Sharing: Homily for Sunday, September 24, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Do you want everyone to be saved? And if so, what does it mean? When we are saved by Jesus, are we then obligated to be sharing this gift with others? Today’s gospel is not primarily about economic theory or cost-benefit analysis. While I readily admit I am one who wishes that the first workers got more, we miss the point of the story when we reduce it to wages and work.

This is about salvation.  As the Gentiles were also experiencing salvation, as the Jewish people outside the law were experiencing salvation, there were some who were angry.  How can these newcomers be receiving the same as me? How can those who abandoned the Law now be received into a relationship with God? If Jesus has changed our lives, genuinely and sincerely, we should want to share it.  So, imitate the vineyard owner and get more workers.

Saving Sinners: Homily for Saturday, September 16, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

The first line from today’s first reading says it all.  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. So simple, and yet it is the foundational belief of our discipleship. We need a savior because we sin.  And Jesus is that savior.  Every other belief comes from this fact.  Jesus is our savior.

Also, this line gives us hope.  Our sin does not lead to our damnation if we confess it to Jesus.  We know this is true because Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  And that means I can be saved, and so can you.

The Cross: Homily for Thursday, September 14, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

A while ago, Cardinal George made a statement about his successors winding up in jail.  I thought it was a bit of hyperbole.  Then I heard the line of questioning from Senators Feinstein and Durbin.  Suddenly what Cardinal George said did not seem so far-fetched.  Apparently, a federal judgeship must not be a serious Catholic.

None of us like the cross.  We do not like to suffer.  But we must recognize the truth.  The suffering of Jesus leads to our salvation. Too often we want the resurrection without the cross.  At other times we may overemphasize the cross at the expense of the resurrection.  The truth is clear: we need both.

Jesus the Teacher: Homily for Sunday, August 20, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Today can be one of those Sundays when the readings are not easy to figure out.  Jesus says some things in today’s gospel that seem to display prejudice.  But let’s be clear.  That cannot be true.  Prejudice is sinful.  Jesus cannot sin.  While he is fully human, he is also fully divine.  It cannot be the case that Jesus can sin.  Period. So what is going on here in the gospel?

Keep in mind that we cannot see facial expressions.  We cannot sense tone.  It is not clear what the setting is.  But what is clear is that Jesus is a teacher.  And rather than Jesus learning, it is Jesus teaching.  He is in a non-Jewish area of Israel.  He knows the mission is to everyone.  But it is not clear the disciples do.  And it is not clear the disciples understand the connection between miracles and faith.  It is faith that heals the woman’s daughter. And by the way Jesus handles this woman, and his disciples, we come to know his mission is universal.

Save Us!: Homily for Tuesday, July 4, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

There are so many things to worry about.  The news is filled with tragedy, crime, war, violence and other bad things.  These things are all around us.  Save us! Please, Lord.  This is the most important thing we can say.  And both readings today remind us of this truth.  Today we pray for the grace to ask God to save us.

Daily Prayer for Friday, June 30, 2017

Daily Prayer

O My God,
I place my trust and confidence in You,
who will reward the good and punish the wicked.
I believe in You and accept everything
You have taught and revealed.

I believe that in one God
there are three Divine Persons –
God the Father,
God the Son
and God the Holy Spirit.

I believe that God the Son became Man
without ceasing to be God.
He is Jesus Christ, my lord and my Savior,
the Redeemer of the human race.
He died on the Cross for my salvation
and eternal happiness.

O my God, give me a strong faith.
Help me to believe with lively faith.

O my God, all-good and all-merciful,
I sincerely hope to be saved.
Help me to do all that is necessary
to gain eternal salvation.

I have committed many sins in my life,
but now I turn away from them.
I am sorry, truly sorry for all of them,
because I have offended You, my God,
Who are all-good, all-perfect,
all-holy and all-merciful.

I love you, God, with all my heart.
Please forgive me for having offended You.

I promise that, with Your help,
I will never offend You again.

My God, have mercy on me.

Cross: Homily for Friday, February 17, 2017

To hear the entire homily, click the links above.

Readings for Today

Cross.  I don’t like the cross. In my heart of hearts, I’m a coward. I’m afraid. I find it hard sometimes to separate gaining the whole world, from gaining eternal life. I find it much too easy to be shortsighted. Seeing the immediate, the now, the things that seem so close and right in front of me, the things that bring immediate reward. I’m expecting a package from Amazon today. I’m really excited. But it’s not really something amazing, or tremendous. I doubt it will change my life. But I’m really excited.

