Homily: Why does God allow suffering?

Homily: Why does God allow suffering?
Daily Homilies

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Queen Esther is in an interesting spot in her life. On the one hand, her life has been one of blessing. She has become the Queen. This gives here a good life. On the other hand, her Jewish faith has put her in great danger. In some ways the source of her glory is also a great risk. Yet if Esther had done such great things, why is it that she was made to suffer? Why does she find herself in a place where she pours out her heart to God in desperate pleading? Saint Augustine says there are two reasons for our suffering. The first is that we receive punishment as a consequence of our sinfulness. The second is that suffering occurs in our life to keep us from getting too proud, which could be seen as our greatest threat. And by remaining faithful to God in the midst of our suffering, it is then that we also provide an outspoken witness to others about the power of faith.

Readings for Today

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

Things are not always what they seem

Things are not always what they seem
Daily Homilies

 
 

00:00 / 3:16
 

1X

 

Readings for Today

How can the poor be blessed? How can enemies be loved? How can persecutors be forgiven? The challenge with hearing the gospel is often that the gospel seems to turn everything upside down. Saint Luke the Evangelist is remembered, I think, for two significant reasons. First, there is his ability to bring the gospel to bear on everyday life. Second, it is his attention to those who have so little. And yet, they have a lot. How is it that God calls you today?

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 18, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Things are not always what they seem

Readings for Today

How can the poor be blessed? How can enemies be loved? How can persecutors be forgiven? The challenge with hearing the gospel is often that the gospel seems to turn everything upside down. Saint Luke the Evangelist is remembered, I think, for two significant reasons. First, there is his ability to bring the gospel to bear on everyday life. Second, it is his attention to those who have so little. And yet, they have a lot. How is it that God calls you today?

Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri, on October 18, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Treating all with respect: Homily for Sunday, November 19, 2017

Treating all with respect: Homily for Sunday, November 19, 2017
DePorres Pages Podcasts

 
 

00:00 /
 

1X

 

Readings for today

It appears that every day there are new revelations about some sexual harassment that has occurred.  While some of it may be news to men, at least to the women I have spoken with, the prevalence of this sexual harassment is not a surprise.  Why is it we cannot treat each other respectfully? Why is it that we cannot see in everyone the image and likeness of God?

Each reading from today’s Mass, in its own way, focuses on how it is we can be people with greater respect.  The first reading focuses on the tremendous gift of women.  While the duties listed may not apply today in the same way they did when this book was written, the message remains the same.  Women have a dignity and a unique way of witnessing to the Lord that is a great gift. The second reading reminds us about the light of God which leads the way.  The gospel reminds us to trust in the Lord and to use what he gave us for the building of the Kingdom of God.

Signum Fidei: Homily for November 1, 2017

Signum Fidei: Homily for November 1, 2017
DePorres Pages Podcasts

 
 

00:00 /
 

1X

 

Readings for Today

Do you witness to sanctity? Do you show forth holiness in your life? The bishop that ordained me said this: “Don’t wait until you die to be a saint.  That’s too late.  Become a saint now.” Are you a saint? On the seal of the high school where I teach is the Latin phrase, “signum fidei.” It means sign of faith. It suggests that in all things we are to see ourselves as signs of faith.

How do we do this? We are a sign of faith when we are generous, faithful, prayerful and kind. We are a sign of faith when Jesus becomes the center of our lives.  Each time we see another human being as the image of God, we are a sign of faith.  So do not wait to become a saint.  Do so now.

Alert and Sober: Homily for Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Alert and Sober: Homily for Tuesday, September 5, 2017

 
 

00:00 / 4:04
 

1X

 

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Alert and Sober.  These words are meant to help us. It can be so easy to be sluggish.  We can let life just happen to us.  We can allow distractions to be too much a part of who we are and what we are about.  Rather than alert and sober, we can become sleepy and lazy.  Rather than making life happen, we can sit back and let it happen.

Many religions believe in being awake.  For many religions, the virtue is to be alert, awake, alive.  Rather than allowing life to happen, people should reflect.  They should be awake, making life happen by their deliberate choices. Jesus wants us to be sober and alert.  So, wake up! Jesus is coming to meet you.

USCCB President And Domestic Justice Chairman Call For Prayer And Unity In Response To Deadly Charlottesville Attack

August 13, 2017

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, are calling on all people of goodwill to join in prayer and unity today in response to yesterday’s violent protest and deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Full statement follows:

“As we learn more about the horrible events of yesterday, our prayer turns today, on the Lord’s Day, to the people of Charlottesville who offered a counter example to the hate marching in the streets. Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.

We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured.  At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives.  Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression.”

Salt and Light: Homily for Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Salt and Light: Homily for Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Daily Homilies

 
 

00:00 / 5:25
 

1X

 

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Remember salt pork?  It was not the most wonderful thing to eat, but it made quite a difference.  There are those people when eating a meal, even before they taste the meal it must be covered with salt.  There are foods that must be eaten with salt, at least in the opinion of some people.  French fries. Potato chips.  Eggs. Salt adds flavor.  But salt also protects.  Salt helps to preserve foods from going bad.  In an age without refrigeration, salt was an important ingredient in any kitchen.

By using this image, Jesus helps to create the analogy to faith, which has similar qualities.  Faith, too, adds flavor to life.  Faith too, preserves and protects important things.  A disciple is a witness.  A disciple has discovered how it is that faith protects.  And a disciple is one who makes sure to preserve the openness to God, to his grace, so that the flavor that changes life is not lost.

