Becoming Beautiful Grapes: Homily for Sunday, October 8, 2017

Readings for Today

My aunt and uncle had a vineyard behind their house.  It was not very big, but it produced tasty grapes.  I really liked them.  And while my childhood memory may not be great, I do not remember sour grapes. To be clear, there was care for the grapes that I did not see.  They required care.  They needed to be tended to in order to be tasty.

I cannot imagine what would have happened if in spite of the hard work there were no grapes to be had.  Or, worse, if despite hard work the grapes were sour. And yet that is what we hear in the readings.  Despite the loving self-gift of Jesus to save us, we do not always bear good fruit. We turn away.  We disrupt. And sometimes even, we kill.  The call today is to be the disciple that does not disrupt, but bears fruit.

Rosary as Contemplation: Homily for Saturday, October 7, 2017

Readings for Today

This feast has its roots in a battle.  As the story goes, the praying of the rosary led to victory.  That is why the original name of this day was Our Lady of Victory.  But as wonderful as the title is, I prefer the name the celebration has today: Our Lady of the Rosary.  Why?

The biggest reason is the way in which the rosary itself gets highlighted.  The rosary is such a powerful prayer of contemplation.  While it is true the victory of God is constant in the contemplation of the rosary, the connection to the events of our salvation, and to Jesus, seems clearer when compared to the rosary.

The rosary is the pathway to contemplation.  In its truest form, the rosary leads us to Jesus.  We reflect on his life, death and resurrection. The rosary also leads to discipleship. Just as the disciples responded to Jesus, Mary’s responded perfectly to God.  She too was sent.  She too was a devout follower of God.  Her constant yes is worthy of our imitation.

Trying to See Jesus: Homily for Thursday, September 28, 2017

Readings for Today

Today’s gospel in many ways is an initial stage of discipleship.  Herod is trying to figure out just who Jesus is.  Has John the Baptist been raised from the dead? One of the prophets? Herod is curious about Jesus.  This is the same Herod who felt some attraction to the words of Saint John the Baptist. We are told that Herod kept trying to see Jesus.

That may very well provide a goal for today.  Do you keep trying to see Jesus? Maybe you could spend a little time reading the bible.  Or maybe spending some time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Or perhaps it is finding silence, repeating a phrase, or praying a rosary.  Whatever you do, keep trying to see Jesus.

Fire: Homily for the 19th Week, August 16, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

I had a little bit of a challenge when I took a psychological test called the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or the MMPI for short.  The test is a long (very long) series of statements that are either marked true of false by the person taking the test. The test is constructed in such a way that it can be determined whether or not someone is trying to lie on the test.  I found one of the questions a challenge.  The sentence read, “I am fascinated by fire.” Well, the truth is, well, yes.  Yes, I am fascinated by fire.  But would the test scorer read too much into this? While I am fascinated by a campfire or a fire in a fireplace, I am not fascinated by a building fire.  I have no interest in arson.

The response to the psalm today mentions being filled with fire.  Fire is a powerful image of faith.  There is the fire at the Easter Vigil.  Saint Catherine of Siena said that if we became what we were created to be we would set the world on fire.  When looking at a campfire, we realize its complexity.  There is an interesting chemical process in a fire.  There are many different temperatures.  There are many different chemicals.  There is a power in fire.  And today we realize the same is true for us when we experience the fire of faith in our soul.

 

Homily for Sunday, January 25, 2015

Readings for Today

I do not like to do what I do not want to do. And usually, for better or worse, I find a good reason to avoid doing what I do not want to do. Are you like that? Sometimes I waste more time trying to get out and avoid doing what I do not want to do that I am occupied by it more and for longer than if I just did it in the first place. Why is it that despite this repeated experience of wasting time avoiding what I do not want to do that I cannot change my behavior?

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Homily for Monday, March 24, 2014

Readings for Today

What type of God do you wish?  One who is the “Hollywood Special Effects” God, or one who does what is best for us at all times, even in ways that might seem quite ordinary.  Poor Naaman.  He would have done anything had is been spectacular, and not involved and “oh so ordinary” river.  Nothing magic.  Nothing spectacular.  Just go and bathe.  Fortunately for him, Naaman had servants that cared for him.

If the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”  While it is true that in the sacraments we are surrounded by the extraordinary, they look very ordinary.  Water.  Wafers.  Oil.  Words.  Laying on of hands.  Our worship, our praise often appears quite ordinary without faith.  But with faith, it becomes eternal.  It affords us eternal life because the extraordinary Jesus becomes present in ordinary ways.

We can be too much like Naaman.  Expecting God to do something extraordinary.  This is a common temptation.  In a few weeks we will hear the people wonder why the one who opened the eyes of the blind man could not do something for Lazarus, or those who mock Jesus by telling him to “come down from that cross”.

The psalm reminds us that authentic discipleship means being athirst for God, to be longing for that relationship with Christ that fulfills more than we can possibly imagine, not by magic, but by the profound love Jesus has for each one of us.