On the spot: Homily for Friday, November 3, 2017

Readings for Today

Today the Pharisees have to defend their way of living the faith.  They have to stand before Jesus to tell him whether or not he can heal on the Sabbath.  Does the law of God prevent the miraculous, if it happens to fall on a Sabbath? What will their answer be? Is God allowed to answer prayers on the Sabbath?

They do not fare very well.  The Pharisees simply choose not to answer.  How can they? They have no response.  What they are claiming does not pass a common sense test. Despite the miracles they have seen, the words they have heard, they cannot let go of their interpretation of living a life of faith.  And this is what happens when we stop focusing on Jesus.

World Day of Vocations May 7, 2017

To read the entire post, click here.

The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publically fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries(priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life, in the particular sense of mission “ad gentes”.

2017 marks the 54th Anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations

From the USCCB: Religious Profession Class Of 2015

WASHINGTON—Nearly all of the religious men and women who professed perpetual vows in 2015 had a strong, active parish life or participated in a vocation program or experience prior to entering their religious institute, according to the annual survey on men and women religious conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. The report comes as the Catholic Church completes the global observance of the Year for Consecrated Life.

Nearly 84 percent participated in a vocation program prior to entering their religious institute, such as a “Come and See” experience (72 percent), or a vocation retreat (46 percent). Women were more likely than men (57 percent compared to 29 percent) to report participating in a vocation retreat before entering their religious institute.

To read more go to: http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-019.cfm

What do you seek?

Every professed Dominican begins the profession by being asked this question. It is a centuries old question answered by an untold number of professed Dominicans. The answer we all made, either to the Master of the Order or his representative was, “God’s mercy and yours.” It is our very real acknowledgement that the answer given by Pope Francis to the question, “Who is Jorge Borgoglio?” is true for each of us. We are sinners. We stand, always and everywhere in need of God’s mercy.

And to live an authentic life in community, we stand in need too, of the mercy of our brothers. Sometimes community life has been described as a “school of charity” for we are all too often reminded of our shortcomings and failures. Not only is it the case that we do not always live up to the ideal of the call of religious life, in seeking to live this life, it is all too often the case we find ourselves reminded of the complex challenge of being fully human.

Today our province was blessed by the solemn profession, by each, to live as a Dominican. Since I now find myself living in a formation community, I cannot but be amazed by the example of the men I live with seeking in the midst of the challenges in our world to discover just what it is that God asks of them. It is hard work to discern. It requires the constant effort to be silent enough, that the voice of God becomes audible. It is the attempt to learn what the call of God, and what Dominican life is about in the powerful gift of study. (Though I am not sure it always feels like a profound gift.) It is the common life which reminds us at the same time that we are not alone, but that we also stand in need of mercy.

In the short time I have lived in the formation community, I have become quite aware of the importance of my own example. We are blessed, not only with a quantity of brothers in formation, but also with a quality of brothers who seek to pray, to be silent, to enter into the centuries long lifestyle of a Dominican. I am edified, and I am aware more and more that my own example is not always sufficient.

And yet in some odd way, this becomes a sign of hope for me. Despite my shortcomings, this Dominican way of life is so rewarding, so life-giving, there are times I still, even years after my first profession, cannot  believe this is real. Each time a brother professes, in the hands of our provincial, to be faithful to the Dominican way of life, not just for a time, but forever, it serves, at least to me, as a concrete sign that God continues to bless both me, and the larger Church.

This is not a quest to become worthy of this Dominican life, since I know that can never be. I knew that the first time I answered, “God’s mercy and yours.” I know it today, and I was reminded of it yesterday, when five men professed their lives to the brothers. None of us are worthy of this mercy, yet God continues to pour out grace. I may not be worthy of it, but thanks to God grace, I am not alone. Deo gratias!

Homily for Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Readings for Today

My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” What are we to make of Jesus’ words today? I am not so sure my mother would be terribly pleased if this were my response if she were visiting me outside my door. I am pretty sure I would hear about it if this were my response. It seems almost as if Jesus is saying that his “work” is more important than time for his mother.

And yet this cannot be the case. Jesus is certainly not making a disparaging comment about his mother and relatives. So what are we to make of this statement?

Think for a moment of powerful relationship between a mother and her child. In fact it is powerful for the good and for evil. When a mother-child relationship is founded upon love, it provides the foundation for a mature man or woman. Conversely, when we see the antithesis of this, a destructive or dysfunctional relationship between mother and child, then there is often a lifetime of healing that is needed.

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