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

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

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.

Choice: Homily for Saturday, August 19, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

There comes a time in our lives, perhaps many times, where we must choose God or reject God.  It is the case that God profoundly respects our freedom.  And so God does not force us to follow him.  Rather, God seeks to give us the grace and persuasion to choose to follow him.  Today Joshua puts this choice before the people.

This is the choice: follow God or reject God.  Serve God or serve ourselves. Be open to grace or harden your heart. What will you do? What will you choose? Today, choose God, serve God, love God.  You will not be sorry.

 

Call: Homily for Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Do you know you have a call from God? God knows what means fulfillment.  God knows what leads to eternal happiness.  But God’s call is not an order.  It is an invitation.  God invites us to be completely ourselves.  When we do so, we are God’s image. We are just what we were created to be.

What do you do to hear God’s call? What do you do to place yourself in the presence of God? Jesus spends the night in prayer before calling the disciples.  So too must we.

Daily Prayer for July 10, 2017

O Father, raise up among Christians
abundant and holy vocations to the priesthood,
who keep the faith alive
and guard the blessed memory of your Son Jesus
through the preaching of his word
and the administration of the Sacraments,
with which you continually renew your faithful.

Grant us holy ministers of your altar,
who are careful and fervent guardians of the Eucharist,
the sacrament of the supreme gift of Christ
for the redemption of the world.

Call ministers of your mercy,
who, through the sacrament of Reconciliation,
spread the joy of your forgiveness.

Grant, O Father, that the Church may welcome with joy
the numerous inspirations of the Spirit of your Son
and, docile to His teachings,
may she care for vocations to the ministerial priesthood
and to the consecrated life.

Sustain the Bishops, priests and deacons,
consecrated men and women, and all the baptized in Christ,
so that they may faithfully fulfill their mission
at the service of the Gospel, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.

Religious Brothers Day: May 1, 2017

The Brothers Think Tank has announced the first-ever Religious Brothers Day will be held May 1, 2017, on the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.
All religious brothers will be recognized during this national virtual event with special content hosted on yearforconsecratedlife.com.
Following the publication of the Vatican document on the “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church,” a committee was formed to plan the celebration, which will include prayer services and tributes to jubilarian brothers from lay and mixed communities and institutes of apostolic life, as well as other activities that are in the works.
A prayer card was commissioned specifically for this celebration and focuses on the vocation of brothers—a gift given by God, received by the brothers, and shared with others.

Read the rest of the story here.

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.

Being Chosen and Making Choices: Homily for Friday, January 20, 2017

Readings for Today

Being Chosen and Making Choices.  It is interesting how the civil events of Today, the Inauguration of a new President, Donald Trump, and the reading from the gospel seem to interconnect.  Today’s gospel is about being chosen, as Jesus chooses those who will work with him in proclaiming the Good News, and preaching the Kingdom of God.  Just as the disciples were chosen by Jesus for a very important mission, and Donald Trump was chosen by the process of our Consitution, we too have been chosen by the Lord Jesus for something pretty important as well.  As people who have been chosen, we also make choices.  And if we are chosen, it is quite important to recognize that our choices are made from the choice God made in us.  We are chosen.  We are chosen by God who know us much better than anyone.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  We pray today that in being chosen by God, God may guide our choices, so that they are consistent with the will of God.

Homily for Sunday, February 7, 2016

It is easy to forget that so much of our relationship with God is not dependent upon us. All we need to do is to place ourselves in the presence of God. By doing so, we both lose those sins and shortcomings that keep us from being the person God has created us to be, and we are able to be sent forth for the mission that God gives to only us. As we move into the season of Lent this Wednesday, let us place ourselves in God’s presence to receive the powerful and life-changing love of God.

Homily for Monday, August 31, 2015

Readings for Today

Do you ever think of the most important day of your life? What is it? How would you describe it? And why would you suggest it is the most important day of your life? What is it about that day that causes it to rise above the others?

Certainly, on the one hand, we could look at the day we were born as such a date. Maybe it is even the day we were conceived. Without these events, our lives would be quite different, or would not even exist. But for me, when I think about such a date, I think about the day of my baptism. Like many Catholics, I do not remember my baptism, since I was only a couple of months old. But my spiritual life was profoundly changed on that day. I was born into new life, and it was because of this event, that my vocation came into view.

Two very important things happened when I was baptized. First, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon me. Second, I was anointed. And those events made everything make sense in my life. Such may also be the same for you. You too may have been baptized, and you too received the Spirit and were anointed. You were given the great life of vocation.

Where has this vocation led you? Perhaps you have found yourself called to marriage, and it has made all of the difference in your life. You were made aware that you and your spouse were the means to be complete. You discovered you were more together than either of you could be apart. Maybe this led to the vocation of parenthood.

In my case, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because I am a priest. For others, it may be a vocation to religious life as a priest or a brother. Maybe one is called to the vocation of the single life. Whatever it is, God has chosen each one of us for something truly amazing. We are made the vehicles of God’s grace! Think about it! We can witness to God’s action in the world when we pay attention to the needs of others.

This does not seem to be the Spirit of the current campaign for president. We hear these words from Isaiah in the gospel:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Yet what we hear with such force among some candidates is a different message. It is not glad tidings that we bring to the poor, but “Stay in Mexico!” We are not seeking to help the blind recover their sight, but we are blaming them for being blind, and we view them only as stealing OUR resources. Get a job! We do not wish to free the oppressed, but to jail them. And when we understand what this “year acceptable” is for God, the forgiveness of debt and a new start seem far from what we hear. The unborn baby in too many circles is only human if it is wanted by the mother, otherwise it has no more value than a tumor or a bodily supply of parts.

We who have been anointed by the Spirit are called to do something more. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, our hopes and dreams are not in this life only. We need not cling to the material possessions we have, but can freely give them because we are truly free in Christ.

Today, you are a vessel of God’s Holy Spirit, to change the lives of the most vulnerable. Will you give in to the ordinary around us, which too often ignores and belittles the needy, or will you see your high vocation as one where you can be a vessel of the Holy Spirit and lead others to freedom and new, unending life.

Homily for Thursday, April 30, 2015

Readings for Today

If one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.” Do you ever see yourself as one being called to give a word of exhortation? Do you take seriously the obligation of baptism that we share, explain and at times defend the faith? Or, in the midst of conflict, do you see that as something left to others, like bishops or priests? Catholics do not have a deep and long history of seeing themselves as proclaimers of the Word. We have more of a tradition of remaining quiet, perhaps because of a long memory that we really did not need to worry about it. People came to the Church.

Today that is not as true. Those who claim “no religion” (so-called “nones”) are the fastest growing group in the United States. The data for millennials is not encouraging. There is a net decline of some significance in the number of priests in the United States. While the number of those students studying theology has remained relatively constant since 1990, the number of priests who retire each year is greater. (For a full statistical report, go to the Center for Applied Research for the Apostolate’s research blog.) There is a need for all of us to see the need to proclaim the faith.

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