He came to bring division?

He came to bring division?
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:08
 
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Readings for Today

We live in an interesting time. The country seems so divided. The Church seems so divided. It seems that everywhere we turn, there is division. But is this what Jesus meant when he said he came to bring division? Was this the baptism to which he was referring? Hardly. Rather, it was a suggestion that to stand up for what is right, for what the gospel demands, means that sometimes we will face opposition. And yet the first reading emphasizes Saint Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. How do we know when we are called to division and when we are not? The answer is clear. It is Jesus.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 25, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

He came to bring division?

He came to bring division?
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:08
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

We live in an interesting time. The country seems so divided. The Church seems so divided. It seems that everywhere we turn, there is division. In my priory I sow the seeds of division about best type of ice cream. But is this what Jesus meant when he said he came to bring division? Was this the baptism to which he was referring? Hardly. Rather, it was a suggestion that to stand up for what is right, for what the gospel demands, means that sometimes we will face opposition. And yet the first reading emphasizes Saint Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. How do we know when we are called to division and when we are not? The answer is clear. It is Jesus.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 25, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

He came to bring division?

He came to bring division?
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:08
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

We live in an interesting time. The country seems so divided. The Church seems so divided. It seems that everywhere we turn, there is division. But is this what Jesus meant when he said he came to bring division? Was this the baptism to which he was referring? Hardly. Rather, it was a suggestion that to stand up for what is right, for what the gospel demands, means that sometimes we will face opposition. And yet the first reading emphasizes Saint Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. How do we know when we are called to division and when we are not? The answer is clear. It is Jesus.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 25, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

What God Wants

What God Wants
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 6:31
 
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Readings for Today

Mother Theresa is known to have said that sin is wanting for ourselves something that God does not want for us. This quote does not simply refer to wanting something sinful. In fact, it can also refer to wanting a spiritual gift that God does not give us. It can frustrate us. It can make us jealous of others who have this gift. But any gift that God wants us to have is only good to the degree it leads us into deeper relationship with God.

Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, on October 6, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Want what God wants

Readings for Today

Mother Theresa is known to have said that sin is wanting for ourselves something that God does not want for us. This quote does not simply refer to wanting something sinful. In fact, it can also refer to wanting a spiritual gift that God does not give us. It can frustrate us. It can make us jealous of others who have this gift. But any gift that God wants us to have is only good to the degree it leads us into deeper relationship with God.

Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, on October 6, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this together
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:24
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

Today’s first reading from Saint Paul reminds us, put simply, that we are all in this together. When one member suffers, we all suffer. The effects of others’ sins are felt by all. The grace that comes from good actions is available to everyone. The body is one, but the talents are diverse. We have a sense of this in our own lives, even apart from faith. A friend or a spouse goes through a difficult time, and we feel badly too. Even the reception of the sacraments reminds us we are connected. To be Catholic, or Christian, is not a “me and Jesus thing.” No, it is an “us and Jesus” thing. For better or worse, we are in this together.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on September 18, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this together
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:24
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

Today’s first reading from Saint Paul reminds us, put simply, that we are all in this together. When one member suffers, we all suffer. The effects of others’ sins are felt by all. The grace that comes from good actions is available to everyone. The body is one, but the talents are diverse. We have a sense of this in our own lives, even apart from faith. A friend or a spouse goes through a difficult time, and we feel badly too. Even the reception of the sacraments reminds us we are connected. To be Catholic, or Christian, is not a “me and Jesus thing.” No, it is an “us and Jesus” thing. For better or worse, we are in this together.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on September 18, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Time to bring back Ember Days?

The bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, announced a week ago that he was proclaiming a year of repentance in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, calling on all clergy to observe the Ember Days. Huh? What exactly are the Ember Days? And how is it they are connected to repentance?

While called Ember Days, the word ember is probably a mistaken use. The word was first tempora, the word for time.  There were four times in the course of a year that the days were celebrated. The original connection was likely the harvest, and the idea was probably taken from the Romans. The idea was to acknowledge the importance of the harvest to the life of the community.

Without an attempt to specifically acknowledge dependence, we can begin to take things for granted. We celebrate birthdays, days for our parents (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) and anniversaries. Usually such days are accompanied by some sacrifice on the part of the ones doing the celebrations. We buy gifts for a birthday. We might make our mothers breakfast in bed. Spouses sacrifice time looking for a gift, and maybe the money to buy it because of their love.

This was the reason that the Church developed Ember days. They were designed as four sets of three days, in order to help all people remember ultimate dependence upon God. They are, like Fridays in Lent, days of fasting and abstinence. They are times to recall God’s boundless love in forgiving not only our own personal sins, but the sins of the entire Church.

Individuals performing penance for sins other than their own has a long history in the Church. It is also mentioned today in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For example, priests are to do penance for the people who confess their sins to them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. [The priest] must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy. (CCC, 1466)

Earlier, in the same section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it says this:

The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

Perhaps restoring the practices of Ember Days would help the Church to see that the primary trust must always be in the Lord Jesus. That for each of us, the leaders of the Church have authority only to the degree they follow the will of God in their lives. And it also reminds me of the importance of my own feeble attempt at personal witness to the power of the Gospel to change my heart. To recognize that any holiness I may achieve is only because of the grace of God. To remind me that my heart is always in need of conversion. So I have decided to observe the Ember days this year, as a sign of my public penance and a desire to become more like Jesus.

When are the Ember Days this year?

The Ember Days are the Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays following the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, after the celebration of Saint Lucy (December 13), after Ash Wednesday, and after Pentecost. Specifically, the next four are: September 19, 21, 22; December 19, 21, 22; March 13, 15, 16; June 12, 14, 15. 

What does someone do to observe the Ember Days?

These are days were a person abstains from meat (like Fridays during Lent), fasts (like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), and makes a holy hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament on each of the Ember Days.

Spirits in a Material World

Spirits in a Material World
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:01
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

If there is a challenge in the current age, it is the belief that what comes from sense knowledge is always the most believable. “Seeing is believing,” we say. Science, despite the ways in which it relies on conjecture, and testing of theories, and “groupthink”, is seen as king. Conversely, the world contrasted with the sensory world, is the spiritual world. It is this world that gives rise to prayer. It is this world that causes us to experience the presence of God. But this world, just as science can be abused, can itself be abused. Manipulative people can become like cult leaders. Spirits must be tested for their goodness. But we must seek the truth in both worlds, for in so doing, we encounter God.

Homily given at Christian College Brothers High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on September 4, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Spirits in a Material World

Spirits in a Material World
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 / 3:01
 
1X
 

Readings for Today

If there is a challenge in the current age, it is the belief that what comes from sense knowledge is always the most believable. “Seeing is believing,” we say. Science, despite the ways in which it relies on conjecture, and testing of theories, and “groupthink”, is seen as king. Conversely, the world contrasted with the sensory world, is the spiritual world. It is this world that gives rise to prayer. It is this world that causes us to experience the presence of God. But this world, just as science can be abused, can itself be abused. Manipulative people can become like cult leaders. Spirits must be tested for their goodness. But we must seek the truth in both worlds, for in so doing, we encounter God.

Homily given at Christian College Brothers High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on September 4, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.