Call: Homily for Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Do you know you have a call from God? God knows what means fulfillment.  God knows what leads to eternal happiness.  But God’s call is not an order.  It is an invitation.  God invites us to be completely ourselves.  When we do so, we are God’s image. We are just what we were created to be.

What do you do to hear God’s call? What do you do to place yourself in the presence of God? Jesus spends the night in prayer before calling the disciples.  So too must we.

Daily Prayer for July 10, 2017

O Father, raise up among Christians
abundant and holy vocations to the priesthood,
who keep the faith alive
and guard the blessed memory of your Son Jesus
through the preaching of his word
and the administration of the Sacraments,
with which you continually renew your faithful.

Grant us holy ministers of your altar,
who are careful and fervent guardians of the Eucharist,
the sacrament of the supreme gift of Christ
for the redemption of the world.

Call ministers of your mercy,
who, through the sacrament of Reconciliation,
spread the joy of your forgiveness.

Grant, O Father, that the Church may welcome with joy
the numerous inspirations of the Spirit of your Son
and, docile to His teachings,
may she care for vocations to the ministerial priesthood
and to the consecrated life.

Sustain the Bishops, priests and deacons,
consecrated men and women, and all the baptized in Christ,
so that they may faithfully fulfill their mission
at the service of the Gospel, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.

Being Chosen and Making Choices: Homily for Friday, January 20, 2017

Readings for Today

Being Chosen and Making Choices.  It is interesting how the civil events of Today, the Inauguration of a new President, Donald Trump, and the reading from the gospel seem to interconnect.  Today’s gospel is about being chosen, as Jesus chooses those who will work with him in proclaiming the Good News, and preaching the Kingdom of God.  Just as the disciples were chosen by Jesus for a very important mission, and Donald Trump was chosen by the process of our Consitution, we too have been chosen by the Lord Jesus for something pretty important as well.  As people who have been chosen, we also make choices.  And if we are chosen, it is quite important to recognize that our choices are made from the choice God made in us.  We are chosen.  We are chosen by God who know us much better than anyone.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  We pray today that in being chosen by God, God may guide our choices, so that they are consistent with the will of God.

Homily for Sunday, December 7, 2014

Readings for Today

I do not know of anyone who likes being sick. I know I do not. But not only is it bad to be sick, when I am sick, I feel like a scared little kid. I want my mom. There was something reassuring about having my mom around when I was sick. Unless it was a school day. Then it was necessary first to prove that you were sick. Well, not too much. Sometimes the sickness was obvious, like throwing up or diarrhea. Other times it involved a fever which also usually provided enough of a clue. There was the time I missed a week of school to pneumonia, and my parents suggested that after a week maybe I needed to get up an around to feel better. I was so tired of being stuck in the house I agreed. The problem was that while it did feel good to get out of the house on Saturday, the next day, Sunday brought the compression of multi-ton concrete blocks on my chest that is typical of being sick with pneumonia. I felt awful. The time with pneumonia was the only time ever I think I did not go to a Sunday Mass. (I even insisted on the day of my First Communion, even though I really was quite sick, that I felt well enough to make my First Communion that day. Unfortunately, I was really sick, and got sick and had to leave church. Oh well.

In one way or another, we all seek comfort when we encounter something unpleasant. It is only natural that we try to avoid suffering. When I was sick with pneumonia, there were a number of ways I could have tried to avoid suffering. But it was only the skill of the doctor who knew which medicine would make me well that I was able to get well. Unfortunately, avoiding suffering does not always seem to provide such an obvious choice. We sometimes seek to avoid suffering in a way that cannot eliminate it. The choice is knowing where to look to receive the right type of healing that actually has worth.

We know there are a variety of options. But we know that what appears to be healing is not always so. Sometimes things are presented as a healing but rather than complete healing, it only provides partial relief. Sometimes not even that, as what appears to be healing can actually make things worse. People who seek to avoid pain by using drugs or alcohol often discover the solution ultimately is worse than the suffering. Or, sometimes we throw ourselves so much into work to get the most our of life, but they lose what is most valuable in their lives.

Sometimes someone experiences a great trauma early in their lives which causes a great deal of pain. Sometimes the pain is no where near as great. Whatever it is, again and again we can face choices about what will bring relief. Just as real healing from my pneumonia came from medicine, and not anything else, to receive real healing, real comfort we must seek for it in the right place.

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Today’s Preaching: September 9, 2014

Readings for Today’s Preaching

I have used this gospel as proof that Jesus was not a morning person, like me. See, when he needed to do something very early in the morning he stayed up all night rather than the harsh reality of having to wake up early. Truth is, the actions of Jesus serve as a very important example of the importance of prayer.

Perhaps you have seen the joke that is a an analysis of the talents and skills of the apostles. It points out that Peter is too impulsive, James and John are too ambitious, and makes interesting observations about each one in terms of their suitability for leadership.

Jesus knew that choosing his leaders was not primarily about seeking a business consultant. Rather, he spent the night in prayer seeking the prompting a of the spirit for the most effective persons of faith. We know they were not perfect. We know there were failures on their part. But the example of Jesus serves as an important example to us. Namely, we need to recognize that when it comes to discipleship, it is the Spirit who knows the human heart.

It can be said, I think, that the growth needed by the disciples was spiritual growth. When they think in only rational terms, they usually fail to understand the priorities of Jesus. We see in the gospel it takes time for the disciples to see clearly. In fact, it really is only after the Holy Spirit descends upon them they are able to see the world from the perspective of faith.

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Homily for Friday, March 14, 2014

Readings for Today

“That’s not fair!”  How many times has a child said this to mom or dad?  “That’s not fair!”  Equality seems to be a fundamental value in the United States.  The word is thrown around a lot in politics, it is an early concept learned by children, and it is something we all desire, to be treated fairly.  But what does equality really mean?

The word equal can be translated the same as.  So when we speak of a right, such as the right to free speech as being a sign of equality, it means the right given is the same for everyone.  It does not treat one person differently than the next.  No, in the name of equality, every person has the same right to free speech.

There are other moments, however, when we do not treat someone exactly the same, and doing so, creating some inequality, is ok.  Parents do not treat their children equally, because each child has unique needs and a unique personality.  An effective teacher does not treat all children equally, because each child has a different way to effectively learn.  And each child has unique needs.  We do not punish children who wear glasses by telling them to take them off, because we want to treat all children the same, and since some children do not have glasses, then no one can wear them.  That would be silly.  We recognize that treating children fairly does not mean treating them equally.

I worked in a school where a teacher had this taped to her desk:  “Fair is not always equal.”  And so it is with God.  God loves every person he has created.  But God also knows that every person is not the same, precisely because God is the creator.  Differences require that God deal in a unique way with each one of us.  And these differences, if celebrated, make for a more complete picture of the image of God.

Where do we see this in the Church?  There are different religious orders, stressing different gifts, there are different styles of preaching, different cultures, different ways of expressing the call of God in our lives.  How is it that God invites you to a deeper prayer life?  What is it that God does that helps you to grow closer to him?  How is it that you need to change your life to be more attentive to the presence of God?