Tag: love

Fasting: Why do we fast? Homily for Friday, March 3, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Fasting.  Well, it is Friday after Ash Wednesday and it is time to fast.  Well, more accurately, it is time to abstain from meat.  Either way, you might be wondering why it is that we do this.  Why is it we fast from things?  And why do we make a decision to abstain from meat?

These questions are common.  And these questions are the opposite of what the world tells us.  We can be tempted to give in to materialism, to greed, to selfishness, to getting more and more stuff.  After all, he who dies with the most stuff wins, right?

And yet, when love is involved, we understand why we fast.  Sacrificing is done when it benefits someone we love.  Parents sacrifice for kids.  We exercise, fasting from sitting on the couch and getting lazy.  We do not always eat what we want so that we can be healthy.  But, do we consider the fasting that is demanded by holiness?  Do we seek the Lord’s way? Do we think about God’s place in our own lives?

Fasting helps us to become more aware of the presence of God.  When we give up something for a greater good and a greater purpose, it is easier to see what God wants from us.  It is easier to look around us and to see what God gives us.  By fasting, you open our eyes to God.

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.

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 Sunday, January 31, 2016

In the Broadway musical Oliver! based on the novel Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, a musical question is posed that is important to all of us: “Where is love?” The prophet Jeremiah reminds us of the deep eternal love God has for each one of us, and the apostle Paul writes about the qualities of love. In a world filled with such evil and sin, such moments of uncertainty, it is the love of God for us that can provide the firm foundation to see us through.

Pope Francis’ Words at Festival of Families

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Families,

First of all, I want to thank the families who were willing to share their life stories with us. Thank you for your witness! It is always a gift to listen to families share their life experiences; it touches our hearts. We feel that they speak to us about things that are very personal and unique, which in some way involve all of us. In listening to their experiences, we can feel ourselves drawn in, challenged as married couples and parents, as children, brothers and sisters, and grandparents.

As I was listening, I was thinking how important it is for us to share our home life and to help one another in this marvelous and challenging task of “being a family”.

Being with you makes me think of one of the most beautiful mysteries of our Christian faith. God did not want to come into the world other than through a family. God did not want to draw near to humanity other than through a home. God did not want any other name for himself than Emmanuel (cf. Mt 1:23). He is “God with us”. This was his desire from the beginning, his purpose, his constant effort: to say to us: “I am God with you, I am God for you”. He is the God who from the very beginning of creation said: “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). We can add: it is not good for woman to be alone, it is not good for children, the elderly or the young to be alone. It is not good. That is why a man leaves his father and mother, and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24). The two are meant to be a home, a family.

Homily for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, one character that was really annoying (especially if you are a kid) is Delores Umbridge, the sadistic rule making character that served as High Inquisitor and Headmistress at Hogwarts. Her solution to every problem was to maintain control, which she did by creating an endless collection of rules, so numerous that the wall upon which they were hung collapsed under the sheer weight of the tablets upon which the rules were written. By creating these numerous rules, she was able to maintain to control over the students at Hogwarts, the wizardry school that Harry attended. The problem was the rules did not liberate, allowing a person to live more fully as a human being. Rather, they enslaved, causing a person to become more resentful of the rules and finding ways to avoid having to follow them.

There are some people who come to view religion as simply a collection of arbitrary rules. And there are some religious leaders who in fact enforce such a view. The problem is that is not the type of religion that Jesus invites us into during our lives. It is not a religion simply designed so that we will follow a seemingly endless set of rules, but is rather a time where we are invited into a relationship with Jesus. To be in such a relationship does mean that we must live in a certain way, but not because we are primarily afraid of breaking a rule, but rather because we see the loving relationship requires us to live and act in a particular way because of the one we love.

The Scribes and Pharisees could not understand, or were unwilling to understand, a religion expressed in this way. It was easier to worry about paying tithes on mints than on loving all humans created by God. Worrying about these tithes, and rules like it, became more important than the purpose any authentic religious rule has: to grow in justice, mercy and faithfulness. And to worry about these more weighty parts of the Law of God, means that our lives have to become aligned with God’s way. Or, as Paul writes in the first reading, not trying to please men, but rather seeking to please God.

Homily for Sunday, May 31, 2015

In a way, to think about Trinity Sunday is to simply acknowledge that God is love. To try to do even more than that can cause us to run the risk of getting it wrong about God. Three persons, one God. On the surface it seems easy enough, but in reality, it is a mystery beyond our ability to comprehend. God is love. But if we are to really understand even a little what it means to say God is love, we have to consider what love is. That is probably more true today when the word is used for so many things.

Homily for Friday, May 29, 2015

For most, the worst thing to happen is to be forgotten. Think of a children whose parents forget to pick them up. Or how about when a person is forgotten when a relationship comes to an end. It is not a pleasant feeling. It can make us angry, frustrated, sad, depressed.

Novena of Saint Jude, Friday, May 22, 2015

I am preaching the Novena of Saint Jude, days 4-9. This is an audio recording of my day five preaching, which examines the question of our distinguishing between knowledge and understanding. What is it we must do if we love God? For more information about the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago, visit their website here.

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Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2015

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” Today’s second reading tells us how important it is to love. Our relationship with God began out of love, as God first loved us. And we are reminded today of importance of the sharing of love. For when God creates, it is a sign to us of his powerful love. Love must be shared. It is against the very nature of God to be selfish, to keep love to himself. This is why he creates. Because when he does so, love is shared.

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