Ordinary person, Extraordinary Grace: Homily for Thursday, January 4, 2018

Readings for Today

I have to confess that I am not a big fan of shrines for saints. The reason is that when I am at a shrine, it always seems like the saint is someone so “plastic” they could not possibly have been a real person.  The shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is not like that.  Rather, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is presented as an ordinary person, who quest for God was a response to extraordinary grace.

This means that we cannot let ourselves off the hook.  We too are called to holiness, and even though we might feel ordinary, we have available to us God’s extraordinary grace.  And if we respond to this grace, we too can become a saint.

The Extraordinary Ordinary: Homily for Thursday, September 7, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Human life is amazing.  Sometimes when we are doing something we’ve done a thousand times, it becomes all new.  There are other moments when a common experience is uncommon. Sometimes the miraculous comes at the most unexpected time. God comes barging in when we least expect him.

Such is the case for Peter.  How many times has he been fishing? How often has he come up empty? The miraculous catch of fish changes everything.  After this, nothing is the same.  An ordinary endeavor will be traded for an extraordinary one. Peter will be seeking followers of Jesus, not fish.  Keep your eyes open.  Jesus might just make an ordinary moment unbelievably extraordinary.

Homily for Friday, December 12, 2014

Readings for Today

When I think of celebrations like Our Lady of Guadalupe, which we celebrate today, I cannot help but think of the preferences of God for the vulnerable. I think this is because I am more attentive to my faith when things are not going so well. While I am not happy that I do not seem to be as attentive to God when things are going well, I am not sure my experience is that much different than others. For example, I remember a prayer that asked for balance in life. “In times of adversity, let me not forget prosperity, O Lord, and in times of prosperity let me not forget adversity.” The point of the prayer is to make sure that we understand both adversity and prosperity as invitations from God for our faith to grow.

The celebration of the Blessed Mother, today under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, reminds us that regardless of whether or not we are high and mighty or lowly, we can become the means God uses to invite others to faith. The lesson of today is clear. Clergy or lay, woman or man, rich or poor, we see how God uses everyone, regardless, because of the action and love of God for all people. Whether it is Juan Diego or the Blessed Mother, or you or me, everyone has a part to play in God’s plan of salvation.

This second chance to recognize how much it is that God loves and cares for us through the faith of Mary is a special gift during the season of Advent. The Blessed Mother made literal room for the body of Jesus within her, but that was because her heart was already so full of God’s presence. Certainly her life was filled both with prosperity and adversity. But through it all she was faithful. Such is what we must do as well. In good times and in bad times, when things are going well and not so well, we must remember that God is always present in our lives, always loving us, always seeking to bring us the eternal benefit of a deeper relationship with Jesus.

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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.