The Signs on the outside: Homily for December 1, 2017

The Signs on the outside: Homily for December 1, 2017
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Readings for Today

The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s challenged the Church to be attentive to the “signs of the times.” The idea was that just as colored leaves signaled the change of seasons from fall to winter, so too the events of our lives could signal something to us as well. But this is only true with faith. If we do not see the world through the eyes of faith, then we cannot make sense of where God may be active in the world.

As we approach the end of the Church year, and the beginning of a new year, it is important for us to be attentive to where Jesus is active in our world. What signs of progress should we observe? What areas do we need a push in the right direction to fix? What is our role in recognizing how God is active in the world?

It ends where it began. With Discipleship: Homily for the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Readings for Today

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, we end right where we began. Discipleship. This story has been used by authors like Sherry Weddell as the illustration of intentional discipleship. Andrew and Simon drop their nets and leave their old way of life. While they do not fully know where that will lead, they do know it will always be with Jesus.  They have turned over their lives to follow, and to emulate, this person of Jesus.

What do you make of your state of discipleship? Are you closer to Jesus, or are you further away? Do you know Jesus more clearly, or are you more distant in what you know? The good news is that even after his decision to become an intentional disciple, Andrew was not perfect.  Andrew did not always understand Jesus, and sometimes he made Jesus angry. As you reflect back upon this past year, where do you need Jesus in your life?

It ain’t all candy and roses: Homily for Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It ain’t all candy and roses: Homily for Wednesday, November 29, 2017
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Readings for Today

Sometimes the Christian life is presented in such a way as to make it seem easy. Jesus is the kind teddy bear, and not only does he never demand anything of us, he makes all things feel good. While this type of feel good religion is tempting, Jesus never embraced such a religion. Persecution. Division. Not Peace. Conflict. Even Death. The life of one who follows the gospel is not automatically good. In fact, some would call the age we live in today the age of the martyrs, as Christians are being persecuted and killed all over the world.

The good news is that for people who have total trust in Jesus, like the widow a couple of days ago, the grace and love of God can see them through anything. Jesus mentions the difficulties so that we do not go into intentional discipleship blindly. Rather, he wants us to know that while it will not always be easy, we will also face whatever comes in the power of this relationship with Jesus.

It’s Coming to an End: Homily for Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It’s Coming to an End: Homily for Tuesday, November 28, 2017
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Readings for Today

It should not be surprising that as we come to the end of the Church year the readings too focus more on the end of time. We will hear from the Book of Daniel this week, and the gospels for this week also focus on how we need to prepare ourselves for the final judgment. The importance seen today is our inner disposition of faith and trust in God. Yesterday we had a miraculous example of trust from the widow.  Today the invitation is to us.

When people approach the end, they search for meaning. Sometimes this meaning takes the form of a life review, such as can happen when someone dies. The end of centuries and millennia can give rise to predictions about the end of the world. This week will help us to prepare for the end of the world, and for the coming of Christ.

Total Trust in God: Homily for Monday, November 27, 2017

Total Trust in God: Homily for Monday, November 27, 2017
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Readings for Today

Trust is the basis for any relationship.  We can have no friendship without trust.  There can be no true marriage without trust. But the examples of trusting God in today’s readings seem unbelievable.  Daniel trusts in God to care for him because Daniel keeps the covenant. The widow gives all she has to live on because she trusts God. But is such trust even possible?

There was an amazing story a few days ago about a homeless veteran who helped a woman buy gas with his last $20.  Little could he have known at that time what would happen to him. She raised $315,000 for him after she learned who he was. He did not help for the money. In fact, had she not gone back to find him, he might never have gotten anything. And if there is such a thing as human goodness like this, just imagine how much more God will draw us into a deep relationship when we trust him.

Deep Regret – With or Without Hope: Homily for November 25, 2017

Deep Regret – With or Without Hope: Homily for November 25, 2017
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Readings for Today

There is nothing worse than coming to the awareness of deep sin.  It can be quite challenging when we realize we have turned our backs on God.  It is sad when we discover the heartache of evil.  When that happens, we have a choice.  We can choose to give in to despair, or we can choose to have hope.  If we do not recognize the power of God’s forgiveness, or we are too proud to acknowledge his greatness, we despair. When we turn our hearts back to God, trusting in the mercy and forgiveness we do not deserve, we have hope.

What will you do in answer to God’s goodness? Will you humbly confess your sin, or will you stubbornly persist in evil? Will you be greedy generous? Prideful or humble? Seek out God’s mercy and you will live.

A building is not enough: Homily for Friday, November 24, 2017

A building is not enough: Homily for Friday, November 24, 2017
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Readings for Today

As beautiful as churches are, buildings are not enough.  As edifying as shrines can be, buildings are not enough. This is today’s lesson. The first reading points out to us just how marvelous the temple can be.  After watching people abandon their faith, and finding great victory due to faith in God, the time has come for a magnificent celebration. And how marvelous it is.  But the building was not enough.

Why? Because despite the ways in which the church lifted mind and soul to God, it was not enough for all to change their lives to reflect a life lived for God. Just a short couple of centuries later, Jesus scolds because the temple has been profaned.  Still, make a visit to a church. Stop by to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Just remember to live the authentic life of faith, strengthened by the sacraments.

Knowing your persepective: Homily for Thanksgiving, November 23, 2017

Readings for Today

So much of our lives revolves around how we see things.  Our perspective on life makes all the difference.  Are we optimistic? Sad? Do you seek the good in others? Do you mistrust everyone? Is God loving or judgmental? Do we trust God or doubt? Questions like these, and others, have a lot to do with how it is we see life.

Today’s gospel shows how easy it is to miss what is really important.  Nine are cured of leprosy, and for whatever reason, they cannot go back to thank Jesus.  Maybe they were too excited to see family.  Maybe the wonder of life returning to normal was too distracting.  For whatever reason, it was only one who said thank-you to Jesus. Being grateful for what we have makes it more likely we see other reasons to be thankful.  Give thanks to God today. You will find more blessings than you knew you had.

Will you open your will to God: Homily for Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Will you open your will to God: Homily for Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Readings for Today

Today we encounter a king that does not seem to be very kind. Rather, he seems harsh and demanding. This is a king that sets forth harsh conditions for his subjects.  It serves as a reminder to us that this life of faith is really about a stark choice for or against God. As we approach the end of the Church year, our focus is shifted to the end times, when the ultimate choice, and our ultimate judgment will occur.

The servant who fears the harsh master, who is not willing even to open the slightest hold to let God control his life, this servant cannot act even on what he knows to be true.  The others take the risk, and the outcome is good. Faith is like this.  We need to take the risk to trust in God’s providence that we can do what God desires, and so produce fruit for God’s kingdom.

Authentic Faith: Homily for Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Readings for Today

Will you be true? Will you be genuine and sincere? Even if you fail, will you seek the conversion that has no guile? Will you be who you say you are? There are two examples of authenticity in today’s readings.  The first is a long life of authenticity, that of Eleazar.  Even when given a shortcut, Eleazar remains true.  He makes this authentic choice not merely for his own relationship with God, but also with concern for others. What will people make of an old faithful man who appears to turn away from God?

Zaccheus, the man of conversion in the gospel, shows us how authentic a search for God can  be even from a sinful life. Zaccheus, in his own conversion, shows us how to convert. We must acknowledge honestly our sinfulness.  When we do so, we have this powerful relationship with Jesus.  Jesus comes into our hearts because we invite him to forgive our sins and to change our lives.