The Star that Leads to Jesus: Homily for Ephiphany Sunday, January 7, 2018

Readings for Today

Today we are reminded of the importance of following Jesus.  As we encounter the example of the Magi who followed the star, without knowing exactly where it led, we are reminded that our lives of faith are about following someone.  The challenge is that we can choose to follow stars that do not lead to Jesus.  We can be tempted by the allure of the popularity of social media, or the tug of consumerism, or the need to be constantly distracted so that we do not ever confront ourselves about areas where we need to convert.

And Herod in today’s gospel reminds us that we can also follow the false star of power.  It is not just absolute power like that of Herod, but the power of people who believe they can do it all themselves.  The belief that they do not need others.  They can go it alone.  People can believe they do not need God, and so they do not surrender to God. Then there are the Magi, who follow the star that leads to Jesus.  What star will you follow?

Who is the liar? Homily for Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Readings for Today

There are some people who really, really hate religion.  It is not just that they disagree with this or that thing, but the very existence of religion makes their blood boil. And it is not just that they do not want any religion mentioned, they do not want anyone else to mention it either.  It is about destroying any public reference to religion. Religion is simply something that is meant to be private. Period.

In today’s first reading, Saint John refers to such people as liars.  Those who deny the existence of God are the ones who speak untruth. Often, if a simple statement is made to an atheist, namely, “Tell me about the God you do not believe in”, it often becomes clear that Christians do not believe in such a God either.

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.

It’s Coming to an End: Homily for Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Readings for Today

It should not be surprising that as we come to the end of the Church year the readings too focus more on the end of time. We will hear from the Book of Daniel this week, and the gospels for this week also focus on how we need to prepare ourselves for the final judgment. The importance seen today is our inner disposition of faith and trust in God. Yesterday we had a miraculous example of trust from the widow.  Today the invitation is to us.

When people approach the end, they search for meaning. Sometimes this meaning takes the form of a life review, such as can happen when someone dies. The end of centuries and millennia can give rise to predictions about the end of the world. This week will help us to prepare for the end of the world, and for the coming of Christ.

Ready or Not Here I Come: Homily for Sunday, November 12, 2017

Readings for Today

Remember when you used to play Hide and Seek as a kid? The real fun of the game began after the one who was “it” had finished counting, and warned the other players, “Ready or not, here I come!” Today’s gospel reminds us that the same is true for each of us Christians.  Jesus is coming, and he will come, ready or not! Just how is it that we get ready for the return of Jesus?

If you have a sympathetic heart, readings like this can make you sad.  You can think that perhaps everyone should have been let into the feast. But the truth is that if we are going to be ready for the coming of Jesus, we have to make our hearts ready.  We have to go to the gate, to experience God’s presence now, so that we can come to know God ever more fully.  We have to be people of prayer, so that we will be able to recognize the Lord.

A Thief is rewarded – The Dishonest Steward: Homily for Friday, November 10, 2017

It can be the most frustrating part of life. I am referring to those people who get out of one bad situation by doing something dishonest. It can be so frustrating. Why is it that bad people seem to get away with doing bad things? And why is it that anger is often directed at the most vulnerable and weak?

Jesus addresses this today. When someone is dishonest, they are good at being dishonest. This is not unlike the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas on virtue and vice.  Borrowing from Aristotle, Aquinas refers to vice at the repeated bad action. It is repeated so often it becomes a habit or a way of life. The opposite is a virtue, which is a repeated good action that becomes a way of life. While trusting in God may not always lead to success in this life, it is the pathway to eternal life.

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?

Getting More than you bargained for: Homily for Sunday, October 29, 2017

Readings for Today

There are moments when we think we are asking about one thing, and we get an answer to the question that we did not expect.  Today’s gospel is just one such occasion. The question asked of Jesus concerns the greatest commandment.  Namely, we should love the Lord our God with everything we have.  But what the person asking the question did not expect was to be given the second commandment.  We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Sometimes then we get more than we have bargained for.  We cannot say we love God if in fact, we do not love our neighbor.  We must see the connection.  And we learn this connection is both the type of love that is action, and the type of love that is forgiveness.  Be careful what you ask Jesus.  You might just get an answer you were not expecting.

Where are you going?: Homily for Thursday, October 26, 2017

Readings for Today

Where are you going? Where do your actions lead? Saint Paul, in today’s first reading makes the choice in our lives clear. We choose vice or virtue.  We choose damnation or salvation. We choose selfishness or righteousness.  But we choose.  But a careful reading of Saint Paul makes it even clearer.  We choose Jesus or we reject him.  It is that simple.

What is it that you choose? How is it that you want to live your life? The challenges of living a faithful life are many.  The temptations to move away from the hard work of righteousness, or the need to trust in God’s grace is obvious.  What is it that  you choose today?

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.