Remember: Homily for Monday, August 21, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

It can be easy to forget all that God has done for us.  We do not remember all of the times God has shown love or mercy.  We quickly forget those times where grace filled our hearts.  This is the state of affairs in the first reading.  People have quickly forgotten the promise made to serve the Lord and to reject evil. In fact, even the judges appointed to lead them forget too.  The people worship other Gods.  They choose not to follow the commandments.

In our own lives too, we can find ourselves rejecting God despite all God does for us.  Each day the stark choice to follow or reject God is before us. Every day we can follow God, receive grace and grow in faith.  Or, every day we can choose to reject God and go our own way.  But our faith tells us rejecting God is not without consequences.  God wants to pour out to us his love, mercy, and grace.  When we reject God, we receive those consequences of our choices where we receive death and destruction.  Ask God for an open heart.  Choose God.

Daily prayer for July 15, 2017

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Reality: Homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, June 18, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

The readings today take great pains to reinforce a particularly important type of reality.  When we think of real, we often think, or many people think, of the scientific world, based upon observation and fact.  And while this is a good and noble way to learn about truth, the way things are, it is not the only way.  There is another type of reality, a way of seeing that equally seeks the truth.  And often these truths are the higher level truths, because they are the truths that do not rest on human reason (though they are reasonable) but upon the spiritual revelation of God which is always real and true, and will always be real and true.

What we celebrate today is just such a truth.  There is with the Eucharist what we see — the host and the wine — and what is really and truly present, the Body and Blood of Christ.  To drive home this point, the gospel of John uses really down to earth terms.  Real terms.  Which causes the listeners to be quite perplexed as to what Jesus means.  John uses the word flesh, not just a symbol of the flesh, or a sign, or a recreation, but rather something real and true.  So today, receive Jesus, body and blood, soul and divinity, at Mass.

Understand: Homily for Thursday, June 15, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

When I first started teaching religion, what quickly became clear is that simply memorizing information does not automatically lead to discipleship.  Just because a student knows a bunch of truths of the faith does not mean the same student will make changes to live a life in union with Jesus.  I soon discovered students in the classroom who knew all of the right information but did not believe it to be true. I realized that I need to help foster what to do with the information.  I needed to begin to provide opportunities for prayer, for practice.

The readings today emphasize deep understanding. Too often there can be a temptation to stop at the surface.  I do not kill.  That should be enough.  No, I need to avoid the ways in which anger can kill.  I must not only meet the letter of the law, but must go deeper to meet the spirit of the law.  How do I know I am deeper than the surface of the Word of God? By getting to know the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who are you with? Homily for Sunday, January 22, 2017

Readings for Today

Who is it that you cast your lot in with? Is it God? Or is it some person, or group or cause, that relies on your own efforts?  That is the question that is before us today.  Over the past few weeks, we have seen a lot of division.  We have seen people really get mean to each other with terrible words and phrases.  We have just finished a brutal election season, which, even though it seems impossible, seems to get worse and worse.  So, who are you with?

The temptation can be to rely more on our own efforts than to trust in God.  Paul encounters this in the second reading for today.  Some side with him, some side with Apollos, some side with Cephas, or Saint Peter.   But when this happens, there is too much trust in the messenger and not in the message.  We forget that the disciple of Christ is not more important than Christ.  So, who are you with?

The first reading is similar.  In the sections that come before what we heard today, it is King Ahaz who forsakes God and trusts in human political alliances to save his country.  It fails miserably.  The country is taken over, the people are exiled, and it feels like darkness covers the earth.  Rather than listening to God’s message that came through the prophet, Ahaz got scared.  He simply could not trust God.  While he was in a precarious position, he could not place his trust in God.  But God delivered anyway.  Even though Ahaz did not see the great power of God, the people eventually did.  This is what we read about today.

The gospel reminds us that it is in our call by Jesus that we ultimately experience fulfilment.  A very important reminder is needed.  Jesus was Lord before the election, Jesus is Lord now, and Jesus will be Lord.  it is not about what we can do by ourselves.  It is what God does for us.  Open your hearts to be ready for God.  Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, find silence in your home, read the Word of God.  In so doing, you become the vehicle of God’s grace and action in the world.

Who is Melchizedek? Homily for Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Readings for Today

Who is Melchizedek?  He is an interesting individual that we might hear at ordinations, but not really very often.  In the book of Genesis he is the King of Salem, who rewards Abraham on his victory, something other kings of the day could not do.  He offers bread and wine, which is seen both later in the Old Testament, and certainly in the New Testament as a foreshadowing of Christ.

