No doubt about it: Jesus is Lord

Readings for Today

If I were in the shoes of Saint Thomas, I would have reacted just as he did. I would have doubted. I mean, rising from the dead. How many people can say that have witnessed a death, and seen new life. It is too bad we remember Thomas too often for his doubt. Thomas believed. He shed his life. How did he move from doubt to faith? By a personal encounter with Jesus. Spend some time with Jesus to get to know him better today.

Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, July 3, 2018.
Image courtesy Pixabay.

Evidence for God from Science is a website dedicated to providing convincing explanations on a whole host of common challenging questions to the faith.  In today’s module, there is evidence from science to provide support for the existence of God.

Awesome: Homily for Wednesday, February 15, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click the links above.

Readings for Today

Awesome.  Think of Noah for a moment. Can you imagine the excitement of seeing dry land? Being surrounded by water for so long, and finally seeing the familiarity of dryland. Wow! The promise was true. God is faithful. God did not give up on the people who had sinned.

But what is interesting is what Noah does. When he first encounters the dry land he doesn’t run around to get all excited. He doesn’t immediately move onto whatever new life he is now going to be able to experience because there is no more flood.  He does not start to rebuild. No. Noah gives thanks to God. And this is the sign of hope. In spite of all of the wickedness and all of the evil, that has been present on the earth, there’s hope because of Noah’s faith. Noah has seen what God can do, is faithful to the promise, and God does marvelous things.

If Noah gets excited about his ability to see dryland after seeing water for so long, imagine the blind man in today’s gospel. He can see. Not just dry land where he used to see water. No, he can see light where he once saw darkness. This is not a story simply about a man who recovers physical sight. This is a man who recovers the sight of faith. He can see. In both the first reading and in the gospel people are able to see not just physical things but much more importantly there able to see God. Pray that God will open your eyes so that you may see.

Homily for Saturday, August 9, 2014

Readings for Today

We have all had a moment I suspect, where we become so fed up, about the inability of students, or our children, or to an employee, to grasp something we have taught over and over again.  Why worthy disciples unable to cast out this demon? The frustration of Jesus is not about their inability to learn a new magic trick, but rather because of the weakness of their faith.

One constant in the miracles of Jesus is faith.  There are many instances where Jesus says, “your faith has saved you.” There are other instances where people’s desire for signs suggests that people are missing the importance of internal conversion. It seems very clear from today’s gospel,  is it the disciples are unable to cast out the demon, because they doubted God’s ability to cast out the demon.

And yet this doubt can persist in our own lives. There is an area of psychology that seeks to help people to understand how it is that they talk themselves internally. I’m not talking about hearing voices or having mental illness, but what I am saying is that often we doubt our own ability to do something difficult. And it can be the case, do we convince ourselves it can’t be done, even before we begin to try. It is very much the case that we cannot do something, because we believe we cannot do something.

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Homily for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Readings for Today

We live in a time where science is seen as the ultimate arbiter. Increasingly by some, science is seen as infallible. Simply mention that scientists believe, and whatever follows is accepted by some as the ultimate truth. There are those who believe that science is incapable of error, unaffected by bias, and immune from ulterior motives.  In the minds of some, all we need in order to be intelligent human beings is science.

If those who believed only in science stopped here, that we might simply say that we disagree with them.  But increasingly, it is not enough to simply make science the ultimate answer for every human question. Rather, increasingly, those who see science is the only mechanism for solving ultimate problems in the world, also believe that part of this quest is to ridicule those who maintain that some things can only be known by faith.

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Homily for Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today’s Readings

Wouldn’t it be exciting to see Elijah go up to the heavens in fire?  Wouldn’t it be great if we could have the experience similar to Hollywood special effects?  It can be easy to think that if we only had such experiences our faith we be so easy.  But would it?

it simply is not easy to explain our world. We find time and again that people try. In a religious perspective, there are those who are so sure of their faith, there is no room for doubt. In a scientific sense, there are such certainty that religion is simply about a fairytale, but circumstances that do not lend themselves to an answer that can be gained through the senses, are often avoided. And the rest of us find that we are somewhere in the middle, believing some things, and wondering about others.

While it might seem for each one of us, that a dramatic experience the presence of God would make our lives easier, the reality is that we might find ourselves all too much like the brothers of the rich man who denied Lazarus the care he was  due, and asked Jesus to send a personal messenger to save at least his brother. But in the end, Jesus, who knows our hearts so well, says that even one who is risen from the dead would not be enough of an eyewitness to guarantee belief.

