what to do.”  Life is chosen when we decide to become that person God has created us to be.

Christianity Ain’t for Wimps: The Choice is not always easy

I recently saw a cartoon on the internet that placed a challenge right at the heart of my understanding of my faith. Usually I expect to see funny cartoons, plays on words, or jokes. But this one actually present a challenge to me. It was simply a quote: “If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.”

It got me to thinking: when was the last time I was challenged by God. To be sure, I can see and admit my sinfulness. But, have I really had a sense that God was calling me to something difficult, something that I did not want to do? Moses and Jesus set the choice before us: life or death, the cross or the comfort.

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