Statement From President Of U.S. Bishops Conference – Mexico Earthquake

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement to the people of Mexico following yesterday’s powerful earthquake that struck southeast of Mexico City. The death toll has now surpassed 200. As the desperate search for survivors continues, Cardinal DiNardo calls for prayers for those suffering from the catastrophic earthquake.

Full statement follows:

“Once again, our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Mexico, who yesterday suffered yet another catastrophic earthquake, on the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that claimed the lives of thousands of people. The states principally affected were Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Mexico State, and the capital, Mexico City.

“Today Pope Francis at his General Audience expressed his solidarity with the Mexican people, and implored ‘Almighty God to welcome all those who lost their lives.’ The Mexican bishops expressed their condolences to all those affected, and highlighted the generous fraternal affection the nation is witnessing in the response and rescue efforts: ‘Once again, we are witnessing the solidarity of the Mexican people, who sees a brother and sister in those who are suffering.’

“We join them in prayer and solidarity, and together invoke the maternal protection of our Lady of Guadalupe, Comforter of the Afflicted and Mother Most Merciful.”

Joining Suffering with Christ: Homily for Monday, September 11, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

It is rough to suffer.  We usually try to avoid it at all cost.  We seek to move away from the uncomfortable.  We seek to avoid what is hard.  Yet often, when we are in the midst of suffering, it can help us to discover something profound.  When we can find meaning in suffering, it can become easier to endure.

That is why the words of joining our sufferings to Christ can be reassuring.  It is not suffering for its own sake.  We do not go looking for suffering.  But it is really about redemption.  That by “offering up” our suffering, we can find meaning and purpose.

Homework: Homily for Thursday, July 13, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Consider the call in today’s gospel.  “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.”  This is quite the homework.  Thank goodness that like any good teacher, Jesus gives help.  We are never on our own.  We live in the Spirit, we receive grace, we have God’s love.

What does this mean for us? That even if we face hardship, persecution, difficulty or suffering, we will never do so alone.  God is always with us.  And remember: nothing is impossible with God.

Holy Suffering: Homily for Wednesday, June 7, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

There are moments in life where we find ourselves at a desperate place.  At these times, it seems that there is simply nothing more we can do.  They can be moments of such suffering that we are not even sure if we can bear it.  At other times, it is the result of such hardships that it seems too much.  It can be illness, tragedy, death, ruin, whatever.  What is it that can make suffering something that does not destroy but rather gives life?  Is there such a thing as holy suffering?

Fortunately for us, there is.  Because of the life-giving act of Jesus, suffering has become redemptive when the suffering humans endure is united with his suffering on the cross.  Today in the readings, there is real, deep, powerful outpouring of prayer, seeking the healing of God.  Perhaps today’s readings serve as a reminder to us that we have to turn to God always, but perhaps most of all when it appears that all is lost.

Suffering: Homily for Tuesday, June 6, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.
Readings for Today

Nothing can cause us to have difficulty in how we treat others and ourselves like death and suffering.  Yesterday we got a picture of the type of person Tobit was.  Faithful to God, concerned for the poor, ready to commit to his faith and in God even to death if necessary.  But today we encounter a different side of Tobit.  He has lost his sight when birds poop on him.  Scholars think that Tobit actually developed some type of infection similar to Pink Eye (conjunctivitis) only with much more serious consequences.  Not treated this more severe form of the disease can cause blindness.

However, what we see here in the story is that he does not react so well to his wife.  We know that Tobit was a wealthy man, one who had many accomplishments.  How hard it must have been, as a blind man, to now rely on others for his care, his basic needs, and his mobility.  When his hard working wife comes home with a goat as a bonus, Tobit gets quite angry, to the point of accusing her of stealing.  How common this is in the spiritual life.  We too can find ourselves quite close to God one minute, and frustrated and angry at another moment.

Patience and Suffering: Homily for Friday, January 27, 2017

Readings for Today

Patience.  Suffering.  These two words can both be words that remind us it is difficult to live life.  That is because we all know that life is hard.  Buddhism sees that as one of the Four Noble Truths.  It is the rare person that does not suffer.  Almost everyone suffers.  Almost everyone experiences pain and difficulty.  The life of faith means understanding that life is hard.

And yet people do not recognize this.  We can feel singled out for a difficult life.  It seems sometimes that we are the only ones who suffer.  We can become jealous, or envious of what we think others have.  Things seem to be easy for others.  It can feel difficult for us.  We need patience in our suffering.

At other times we can feel threatened by the suffering of others. We can think that they suffer because they are lazy.  They suffer because they do not want to work.  They suffer because they have defects in their character.  In fact, it has become quite fashionable to blame the poor for being poor.  It has become fashionable to blame addicts for being addicts.  It can become fashionable to believe that people endure hardships and suffering because they want to endure hardships.  Today’s first reading reminds us that being a follower of Jesus means patience in suffering, and accompanying those who suffer.

Listen to the entire homily be clicking the links above.

