Homily: The Powerful Prayer

Homily: The Powerful Prayer
Daily Homilies

 
 
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Today Jesus gives us a lesson in prayer. The prayer, one we say often, is the Our Father. But do we really think about what we are saying? Do with listen carefully with our hearts to consider what the words we say mean for our lives of faith? The Our Father is a powerful lesson on prayer. First, it indicates that prayer is about a relationship with God. We pray together in a privileged way as God allows us to call him Father. Second, we pray that God’s kingdom will come. We may not realize that when we do so, when we pray for the coming of the kingdom we are praying for the fullness of God’s kingdom to come, namely the Second Coming of Jesus and our Final Judgement. Third, the pray implies a profound trust in God that God will take care of each one of us. And lastly, it reminds us of the deep connection between our forgiveness of others and our forgiveness by God.

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on March 14, 2019.

Petty: Homily for Tuesday, February 7, 2017

To listen to today’s homily, click the links above.

Readings for Today

When our lives are filled with challenges, it can be the case that we focus on the tiny, petty things in our lives. We see sometimes in homes for senior citizens the focus on what appears to be small when people lose control over aspects of their lives.  We see when world views are challenged there can be a tendency to focus on absolute ideas.  We see politically that when the world is chaotic, people seek leaders with strong and bold statements.

In today’s gospel, there is something similar going on.  Jesus and the Pharisees are in different places.  Jesus is challenging the world view of the Pharisees.  Some think that Jesus may have been a Pharisee. Nonetheless, he is seeking to remind Pharisees that the purpose of the law, rules, rituals, and traditions is to help people to become closer to God.  They are not the most important goal, but rather the means to the most important goal.

We can do the same ourselves.  It can be hard to love people we do not like.  It can be easier to find all of the petty reasons why we do not need to do so than to address our need to grow in charity.  In your day today, remember that the purpose of all religious practices is ultimately to lead us to a deeper relationship with God.

Patience: Homily for the Feast of the Presentation, February 2, 2017

Patience: Homily for the Feast of the Presentation, February 2, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 

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To listen to this homily, click the links above.

Readings for today

Patience.  How long did Simeon and Anna have to wait? Did they ever want to give up? Did they ever feel abandoned by God?  We do not know.  But we do know that today God fulfilled his promise.  Simeon and Anna see the Messiah.  And they rejoice.

I simply am not patient.  I want everything right away.  I want God to answer prayers NOW.  I hate waiting.  I do not have patience.  And no where is that more true than in prayer.  I want God to speak to me dramatically, to tell me in no uncertain terms what to do.  And yet at those times when he does, I do not always want to do it.

Our lives are hectic and busy.  We have so many distractions in our lives.  It is so easy not to pray.  It is so easy to give up on God because we do not stick with it.  It is so easy not to pray because it can be boring.  Prayer does not always have the flashiness of technology, television, movies or sports.  Prayer does not always provide constant stimulation.

Simeon and Anna came to know God.  And in knowing God, they came to experience the pathway to salvation.  It is not hard to imagine they are mystics.  They are the ones who day in and day out sought for the loving presence of their God.  As a result, they were shining examples of the way to holiness. They were the light that guides us to Jesus.  In teaching us to wait, Simeon and Anna teach us how to have a holy relationship with God and others.  they teach us patience.  They teach us the way to holiness that is God himself.

Aquinas: Homily for Saturday, January 28, 2017

Aquinas: Homily for Saturday, January 28, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 

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(Listen to today’s homily, “Humility” by clicking the links above.)

Readings for Today

Saint Thomas Aquinas is arguably the most important theologian in the Catholic Church.  His writings are unparalleled.  There is no one who has written more effectively than this doctor of the Church.  This is not because he was a Dominican, as wonderful as that is.  Rather, it was due to his ability to understand both the natural and supernatural world.  Using the writings of Aristotle, he was able to synthesize disconnected areas.

But it was the faith of Aquinas that was, in fact, most important. When asked by the Lord what he sought, he said, “non nisi te”, nothing but you.  Saint Thomas Aquinas was first a mystic.  The important foundation for him was a powerful relationship with God.  As brilliant a man as Saint Thomas was, cultivating a relationship God was most important.  God was first.

In fact, it is in this context that the phrase often uttered by frustrated philosophy students and seminarians, (what he wrote was straw) must be understood.  Saint Thomas Aquinas appreciated the beauty of his work.  But when what he wrote was compared to his experience of God, it was no contest.  God was so much more brilliant, beautiful, powerful and loving.  It was in that context, that the work of Aquinas was straw.  Perhaps the message for today is to see that like Saint Thomas Aquinas, we should desire nothing but God too.

Homily for Saturday, August 29, 2015

Readings for Today

It might seem strange that the first reading today discusses remaining tranquil and to mind one’s own affairs on the day that we celebrate the beheading of Saint John the Baptist. First, tranquil is not the first word that comes to mind when thinking about him. Second, it also does not appear to be the case that Saint John the Baptist was one who could mind his own affairs, since it was his challenge to Herod that caused his ultimate death. He was able to take on Pharisees, Herodians, and others to make sure that the knew clearly that to follow Jesus required an absolute choice to live in a particular way. In describing Saint John the Baptist, it is easy to remember there is simply nothing halfway about living the life of faith.

On one level, this is coincidental since the first reading is the reading for today is the continuation of the Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians we have been reading over the past few days. But since they are together, it does raise the question about whether there is a way that Saint John the Baptist could be seen as one who is tranquil. I think there is.

To be sure, first, it must be considered that there is evidence the preaching of Saint John the Baptist had appeal to a wide number of people. Leaving the comfort of the the known to follow this odd preacher out into the desert and to be challenged to reform their lives does, on the one hand, seem to be a challenge. Yet, it happened. What is it that appealed to those who went out into the desert?

This is precisely a version of the question Jesus asks about John. What did you go out to see? Why is it the challenging message of John made such a difference in people’s lives, when it could be seen at the same time as very unsettling? Perhaps what was most appealing to the people was the authenticity that was readily apparent to those who came to hear John speak. Could they have witnessed in John’s life and message the authentic witness that does bring tranquility? Was that the case?

John was no hypocrite. He did not say one thing and do another. He gave his life for the faith, to remain true to the relationship he had with God. As a result, his example grew the faith. He prepared the way for Jesus not just be words, but by living a clear example of total commitment to God, which was to be evidenced in the self-gift of the suffering and death of Jesus.

It can be hard for me to see this as a pathway to tranquility, maybe because I do not allow myself to be challenged enough by God. Maybe I have become too comfortable in my faith. Perhaps what I am reminded about today is that the peace that surpasses understanding can only be found by allowing myself to be upset by God enough to see those things that really matter.

Homily for Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Readings for Today

Isn’t it amazing that God is so close to us?  Have you ever thought about that?  The all-powerful, all-knowing God is accessible to us simply by asking.  “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?”  Isn’t it amazing, that simply by asking, we can have a relationship that changes us forever, and for the good?

And yet, if you are like me, it can be so easy to get caught up in the activities of life, with those things that are a distraction or even a waste of time, that it can be hard to even ask God for this relationship.  It can be quite the challenge to give the growth of this relationship the time it nees so that all we do flows out of this powerful relationship.

Jesus longs to offer us so much.  To be sure, there is eternal life.  But there is also the grace that enables us to see the needs of others, the grace that enables us to take on risks that help us to see more clearly those gift given to us for God’s glory, and that grace that reminds us that even when we reject God through sin, there is the love and mercy of God constantly poured out to heal us.