A Dominican Season

Readings for Today

At the risk of irritating other religious orders, I think Advent is really a Dominican season. The readings today remind us of the spiritual cycle of a preacher. First, there is the attention to the presence of God in contemplation. We do not control what happens in contemplation, God does. I think this is why it is sometimes difficult. What do we do next? With whatever fruits God wishes to give us, we share those with others in our sacred preaching. Have a holy Advent.

Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, on December 15, 2018.

A Dominican Season

A Dominican Season
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Readings for Today

At the risk of irritating other religious orders, I think Advent is really a Dominican season. The readings today remind us of the spiritual cycle of a preacher. First, there is the attention to the presence of God in contemplation. We do not control what happens in contemplation, God does. I think this is why it is sometimes difficult. What do we do next? With whatever fruits God wishes to give us, we share those with others in our sacred preaching. Have a holy Advent.

Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, Missouri, on December 15, 2018.

A glimpse of heaven and a call to change

A glimpse of heaven and a call to change
Daily Homilies

 
 

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Readings for today

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It may seem odd to be greeted with these words in August. But for teachers, now and for the next few weeks, we will be starting a new school year. We will be imagining all that can be, and trying to make it real. Today’s reading from Ezekiel is similar. Ezekiel is given a glimpse of heaven, of the glory to come. He sees a small glimpse, probably all he could handle, of the immense majesty of God. This small experience of God is enough to give Ezekiel strength to challenge the status quo. He challenges leaders to care for the people themselves, and not to see them as a means to their own profit. When we get a glimpse of God, a small foretaste of heaven, we are reminded to remove all that keeps us from God. This can be painful. This can be hard. But it is necessary if we are to really live in God’s presence.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri on August 13, 2018.
Photo by Pixabay.

A glimpse of heaven and a call to change

A glimpse of heaven and a call to change
Daily Homilies

 
 

00:00 / 3:00
 

1X

 

Readings for today

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It may seem odd to be greeted with these words in August. But for teachers, now and for the next few weeks, we will be starting a new school year. We will be imagining all that can be, and trying to make it real. Today’s reading from Ezekiel is similar. Ezekiel is given a glimpse of heaven, of the glory to come. He sees a small glimpse, probably all he could handle, of the immense majesty of God. This small experience of God is enough to give Ezekiel strength to challenge the status quo. He challenges leaders to care for the people themselves, and not to see them as a means to their own profit. When we get a glimpse of God, a small foretaste of heaven, we are reminded to remove all that keeps us from God. This can be painful. This can be hard. But it is necessary if we are to really live in God’s presence.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri on August 13, 2018.
Photo by Pixabay.

Homily for Sunday, January 25, 2015

Readings for Today

I do not like to do what I do not want to do. And usually, for better or worse, I find a good reason to avoid doing what I do not want to do. Are you like that? Sometimes I waste more time trying to get out and avoid doing what I do not want to do that I am occupied by it more and for longer than if I just did it in the first place. Why is it that despite this repeated experience of wasting time avoiding what I do not want to do that I cannot change my behavior?

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Homily for Sunday, August 12, 2012

Readings for Today

Life is suffering.  This is the first great truth of Buddhism.  Other translations say that “to live is to suffer.”  Suffering is ingrained deeply into human existence.  We get sick, we die, we are evil to one another at times, we have accidents, and we make serious mistakes.  This does not count the suffering we experience for doing right.  Speaking out for justice, speaking for the truth can also lead to suffering.  Parents know that being parents can sometimes be really hard, and cause an initial period of disharmony.  We do not always like to hear the word “no,” even when it is good for us.

While Jesus tells us his yoke is easy and his burden light, he does not mean that we will never suffer.  What makes the burden light?  What makes the yoke easy?  In a world where we are surrounded by hardship, violence and suffering, and in a world where even those who believe the words of Jesus suffer, how is it possible to have an easy yoke or a light burden?

It is certainly something that Elijah found difficult.  He had done all that God asked of him (with success) and yet was still on the run for his life.  Despite the powerful signs God had given, Elijah was not accepted as a prophet of God.  Understandably he is depressed.  He simply wants to sit under a tree and die.

