Opposites don’t always attract: Homily for Monday, December 11, 2017

Readings for Today

The first reading contrasts the desert with blooming flowers. The gospel contrasts the absolute trust that those carrying the paralyzed man and the legalistic Pharisees. This season of Advent is indeed a season of contrasts.  Just when we think Jesus could not startle us any more, he does.  Jesus not only heals, he forgives sins. God makes deserts bloom. At every turn, we see the gift of new life.

As we finish the first week of Advent and begin the second, where is your journey this Advent? How have you made room for the Spirit of God? Where do you see yourself filled with expectation at what God will do?

The New Road: Homily for Sunday, December 10, 2017

Readings for Today

I grew up in rural America, and it did not take much for something to get me excited. Life is kind of average and ordinary.  But when I was little, visiting relatives, there was the day I rode on “The New Road.” I had heard relatives talking about it, and there was a great deal of build up to the day it would actually be open for people to use. It was a four lane divided road that was an upgrade from the small, cracked road that served as the US route before. The level of excitement as we awaited its opening was amazing.

And when it did open, it was amazing.  It was smooth.  And big.  Because of the road’s width, there was a better view of the landscape. Because of the road, a driver could go faster. It did not matter that what the “New Road” was for a while was really a divided highway that only went a few miles. In fact, the original length of the road is only one exit to the next today, as the road has been expanded. But the smoothness of the road, the beauty of the view, and the speed of the vehicle made it all worthwhile. So when the image of rough ways becoming smooth comes up in the Advent readings, I think of the “New Road” because it is a suitable image of the excitement of saying yes to God.

Ordinary Guy, Extraordinary Grace: Homily for Saturday, December 9, 2017

Readings for Today

There is something really interesting to me about people who appear to be quite ordinary, but wind up with extraordinary lives. We celebrate such a person today.  Saint Juan Diego is just such a person.  He became an extraordinary saint who was the vehicle used by the Blessed Virgin to extend salvation.  Just imagine how much the world was impacted by his sharing of the vision. He was a convert to Catholicism. Even after having an appearance of the Blessed Virgin, he goes another way to avoid her, for he is in a hurry to get to Mass. He was not a person of great influence, or power, or money.  But he was a man of faith.

It causes me to think about the degree to which I would allow God to use me.  For me, it is not a question of whether the Virgin Mary would appear to me, but rather one where I ask, would I listen, especially if the task required more than a little courage. Would I have the faith to believe, or would I doubt? Saint Juan Diego is an example of what happens when one has faith in God.

Fully Divine and Fully Human: Homily for Thursday, December 7, 2017

Readings for Today

Today is the feast of Saint Ambrose.  We might not know much about Saint Ambrose, but he is a very important saint for us.  He was one of the first four doctors of the Church. Saint Ambrose was a politician, who unlike today, was so well-loved he was named bishop by pubic acclaim. Perhaps most importantly, Saint Ambrose fought ceaselessly against a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ in a way which made Christ equal with the Father and the Spirit.

During Advent this matters, because it is not just because Jesus was a nice person worthy to imitate that we celebrate. Rather, we celebrate the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who takes on flesh to become fully human.  Three persons in one God. So that the incarnation is not just one birth among many, it is THE birth that is connected to our salvation. We seek the promises of God because God has become one of us, and has become savior to a people that do not deserve or earn salvation.

Hungry? God has food: Homily for Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Readings for Today

Today’s readings made me hungry.  Isaiah discusses rich foods and choice wines.  Jesus discusses feeding the great multitudes that followed him. But all this talk about food is not accidental.  We can easily see food is a comfortable thing.  When we are hungry, food fills. But what do you want to fill up with? For it is not just an empty stomach that can make us hungry, but also an empty soul.

And when our soul is empty, it is not as easy to fill it ourselves. We can try.  We can look to eating too much, drinking too much, working too hard, or seeking unhealthy physical comforts in something like pornography.  But the soul can only really be filled by Jesus. It is only when we acknowledge our hunger for something more, and invite Jesus into our lives that we get full.  What are you spiritually hungry for? Ask Jesus for spiritual food.  It fills.