Grace for parents: Ask Sts. Joachim and Ann to pray for you

Grace for parents: Ask Sts. Joachim and Ann to pray for you
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

While I do not know what it is like to be a parent, I was graced to have parents I always knew loved me. The passed on their faith to me, they gave me all I needed, and a lot of what I wanted. And Saints Joachim and Ann, the saints we celebrate today, certainly knew what it meant to create a home of faith. As parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they instilled in their daughter the belief in God that would takes such root she would not sin and would become the mother of Jesus. So if you are a parent, seek the prayers of Saints Joachim and Ann. And if your relationship with your parents needs healing, then ask them to pray that God send healing into your life.

Homily given at Mercy Hospital, Creve Coeur, Missouri, on July 26, 2018.

Grace for parents: Ask Sts. Joachim and Ann to pray for you

Readings for Today

While I do not know what it is like to be a parent, I was graced to have parents I always knew loved me. The passed on their faith to me, they gave me all I needed, and a lot of what I wanted. And Saints Joachim and Ann, the saints we celebrate today, certainly knew what it meant to create a home of faith. As parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they instilled in their daughter the belief in God that would takes such root she would not sin and would become the mother of Jesus. So if you are a parent, seek the prayers of Saints Joachim and Ann. And if your relationship with your parents needs healing, then ask them to pray that God send healing into your life.

Homily given at Mercy Hospital, Creve Coeur, Missouri, on July 26, 2018.

A New Guide to Living a Marian Life

“By a singular gift of God’s grace, no one other than her Son was ever so meek, humble, or grace-filled as the Blessed Virgin,” a new Manual for Marian Devotionnotes. It’s a leather-bound volume (also available on Kindle) meant to help guide not only prayer by a lifestyle of going to Mary as mother, to be more like her Son, knowing and treasuring God’s will in your life. She is role model, intercessor, and teacher. How can we live that way? Sister Albert Marie Surmanski, O.P., a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, who teaches theology at Ave Maria University, put the Manual together with the help of Sr. Maria Veritas Marks, O.P. Sr. Albert Marie shares a bit about the book and Marian living.

To read the entire story, click here.

Homily for Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Readings for Today

I am always a little tempted when the genealogy reading comes up in the gospel to read. If for no other reason, it is to see if I can read it with the type of conviction that might cause people to pay attention. Usually I do not. And yet, when we think about celebrating a birthday, it might be the best time for us to think about the connections we have to the past, and will have in the future.  For better or worse, our family and our relatives are connected.

What is interesting to me is that we do not choose these connections. We did not have auditions to see what relatives would “make the cut.” They were given to us, whether we wanted them to be or not. We did not have a choice in the matter. We do however have a choice in how we will allow them to influence us.

Most people can look to their relatives and see how, in positive ways, they have shaped the persons we are and whom it is we will become. When I think of my relatives, they are probably not a lot different from yours. There are some relatives of mine I admire deeply and seek to emulate in my faith and in the way I live my life. There are others for whom faith is not as important. At the same time, they still impact the person I am, either because I have been shaped by past experiences or people I care about have been shaped by past experiences.

The Blessed Mother is no different. Just as we are, she too was shaped and molded by her relatives. Like most family trees hers too is filled with a variety of people, with a variety of serious expressions of faith. We know she was open to being shaped by Jesus too, perhaps most especially when we see of her struggle, and that of her relatives, in trying to figure out this son of hers.

Perhaps what is most important when we consider the first reading. Saint Paul reminds us that all that God does God does for a purpose. It is not purely a chance event that allows some to be saved, while others who may not have had that chance event are out of luck. No, if there is any important lesson on a day when we recall the Blessed Mother, it is precisely that God is ever-present seeking to invite us again and again to a deeper life with him.

In many ways, it is not just that we did not choose our family. Most of us did not choose our family of faith either. Whether we are a life long Catholic, or someone new, those witnesses that led us to faith came to us by grace. But the choice is not luck, but is for the purpose God sets before us.

 

Novena of Saint Jude, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Novena of Saint Jude, Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Daily Homilies

 
 
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I am preaching the Novena of Saint Jude, days 4-9. This is an audio recording of my day eight preaching, which focused on the Blessed Mother. Far from having an easy life, Mary is the model for saying yes to God unreservedly. For more information about the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago, visit their website here.

Homily for Thursday, January 1, 2015

Readings for Today

Peace. What is it that brings peace? This is a day that focuses on many things. In fact, it has been a day where we celebrate many things. But today I think of peace. And the thought of peace today means thinking about the Blessed Mother. Why? Because she shows us in how she lived her life how in the way that lead her to constantly experience true and lasting peace. “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Think of the months Mary has experienced. There was the message of the angel, the trip to Elizabeth, and the challenge being pregnant without Joseph, and explaining what had happened would be difficulty enough. Then there is the travel while pregnant and the miraculous events of the shepherds. No wonder Mary feels the need to reflect and pray. She has experienced so many things, that it is only by taking the time to treasure them in her heart that she can remain focused on the meaning that God has brought forth in her life.

