Tag: God

Gifts: What do you bring to the Lord? Homily for Tuesday, February 28, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click the link above.

Readings for Today

Gifts.  By focusing on gifts, one might think I have the seasons confused.  Are we preparing for Christmas? Is this Advent we are on the verge of entering? No.  Today’s first reading is really about what we can give to God.  Again these readings are so wonderful as we approach Lent.  How is it we can do more of what God wants us to give Him?

Listen to all these good things.  Works of charity.  Giving alms.  Refraining from evil.  Avoiding injustice.  A generous spirit.  These are wonderful acts.  These are great gifts to God for all He has done for us.  And most wonderful for us, God gives us far more than we can ever give Him.  God is never outdone in generosity.

This is what the Apostles learn in the gospel.  Just as the book of Sirach says a gift to God is returned seven-fold, so too will the apostles be so rewarded.  For the sacrifices they have made, the rewards will be great.  But these gifts will not be without hardship.  These gifts will not be without persecution.  These gifts will require the willingness of the apostles to suffer in the name of Jesus.

What is it you will give to God? What is it God wants you to do? What riches do you have to share with God, and the people of God?  And in what ways have you not given the gifts, or used them, or done something about them? Now is the time.  This is the acceptable hour.  Your salvation is near at hand.

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.

Relationship: Homily for Friday, February 24, 2017

To listen to the homily, click here.
Relationship. This is such a complicated reality. It is complex. We have so many different types of relationships. Some are easy. For example, there is the person we might see at the supermarket. We do not really know them well, but they are a comfort to us when we see them. They bring a sense of familiarity. There are other relationships that are more intimate. There are friends, though even here they are not all the same. We have close friends and not so close friends. There are friends we are quite close to and friends we are not as close to in life. There are loyal friends that are always there for us, and not so loyal friends who run at the first sign of difficulty.

The first reading outlines these relationships. it describes well what types of relationships there are, and the consequences of each type of friendship. The reading provides an important bit of advice, however. Real friendships take time. Real friendships take work. Real friendships have ups and downs, but when they flourish, they are wonderful indeed. They are sturdy shelters against the storms of life.

Yet when powerful friendships and relationships break down, it is most painful. There simply is not an easy way to put it. There are not many pains as deep as the pain of divorce. In my life as a priest, it seems that more often people mix up the challenges and difficulties of life with a relationship that needs to end. The first reading reminds us that friendships, relationships need to be tested so that the foundation they rest upon is solid.

There is no authentic friendship that does not arise from the friendship and relationship with God. Just as there is work to gain trust in a friendship or a relationship, so too there is work in our relationship with God. This is not because it depends upon us, but the work is to make ourselves available for a relationship, a friendship with God. Because there is no foundation stronger than God.

Instruction: Homily for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Instruction. Today’s reading from the book of Sirach, provides us with instructions on how to live. It is addressed from a father to his son, but indeed it can apply to all of us, in any circumstance. These are the types of instructions that deal with wisdom, and purpose, and direction. These are the types of instructions that go far beyond what kind of job you should get, or should you buy this house for that house. These are the instructions that will cause someone to live a life of deep fulfillment.

For these instructions are much more about quality, and not quantity. These instructions deal not with what can be counted, but rather with what counts. These instructions deal not with external accolades and tangible rewards, but the in tangible reward of a life well lived. Because these instructions deal with fulfilling the ultimate purpose for which someone is created.

We all know that human beings are unique, and in faith we understand that each human being is a unique expression of God, for human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. Unfortunately sin clouds this image of God. We do not show forth as clearly as we might, the holiness of God, because we sin and fail. It is for this reason that such instructions take on a special value and meaning for each one of us. For when we concern ourselves with the eternal the deep and meaningful, the quality of one’s life and not the quantity of one’s possessions we find true wisdom indeed.

Wickedness: Homily for Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wickedness. There are moments where you just want to give up. Things are too difficult, Life is too hard, you just can’t feel like you can go on. All in all, you just want to give up. To be sure, there are moments in our life where we just feel completely overwhelmed. And, this is somewhat normal from time to time. Life is hard. It’s difficult. And so it’s not unusual that we come to certain moments in our life, where we feel that left to our own energy and actions, we simply can’t be successful.

It could be easy, to put God in a similar place in today’s reading. He certainly seems at first glance, to be overwhelmed, fed up, ready to give up. Fortunately, God is not a human being. God is more. God is divine. God is eternal. God is constantly pouring out love to help humanity to understand what it means to follow him. And so in the midst of all of this wickedness, in the midst of all of the sin, when a mere mortal could be tempted to give up, God calls Noah.