But about the cross? I’m not so excited. I’m afraid. I don’t trust. I don’t trust Jesus, and I don’t trust God. Far too often, my focus is on myself, over what I can control, and over what I can do. And yet, during those breakthrough moments when I have been able to trust God the benefit has been far greater than anything I could’ve imagined. In those moments where I think back in my life and ask myself when has God never been there for me, I can say never. I can say that God has always been there for me. Despite my selfishness, God has always been generous.

So why do I have such a hard time embracing the cross? The cross of Jesus, change the entire world. When Jesus embraced the cross, and suffered death for you and me, salvation was open for all of us. Despite our sinfulness, holiness was possible. New life was given to us. Dear God, with whatever cross you give me today, help me to embrace it like your son. Give me the grace to say yes, to take up my cross, and follow you.

If you learn nothing else – Homily for Thursday, January 19, 2017

If you learn nothing else

Readings for Today

As a teacher, I have had those moments when trying to make a point I say, “If you learn nothing else …” Usually what that means is that I am trying to make clear the point is important.  You need to pay attention.  This will be on the test.  Write this down.  Learn this.

In the Letter to the Hebrews today, this point is made.  Pay attention, because Jesus is a high priest unlike any other.  The sacrifice will never again be offered over and over.  Christ the High Priest has offered the sacrifice once for all on the cross.  There is no need to do this over and over again,  because no human action can compare to the divine action of the Christ.

This was a particular point of controversy during the Middle Ages, specifically at the Council of Trent.  Some made the claim that by celebrating Mass every day, Catholics were sacrificing Christ over and over again.  But, such is not the case.  At Mass we enter into the one sacrifice of Christ, made once for all.  The word used is anamnesis, a time when we enter into the timeless mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

And so, if you learn nothing else, remember that today you and I are once again invited into the beautiful and divine life of God.  And that is indeed quite important and very beautiful.

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle: Jesus Christ is Lord (November 30, 2016)

Today the readings suggest we are both drawn to God and at the same time sent by God to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.  This idea of publicly proclaiming our faith is not always very comfortable for Catholics, but we are invited to share our faith by the Lord Jesus himself.

Readings for Today

Homily for Saturday, September 12, 2015

Readings for Today

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Such a statement, one which Saint Paul calls trustworthy and deserving full acceptance, hardly seems controversial or something upon which we need to give much thought. But a closer reading, and some deeper reflection suggests to me, anyway, that sometimes I do not always present a faith where I seem to show forth a viable witness to this truth.

That is because, there are too many times where I do not show forth the hope of the gospel and the reliability of God’s forgiveness. Too often, I want to reduce the spiritual life to something that seems too clear to me, has only my needs in mind, and is centered on me. “It’s all about me” is not that far removed from what I think about the spiritual life sometimes.

Yet on the other hand, there are too many times where I do not see myself as having much need of forgiveness. When I take this line of thought too far, it is during these moments when I become too much like the self-righteous Pharisee who in the front of the synagogue thanked God for not making him too much like those other people.

Just this week, Pope Francis discussed what quality a priest should have when hearing confessions. His words were strong. Be merciful. If priests were not merciful, they should ask their bishop for a desk job. “A priest who isn’t merciful does much damage in the confessional. He berates people.” I hope that you have never had that experience of being berated in a confessional.

For me, as a priest, it is a great and humble experience to hear confessions. And I hope, and believe, that is true for most, if not all priests. Like all sacraments it is an occasion for grace, but more importantly it seems to me that it is a special pathway back to a deeper relationship to Christ. He demonstrated this over and over again. It was not that he only associated with those who wanted to grow, or with those who appeared to have their act together.

No, he sought out those who seemed to have little in the way of holiness during the time he was here on earth. This causes me to think about what types of people I hang out with. To whom do I seek to engage in ministry? Is it the people who are well to do, or those people who are comfortable, or who do not ruffle my spirituality too much? Or, do I strive to be like Jesus? Do I find myself seeking out the lost, the stray? Do I seek out meaningful conversations with those people who might make me uncomfortable?

Saint Dominic cried at the thought of what might become of sinners. He felt a profound and powerful sense of urgency to speak the words of salvation that we hear today.  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Is my example, as a priest and as a Christian, one where people see in me the hope that Jesus saves? I am a sinner. Help me, O Jesus, to know always of my need of your forgiveness, and help me to share the good news of your forgiveness with others.