Evil can be strong, but God’s love and mercy is stronger

Readings for Today

(Homilies given at Our Lady of Lourdes, University City, MO, on June 30 and July 1, 2018.)

It is no secret we live in a broken world. We are surrounded by violence. People are suffering unjustly. Children are separated from the parents. There is family brokenness. And we sin. But despite all of this, the love and mercy and forgiveness of Jesus is stronger. It can heal. It can raise people from the dead. And if we accept this in faith, we can live forever.

US Bishops launch new marriage website

WASHINGTON—In conjunction with the start of National Marriage Week USA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is pleased to announce the launch of a new mobile responsive ForYourMarriage.org website on February 7, 2018.

Originally launched in 2007, ForYourMarriage.org is an initiative of the USCCB that began as the communications component of the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. It continues to play a key role in advancing the USCCB’s priority on marriage and family.

Thanks to a grant received from the Catholic Communication Campaign, the new website, developed in collaboration with Crosby Communications and Marketing, includes updated content, graphics, and a new section dedicated to marriage and family ministry leaders.

“I hope this new platform will reach many more people with the message of God’s plan for marriage and be a source of support to husbands and wives at every stage of their vocational journey,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Philadelphia, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

ForYourMarriage.org offers numerous resources on the meaning and beauty of marriage in God’s plan and provides support to couples at every stage of their journey. There are sections dedicated to dating, marriage preparation, mixed marriages, parenting and family, natural family planning, the stages of marriage, among others. A marriage resource section offers daily marriage tips, marriage help and support links, and solutions to common challenges. Finally, questions specific to planning a Catholic wedding as well as related Church documents and teachings are available on the website.

Along with these resources, the website features couples who write about their real-life experiences as engaged, newlyweds, or seasoned couples with weekly blog posts. Feature articles include book reviews, reports on current events and research related to marriage, and recent teachings about marriage and family life from the Holy Father.

Other websites hosted by the USCCB and dedicated to promoting marriage include PorTuMatrimonio.org and MarriageUniqueForAReason.org.

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.

Ordinary person, Extraordinary Grace: Homily for Thursday, January 4, 2018

Readings for Today

I have to confess that I am not a big fan of shrines for saints. The reason is that when I am at a shrine, it always seems like the saint is someone so “plastic” they could not possibly have been a real person.  The shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is not like that.  Rather, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is presented as an ordinary person, who quest for God was a response to extraordinary grace.

This means that we cannot let ourselves off the hook.  We too are called to holiness, and even though we might feel ordinary, we have available to us God’s extraordinary grace.  And if we respond to this grace, we too can become a saint.

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.

Love Justice: Homily for Monday, November 13, 2017

Readings for Today

Do you love justice? Do you seek God’s way? Are you willing to sacrifice for what is right? Can you live according to the wisdom of God? Today’s readings remind us of the stark choice between God’s love, God’s justice, and the shortcuts we sometimes wish to take. Following God can be hard. We can be tempted to turn away from God.

But if we can discover even a little of how much God loves us, we could see that whatever appearance of struggle is worth it. All this week we shall see just how much it is God wants us to share in his love and his life.  God gives us the grace; God shows us the beauty.  Seek the grace to say yes to God.

The Great Gift of Revelation: Homily for Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Readings for today

Have you ever thought about God’s great gift? Because of God’s grace, we can know things we have no ability to know otherwise. Because of God’s revelation, the path we should travel is before us. We can know Jesus.  We can understand what it means to follow him. We can understand how much we are loved by God.

And yet, sometimes we look the other way. Sometimes we rely on our feeble strength in exchange for God’s magnificent love.  As Saint Paul says, we exchange “the truth of God for a lie.” And yet God wants so very much for us. God loves us. God wants us to be saved.  God wants us to live with him forever.

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.

Jesus meant EVERYBODY: Homily for Monday, October 9, 2017

Readings for Today

I want a loophole.  I want to exclude some people from being my neighbor.  Some people might hurt me.  Some people might take advantage of me.  Why must I love them? Why must I include them in my list of neighbors? These are not easy questions.  But this gospel today is radical.  It is tough.  When Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, and then tells this story, he means everybody is our neighbor.  We have to love everybody.

And this is not easy.  Because I do not want to love everybody.  I want to love those people who are easy to love.  I do not want to love the stranger.  I do not want to love the prisoner.  And if I can suggest they are unworthy of love, then all the better.  If I can say they are lazy, or mean, or evil, then I can feel better not loving them.  But that misses the answer given by Jesus.  Loving our neighbor means loving everyone.

What does protection mean?: Homily for Monday, October 2, 2017

Readings for Today

I heard about the shootings in Las Vegas before I recorded this homily.  It is really awful. I am shaken, as I am sure others are too. Life is so fragile. In just an instant, life can change. Perhaps what is most difficult about a mass shooting is the ordinariness of the location. We feel safe.  We do not expect it.

So just what does it mean when we ask God to protect us? What does it mean? Does protection by God mean we have guaranteed safety? That cannot be true, as we know there are martyrs who gave their lives for the faith and were not safe, at least in the eyes of this life. Protection by God is protection for eternal evil. Our guardian angels protect us from anything that threatens our salvation. And that is pretty wonderful.