It all has to do with love: Homily for Friday, January 5, 2018

Readings for Today

Love.  This word is at the center of the gospel.  Without love, little in the gospel makes sense.  However, today it is difficult to understand exactly what love is. It has been weakened so much.  Love, in popular language, can apply to just about anything.  In fact, the way it is used, love can be applied to people or things.  But someone once said, we love people, and use things, not the other way around.

At the heart of any ministry there is the call to love.  But not a sugary sweet love, but one that really challenges.  The gospel sees love as the way we are fulfilled, because God is love.

Homily for Sunday, May 31, 2015

Readings for Today

In a way, to think about Trinity Sunday is to simply acknowledge that God is love. To try to do even more than that can cause us to run the risk of getting it wrong about God. Three persons, one God. On the surface it seems easy enough, but in reality, it is a mystery beyond our ability to comprehend. God is love. But if we are to really understand even a little what it means to say God is love, we have to consider what love is. That is probably more true today when the word is used for so many things.

In the English language, love is such an imprecise word. We use it to describe the way we feel about objects, even those that are not terribly important. We can say we “love it” when someone says something funny or interesting. Even when we speak the words to another person, we can be saying something that we really do not mean. We might say “I love you” as a way to get what we want. Sadly, the way which we use the word can be far from what it meant when love is used in its truest sense, to describe God.

Consider first some examples of human love that give us a glimpse of divine love. Think of the case of a parent and child. When we see that in action, when we sense the deep love of a child for father or mother, or a parent with love for a son or daughter, there is something really beautiful about that. When two people fall in love and get married, we get a glimpse of something holy and divine. When we see the passion of someone really following a dream to make the world a better place, such as a doctor or nurse committed to serve the most vulnerable, it is not difficult at all to see goodness.

Unfortunately I need to look no farther than my own life to see that I do not really love as often as I might think I do. I want to do heroic things. And even with those persons I love, such as my mother or my brother, I do not always seem to be able to love in a consistent and truthful way. Sometimes I allow unimportant things to take over my desire to seek always the good, namely God, and the good for the creatures he has made.

But at the same time, sometimes I do love. I can consider the good and the dignity of another and meet them in helping them in their needs. Sometimes I can set aside my selfishness and give something of importance to another. Sometimes I can even make a sacrifice for the good of another.

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Homily for Friday, June 27, 2014 (Sacred Heart)

Readings for Today

Pope Pius XII, in discussing devotion to the Sacred Heart, has this to say: “For these reasons, the Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all” human beings. (HAURIETIS AQUAS, ON DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART (1956)

And so with this introduction, it becomes quite clear that what we celebrate today is the powerful love of God.  It seems so obvious that God loves us, and yet there are many who struggle to believe this.  We are a people who become broken, and can feel unlovable when we encounter the difficulties in our world.  Think of those in the world whose lives are riddled with violence each day.  Think of those who do not have enough to eat.  Think of those who are living through the pain of divorce, or broken relationships, or addiction, or any number of the other problems that can plague human beings.  As a result, there are times that such pain can impact our understanding of God.  We can come to believe that we have somehow been singled out by God.  We can forget that God is love, and can come to believe that we might even deserve the evils that befall us.

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Homily for Sunday, June 15, 2014

Readings for Today

Today is a different type of Sunday, because our focus is upon a doctrine, and not so much the actions of Jesus.  We are invited today to think about what we believe about God.

And so what is it that the Church sets before us today to help us in our reflections?  Because on a Sunday such as this, we can learn something about what the Church wishes us to learn by considering the readings for the Bible chosen for this Sunday.  Perhaps we can start by focusing on what readings were not placed before us by the Church.

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Homily for Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Readings for Today

Jealousy is an ugly thing.  It is a feeling we often find difficult to acknowledge, and even more difficult to deal with in our lives.  Wanting things we do not have, or a relationship that is not ours, or a position or status we do not enjoy can  make human beings quite uncomfortable.  It reminds me of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.  The first is that “To live is to suffer.”  We suffer because of what is often translated as desire (tanha), which simply put is wanting what we do not have (possessions, etc.), or not wanting what we have (illness, for example).

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Homily for Friday, March 28, 2014

Readings for Today

What does it mean to say that God is love?  Such is a complicated question, without an easy answer, since God is beyond our ability to completely understand or grasp. But today’s first reading provides us with a powerful reminder that part of that answer is that God is a forgiving and loving God.  It is that simple.  God always seeks our return, even when we stop trusting and loving God.

Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount; We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands.”  Whether it is trusting in God or trusting in others, it can be difficult to do so.  We often like to be in control, relying on those things we can do ourselves.  But just as the person who cannot trust others is lonely, so too for us, those who do not trust God miss out on the amazing life God offers.

We do not need to look to far to see that the attitude of looking to a powerful country, having horses, or looking at what we can do ourselves as “gods” is quite prevalent today.