Homily: The Powerful Prayer

Homily: The Powerful Prayer
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Today Jesus gives us a lesson in prayer. The prayer, one we say often, is the Our Father. But do we really think about what we are saying? Do with listen carefully with our hearts to consider what the words we say mean for our lives of faith? The Our Father is a powerful lesson on prayer. First, it indicates that prayer is about a relationship with God. We pray together in a privileged way as God allows us to call him Father. Second, we pray that God’s kingdom will come. We may not realize that when we do so, when we pray for the coming of the kingdom we are praying for the fullness of God’s kingdom to come, namely the Second Coming of Jesus and our Final Judgement. Third, the pray implies a profound trust in God that God will take care of each one of us. And lastly, it reminds us of the deep connection between our forgiveness of others and our forgiveness by God.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on March 14, 2019.

Homily: A Campaign for Jesus

I already have a little doom that we are on the verge of another campaign season for president. So I was a little surprised yesterday when the opening prayer referred to Lent as a campaign. Why would it do so? If we think of a political campaign, the most successful are those where the image of the candidate and the message of the campaign are authentic. In other words, the candidate is what the campaign says. Lent then can be seen similarly. And the campaign of Lent is successful when we find ourselves becoming more and more like Jesus by what we do.

Readings for Today

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on March 14, 2019.

Homily: A Campaign for Jesus

Homily: A Campaign for Jesus
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:05
 
1X
 

I already have a little doom that we are on the verge of another campaign season for president. So I was a little surprised yesterday when the opening prayer referred to Lent as a campaign. Why would it do so? If we think of a political campaign, the most successful are those where the image of the candidate and the message of the campaign are authentic. In other words, the candidate is what the campaign says. Lent then can be seen similarly. And the campaign of Lent is successful when we find ourselves becoming more and more like Jesus by what we do.

Readings for Today

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on March 14, 2019.

Homily: Giving Up for Jesus

With the first day of Lent tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, it is a time when people are thinking about what they will do for Lent. It is common practice to make some type of sacrifice during the season. But what to do? The real purpose of Lent is to become closer to Jesus, to become more like him. And so the real purpose of “what do do for Lent” is to do whatever opens us up to become more like Jesus. It is about conversion. The disciples tell Jesus they have given up everything, but not as an example of willpower. No, they have given up everything to follow Jesus. When we think of this Lent, what do we need to do in order to more closely follow Jesus.

Readings for Today

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on March 14, 2019.

Homily: Giving Up for Jesus

Homily: Giving Up for Jesus
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 2:43
 
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With the first day of Lent tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, it is a time when people are thinking about what they will do for Lent. It is common practice to make some type of sacrifice during the season. But what to do? The real purpose of Lent is to become closer to Jesus, to become more like him. And so the real purpose of “what do do for Lent” is to do whatever opens us up to become more like Jesus. It is about conversion. The disciples tell Jesus they have given up everything, but not as an example of willpower. No, they have given up everything to follow Jesus. When we think of this Lent, what do we need to do in order to more closely follow Jesus.

Readings for Today


Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on March 14, 2019.

Time to bring back Ember Days?

The bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, announced a week ago that he was proclaiming a year of repentance in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, calling on all clergy to observe the Ember Days. Huh? What exactly are the Ember Days? And how is it they are connected to repentance?

While called Ember Days, the word ember is probably a mistaken use. The word was first tempora, the word for time.  There were four times in the course of a year that the days were celebrated. The original connection was likely the harvest, and the idea was probably taken from the Romans. The idea was to acknowledge the importance of the harvest to the life of the community.

Without an attempt to specifically acknowledge dependence, we can begin to take things for granted. We celebrate birthdays, days for our parents (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) and anniversaries. Usually such days are accompanied by some sacrifice on the part of the ones doing the celebrations. We buy gifts for a birthday. We might make our mothers breakfast in bed. Spouses sacrifice time looking for a gift, and maybe the money to buy it because of their love.

This was the reason that the Church developed Ember days. They were designed as four sets of three days, in order to help all people remember ultimate dependence upon God. They are, like Fridays in Lent, days of fasting and abstinence. They are times to recall God’s boundless love in forgiving not only our own personal sins, but the sins of the entire Church.

