Opposites don’t always attract: Homily for Monday, December 11, 2017

Readings for Today

The first reading contrasts the desert with blooming flowers. The gospel contrasts the absolute trust that those carrying the paralyzed man and the legalistic Pharisees. This season of Advent is indeed a season of contrasts.  Just when we think Jesus could not startle us any more, he does.  Jesus not only heals, he forgives sins. God makes deserts bloom. At every turn, we see the gift of new life.

As we finish the first week of Advent and begin the second, where is your journey this Advent? How have you made room for the Spirit of God? Where do you see yourself filled with expectation at what God will do?

Deep Regret – With or Without Hope: Homily for November 25, 2017

Readings for Today

There is nothing worse than coming to the awareness of deep sin.  It can be quite challenging when we realize we have turned our backs on God.  It is sad when we discover the heartache of evil.  When that happens, we have a choice.  We can choose to give in to despair, or we can choose to have hope.  If we do not recognize the power of God’s forgiveness, or we are too proud to acknowledge his greatness, we despair. When we turn our hearts back to God, trusting in the mercy and forgiveness we do not deserve, we have hope.

What will you do in answer to God’s goodness? Will you humbly confess your sin, or will you stubbornly persist in evil? Will you be greedy generous? Prideful or humble? Seek out God’s mercy and you will live.

Will you open your will to God: Homily for Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Readings for Today

Today we encounter a king that does not seem to be very kind. Rather, he seems harsh and demanding. This is a king that sets forth harsh conditions for his subjects.  It serves as a reminder to us that this life of faith is really about a stark choice for or against God. As we approach the end of the Church year, our focus is shifted to the end times, when the ultimate choice, and our ultimate judgment will occur.

The servant who fears the harsh master, who is not willing even to open the slightest hold to let God control his life, this servant cannot act even on what he knows to be true.  The others take the risk, and the outcome is good. Faith is like this.  We need to take the risk to trust in God’s providence that we can do what God desires, and so produce fruit for God’s kingdom.

Has God Rejected Us?: Homily for Saturday, November 4, 2017

Readings for Today

It can feel at times like God has rejected us.  Such is the question in today’s first reading.  The recent events of our lives, those violent acts that have made the news can cause the feeling of rejection.  But how often are the evils in our world the result of human sin?

To be sure, in some way, all evil is the result of the fall from grace.  All evil arises from sin, for God is only goodness. What humans need always to recall is the constant need for forgiveness and conversion.  Every sin we commit contributes to the proliferation of evil in our world.  So ask God for the grace of conversion.

Sick and Tired of Violence: Homily for November 2, 2017

Readings for Today

Violence just seems to be endless.  Again and again there are stories on the news about this mass shooting, or that violent attack.  Hardly a few days go by when it happens again.  I wonder how to make sense of it all.  Sometimes it can be hard to find the presence of God in our world.  Sometimes it feels as if sin is winning.  It feels like death has the upper hand.

And violence is only one type of challenge.  We have loved ones who die, we have diseases and illness, we have hardships of all kinds.  And if there is one thing about the Solemnity of the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, it is that God continues to give to us time and again mercy and forgiveness.  Praying for the dead is the concrete sign of that mercy.  While God hates sin, God loves us.  God gives us every single opportunity to be saved.

Mornings are evil: Homily for Friday, October 27, 2017

Readings for Today

I have never liked mornings.  I do not like to have to get up early (as my mother can attest). I can have the best of intentions and motivations about what the next morning will mean, but at the time morning actually comes, I am weak. This has been a particular challenge in religious life, because things start early.  But my feeling about mornings, and my reactions to it, help me to understand better what Saint Paul says about moral and spiritual choices.

Saint Paul tells us that he sees the good but does the bad.  Now, he wants to do the good, but there are times when the bad seems good and so he sins.  The spiritual life can expose fickleness.  Just like Saint Paul, we can see the good and do the bad.  The only help we can find is the help that comes from grace.  Only with God’s grace, and our full cooperation with it can we both see the good and do it.

Where are you going?: Homily for Thursday, October 26, 2017

Readings for Today

Where are you going? Where do your actions lead? Saint Paul, in today’s first reading makes the choice in our lives clear. We choose vice or virtue.  We choose damnation or salvation. We choose selfishness or righteousness.  But we choose.  But a careful reading of Saint Paul makes it even clearer.  We choose Jesus or we reject him.  It is that simple.

What is it that you choose? How is it that you want to live your life? The challenges of living a faithful life are many.  The temptations to move away from the hard work of righteousness, or the need to trust in God’s grace is obvious.  What is it that  you choose today?

Divine Accounting: Homily for Friday, October 20, 2017

Readings for Today

Remember those wonderful moments when you take out a jacket you have not worn for a while and you find a $20 bill? It makes for a nice surprise because it is a free gift.  We did not expect it, but we have it nonetheless. From an accounting perspective, we did not earn the $20 a second time when we found it. It was a gift.  While it is not exactly the same, Saint Paul writes about the gift of salvation in a similar way.  Let’s be clear.  We do not earn our salvation.  It is a free gift, given to us by God, even though we do not deserve it.

Does that mean it does not matter what we do? Of course not.  Our actions remain important.  But our actions never get us to the point where we deserve to be saved.  Rather, our actions serve as proof that we are striving to witness to what God, in his mercy, has done for us.

No Hypocritical Memorials: Homily for Thursday, October 19, 2017

Readings for Today

There has been a lot of controversy around Confederate War Memorials.  Whenever a memorial is put up, the reason for the memorial is important. Hence, the controversy.  The gospel today mentions those who put up memorials during Jesus’ day.  Memorials to the prophets, whose message was not heard or believed.  Prophets were killed. To erect memorials to them now is seen as hypocritical.

When we rely only on human effort, we run the risk of hypocritical memorials.  All have sinned Saint Paul writes. All have fallen short of the glory of God. How can we ever put our trust in human effort alone? Truth is, we do not.  We put our trust in the way, the truth and the life, the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Confronting the Regret: Homily for Friday, October 13, 2017

Readings for Today

It is common that someone who is dying will review their life.  They will consider things for which they are proud, and they will seek forgiveness for what they regret.  Sometimes that will mean a conversation with someone they have harmed during their life. That is what might be happening in the first reading today. There may be that regret for the sins committed.  The current situation is the result of past actions.

But God is stronger than past sin. God wants what is best for us. And despite our sinfulness, God forgives whenever we seek mercy from God. These past few weeks have seemed like the end time.  Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, violence, wildfires. Not a bad time to consider a life review.  Not a bad time to think about confession. While sin can be strong, God is stronger.  Always.