When we reflect on the blessings in our life as did Mary in hers, our eyes become more attuned to the blessings that await us in our life. We can even see in the difficulties and challenges how they can become blessings. In fact, this constant reflection lets us know that indeed we are never alone.

We spoke about this when we discussed the Incarnation. Today we learned that it is not just the awareness of the Incarnation, but that this beauty of God’s presence can come to us in so many ways. Think of how Mary will experience God’s presence. An angel. Joseph. Shepherds. Wise men. Miraculous signs. Jesus. And most importantly, Mary recognizes the presence of God that never leaves her heart. It is when she can treasure the events of her life in the perspective of God’s constant presence that Mary finds the true peace that lasts.

Our world certainly needs this peace, the peace that surpasses understanding and only God can bring. If we are to have this peace, we must change our hearts. We must see how the events of our life could be seen in the way God wants us to see the world. We need to be less selfish, and learn to share. We need to make sure the witness we provide by how we live our lives is indeed the way in which the gospel calls us to live.

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Homily for Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Readings for Today

My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” What are we to make of Jesus’ words today? I am not so sure my mother would be terribly pleased if this were my response if she were visiting me outside my door. I am pretty sure I would hear about it if this were my response. It seems almost as if Jesus is saying that his “work” is more important than time for his mother.

And yet this cannot be the case. Jesus is certainly not making a disparaging comment about his mother and relatives. So what are we to make of this statement?

Think for a moment of powerful relationship between a mother and her child. In fact it is powerful for the good and for evil. When a mother-child relationship is founded upon love, it provides the foundation for a mature man or woman. Conversely, when we see the antithesis of this, a destructive or dysfunctional relationship between mother and child, then there is often a lifetime of healing that is needed.

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Homily for Monday, September 8, 2014

Readings for Today

Even though today we celebrate the birthday of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, it should come as no surprise that all the readings have to do with the arrival and birth of Jesus, her son. This is because Mary was always focused on the doing the will of God. Always.

All of today’s readings remind us that Mary’s “yes” to God was her participation in the long plan for God. God used the openness and generosity of the Blessed Mother to bring about our salvation. God becomes flesh thanks to the affirmation by Mary that. She will do the will of God.

Anyone who is concerned with doing the will of God becomes delighted when others do the will of God. It brings joy since doing the will of God makes the whole world more beautiful. And so Mary is very delighted when anyone grows closer to Jesus and follows him more completely.

And so just like Mary, we too have a place in salvation history. And just as people might ask us to pray for one need or another, Mary, Our Lady, stands ready to pray for us. She takes great joy when we ask her to bring us to her son. For Mary is not the object of worship. Mary is not God. No, Mary is the first disciple of her son and his mother.

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Homily for Friday, August 15, 2014

Readings for Today

When it comes to vocations, there is a tendency in the Church to use this word only in terms of priesthood and religious life.  And while these types of vocations are important to the life of the Church, the majority of people are going to be married, and as a result, it is important for us to focus upon the importance of the universal call to holiness.  We all have a vocation, and we are all called to live this vocation fully.  Every person who responds wholeheartedly to God does something that is beyond measure in the eyes of God.

And so, given that we are celebrating today the Feast of the Assumption, I thought it appropriate to reflect a little upon the powerful vocation of motherhood.  The readings last night at the Vigil served to remind us that motherhood is more than the physical reality of giving birth to a child.  What is that greater reality?

At the core of any vocation is the will of God.  When we seek to find and discern God’s will in our lives, we learn the beauty of God’s will.  While God may lead us where we do not want to go, God always does those things which will ultimately lead us to our greatest fulfillment.  In the person of Mary, we learn that when someone finds this holiness of God’s will, they become radiant.  It is not simply a task that can be checked off a list, but rather it is a becoming where we learn who we are most completely.

We learn this because of the words of Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” From the deepest recesses of Mary, in her very soul, her openness to God cannot help but shout out just how good God is.  This is not small thing.  “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Not only is there radiance, there is joy, as Mary cannot help but rejoice in God.  This is all because of God’s favor, God’s grace, which God has poured out not only on Mary, but indeed upon each one of us.

From the example of Mary, then, we learn that motherhood bears fruit when it is grounded in a deep and personal relationship with the Lord.  This relationship is not only a personal one, however, as the community of faith, and indeed the Church universal has a significant and necessary role in faith.

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Homily for Assumption 2014 (Vigil)

Readings for Vigil

At first glance in today’s gospel, it may appear that Jesus is putting his mother down, not affording her a great deal of respect. But the reality is, I think, something quite different. Rather than disrespect for his mother, Jesus is reminding us all of what it means to be a mother.

Motherhood can be thought of in its physical dimensions, in the sense that a woman is a mother when she gives birth to a child. However, we know there is more to human motherhood than simply giving birth. There are far too many mothers and fathers who have the physical ability to make a child or to give birth, but do nothing else.

No, the point Jesus is trying to make is that authentic parenthood is more than physical, and is rather the authentic living out of a vocation given by God. It is the doing of God’s will that makes for true motherhood.

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