The World Around Us: Homily for Friday, September 29, 2017

Readings for Today

Today’s readings serve as a reminder that the world around us is both physical and spiritual.  This can be easy to forget.  And yet, by going to Mass, or confession, or at a baptism, we are reminded of this fact.  Moreover, it is the case that it is precisely through the ordinary (water, bread, wine) that the extraordinary becomes part of our lives.

By celebrating the angels, especially those who had very important roles in the world and in our life of faith, we celebrate the desire to have God all around us.  And knowledge of these good spirits serve as a powerful protection against the evil in the world.

Unsatisfied: Homily for Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Readings for Today

Have you noticed the excitement any time Apple announces something new? I face the challenge of being tempted by something new.  I am not satisfied.  It seems that regardless of the circumstance, I want something more, something better, something new.  There simply never seems to be a moment where I can be satisfied.

But this is not something new.  Saint Augustine said as much centuries ago. “You move us to delight in praising You; for You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” Because all of the moments of dissatisfaction have one thing in common:  they do not have anything to do with God.  And only in God can our hearts be truly at rest.

Despair to Hope: Homily for Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Readings for today

Today we encounter a woman who is understandably in the depths of despair.  Her son is dead, and to make matters worse, she is a widow.  This parent must face the death of her son alone. Can there be any greater heartache to a parent than to lose their child? I cannot think of one. I bet most parents cannot think of one, either.

And yet, in the height of her sadness and loss, she encounters Jesus.  And as Jesus always does, Jesus brings life.  Sometimes in moments like today’s gospel, he does so in an easily observable way.  At other times, it is in the challenge that might mean initial sadness before receiving life.  Regardless, today we are all reminded that Jesus is the author and source of life.  Let Jesus raise life in you.

The Extraordinary Ordinary: Homily for Thursday, September 7, 2017

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Readings for Today

Human life is amazing.  Sometimes when we are doing something we’ve done a thousand times, it becomes all new.  There are other moments when a common experience is uncommon. Sometimes the miraculous comes at the most unexpected time. God comes barging in when we least expect him.

Such is the case for Peter.  How many times has he been fishing? How often has he come up empty? The miraculous catch of fish changes everything.  After this, nothing is the same.  An ordinary endeavor will be traded for an extraordinary one. Peter will be seeking followers of Jesus, not fish.  Keep your eyes open.  Jesus might just make an ordinary moment unbelievably extraordinary.

You Tricked Me: Homily for Sunday, September 3, 2017

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Readings for Today

He was eager.  Young.  Maybe a little naive.  But Jeremiah willingly followed God.  He became the mouthpiece for God.  Even when the words were hard, and not well received, Jeremiah was faithful.  He tried to avoid saying bad words.  But the love of God and the power of his Word were too much.  His love for God spilled out.  He spoke for God because of love.

Confronting someone is never easy.  We often avoid it.  We look the other way.  And yet, if we love God, we must love others.  Sometimes confronting someone is an act of love.  When someone is doing something wrong, the loving action can be to correct it.  Parents who love their children do this.  Spouses confront each other at times in a healthy relationship.  And as we learn from today’s readings, Christians confront each other out of love for God and them.

Persistence: Homily for Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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Readings for Today

It can be difficult to stick with something when it gets hard. We can feel like we want to give up.  The real test of value and importance is when we find a really hard challenge that seems impossible.  And yet, to confront evil, to provide justice, and to stand up for what is right does not come easy.  And what if things do not go well? It gets even harder.

When we think of Christian faith, it can feel like we are all alone in our beliefs.  The world has become secular. People do not value the things they used to value. There seems to be more and more a “live for the moment” mentality.  But as Saint Paul teaches us in their first reading today, hard work pays off.  Persistence is a value.  Staying with something means showing we are committed.  The greatest persistence comes from God’s love for each one of us.  And we can continue because God never gives up on us.

True Power: Homily for Sunday, August 27, 2017

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Readings for Today

Ah, political power. Staff shakeups are not unknown.  They usually occur in times of trouble or crisis.  Sometimes leaders seek to get out of a crisis with “new blood” and a new way of proceeding.  Whether it is in fact really new or not, it provides a fresh start.

Today’s first reading is such a moment.  The city was under siege, and despite warnings from God, the king (and those around him) did not trust in God.  They sought security in military power and political alliance.  The ultimate outcome was the anger of Israel, the neighbor of Judah to the north, and the loss of political power, and ultimately, exile in Babylon.

Today’s gospel poses just such a choice to the apostles.  Will they follow Jesus, by declaring him Lord and Son of God, or will they trust in their own efforts.  Who do you say that I am?  We have the same choice today.  Do we follow Jesus, Son of God, and proclaim his name, or do we trust in something lower and not as powerful?  Who do you say Jesus is?

Love Neighbor: Homily for Saturday, August 26, 2017

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Readings for today

Which commandment is the greatest? That was yesterday’s question.  Remember the answer.  Not just the greatest commandment, but Jesus mentioned the second greatest commandment too.  Today it is clear why Jesus felt compelled to say this.  He discusses the difference between the knowledge of the law, which the Pharisees have, and the application of that knowledge, which they do not have.

Too often this is applied to mean Jesus did not care about the Law.  That was not the case.  Jesus says other times that he has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not do away with them.  So just what does he mean?  He clarifies by his words and actions the purpose of the Law.  The Law is always meant to bring a person closer to God.  So to preach is not just about knowing the Law, but helping others to understand it, to apply it, to live it.  And, it is about accompanying others when they fall, and seeking their forgiveness and understanding when we fall.

Mercy: Homily for Friday, August 18, 2017

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Readings for Today

Once again I am focused on the response to the psalm.  His mercy endures for ever.  This response is so comforting to me.  But packed into this response, especially when considered against the backdrop of the gospel readings of the past few days, is also a challenge.  It will always be true that God’s mercy will last. But it may not be true that I am able to receive it, because of my closed heart.

The readings of the past few days remind us that we must forgive.  It is not that God withholds forgiveness.  Rather, it is the case that our hearts, when we choose not to forgive, are closed to God’s mercy.  To open our hearts, we must seek to be like God.  Even though God’s hatred of sin is just, God’s mercy is given to those who repent.  It can be the case that we do not forgive the actions of others because we find those actions in our own lives.  We commit these sins.  By forgiving, and prayer for the grace to forgive, we open our hearts wider to receive God.

 

Favor: Homily for Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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Readings for Today

Remember us, Lord, as you favor your people. This was the response to the psalm today.  From time to time, I think it can be good to focus on the psalm, as the psalms have long been considered the prayers of Jesus.  The psalms have also been prayed for centuries in Christian life.  They are still the basis of prayer today.  When we speak the words of Jesus in the psalms, we are attentive to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray.

And we do well to listen to the Holy Spirit.  We always need God’s favor.  There is never a time when we do not need God.  By asking God to remember us, we remember God.  When we acknowledge God’s favor, we grow in faith.  We all need the grace and understanding of God.  And so, Remember us, Lord, as you favor your people.