Homily for Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Readings for Today

It may not seem this way, but we live in an age of martyrs. People all over the world, but especially in the Middle East and in Africa are being killed simply because they are Christians. Speaking to the Shalom Community who sponsored a relay to raise awareness of the terrible persecution of Christians, the pope said this:

“Your itinerary on the streets is over, but what must continue on the part of all is the spiritual journey of prayer, intense prayer; the concrete participation and  tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, killed, beheaded, for the only reason of being a Christian.”

There are the attacks by Boko Haram, by ISIS, by other extemist Muslims who are killing Christians. It used to be that persecution needed to be imagined, but today, we see it on an almost daily basis. Even in our own country, I have heard from people who feel a sense of persecution because of their faith. Talking with those in the science profession, I know many who calculate carefully sharing their personal faith, since many view faith and science as incompatible.

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Homily for Good Friday, April 3, 2015

Readings for Today

One challenge in life, it seems to me, is to be a person of balance. Centuries ago, Aristotle discussed the ideal location for virtue was in between two extremes. There can be a value to being generous. But real generosity lies between being foolhardy with the gifts we have been given on the one hand, and resisting the type of stinginess that never gives away anything.

How it is we view the human person requires this same ability to recognize the virtue that lies in the middle. There can be times in our own life when we fail to see any goodness in ourselves, when we beat ourselves up simply for existing. Yet at the same time, there are moments when we can justify almost anything we do, easily excusing our mistakes and sins.

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Homily for Monday, November 24, 2014

Readings for Today

Today we celebrate the large number of Vietnamese martyrs who suffered some of the most brutal deaths in the history of the church. There were literally thousands of martyrs in Vietnam. The 19th century in Vietnam was a particularly difficult time for those who were Catholic. While we do not know the names of all of the Vietnamese martyrs, we do know a few. And  As a Dominican, I would be remiss if I did not mention the 11 Dominicans whose martyrdom we  celebrate today.

As so often happens when there is great persecution of the church, what is left behind is a tremendous legacy. Vietnam was no different. Especially when considering the Dominican order,  these martyrs inspired thousands and thousands of Vietnamese, even today, to join the Dominican order. Of course, these martyrs also inspired deep commitment of faith in other ways as well. St. Andrew, was a diocesan priest. There were numerous Jesuits whose names are included among the martyrs. Like so many martyrs, when faced with the stark reality of choosing for Jesus or rejecting him, the martyrs died for their faith.

The torture and deaths of these Vietnamese martyrs is believed to be among the worst in the world. That only was this a case where martyrdom and suffering was witnessed very clearly to discourage people from following the way of those who were killed, the purpose of the martyrdom was also to intensify beyond belief the suffering of those who were martyred.

Anytime we commemorate the lives of  martyrs, it serves as a reminder to us of the importance of our commitment to the faith as well. We do not face the situation where  we are killed for our beliefs. Indeed, we may not even face the situation where we find ourselves being persecuted for our beliefs. But each day when we awake, what is clear is our need to say yes to Jesus. Whether we are recently baptized or have been baptized for a number of years each day we are called to renew our commitment to Jesus and his way of life. We are called to live out that vocation that each of us is been given because of our baptism.

This call to faith  requires a commitment to serve God regardless of the consequence. We cannot, on the one hand, decide that we are going to serve God, on the other hand living in a manner that does not suggest we care about serving God at all. That being said, this choice that we are constantly required to renew to serve Jesus, becomes even more possible because of the grace that God, that we celebrate today were only able to possess the strength to be martyrs, because they cooperated with the grace of God. They saw in living out their faith, that they simply could not be who they were any other way.

As Moses mentions in the book of Deuteronomy we are given a choice between life and death. The irony of the life of a martyr is often times that the choice of accepting martyrdom is really a choice of life. And so today, in all that you do, choose life.

Homily for Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Readings for Today

I do not know if you have noticed on Facebook, but there is an increasing number of people who are being challenged to be grateful. I have seen three day challenges, seven day challenges and even thirty day challenges. The idea is that for three, seven or thirty consecutive days a person who accepts the challenge is supposed to publicly post on Facebook what they are grateful for, so that these things are not taken for granted.

I have heard that people who are grateful for things are healthier, and I know that when things are not going so well I do try to identify those things for which I am very grateful. It tends to turn my attention away from my troubles toward blessings I have in my life.

Taking the time to reflect upon those things for which we are grateful is a profitable exercise. It keeps us from taking things for granted. It keeps us from wallowing too much in the negative in life, to focus on what we have, rather than upon what we do not have.

It is interesting that not having what we want or wanting what we do not have is a tremendous cause of suffering in Buddhism. and is something we should strive to overcome. I have even tried to idenitfy how negative things in my life can be things for which I am grateful. A setback at work can be turned into something positive when we express gratitude for having a job. Negative experiences can become positive simply in the way they can help us realize that even in our darkest hour we can find the positive light that gives us hope.

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