The challenging word is guarantee. We are always seeking to guarantee our lives. We do not like to be taken. So whether it is the latest product that’s available in one of the superstores, or whether it is in our faith where we see dramatic miracles to settle all questions, we are reminded that most of the time, we encounter God in the everyday and the ordinary.

Just a couple of days ago, we encountered this truth in remembering Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego. Today we are reminded of the importance of discernment. We seek out to discover the deep meaning and truth is present in our lives. We accept, as God chooses to give, the revelation and presence that is helpful to each one of us. Moreover, we seek humility to realize that doubt is simply the other side of faith. We stopped realize that so many great saints had a period of time where they doubted the presence of God.

As we seek and search for the presence of God in our lives, to be light to one another. While it may be hard to set aside those things which practice from prayer, we do know this tremendous confidence that God cares for us, God loves us, and God constantly pours out before us new opportunities to grow in grace.

Homily for Sunday, August 5, 2012 (18th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Readings for Today

When I was in high school, I remember being shown a painting of an old man rowing a boat.  But the point and focus of the paining concerned a very little girl, her tiny hands on the oar, looking serious, believing she was doing the rowing.  The gentle old man behind her, with a slight smile, did not disturb this illusion.

The painting stays with me because it touches upon so many emotions.  The gentle old man in the back of the boat, who is in fact doing the rowing, looks so calm and confident.  It is clear he is fond of this little girl, perhaps he is her father, or even her grandfather.  The little girl is so serious, so intent on getting everything right, feeling the entire weight of the world upon her shoulders.

When I find things becoming challenging in my own life, I consider it grace when I am reminded of this painting.  For too often, I am like this very little girl, so caught up in thinking it is all up to me that I become very anxious and full of anxiety.  All along, there is the wise and gentle Father behind me in the boat, a small, loving smile on his face because he knows the truth.

I think about it because not trusting in God when things get tough is a natural human reaction.  For me anyway, it does not seem to matter how often I experience God’s grace, God’s loving care, or God’s providence.  When tough times come upon me, the natural reaction is always to fear and doubt.  To become pessimistic about the future, to doubt whether or not God will come through yet again.

Such was the case with the Israelites.  Time and again they were eyewitnesses to God’s abundant care for them.  They saw, through magnificent deeds, the powerful love God had for them.  They saw that they were not abandoned, but were so deeply cared for they would not be abandoned even in a desert.  But, in that same desert, they doubt.  They are afraid.  They become timid.  The become angry not at God, but at Moses for leading them into this wretched place.

I have not had an experience in my life where God has let me down.  To be sure I have had experiences where I wound up where I could not imagine.  But God has always, time and again, come through.  And, the Israelites had seen the same.  Time and again, God came to the rescue.  But are we really that different from the Israelites?  I ask God for some help, get it, and then curse it as wretched food.  When things go well I will often take the credit but not the blame, no, that is God’s fault.

When Jesus tells us that the burden will be light, he is saying this by way of comparison.  He is not suggesting that following him will lead to a life with absolutely no difficulty or suffering.  No, what he is saying is that compared to the alternative, when we trust God life becomes not a burden where we carry heavy things, but a time when the burdens are light because we do not carry them alone.

Consider the words of Socrates.  I read in a book, whose name I forget, that the quote attributed to Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living” has often been misunderstood.  It is not that there is a worthless life, but rather, the cost of living the unexamined life it too high.  It simply is not worth the cost.  The worth of the examined life is immense; the cost of the unexamined life is too great.

I think all of the readings today are helping us to realize that a life without consideration and openness to God has a cost that is too high.  The price for the examined Christian life has already been paid.  Jesus has taken upon himself our sins.  Just as the serpent was lifted up in the desert to remove the sins of the people, so too Jesus, the Son of God, has been lifted up to remove our sins.  The cost of the Christian life has been paid by our Savior.

But so often in our lives the search for the truth is something we take on all by ourselves.  We do not seek the aid of God, nor even the community God has formed, the Church.  We go it alone.  Look around at the people at Mass here today.  Inspiring, isn’t it?  People, just like you, here to come to know Jesus more clearly.

But unlike the Israelites in the desert, we have absolute confidence that Jesus is here in our midst, both because of his words, and his presence.  “Where two or three are gathered, in my name” he tells us.  “This is my body” he tells us.  And, body and blood, soul and divinity, Jesus is present at every Mass, and we are invited to receive him every time we go to Mass and receive the Eucharist.

When we clearly recognize the presence of Christ, all around us, then it becomes easier to see the Christ is the guide in our lives that cannot fail.  We can come to see that we are never alone, but always are in the presence of Jesus, both in good times and in bad, finding peace when we turn our lives over to him.