Water and blood. Baptism and Eucharist. Homily for Saturday, January 6, 2018

Water and blood. Baptism and Eucharist. Homily for Saturday, January 6, 2018
Daily Homilies

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Readings for Today

Water and Blood.  Baptism and Eucharist. Words in the bible often refer to something other than the obvious.  Today is such an example.  Water is part of both readings.  Whenever we see or read about water, the first thought should be baptism. This is true whether we read about New Testament letters, like today, or stories from the Old Testament.  The flood in the book of Genesis points to baptism.  The faithful, those who trust in God, are saved.

Today is just such an example.  The readings remind us of the very important difference between John’s baptism and the baptism of Jesus. John’s baptism points to human effort. Jesus’ baptism points to divine salvation. The Incarnation of Jesus is not simply a nice Christmas set.  Rather, it is the miracle of God’s becoming human.  And, because Jesus is both human and divine, the sacraments lead to salvation.

Rethink your drink this summer

(Family Features) From barbecues and birthdays to concerts and cookouts, summertime is the perfect time of year to bring everyone together. However, nice weather and outdoor events are also coupled with summer heat waves and high temperatures.

Water – whether plain or sparkling – is a great way to help you stay hydrated all summer long without the calories and added sugar of other summer favorites like lemonade or punch. Healthy hydration in the summertime starts when you rethink your drink so you can beat the heat.

To get started, these tips from Sarah Ladden, M.S., R.D., nutrition, health and wellness director at Nestlé Waters North America, can help keep you hydrated all summer long.

  • Pack for the heat. The summer heat can mean an increase in water loss, which can put you at a higher risk for dehydration especially if you’re outside for long periods of time. Make sure to pack water for all your summer outings and hydrate before, during and after all outdoor activities.
  • Add your own flavor. While bottled, filtered or tap water are all good choices for healthy hydration, some people simply prefer flavored beverages. The good news: it’s easy to customize water just the way you like it. This summer, wow your friends with a DIY sparkling water bar. Set out your favorite sparkling waters – include flavored waters for added fun – alongside an assortment of seasonal berries, sliced fruit and fresh herbs, and let guests create their personalized refreshments.
  • Make water fun. Jazz up a glass of your favorite water with a simple addition – decorative ice. Before filling your ice tray, add a few berries or cubed melon, fresh herbs like mint or rosemary then top with water and freeze. Add a few cubes to a refreshing glass of water and enjoy just a hint of subtle flavor.
  • Keep water close. It’s important to keep your body well-hydrated throughout the day, but it is easy to get busy and simply forget to drink. Keep water in convenient locations throughout your home, office or even in the car for a visual reminder to keep sipping. Stocking water at the front of your fridge is another good habit so it’s the first choice kids or other family members see.

This summer, rethink your drink with these tips to help make smart beverage choices. To learn more about healthy hydration, visit nestle-watersna.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Nestlé Waters North America

2nd Monday of Advent: Quenching your dry thirst (December 5, 2016)

2nd Monday of Advent: Quenching your dry thirst (December 5, 2016)
Daily Homilies

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When was the last time you felt really thirsty?  When was the last time your mouth was really dry? At the gym, maybe? During a very hot summer day?  It is not pleasant to be thirsty.  Dry mouths are uncomfortable.  Today’s reading from Isaiah speaks about both dryness, and about quenching.  Streams burst forth in deserts.  Dryness yields to quenched thirst.  Sin and emptiness are forgiven and filled by God.

This is the beauty of this season of Advent.  God comes to us.  It is not our hard work primarily, but rather our readiness to receive the presence of God when he comes.  Are you ready for God? Is this the time to have those dry areas of your life made rich?  Make this the time where your faith grows rich because of your openness to the grace of God.

Readings for Today


From CNS: Catholic agency on front lines helping Flint residents with water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (CNS) — Following the discovery of lead in the city of Flint’s drinking water, relief organizations have been working day and night to provide safe water to those living and working in the community.

Standing at the front of the battle is Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties in the Lansing Diocese. The agency that provides assistance to people in need, including counseling, substance abuse treatment, foster care and adoption services.

Read more at: http://www.americancatholic.org/news/report.aspx?id=30702

Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman invites us to try water from a different well and also to offer a little of our own. In diversity, we enrich each other. When Jesus says to her, “please give me a drink” it implies an ethical action that recognizes the need for one another in living out the Church’s mission. It compels us to change our attitude, to commit ourselves to seek unity in the midst of our diversity, through our openness to a variety of forms of prayer and Christian spirituality. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a privileged moment for prayer, encounter and dialogue. It is an opportunity to recognize the richness and value that are present in the other, the different, and to ask God for the gift of unity.

For more information, check this website.

Homily for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Readings for Today

Salt.  Light.  Bread.  Water. As Catholics, we like the tangible.  And the powerful belief we hold is that God can become real in these types of ordinary things.  And perhaps because of this, some find it hard to believe.  Our lives seem too ordinary.  Great things can be explained away as a coincidence.  Relying only on what we see can appear to be quite safe and secure.

Jesus calls his disciples to be noticed.  Putting salt on things gets noticed.  Being light gets noticed.  We are called to be noticed, by standing up for our faith, by witnessing to the faith by the actions we take.  This means that we need the grace so that we are not afraid to speak what we believe, and live our faith.  This does not mean we need to be obnoxious about it, but if we believe we have found something life-changing, it means we should want to share this with others.

