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?

Access: Homily for Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Readings for Today

Who has access to Jesus? That is the question in today’s gospel. A first, quick read might lead a person to conclude that Jesus cares little for his mother or his relatives. But that is wrong. Luke emphasizes discipleship throughout the gospel. This gospel is a statement about access.  Who has access to Jesus?

The point Jesus makes is that access to him does not come from biology. It does not come from power, or position, or wealth, or any other way. It comes from hearing the word of God and acting upon it.

Not Just Words: Homily for Monday, August 28, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Sometimes in reading the bible, the words we read can seem rather ordinary.  In fact, readings might not immediately catch our attention.  But today’s first reading reminds us they are not just words.  Listen carefully to the words of Saint Paul.  “For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.”  Whenever we proclaim the Word of God or pray over, it God speaks. Do you forget the bible is the word of God?

Saint Augustine did.  While today we remember him as a great saint, that was not always true.  Day after day his mother prayed for him.  God heard her prayers.  But it was the action of God that made this possible.  Only God was capable of so influencing Augustine he converted.  The movement of God in our hearts is still available.  God can still influence in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much conviction.

Hard: Homily for Friday, July 14, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Buddhism starts with a statement.  “Life is hard.” Seems so obvious.  But it is not just Buddhism that recognizes that life is hard.  So too does Jesus.  Consider the call in today’s gospel.  “Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.”  Not too hard, right? And yet, in human life is not illness, death, and evil among the things that keep us from God?

And so the message that God is with us means removing these things.  God removes what separates us from his love.  God gives life. So when God calls you to do something hard, God also gives grace.

Homily for Friday, July 25, 2014

Readings for Today

Today’s readings provide us very contrasting images. On the one hand, we have the image of the mother of James and John. Make my sons powerful.  Which one of us is the greatest? How can we lord it over others?  On the other hand, is the image presented in the first reading in the gospel.  “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.”  Recognizing the treasure within will bring about suffering, and perhaps even death.

Power and service.  Even a quick look at the world around us shows us there is a tremendous difference between being rich and powerful, and being of service. It becomes quite apparent when we consider salaries given to those who work in high finance or business, as compared to those salaries given to teachers, social workers, police officers or firefighters. We cannot forget those types of jobs that appear almost completely undesirable. Garbage collectors for example. Most parents do not have aspirations for their children to become garbage collectors. It can be easy to take for granted those in the service professions. Those who check out our groceries, weighed in our tables, or those who prepare food.

Today’s readings provide us with a warning about the role and purpose of our Christian faith. We certainly see those who benefit greatly from their faith in a material way. Today’s readings remind us that authentic faith is not about becoming rich or powerful, but rather recognizing that we are frail that we are called to serve. Over and over again we hear about God’s concern that we care for the most vulnerable, the most marginalized, the most desperate.  It is not the case but we ignore proclaiming the good news to the rich, but it is the case that we recognize that if we use our own faith as a pathway to power and status, we have missed the point of our faith altogether.

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Homily for Monday, June 16, 2014

Readings for Today

I remember talking with a little boy many years ago, whose father’s business had taken off dramatically, and the family found themselves suddenly quite rich.  The little boy wanted to do something that was against a rule, and when it became clear to him he could not do what he wanted to do, he said, “You know, my father could buy this place.”  He was not ready for my answer.  I said to him, “No, he cannot.”  But the little boy persisted, “Yes, he can.  He has lots and lots of money.”  I simply replied again, “No, he cannot.”  This exchange went on a couple of more times.  Finally, I could see the frustration growing in the boy, and so when he reminded me yet again that his father could by the place where we were, I answered once again, “No, he cannot.”  But this time I added another sentence.  “You cannot buy what is not for sale.”

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