Credible Witnesses to Faith

Credible Witnesses to Faith
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

When we hear the phrase, “the signs of the times”, we tend to consider it a rather modern concept. Truth is, the saint we celebrate, Saint Francis, was someone who could read and respond to the signs of the times. When he lived, the Church needed renewal and rebirth. The preaching of the faith was not credible. People were beginning to believe things that were harmful to themselves. Francis embraced a new way of spreading the gospel. He provided a credible witness to living the faith. Each one of us is invited by God to do the same. We must be credible witnesses to how faith changes our lives, and how it can do so for others.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 4, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Credible Witnesses to Faith

Credible Witnesses to Faith
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 2:27
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

When we hear the phrase, “the signs of the times”, we tend to consider it a rather modern concept. Truth is, the saint we celebrate, Saint Francis, was someone who could read and respond to the signs of the times. When he lived, the Church needed renewal and rebirth. The preaching of the faith was not credible. People were beginning to believe things that were harmful to themselves. Francis embraced a new way of spreading the gospel. He provided a credible witness to living the faith. Each one of us is invited by God to do the same. We must be credible witnesses to how faith changes our lives, and how it can do so for others.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 4, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Hearing for the first time

Hearing for the first time
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

Sometimes, when we hear the same gospel multiple times, we do not really hear it. Perhaps it is because the circumstance does not really apply to us. Such was the case for today’s gospel. I did not really hear it until September 13, 2001. Why? Because before that day, I did not really have any enemies. So when I was told to pray for my enemies, it was easy. But two days after the attacks on the United States, it meant something different. I was aware of enemies. I had to pray for persecutors, because they were real. And I learned about the importance of God’s grace, for it is only God’s grace that makes it possible to forgive.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on September 13, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Hearing for the first time

Hearing for the first time
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 2:51
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

Sometimes, when we hear the same gospel multiple times, we do not really hear it. Perhaps it is because the circumstance does not really apply to us. Such was the case for today’s gospel. I did not really hear it until September 13, 2001. Why? Because before that day, I did not really have any enemies. So when I was told to pray for my enemies, it was easy. But two days after the attacks on the United States, it meant something different. I was aware of enemies. I had to pray for persecutors, because they were real. And I learned about the importance of God’s grace, for it is only God’s grace that makes it possible to forgive.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on September 13, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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

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

 
 
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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.

On the spot: Homily for Friday, November 3, 2017

On the spot: Homily for Friday, November 3, 2017

 
 
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Readings for Today

Today the Pharisees have to defend their way of living the faith.  They have to stand before Jesus to tell him whether or not he can heal on the Sabbath.  Does the law of God prevent the miraculous, if it happens to fall on a Sabbath? What will their answer be? Is God allowed to answer prayers on the Sabbath?

They do not fare very well.  The Pharisees simply choose not to answer.  How can they? They have no response.  What they are claiming does not pass a common sense test. Despite the miracles they have seen, the words they have heard, they cannot let go of their interpretation of living a life of faith.  And this is what happens when we stop focusing on Jesus.

Trusting the Promises – Homily for Sunday, June 4, 2017

Trusting the Promises – Homily for Sunday, June 4, 2017
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To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

I remember a special hospital room visit that changed my life.  There are moments when the presence of holiness becomes clear.  I lived with a priest who had not been feeling well for some time.  Eventually, he went to the hospital for tests and learned that he had a very serious and aggressive type of cancer.  After the doctor gave the explanation, I asked him how he was doing.  It was not about his physical health.  I will never forget what he said to me. “I’m glad it’s inoperable.”

That was really hard for me to believe.  How could he be glad?  And yet, he was.  His sister had a similar diagnosis and had recently died, and her cancer was operable.  But the operation really provided little.  “Besides,” he said to me, “I trust the promises.”

Today’s celebration of Pentecost is really about trusting the promises because of the Holy Spirit.

Homily for Thursday, April 30, 2015

Readings for Today

If one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.” Do you ever see yourself as one being called to give a word of exhortation? Do you take seriously the obligation of baptism that we share, explain and at times defend the faith? Or, in the midst of conflict, do you see that as something left to others, like bishops or priests? Catholics do not have a deep and long history of seeing themselves as proclaimers of the Word. We have more of a tradition of remaining quiet, perhaps because of a long memory that we really did not need to worry about it. People came to the Church.

Today that is not as true. Those who claim “no religion” (so-called “nones”) are the fastest growing group in the United States. The data for millennials is not encouraging. There is a net decline of some significance in the number of priests in the United States. While the number of those students studying theology has remained relatively constant since 1990, the number of priests who retire each year is greater. (For a full statistical report, go to the Center for Applied Research for the Apostolate’s research blog.) There is a need for all of us to see the need to proclaim the faith.

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Homily for Saturday, December 27, 2014

Readings for Today

I do not remember the exact moment I first thought my faith was beautiful. It is the result of being born into a very Catholic family. For most of my life, being Catholic was simply something that was. It was like being from Vermont, or a member of the family, or any of a number of things that simply were always a part of my life. But make no mistake – I think the faith is beautiful.

When I hear the words of the first reading, I think of the many people I have had the privilege of walking with during the process of the RCIA. It is truly inspiring to hear them talk about a faith that was freely chosen as an adult. This is not to say that I regret my upbringing. I loved it. The flourishing of faith is always beautiful.

But I often take the faith for granted. I forget the beauty of experiencing God for the first time, or many times, I forget the excitement of new understandings of Scripture, or of the many fine examples of faith that have been a part of my life. I suppose it is not much different than a husband and wife who reflect back upon those moments they first fell in love. They can think of the beginnings, the experiences, the love they have experienced.

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Homily for Saturday, October 4, 2014

Readings for Today

Most people do not realize that in the Dominican calendar of saints, today is a big deal. It is the day we commemorate Saint Francis. So high do we hold the example and life of Saint Francis, that we call him, as we do Saint Dominic, our Holy Father.

The reason is quite clear, and today’s gospel tells it well. Both Saint Francis and Saint Dominic understood in their day the importance of a very profound witness to a new way of life, a witness that would be compelling to people because of the choice to live their poverty. For Francis, this was done to avoid the trap of riches. For Dominic, this was done to make the preaching central.

For both of them, it was a call to be sent. This powerful example is present to us in this day by Pope Francis, who chose the name of Francis. His choice of this name did not surprise me as much as the awareness that no one else had chosen this name before him. The example of Saint Francis was so clear that his canonization was by acclamation shortly after his death, so profound was life of holiness.

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