It is for this reason that we often see the connection between Melchizedek and Priestly Ordination, for a man is not ordained on his own, but as a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.  By referring to Melchizedek in the letter to the Hebrews, yet again this powerful distinction about Christ is made.

Christ is not high priest because he is related to the right persons.  The Church today does not carry on the sacraments because of a physical relationship.  Rather, by invoking Melchizedek, the author in the letter to the Hebrews is once again reminding the readers that the Jesus Christ is no ordinary high priest.  No, he is the powerful Son of God, who is high priest not by physical decent, but rather by spiritual authority.

Homily for Monday, April 27, 2015

Readings for Today

Would we believe Peter today? What if Peter today were to recount a vision from God that changed dramatically a defining practice of our faith? The dietary laws of Moses were no small thing for one born Jewish to disregard. The challenge for Peter can be seen in his own “flip-flop”, to coin a modern day political term. His position changed on the issue. He had been an observant Jew, but now, things are different. Why?

Put simply, it is all because of Jesus. Peter is not swayed by an intellectual argument, nor is he convinced by another apostle. In fact, the Apostle Paul more than once argues with him. It is because of his relationship with Jesus that things can change. Jesus too made it a point to stress the reason for the Law. Paul, in his writings, reminds us that the Law is not the end. It never was. It was a means. A way to enter into a relationship with the Lord.

Such is at the core of what Peter comes to believe today. It is because he believes in Jesus, and more importantly, has a personal relationship, and multiple experiences of and with Jesus, that Peter is able to come to this belief with confidence. It is important to note that Peter has relationship and experience not only with the Risen Christ, but also with Christ while he was on earth. In fact, it is in recalling one such experience that helps Peter to trust his vision of the Lord.

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Homily for Thursday, January 22, 2015

Readings for Today

Christology is that part of Theology that seeks to discover what it means for Jesus to be fully human and fully divine. Traditionally, this notion of Christology has been divided into a “high” Christology which emphasized more the divinity of Jesus, and a “low” Christology, which emphasized the humanity of Jesus. Not too long ago we discussed something similar when we spoke of the “Christ of Faith” and the “Jesus of history.”

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Homily for Monday, January 19, 2015

Readings for Today

Just who is Jesus? There certainly are not many figures in human history that have been written about as much as Jesus. There are books about his claims as Messiah, quests to find the “historical Jesus,” books written about this aspect of his teaching or that. A simple search on Amazon or in a book store reveals an awful lot of books about Jesus. And despite all of this, we still might find ourselves with questions about just who Jesus is for us and the world.

Some of our questions deal with who Jesus was historically. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century there was an effort, primarily in Protestant circles, to seek to discover what the actual historical reality was for Jesus. There was greater emphasis on the tools of history and archeology, for example. There was an attempt to document and search for facts about the life and time of Jesus, much that might have been done for any figure in history.

But even if every fact of the life and world of Jesus were known, that would not be sufficient for us today. In fact, it has never been sufficient. Knowing about Jesus is not enough. We need to know Jesus. That means that what is more important is getting to know the Christ, what has been referred to as the Christ of Faith, in contrast to the Jesus of History. Certainly many knew Jesus. The bible tells us many disciples walked away and left Jesus. His spiritual teachings were hard to follow. It was not sufficient for these disciples to know about Jesus. Because they had not answered Jesus in faith, they left.

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Homily for Thursday, October 16, 2014

Readings for Today

Every spiritual blessing in the heavens. I have read and studied this passage from Paul in his letter to the Ephesians many times, but only today did this phrase strike me. Perhaps it is because of all of the violence that surrounds us these days. It seems there will be no end to the violent conflicts that are all around us.

And yet think of the power of the phrase. Every spiritual blessing in the heavens. It can be easy for us to take the gift of the Father in Jesus for granted. But the incarnation of the Son is no small thing at all, and the gifts God longs to give us for our salvation are not small either.

As difficult as life may seem sometimes, we literally have every spiritual blessing in the heavens available to us. We are submerged in grace if we choose to accept it. Even though it may appear that evil will triumph, we have the once for all triumph of Jesus over death as evidence of the power of God’s grace.

And all that is required is that we accept this tremendous love of God in our lives, allowing this grace to change our hearts. It really is quite simple. Yet we know that there are moments and events in our lives that make this seemingly simple task not so simple. Evil can cause our hearts to become confused and our vision to be weak.

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