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.

The Season of Hope: Homily for Monday, December 4, 2017

Readings for Today

Looking around the world can cause a loss of hope.  We can despair.  There seems to be new threats of war daily. There is crime.  There are people who are in desperate situations. There are people who do not want to help those in need. We seem so angry at each other. The state of things in Washington with politicians seems worse than ever. How is it we can keep faith in such dark times?

Today’s readings remind us that Christians must live with hope. Regardless of how dark things may seem to be, God’s promise is greater. The Light of the World is stronger than any darkness.  The first reading describes a great promise of hope.  And God keeps his promises.  The gospel demonstrates the faith of an “outsider”. But his faith brings healing.  How can our witness to hope Jesus gives bring light to a dark world?

An 18-year priority: Homily for October 30, 2017

Readings for Today

What is your priority? Or, in light of today’s gospel, who is your priority? It seems interesting that people of faith could make anyone other than Jesus a priority, but it happens.  Moreover, it seems almost impossible that in the midst of a miracle, the power of Jesus could be questioned.  But such is the case in today’s gospel. Eighteen years of suffering are relieved, but all some can see is the letter of Sabbath law.

What is your priority? Can you see beyond the letter of the law to the lawgiver? Can you allow Jesus to take over your heart? Can you love Jesus so that you will find him wherever he is present to you?

Urgency of the Kingdom: Homily for Thursday, October 5, 2017

Readings for Today

There is no time to waste.  Such is the tone of what happens in today’s gospel.  There is a disciple who will follow Jesus wherever he leads, but not yet.  He needs to take care of a few things first. But Jesus makes the urgency of the Kingdom of God clear. So many blessings await those who accept the kingdom.  There is so much suffering, not a moment can be lost.

Do you put off answering the call of God? Is there some excuse that keeps you from saying “yes” right now? It is easy to procrastinate.  It is easy to put off the miraculous message of the Kingdom of God. But the time is now. The place is here. Say “yes” to God.

Daily Prayer for Thursday, June 29, 2017

Act of Charity

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all my love.  I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you.  I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon of all of whom I have injured.  Amen.

Thank God!: Homily for Saturday, June 10, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

I am not nearly as grateful as I should be.  So much in  my life has been a gift I have not deserved.  Certainly the most important is the gift of my creation, my life, from God, which I did nothing to earn.  But there are the countless gifts I simply take for granted.  My basic needs are met.  My education has been provided by others.  The Dominican community which is so important to me has become so because of God’s mercy and the mercy of my brothers.  Again and Again, rather than seeing the overwhelming gifts I have been given, it seems more to me that I am too quick to take credit for my accomplishments, and too quick to focus on my sufferings.

Today’s first reading provides a wonderful picture of the fruit of gratitude.  With a grateful heart that seeks to be seen in a gift to a helpful stranger, Tobit encounters the living God in the Archangel Raphael.  While it certainly did not appear so to Tobit, God was always present in his life moving and acting in grace.  Show your gratitude today to see the active presence of God.

Help me to see: Homily for Friday, June 9, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Yesterday we saw the prayers of Sarah being answered.  Today, it is the prayer of Tobit.  But was the most important prayer really the regaining of his sight? Or, was it rather the realization that his son had embraced the faith so important to him?  Was it because he could see physically, or was it that he could see with pride how the grace of God was active in his own son’s life, and indeed in his own life?

Realization of the presence of God is amazing indeed.  Life in fact, seems so much clearer when we can see the events of our lives unfold not simply with our physical eyes, but also with the eyes of our soul.  It is this type of sight that often accounts for our ability to prioritize, to make important, and to determine the path of holiness which leads us to God.

Unbelief: Homily for Monday, February 20, 2017

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

Readings for Today

Unbelief.  In the midst of everything that happens in today’s world, it can be difficult to believe. First, there are the things that have always been difficult for people of faith. Such things as an innocent child who gets sick and dies. Or an inexplicable car accident or other type of accident which takes someone’s life to early. Perhaps there are those instances where a relationship fails, and we seek answers. Maybe the difficulty is simply that we cannot seem to believe in what we cannot see, or experience, or touch. There can be many challenges to belief.

That is true even for people who do believe. Such is what we witnessed in today’s gospel. A man brings his son in faith for a cure. But the disciples are incapable. The disciples simply cannot bring about a cure for this man’s son. And the scene seems more than a little chaotic. Not only is there the inability of the disciples for a cure, we hear that there are scribes arguing with a large crowd and the disciples. One can only imagine the depth of this argument in confronting something that is evil.

For anyone who has been involved in pastoral ministry, in trying to console those who grieve, it becomes clear that there is nothing more difficult, or at least few things more difficult, the parent who has a sick child, or a child who dies. It is in this vein that Jesus reminds us in the gospel that faith makes anything possible. But here’s the interesting line: I do believe, help my unbelief! In the midst of a difficult life even for people of faith, there is the recognition of the need for a closer relationship to God. Let us pray that God strengthens our faith as well.

Novena of Saint Jude, Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I am preaching the Novena of Saint Jude, days 4-9. This is an audio recording of my day nine preaching, which focused on the healing. We discuss the healing of soul in Confession, of body in the Anointing of the Sick, and the power of prayers for healing. For more information about the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago, visit their website here.

Homily for Monday, May 4, 2015

Readings for Today

Do you believe? So often in the gospels, a miracle or other divine action by Jesus is done because of the faith of the person to be healed. In fact, when he goes back home, he is not able to work miracles because the people do not have faith. We are reminded that our God is not invasive. The way in which God chooses to act in our lives is by respecting our freedom. It is not simply a case of barging into our soul, but rather being allowed in when we allow God to do so. The respect of our freedom is one of the most powerful signs of God’s love for us, for in being free agents we share an important quality of God, who is perfectly free.

But it is also the most problematic in some ways as well. How often have you heard people say, or maybe even you yourself, “Why doesn’t God prevent this disease, or evil?” And when we hear today’s encounter from the Acts we see that Paul and Barnabas are imitating the example of Jesus. Paul sees the man has the faith that he can be healed. This is not small thing. Perhaps this imitation of Jesus is what caused the crowds today to want to make them into something with which they were already familiar. They do not know Jesus, but they do know Paul, and they know the system of Greek gods and so they attempt to make Paul and Barnabas fit into that world.

The readings today got me to thinking about whether or not I would ever be confused for Jesus. In other words, would my actions, my attitudes, my example and witness, would these be so much like Jesus that people might mistake me for something with which they are already familiar. Have you ever wondered this? Have you ever thought about whether the way in which you interact with people is really in imitation of Jesus? Do you seek to have the beliefs, attitudes and actions of Jesus ever before you as the goal worthy of emulation?

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