Above and Beyond

Readings for Today

What an interesting reaction to Saint John the Baptist in today’s gospel. There are groups of people who are asking him what conversion means. The answers Saint John the Baptist gives are quite demanding. And yet, rather than getting angry or frustrated, the people recognize that indeed what they are being told to do should in fact be what they do. That if they do these things, rather than being sad, they will receive great joy. Today is Gaudete Sunday, the day where the focus is on rejoicing. What is God asking of you this Advent?

Homily recorded at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, University City, Missouri on December 22, 2018.

Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond
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Readings for Today

What an interesting reaction to Saint John the Baptist in today’s gospel. There are groups of people who are asking him what conversion means. The answers Saint John the Baptist gives are quite demanding. And yet, rather than getting angry or frustrated, the people recognize that indeed what they are being told to do should in fact be what they do. That if they do these things, rather than being sad, they will receive great joy. Today is Gaudete Sunday, the day where the focus is on rejoicing. What is God asking of you this Advent?

Homily recorded at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, University City, Missouri on December 22, 2018.

Homily for Saturday, August 15, 2015 (Assumption Mass During the Day)

Readings for Today

Watch out! I use a GPS system that not only tells me the directions, but also warns me of obstacles to driving I might encounter. It warns me by saying “Watch out!” and then it indicates what the hazard or issue is. The first time I used this, when I heard “Watch out!” I was startled. But know I look forward to hearing it, because I find the verbal warnings to be helpful in keeping me safe.

I think of the Solemnity of the Assumption in a similar way. Only on this day, when we are encouraged to “Watch out!” it is not simply to avoid hazards, though that is part of what we do today. It is also to give us the path to follow. By reflecting on the way in which Mary lived her life, we are shown the way a disciple of Jesus is led to follow him and find in doing so, God himself.

To be sure, there are many things we can encounter on a daily basis that might cause us to proceed with caution. It can be quite difficult indeed to remember that every person is created in the dignity that God gives. When people cut us off in traffic, it is not easy to remember God given dignity. When we see someone begging for help, it can be quite the challenge to see them as person of Christ himself. Even with those we love greatly, we can be tempted to consider only our own needs and not the needs of those with whom we live.

When we consider eastern Church art, we can see that Mary is always pointing the way to Christ. It is not that Mary reflects the greatness of Mary, but of the Lord. Mary does not exalt her self, but God, her savior. God is the source for Mary, and it is God who fills her heart with joy when Mary considers what God has done.

Because of this, we celebrate then with Mary what glory awaits those who encounter God. And what is that? It is the most precious gift God enables for us, namely the gift of the eternal possibility of a relationship that fulfills us far beyond anything we can imagine.