It ends where it began. With Discipleship: Homily for the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Readings for Today

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, we end right where we began. Discipleship. This story has been used by authors like Sherry Weddell as the illustration of intentional discipleship. Andrew and Simon drop their nets and leave their old way of life. While they do not fully know where that will lead, they do know it will always be with Jesus.  They have turned over their lives to follow, and to emulate, this person of Jesus.

What do you make of your state of discipleship? Are you closer to Jesus, or are you further away? Do you know Jesus more clearly, or are you more distant in what you know? The good news is that even after his decision to become an intentional disciple, Andrew was not perfect.  Andrew did not always understand Jesus, and sometimes he made Jesus angry. As you reflect back upon this past year, where do you need Jesus in your life?

Heart: Homily for Sunday, February 12, 2017

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

Readings for Today

Heart. Sometimes we can get caught in our own lives, with the idea that following the letter of the law is enough. We don’t break any laws. We certainly haven’t killed, or committed adultery. That means that everything is good with God, right? These readings remind us that the law is not simply focused on a desire to make sure we do the right things. The law is really focused, unchanging our hearts in such a way that we reflect God’s holiness. It’s interesting that when Moses struck the rock twice, when he was only told to strike the rock ones, it was not that he disobeyed the commandment per se. Rather, it was that he did not manifest the holiness of God to the people.

That really is the point of today’s readings. There are these commandments that have been given to us to help us to see and understand what it means to follow God. But as Jesus reminds us in the gospel, it is most about changing our hearts, our attitudes, everything. It’s not enough just not to kill. We should not get angry. It’s not enough to be faithful in marriage. We should not let lust control our lives.

In everything that we do, it is first and foremost about whether or not God has a place in our heart. Really, about whether God has the most important place in our heart. And so today’s readings, are not just about following the law, but more importantly about following Jesus.

Homily for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Readings for Today

It can be easy to become discouraged. Every day it seems we hear of bad news occurring in our area and around the world. Each day it seems people we love, or even ourselves, can discover we have some really awful disease. Sometimes we are treated badly by others. Also, there are times when our own actions, our own sinfulness can cause discouragement as well.

The discouragement felt by disciples of Paul arises because he is being persecuted. He has been stoned, left for dead, and it is no wonder those who had heard him speak and had come to believe in Jesus became discouraged. If such a thing could happen to Paul, the eloquent speaker, it could also happen to them.

It becomes important then for us to remember the power that can arise when we receive encouragement. At the root meaning of this word is heart. And contained in this word is the concept of courage. One could say, then, that encouragement involve strengthening the heart. The heart is associated not just as the organ that pumps blood, but also represents our very soul, that place that is nearest to the very core and center of what makes us us.

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Homily for Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Readings for Today

There is, it seems, a constant tension between the law and the spirit of the law. There are those people who simply cannot see there might be times when to follow the letter of the law is not in fact the moral thing to do. I think this is partly behind some of the tension and upset that some members of the Church feel about Pope Francis. Some see a danger in the pope’s “off the cuff” remarks, for example. It may be the case that some of these people, if they were around at the time of Jesus might have felt the same way.

While it cannot be the case that anything important in life avoids all rules (that is a slavery unto itself) it does mean the rule can never become more important than the purpose it serves. It is for this reason that Saint Dominic did not create an order where failures to follow the rule of the order resulted in sin. He wanted it to be clear the most important purpose of the rule was one that led to holiness. Often, the rules do just this, leading a person to holiness. But there are times when following the rule literally does not lead to holiness.

If Jesus were to have followed the literal rule, he would never have done anything construed as work on the Sabbath. But he never forgot the purpose of the Sabbath. It was to free humans from their work, so that they may make a choice to relax, and to reflect and pray. Healing someone, even if it required “making paste,” etc., had the importance of leading to a potential life of holiness.

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Today’s Preaching: September 13, 2014

Readings for Today

I’ve never built a house. My mechanical and building abilities are rather small. But I do remember one time being part of a large group of volunteers who worked to build a chapel. All I remember from that day is making many back-and-forth trips for different types of dirt. The dirt was repeatedly carried in a wheelbarrow. Then there was the endless shoveling of dirt to fill a hole, and then the long part of the process which was making sure that the ground was perfectly level for the pouring of concrete.

The foundation was very important to the success of the whole building, and making sure it was done perfectly, was an arduous task. Jesus in today’s Gospel speaks about the importance of a good foundation. In many areas of our lives, we know this to be true. Getting off to a good start for a student in school is critical. Starting a project with care and precision makes it more likely the project will be successfully completed.

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