It is no secret, nor great theological statement that sin angers God. And so it is not beyond the pale for the divine God to express anger at the sins of the people. But what is unique to the divine God is God’s constant ability to pour forth a new covenant. Today, the covenant will be extended to Noah. There’s a covenant given later to Abraham. There is a covenant that will be given to Moses. There’s a covenant that will be given through David. And when humanity does not accept fully and totally all of these covenants, God sent his only son. Human beings might be tempted to give up. But God never gives up on those who seek his new life, his forgiveness, his mercy and his love.

Hospitality: Homily for Friday, February 3, 2017

To listen to the homily, click the links above.
Hospitality. I was struck today with this line in the letter to the Hebrews: “Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” Have I ever entertained angels? Or, is it the case I missed an angel because I was not hospitable? Did I miss an angel because I was not ready for God? Did I miss an angel because I missed out on a key encounter because I was not watchful in prayer?

The letter to the Hebrews stresses the importance of right relationships. Right relationships are not, and cannot be simply about those people we like. God wants us to be hospitable. God wants us to care for prisoners. God wants marriages to reflect that holiness intended from the beginning. God wants me to be generous.

These are interesting challenges. It can be quite difficult to be hospitable. People in need of hospitality come at inconvenient times. We may not always know those people who desire hospitality. We may not always be aware of God in them. We may be afraid of them. We may be concerned that if I am hospitable to them, I may be taken away from my family, and the cares of those with whom I live.

How is it even possible to follow these ideas? It is important to remember the first part of this letter. It is possible because of God through whom all things are possible. If the Lord is my helper, how can anyone harm me? How can I ever be in need? How is it I will be alone? Jesus has won the victory, and in His name I can do all because he strengthens me. So trust. Love. Be generous. For the Lord Jesus expects this of you.

2nd Monday of Advent: Quenching your dry thirst (December 5, 2016)

When was the last time you felt really thirsty?  When was the last time your mouth was really dry? At the gym, maybe? During a very hot summer day?  It is not pleasant to be thirsty.  Dry mouths are uncomfortable.  Today’s reading from Isaiah speaks about both dryness, and about quenching.  Streams burst forth in deserts.  Dryness yields to quenched thirst.  Sin and emptiness are forgiven and filled by God. 
This is the beauty of this season of Advent.  God comes to us.  It is not our hard work primarily, but rather our readiness to receive the presence of God when he comes.  Are you ready for God? Is this the time to have those dry areas of your life made rich?  Make this the time where your faith grows rich because of your openness to the grace of God.

Thursday of the First Week of Advent: Rock or Sand? (December 1, 2016)

When we think about what types of things are safe, solid and secure, of what types of things make for a good foundation upon which to build something, there are many choices.  Upon what do you build your life? Popularity? Fame? Money?  This day of Advent challenges us to seek that firm foundation which is the Lord Jesus, the rock of our faith.

With God, Only Love and Mercy is Overwhelming

It is no secret that we can experience times and places where we are overwhelmed. We can feel there is too much to do in too little a time. There are times when we are asked to do something at work that we feel is simply too difficult. We can experience the death of someone we love dearly, and feel overwhelmed and unsure about what it is we can do to live our lives in the face of this tremendous loss.

We celebrate Lent so that we can remove from our lives the aspects of spiritual life that is overwhelming by our own making. We seek to bring our sin and mercy to God. We seek to “offer sacrifice” to make us more aware of what blessings we have in our lives, and how to remove from our lives those things we do not wish to continue. We take on extra spiritual practices so that we can come to experience God more and more in our lives.

when our sin, our faults and failings cause us to feel overwhelmed, it is seasons like Lent that remind us that we only need the overwhelming love and mercy of our God, who is always seeking a stronger relationship with us.

Homily for Friday, September 4, 2015

It is not really that difficult to see how much that time impacts our day. We often rush from one thing to the next, and it can feel that every minute is accounted for. At other times, because of hardship or the desire for a big event to come that time can appear to move very slowly. When we are engaged in something we really, really enjoy, time seems to fly by. Before we know it, it is time for the wonderful thing to come to an end.

Today’s reading from the gospel speaks about knowing when is the right time for something. People face “timing” decisions all the time. Is now the right time to leave this job? Is this the time I should propose marriage? When should I take a vacation? When should we have children? There are variety of these types of questions. And while on the one hand there may or may not be an ironclad “right” time for these decisions, we do seem to pay careful attention to these questions.

What is really most important when considering time, really, is the way in which we prioritize it. The most important concept of time is finding out how it is that we identify “God’s time.” All of the questions I proposed, and others besides, are best answered in the context of discernment. What does God want us to do at this time? How is God active in my life right now? To what is God calling me?

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