Individuals performing penance for sins other than their own has a long history in the Church. It is also mentioned today in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For example, priests are to do penance for the people who confess their sins to them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. [The priest] must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy. (CCC, 1466)

Earlier, in the same section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it says this:

The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

Perhaps restoring the practices of Ember Days would help the Church to see that the primary trust must always be in the Lord Jesus. That for each of us, the leaders of the Church have authority only to the degree they follow the will of God in their lives. And it also reminds me of the importance of my own feeble attempt at personal witness to the power of the Gospel to change my heart. To recognize that any holiness I may achieve is only because of the grace of God. To remind me that my heart is always in need of conversion. So I have decided to observe the Ember days this year, as a sign of my public penance and a desire to become more like Jesus.

When are the Ember Days this year?

The Ember Days are the Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays following the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, after the celebration of Saint Lucy (December 13), after Ash Wednesday, and after Pentecost. Specifically, the next four are: September 19, 21, 22; December 19, 21, 22; March 13, 15, 16; June 12, 14, 15. 

What does someone do to observe the Ember Days?

These are days were a person abstains from meat (like Fridays during Lent), fasts (like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), and makes a holy hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament on each of the Ember Days.

Wow: What if we did remove? Homily for Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wow: What if we did remove? Homily for Saturday, March 4, 2017

 
 

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To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Wow.  Just imagine if we did what God said.  Removing oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.  Bestowing bread on the hungry and satisfying the afflicted. Can you imagine what we could be, what the world would be like if we did these things?  Wow.

Yet, that is what Lent is all about.  It is about allowing God to transform us so that what is amazing is not doing the things we heard in Isaiah’s reading, but that it would be amazing that anyone chose NOT to do what we heard.  Lent is about doing something, really doing something so that we can have a deeper relationship with Jesus.  Not just focusing on going to Mass, or following the rules of the Church, but doing so because we have discovered in our relationship with Jesus that going to Mass and living the Christian life is very much the way in which our relationship with Jesus can come alive!

I remember reading a book by Matthew Kelly once where he referred to the question, “Will the world ever change?”  And the answer, if I remember it was, “Not if each one of us does.”  Because, whether we like it or not, the world changes with each of the choices we make.  Choose then, a deeper relationship with Christ, so that the world and everyone in it may receive its ultimate fulfillment.

Fasting: Why do we fast? Homily for Friday, March 3, 2017

Fasting: Why do we fast? Homily for Friday, March 3, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 

00:00 / 5:29
 

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To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Fasting.  Well, it is Friday after Ash Wednesday and it is time to fast.  Well, more accurately, it is time to abstain from meat.  Either way, you might be wondering why it is that we do this.  Why is it we fast from things?  And why do we make a decision to abstain from meat?

These questions are common.  And these questions are the opposite of what the world tells us.  We can be tempted to give in to materialism, to greed, to selfishness, to getting more and more stuff.  After all, he who dies with the most stuff wins, right?

And yet, when love is involved, we understand why we fast.  Sacrificing is done when it benefits someone we love.  Parents sacrifice for kids.  We exercise, fasting from sitting on the couch and getting lazy.  We do not always eat what we want so that we can be healthy.  But, do we consider the fasting that is demanded by holiness?  Do we seek the Lord’s way? Do we think about God’s place in our own lives?

Fasting helps us to become more aware of the presence of God.  When we give up something for a greater good and a greater purpose, it is easier to see what God wants from us.  It is easier to look around us and to see what God gives us.  By fasting, you open our eyes to God.

Resources for Lent – Featured Website of the Day: ChurchPOP (Five Hardcore Things to Give up for Lent)

As the season of Lent approaches, you’ve no doubt given some thought to what you want to give up. Rather than taking the path of least resistance, why not consider going all out and giving up something completely ridiculous this year?

The following fasts may not be for the faint of heart, but for those of you who are willing to try them, you may just find yourselves more disciplined, and better prepared to celebrate the joys of Easter.  Look to see what ChurchPOP suggests as hardcore things to do for Lent by clicking here.