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Homily for Sunday, April 6, 2014

Readings for Today

A few months ago I went to the assembly for our province which was in Saint Louis.  A couple of days before I drove down, Saint Louis had gotten a lot of snow.  Eighteen inches in fact.  As I drove into our house of studies looking for a place to park, there was no open space, and so without thinking much I thought I would just drive around the block, park near the door for a bit, so I could leave my stuff.  Forgetting that in a city like Saint Louis, like many cities that do not typically get much snow, only main streets are typically plowed.  The rest of the snow is allowed to melt.

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Homily for Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Readings for Today

Whenever we read or hear about water in the Bible, our minds should immediately turn to baptism.  Water is the profound symbol for baptism because it can both give life and deal death.  In baptism, by dying to sin we become open to the new and real life of God.  The gospel stresses this.  The man at Bethesda has no one to get him into the pool when it is stirred by the spirit.

But for Jesus, it is not necessary to wait for even a second for such action.  By word, Jesus heals the man.  But much like Sunday’s story with the blind man, the Pharisees cannot see a man healed by Christ, but only a man carrying a mat on the Sabbath, something not permitted on the Sabbath. Because when we think of our own baptism, it is always first and foremost about hearing the words of Jesus that lead us, because Jesus is the Way.

Do we consider the impact of our baptism?  Do we associate with people and engage in activities that are likely to help us become closer to Christ?  Do we see any responsibility to helping others learn about Jesus and to experience the profound new life God longs to give everyone?  Have we used this season of Lent to fast from those things that keep us from God?

Ultimately that is what our season of Lent is all about.  We do not do penance because there is something innately good in suffering, but because through this suffering we are able to focus on those things that are really important.  It is not about willpower, but rather doing those things so that we can come to profound new life.

Homily for Monday, March 24, 2014

Readings for Today

What type of God do you wish?  One who is the “Hollywood Special Effects” God, or one who does what is best for us at all times, even in ways that might seem quite ordinary.  Poor Naaman.  He would have done anything had is been spectacular, and not involved and “oh so ordinary” river.  Nothing magic.  Nothing spectacular.  Just go and bathe.  Fortunately for him, Naaman had servants that cared for him.

If the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”  While it is true that in the sacraments we are surrounded by the extraordinary, they look very ordinary.  Water.  Wafers.  Oil.  Words.  Laying on of hands.  Our worship, our praise often appears quite ordinary without faith.  But with faith, it becomes eternal.  It affords us eternal life because the extraordinary Jesus becomes present in ordinary ways.

We can be too much like Naaman.  Expecting God to do something extraordinary.  This is a common temptation.  In a few weeks we will hear the people wonder why the one who opened the eyes of the blind man could not do something for Lazarus, or those who mock Jesus by telling him to “come down from that cross”.

The psalm reminds us that authentic discipleship means being athirst for God, to be longing for that relationship with Christ that fulfills more than we can possibly imagine, not by magic, but by the profound love Jesus has for each one of us.

Homily for Sunday, March 23, 2014

Readings for Today

The unlikely prophet.  That is how I think of the Samaritan woman.  Someone who has an unexpected encounter with Jesus that moves her so much she is able to convince a whole village to accept him as the Messiah, the savior of the world.  She is an unlikely prophet for a whole variety of reasons.

First, it was unusual for Jews to interact with Samaritans.  Moreover, it was even more unusual to interact with a Samaritan woman.  The woman asks, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”  In almost parenthetical form, the explanation is given:  “For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.”  Then, there is the fact she has been married five times, and is living with number six.  While it is not clear why she was married five times, someone with multiple marriages is not usually a hero of the bible.

When we consider her circumstance, it might be good to think about the Samaritans and the Jews.  There is, in the Old Testament, a pretty constant tension between northern Israel, the land of the Samaritans, and southern Israel, the land of the Jews.  It begins with the story of Cain and Abel, which can be seen as reflecting the tension between farmers and shepherds.  Farmers stayed put, because they planted crops, which occupied a specific geographic location.  Shepherds were nomads, needing to move in order that their sheep were able to eat.

We see similar tension in the life of David, a shepherd, who only ruled over the northern kingdom (farmers) for seven of his forty years.  And this tension continues between Samaritans, who were indeed foreigners, though similar, and Jews.  Jesus surprises not only the woman, but his disciples as well.

But what we see is that while unlikely, Jesus’ mission is beyond simply the Jewish people, and the words and presence of Jesus touch the heart of the Samaritan woman.  She comes to believe.  She leaves behind the things she brought, so eager has she become to share the good news of Jesus, and the finding of the Messiah, with the people in her village.  And she must have been convincing, because the people in the village come right away, ask Jesus to stay, and become convinced by their own experience that Jesus is the savior of the world.

We Catholics might think of ourselves as unlikely prophets.  How comfortable are you in having a spiritual conversation with a member of your family, or someone you work with, or even a complete stranger?  Are you able to do so, or do you seek to avoid such conversations?  We Dominicans are known as the Order of Preachers, but I find myself sometimes reluctant to engage people in conversation beyond the “expected” places like preaching a homily at church.

But the living water we received, at our baptism, is the source of new life that should compel us to share it.  Have we found the Messiah?  Have we found the Savior of the world?  Do we wish to enter more deeply into relationship with Jesus?  To be sure, one of the few commands Jesus gave us was to Go, teach, and baptize.  If you wish the living water that will cause you never to thirst again, hear the words of Jesus calling you to be the unlikely prophet.