The Power of Thanks: Homily for Friday, July 21, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

If you are like most, there are many things in your life for which to be thankful.  Some are obvious.  We are thankful for people we love and care about.  Parents are usually grateful for their children, and vice-versa.  We might be thankful for a job, or a nice place to live.  But do we express this thanks to God?  Or do we take all of the people and things in our life for granted? It can be easy to do so.  The very fact we love someone can easily be forgotten.  We can assume they know how we feel.  Expressing to God and others our thanks is important.

But have you ever thought about giving thanks for those things that seem to be bad in our life?  For example, maybe there is that co-worker in your life that really gets on your nerves. Have you ever thought about giving thanks to God for that person? Maybe they are helping you to learn patience.  Or maybe what seems like a hardship is really a path to detachment.  By experiencing something negative, but searching for God in that experience, we can grow in faith.  So whether it is good or bad, be sure to give thanks to God today.

Challenge: Homily for Wednesday, June 14, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

As a teacher, I have been known to say “Christianity is not for wimps.” My point was that Jesus was not a teddy bear whose only purpose was to make us feel better about ourselves.  Following Jesus would require something from the disciple.  Following Jesus means discipline.  Following Jesus means sacrifice.  Following Jesus means standing up for what is right and true, even in the face of opposition.  Why engage in a way of life that can be so hard?  Why not simply strive for enjoyment?

Truth is, anything worthwhile requires discipline and sacrifice.  Ask those who are married about the challenge of being faithful to the demands of marriage.  Without sacrifice and discipline, marriage becomes a selfish endeavor.  Parents who make no sacrifices and have no discipline will not raise healthy children.  Good employees, good practitioners, good students, good laborers, good anything means discipline and sacrifice.  Those who do not sacrifice or have discipline will not receive the fulfillment hard work brings.  What are you willing to sacrifice for Jesus?

Homily for Saturday, August 29, 2015

Readings for Today

It might seem strange that the first reading today discusses remaining tranquil and to mind one’s own affairs on the day that we celebrate the beheading of Saint John the Baptist. First, tranquil is not the first word that comes to mind when thinking about him. Second, it also does not appear to be the case that Saint John the Baptist was one who could mind his own affairs, since it was his challenge to Herod that caused his ultimate death. He was able to take on Pharisees, Herodians, and others to make sure that the knew clearly that to follow Jesus required an absolute choice to live in a particular way. In describing Saint John the Baptist, it is easy to remember there is simply nothing halfway about living the life of faith.

On one level, this is coincidental since the first reading is the reading for today is the continuation of the Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians we have been reading over the past few days. But since they are together, it does raise the question about whether there is a way that Saint John the Baptist could be seen as one who is tranquil. I think there is.

To be sure, first, it must be considered that there is evidence the preaching of Saint John the Baptist had appeal to a wide number of people. Leaving the comfort of the the known to follow this odd preacher out into the desert and to be challenged to reform their lives does, on the one hand, seem to be a challenge. Yet, it happened. What is it that appealed to those who went out into the desert?

This is precisely a version of the question Jesus asks about John. What did you go out to see? Why is it the challenging message of John made such a difference in people’s lives, when it could be seen at the same time as very unsettling? Perhaps what was most appealing to the people was the authenticity that was readily apparent to those who came to hear John speak. Could they have witnessed in John’s life and message the authentic witness that does bring tranquility? Was that the case?

John was no hypocrite. He did not say one thing and do another. He gave his life for the faith, to remain true to the relationship he had with God. As a result, his example grew the faith. He prepared the way for Jesus not just be words, but by living a clear example of total commitment to God, which was to be evidenced in the self-gift of the suffering and death of Jesus.

It can be hard for me to see this as a pathway to tranquility, maybe because I do not allow myself to be challenged enough by God. Maybe I have become too comfortable in my faith. Perhaps what I am reminded about today is that the peace that surpasses understanding can only be found by allowing myself to be upset by God enough to see those things that really matter.

Homily for Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Readings for Today

Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.” The glory of God is our gift of eternal life. There is a powerful connection between the divinity of God, the power of the Trinity, and our ultimate destiny. Why were we made? Ultimately the answer to that question is tied up with the the mysterious and glorious relationship we are called to have with God.

In these days leading up to the celebration of Pentecost, it might seem surprising that the gospels have kind of a dark tone to them. We will hear this week about Paul’s persecution, and the challenging destiny which awaits the followers of Jesus. One might think the preparation of the coming of the Holy Spirit might fill us with joy. And indeed it should. But the purpose of the coming of the Holy Spirit is also so that we might have the strength and goodness that we might be able to endure those very challenging moments that test us, and tempt us.

As was shared during the celebration of the Ascension, Jesus went to glory before us so that we would know where to go ourselves. The disciples told Jesus they could not follow him because they did not know the way. But the truth is that we do know the way, because we simply need to follow Jesus.

Such is the promise that Jesus shares with us in today’s gospel. We are invited into the glory of God, because where Jesus goes, we hope to follow. Wow. Such a powerful and profound gift awaits us. Can you believe it? We know that our lives are a mix of glory and challenge, of ups and downs, which can cause us to wonder what our lives are all about. What we are reminded of this week is all that Jesus has done for us. And in that, we are called to something more powerful, more wonderful, and more glorious than anything we could ever imagine.