Homily for Sunday, September 6, 2015

Readings for Today

The American spirit seems to like things that are made strong and tough. Trucks are advertised this way, a popular vehicle in our country. People are often encouraged to be strong in the face of adversity. Little boys are wrongly told not to cry, to “toughen up”, in the face of difficulty. We are told there is “no crying” in any number of things.

But what is it that makes someone truly strong? Is it the false elements I just mentioned? Is it the house built on rock that Jesus uses as an example in the gospels? And how is it we reconcile this idea of strength with Saint Paul who says that when he is weak, it is then he is strong? When we hear the words in today’s first reading, “Be Strong, Fear Not!” what exactly does that mean, and how and in what ways is such a phrase intended for you and me?

As is often the case, as we explore this idea of strength, the world gets turned upside down a little bit. Bold words are expressed to those in the time of Isaiah, to be strong, because they feel anything but strong at the moment. The words are meant as an encouragement, because when they consider their current situation, they do not feel very strong. Weak knees, feeble hands are the way the people are described.

They are not unlike the poor who are shunned in the reading from James. It is not difficult to see how we might become subtly taken in by the lure of people who are rich. We see the challenges that come from those who are under this spell. Build walls to keep out the strangers! Beat away those lazy poor who just want to mooch off of the rest of us! Let us ridicule and blame the poor and weak for being poor and weak! How easy it can be to see the world in this way.

Fortunately, in the gospel, Jesus provides for us a way to become strong. Any priest or deacon who has performed baptisms has some familiarity with this gospel, as the Ephphatha! is a word used in the baptism rite. But how is it that the healing of a man hard of hearing and unable to speak can have anything to say to us today? Why is it that this specific word is used here? What is the point of the gospel today?

To find an answer, it is helpful to look at the rite of baptism, since today’s gospel is rightly about baptism. “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak.” That is the reminder we are given. The reality is that without the grace of God, without the movement and action of God, we remain in faith like people who are unable to hear God and to speak his word. We are in a bad place when it comes to faith.

For this reason, the reminder that Jesus can make the deaf hear and the mute speak is followed by a prayer that Jesus do just that. “May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” Through the grace of our own baptism, we are asking Jesus to prepare us to be witnesses to the gospel. How?

First, it is essential that we are able to hear the word of God. It is important to know that in today’s gospel, Jesus is in what we might call today a “secular” area of Israel, an area that is not largely Jewish. It may be for this reason there are explanations about Jewish customs.  And yet, in this area, the power of the message of Jesus is taking root. They are hearing, even though they might not seem to initially be those inclined to hear the word. They are ready to hear the word of God. It was not as true in the hometown of Jesus, where he grew up, as they walked him to the brow of the hill in anger. They were not able to hear the word.

And without hearing the word, it is harder to speak. What we hear inside our heads when we speak is not the same as what others here when we speak. You might experience this when you hear your own recorded voice. It may even sound strange to you. And so Jesus, by expending some effort to heal the man (making spit, which was considered a healing thing in the day of Jesus), he also makes clear to us that there is a relationship between hearing the word of God and speaking as a witness to what we hear.

This is what makes us strong. But ironically it is not in getting busier that we are disposed more to hearing Jesus. It is not in more programs, lessons or activities that are the primary way of hearing. It is in quiet. It is in silence. It is in seeking out that quiet time with Jesus, whether in adoration, or in the bible, or in simple requests for him to be present in prayer that we come to have our ears opened to hear the word.

The challenge, of course, is that our world is anything but disposed to hearing the word of Jesus. Greed, violence, lust, objectification of humans, especially women, even religious leaders who like the Pharisees, can lay heavy burdens on people without lifting a finger, these are all the noises that block the word of Jesus.

And so it is not in the typical way that we find ourselves strong as Christians. Saint Paul, who I referenced earlier, reminds us that true, lasting strength, comes when we trust the Lord Jesus to guide us in our lives. It is true strength when we can see the poor as our opportunity to serve Jesus, as our opportunity to be faithful to his voice in the gospel of Matthew that reminds us that serving others is serving Jesus.

As we stand at the beginning of an academic year, let us ask Jesus to open our ears, to loosen our tongues, that we my hear his word an share with others the good news of this unbelievable and fulfilling friendship with Jesus.

Homily for Monday, August 24, 2015

Readings for Today

Sometimes we can feel that simply “being a good person” is enough. And certainly, it is a good start. But our faith really calls us to be something more than simply “a good person” because there is something so much greater in store for us when we open our hearts to a relationship with Jesus.

Too often I think we settle for too less when we think of Jesus. We can be people that hope we squeeze into heaven, or we can limit heaven simply to a large family reunion, or we can think that every body goes to heaven regardless of what they do.

But today’s readings remind us that not only can our lives be better today if we seek a deep relationship with Jesus, the promise held out to us is magnificent indeed. I am learning that more and more too many Catholics are not thinking about the possibility that we can have a real, life-giving, authentic, personal relationship with Jesus. But such is the promise of the readings today. Don’t sell God short.

The first reading describes the beauty of the next life. Using familiar terms of opulence and excess, we are reminded that nothing can possibly compare to the tremendous reality of heaven. The reality is, that heaven is far more than we can possibly imagine. Saint Paul tells this to the Corinthians. It has not even dawned in their hearts (and ours) what God has prepared for us if we love God and enter authentically into a relationship with him.

Authenticity, or having no guile, is what Jesus observes about Bartholomew (sometimes call Nathaniel). There is no guile. But just as we today are too small with our hope of what God can do, so too is Bartholomew. Simply being observed by Jesus under the tree is enough for him to trust the testimony and witness of Philip about Jesus. But there is so much more!

So, today, think big! Consider that God has more fulfillment and love for you than you can possibly imagine or dream about! Know that God is much bigger than most of us think he is.