Success, Failure, Everything in between: Homily for Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Readings for Today

Today we learn that there are all different kinds of preachers.  We read about Saint Paul, whose efforts are well-documented, and whose success is known.  There are those who have left the preaching.  And there are those who are downright destructive to the preaching.  Today we celebrate Saint Luke.  He was an evangelist, and also the author of the Acts of the Apostles.  His efforts are noted by Saint Paul as quite helpful.

It serves as a reminder there are zealous and effective preachers, there are those who are holy, but perhaps not as effective. And, there are those who leave altogether, while still others are harmful to the mission. Where do you find yourself? Are you an effective disciple, making other disciples? Are you still trying to figure out what you believe? Or are you a big skeptic? Make time to get to know Jesus better, who can make all things better.

The Great Gift of Revelation: Homily for Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Readings for today

Have you ever thought about God’s great gift? Because of God’s grace, we can know things we have no ability to know otherwise. Because of God’s revelation, the path we should travel is before us. We can know Jesus.  We can understand what it means to follow him. We can understand how much we are loved by God.

And yet, sometimes we look the other way. Sometimes we rely on our feeble strength in exchange for God’s magnificent love.  As Saint Paul says, we exchange “the truth of God for a lie.” And yet God wants so very much for us. God loves us. God wants us to be saved.  God wants us to live with him forever.

You’ve seen what you need: Homily for Monday, October 16, 2017

Readings For Today

This eleventh chapter of Luke’s gospel is an interesting one.  It appears to be centered, for the most part, around the idea of prayer.  We hear Luke’s version of the Our Father.  Then there is a parable about the need for persistence in prayer. There is the questioning of the source of Jesus’ power, which reminds us of the ways in which we can doubt the good deeds of others. Today the focus is on the power of a sign.  Jonah and Solomon are mentioned as examples of signs given already. And to those who doubt, no sign will be given. It is not unlike when Jesus went to his hometown.  No miracle was performed because of a lack of faith.

This is a stark reminder that when we go looking for signs we must be careful.  We cannot look for signs in place of Jesus.  Rather, Jesus is the sign.  Jesus is the person longing to give life, love and grace to a new relationship.  We do not need the signs of others, for Jesus is already here.

Come as you are; Sort of: Homily for Sunday, October 15, 2017

Readings for Today

Do you love celebrations? Do you get excited when an invitation arrives in the mail? Today’s readings are all about invitations and celebrations.  The first reading uses rich imagery to describe the invitation to the ultimate feast.  Rich food and choice wines are on the menu.  Yum! God has everything prepared. Get ready, because the feast is going to be something really special.

The gospel too is about an invitation. The king invites guests to an amazing feast. Only they do not want to come. Despite his best efforts, the king cannot convince those invited to come to the feast. So he turns to invite others, who do come. God invites us all of the time to deeper life. But do we arrive ready to say yes to God? Or, do we come ill-prepared by thinking we do not need to change? The invitation to faith by God is an invitation to change.  When we really say yes to God, we allow God to change us. That means being open to repenting from our sins. And when we do that, we come properly dressed for the feast.

Discipleship is Most Important: Homily for Saturday, October 14, 2017

Readings for Today

There are times when I look at images of the saints and cannot imagine they are real people.  They look plastic.  They do not always seem to be real.  It is hard for me to imagine they ever encountered the types of difficulties real people face.  And to that end, I do not see that they can be emulated.  Fortunately, reading about the lives of the saints helps us to gain a picture they were real persons with real struggles.

Such is the case for Mary.  When we think about the Blessed Mother, we must remember that she had a very hard life.  Yet in spite of this, she was faithful. It is for this reason that Mary is the Queen of All Saints. Her holiness is her fidelity to God. And that is what makes us holy too when we follow God faithfully.

Confronting the Regret: Homily for Friday, October 13, 2017

Readings for Today

It is common that someone who is dying will review their life.  They will consider things for which they are proud, and they will seek forgiveness for what they regret.  Sometimes that will mean a conversation with someone they have harmed during their life. That is what might be happening in the first reading today. There may be that regret for the sins committed.  The current situation is the result of past actions.

But God is stronger than past sin. God wants what is best for us. And despite our sinfulness, God forgives whenever we seek mercy from God. These past few weeks have seemed like the end time.  Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, violence, wildfires. Not a bad time to consider a life review.  Not a bad time to think about confession. While sin can be strong, God is stronger.  Always.

Why believe in God?: Homily for Thursday, October 12, 2017

Readings for Today

It seems like there has been one disaster after another.  Hurricanes. Floods. Earthquakes. Shootings. Fires. At some point, even a reasonable person might begin to ask what it all means. There can be in us a feeling that might give into despair.  And for me, that is just from someone who has not personally experienced any of these disasters but has only heard their harrowing stories.

The first reading is filled with despair.  There is no longer a hope in God because it seems like there is no good reason to believe. And yet the gospel reminds us of the value of perseverance.  Even when the homeowner does not feel like getting out of bed at night to help his neighbor, persistence causes him to do so. And when we can remain persistent in prayer, we too can become more aware of God’s grace.

The Reluctant Prophet: Homily for Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Readings for Today

The book of Jonah is a wonderful book.  In parts it is satire, in other parts is speaks a powerful message against close-mindedness.  Jonah is commissioned by God to preach to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, Israel’s arch-enemy.  Yesterday the reading was the story of how Jonah simply did not want to go to preach to Nineveh.  In escaping from God, Jonah winds up in quite a predicament.  Running from God is not the answer.

Today he is going to go to Nineveh, but he is none too happy about it.  He does not like Nineveh or its people.  He is even more frustrated when the message he proclaims is heard and the people of Nineveh repent.  In a time with so much animosity and anger, the message of the book of Jonah serves as a reminder to us to recognize that God will save whomever he wishes.  Our role is not to second-guess God, but to say yes to him and to witness to his message.

Jesus meant EVERYBODY: Homily for Monday, October 9, 2017

Readings for Today

I want a loophole.  I want to exclude some people from being my neighbor.  Some people might hurt me.  Some people might take advantage of me.  Why must I love them? Why must I include them in my list of neighbors? These are not easy questions.  But this gospel today is radical.  It is tough.  When Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, and then tells this story, he means everybody is our neighbor.  We have to love everybody.

And this is not easy.  Because I do not want to love everybody.  I want to love those people who are easy to love.  I do not want to love the stranger.  I do not want to love the prisoner.  And if I can suggest they are unworthy of love, then all the better.  If I can say they are lazy, or mean, or evil, then I can feel better not loving them.  But that misses the answer given by Jesus.  Loving our neighbor means loving everyone.

Becoming Beautiful Grapes: Homily for Sunday, October 8, 2017

Readings for Today

My aunt and uncle had a vineyard behind their house.  It was not very big, but it produced tasty grapes.  I really liked them.  And while my childhood memory may not be great, I do not remember sour grapes. To be clear, there was care for the grapes that I did not see.  They required care.  They needed to be tended to in order to be tasty.

I cannot imagine what would have happened if in spite of the hard work there were no grapes to be had.  Or, worse, if despite hard work the grapes were sour. And yet that is what we hear in the readings.  Despite the loving self-gift of Jesus to save us, we do not always bear good fruit. We turn away.  We disrupt. And sometimes even, we kill.  The call today is to be the disciple that does not disrupt, but bears fruit.