Opposites don’t always attract: Homily for Monday, December 11, 2017

Readings for Today

The first reading contrasts the desert with blooming flowers. The gospel contrasts the absolute trust that those carrying the paralyzed man and the legalistic Pharisees. This season of Advent is indeed a season of contrasts.  Just when we think Jesus could not startle us any more, he does.  Jesus not only heals, he forgives sins. God makes deserts bloom. At every turn, we see the gift of new life.

As we finish the first week of Advent and begin the second, where is your journey this Advent? How have you made room for the Spirit of God? Where do you see yourself filled with expectation at what God will do?

Fully Divine and Fully Human: Homily for Thursday, December 7, 2017

Readings for Today

Today is the feast of Saint Ambrose.  We might not know much about Saint Ambrose, but he is a very important saint for us.  He was one of the first four doctors of the Church. Saint Ambrose was a politician, who unlike today, was so well-loved he was named bishop by pubic acclaim. Perhaps most importantly, Saint Ambrose fought ceaselessly against a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ in a way which made Christ equal with the Father and the Spirit.

During Advent this matters, because it is not just because Jesus was a nice person worthy to imitate that we celebrate. Rather, we celebrate the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who takes on flesh to become fully human.  Three persons in one God. So that the incarnation is not just one birth among many, it is THE birth that is connected to our salvation. We seek the promises of God because God has become one of us, and has become savior to a people that do not deserve or earn salvation.

Deep Regret – With or Without Hope: Homily for November 25, 2017

Readings for Today

There is nothing worse than coming to the awareness of deep sin.  It can be quite challenging when we realize we have turned our backs on God.  It is sad when we discover the heartache of evil.  When that happens, we have a choice.  We can choose to give in to despair, or we can choose to have hope.  If we do not recognize the power of God’s forgiveness, or we are too proud to acknowledge his greatness, we despair. When we turn our hearts back to God, trusting in the mercy and forgiveness we do not deserve, we have hope.

What will you do in answer to God’s goodness? Will you humbly confess your sin, or will you stubbornly persist in evil? Will you be greedy generous? Prideful or humble? Seek out God’s mercy and you will live.

Knowing your persepective: Homily for Thanksgiving, November 23, 2017

Readings for Today

So much of our lives revolves around how we see things.  Our perspective on life makes all the difference.  Are we optimistic? Sad? Do you seek the good in others? Do you mistrust everyone? Is God loving or judgmental? Do we trust God or doubt? Questions like these, and others, have a lot to do with how it is we see life.

Today’s gospel shows how easy it is to miss what is really important.  Nine are cured of leprosy, and for whatever reason, they cannot go back to thank Jesus.  Maybe they were too excited to see family.  Maybe the wonder of life returning to normal was too distracting.  For whatever reason, it was only one who said thank-you to Jesus. Being grateful for what we have makes it more likely we see other reasons to be thankful.  Give thanks to God today. You will find more blessings than you knew you had.

Will you open your will to God: Homily for Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Readings for Today

Today we encounter a king that does not seem to be very kind. Rather, he seems harsh and demanding. This is a king that sets forth harsh conditions for his subjects.  It serves as a reminder to us that this life of faith is really about a stark choice for or against God. As we approach the end of the Church year, our focus is shifted to the end times, when the ultimate choice, and our ultimate judgment will occur.

The servant who fears the harsh master, who is not willing even to open the slightest hold to let God control his life, this servant cannot act even on what he knows to be true.  The others take the risk, and the outcome is good. Faith is like this.  We need to take the risk to trust in God’s providence that we can do what God desires, and so produce fruit for God’s kingdom.

Authentic Faith: Homily for Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Readings for Today

Will you be true? Will you be genuine and sincere? Even if you fail, will you seek the conversion that has no guile? Will you be who you say you are? There are two examples of authenticity in today’s readings.  The first is a long life of authenticity, that of Eleazar.  Even when given a shortcut, Eleazar remains true.  He makes this authentic choice not merely for his own relationship with God, but also with concern for others. What will people make of an old faithful man who appears to turn away from God?

Zaccheus, the man of conversion in the gospel, shows us how authentic a search for God can  be even from a sinful life. Zaccheus, in his own conversion, shows us how to convert. We must acknowledge honestly our sinfulness.  When we do so, we have this powerful relationship with Jesus.  Jesus comes into our hearts because we invite him to forgive our sins and to change our lives.

The Power of One Man: Homily for Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Readings for today

The first reading today compares two men.  The power of one of the men led to sin and death.  The power of the other man led to salvation.  How is it possible that two men could impact us so differently? Simple.  The one powerful action by the fully human and fully divine man was enough to save.  It overcame the detriment of the sinful action.  We can be saved.

This happens when we open our hearts to the gift from the man of life.  When we trust in Jesus, we open our souls to the forgiveness and mercy which saves.  We are able to receive the grace of God.  We become more and more alive because of Jesus.  So, you can trust in the actions of the one man of sin, or place your lives into the divine and human person of Jesus.

Divine Accounting: Homily for Friday, October 20, 2017

Readings for Today

Remember those wonderful moments when you take out a jacket you have not worn for a while and you find a $20 bill? It makes for a nice surprise because it is a free gift.  We did not expect it, but we have it nonetheless. From an accounting perspective, we did not earn the $20 a second time when we found it. It was a gift.  While it is not exactly the same, Saint Paul writes about the gift of salvation in a similar way.  Let’s be clear.  We do not earn our salvation.  It is a free gift, given to us by God, even though we do not deserve it.

Does that mean it does not matter what we do? Of course not.  Our actions remain important.  But our actions never get us to the point where we deserve to be saved.  Rather, our actions serve as proof that we are striving to witness to what God, in his mercy, has done for us.

Come as you are; Sort of: Homily for Sunday, October 15, 2017

Readings for Today

Do you love celebrations? Do you get excited when an invitation arrives in the mail? Today’s readings are all about invitations and celebrations.  The first reading uses rich imagery to describe the invitation to the ultimate feast.  Rich food and choice wines are on the menu.  Yum! God has everything prepared. Get ready, because the feast is going to be something really special.

The gospel too is about an invitation. The king invites guests to an amazing feast. Only they do not want to come. Despite his best efforts, the king cannot convince those invited to come to the feast. So he turns to invite others, who do come. God invites us all of the time to deeper life. But do we arrive ready to say yes to God? Or, do we come ill-prepared by thinking we do not need to change? The invitation to faith by God is an invitation to change.  When we really say yes to God, we allow God to change us. That means being open to repenting from our sins. And when we do that, we come properly dressed for the feast.

Confronting the Regret: Homily for Friday, October 13, 2017

Readings for Today

It is common that someone who is dying will review their life.  They will consider things for which they are proud, and they will seek forgiveness for what they regret.  Sometimes that will mean a conversation with someone they have harmed during their life. That is what might be happening in the first reading today. There may be that regret for the sins committed.  The current situation is the result of past actions.

But God is stronger than past sin. God wants what is best for us. And despite our sinfulness, God forgives whenever we seek mercy from God. These past few weeks have seemed like the end time.  Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, violence, wildfires. Not a bad time to consider a life review.  Not a bad time to think about confession. While sin can be strong, God is stronger.  Always.