I do not know if you have ever found yourself in Elijah’s place.  It is a lonely place.  When despite your best efforts, you find that you are still unsuccessful, lonely, filled with heartache.  You might find that you are in despair, that things will never get better.  This is a hard place to be, and it can be quite hard to feel understood.

In some ways, the gospel picks up where the first reading leaves off.  The verses immediately following what we heard today in the first reading, are one of my favorite sections.  Elijah goes to a cave to wait for God.  And if you remember the encounter, it is not in the dramatic, the fire, the earthquake, those events that overwhelm us, but rather, it is in a tiny, whispering sound that God is found.

Jesus gives us the same clue about light burdens and easy yokes in the gospel.  He too has not had much success in the reception of his words.  He tells us that it is quite likely we will not be accepted where we are well known.  Especially as vehicles of God’s powerful grace.  Elijah, despite the miraculous display with the fire, and Jesus, with the miracle of the loaves, simply do not find the people to be impressed.

But the clue is in the Eucharist.  The clue is in finding that quiet time with the Son of God, that time to reflect upon our own lives and to find that great God that dwells within, the great God who knows the great things we can accomplish.  Put simply, the yoke is easy and the burden is light because if we choose, we do not have to bear these things alone.  We are with Jesus, the bread of life, the word that sustains, the Son of God like us and divine as well, who makes the difference.

Elijah learns this in the cave.  Jesus teaches this to the people.  We will eat bread and never die because it is his body.  We will not always be accepted, but we will always be accompanied if we open our hearts to God.

To be sure, finding the time to open ourselves to this relationship with God is challenging.  Those of you who have children, know the demands of being a holy mother or father.  Those of you who have demanding jobs, know that keeping a balance between the dignity of work and the domestic church that is our family is not easy.  But take heart — the responsorial psalm tells us to taste and see the goodness of the Lord.  While we need to find some time for silence and reflection, we also need to see our vocation as the very pathway to salvation.

That is to say, by being a good father, or a good mother, we move closer to the acceptance of salvation.  In fact, in living our vocation these things are made real — we are saved, because we are being the types of persons God wants us to be.

The start to this new life is to find some time to be alone with God.  You may need to be creative.  Maybe it is those moments in the shower where you can pray.  Maybe it is during the ride to work.  Maybe it is in those few moments before sleep that you can thank God for the blessings and ask God for the grace to meet the challenges.

It is true that our lives can be filled with a lot of suffering.  But with God and with each other, we can face this suffering together.

Homily for Friday, August 3, 2012

Readings for Today

I bet you thought things were looking up for Jeremiah after his awareness he needed to change, that the sin was his, and that it was his attitude that needed work.  How wrong!  While Jeremiah does seem to be at greater peace with God, his words do not find a fertile reception in the hearts of the priests, prophets or any of the people.  “We must put him to death!”

Lest you thought that when we fully embrace God’s will that things will all fall into place, we need only look at Jeremiah to learn it is not always the case.  He needed to learn how to better present the message he had been given by God, and when he embraced this, the “only” difference, it appears, is in the quality of his relationship with God.  While this is no small thing, it is not exactly the happy ending we were seeking.

It seems the gospel presents a similar problem.  Jesus is recognized as having wisdom, while at the same time he is challenged because he was not so long ago that “little brat” that was running around Nazareth.  The people knew his relatives, they new him, and they simply seemed quite unable to accept that this little Jesus, son of Joseph the Carpenter and his wife Mary, could really be capable of such wisdom.

Ever felt dismissed in your life? Ever had that experience of not being believed and accepted, not because of the ideas you speak, but because of the pre-determined view of those to whom they are spoken?

It is important not to lose sight of the common denominator in both of these readings — both Jesus and Jeremiah were clearly speaking the words of God, and were punished for such by those who heard them.  We must be careful to realize that we must be persons of prayer before engaging in the same things.  “Contemplare aliis tradere” is a motto familar to Dominicans.  To contemplate in order to hand over the fruits of contemplation.  Remember, Jeremiah may have even been right in what he spoke (as we heard earlier) but he was not effective.

Our words will only become effective when we can embrace that life-changing reality that is a deep life of faith.