Sunday, October 31, 2021

Jesus saw that he answered with understanding


“Jesus saw that he answered with understanding”


I’d like to recommend this set of books on the 4 Gospels called “Catena Aurea” and is published by Baronius Press.  If you are going to buy it, don’t buy it from Amazon, go to

The Pope at the time asked St. Thomas Aquinas to take each VERSE of the Gospels, and include the most relevant writings of the early Church Fathers on that verse, and so we see St. Thomas Aquinas pulling together quotes from St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, Venerable Beed and many others.


In preparation for the homily a couple of weeks ago, a lined jumped out at me that I did not end up preaching on.  The line was Jesus asking a man “why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone.” Which is a line from Jesus that has always puzzled me.

Why does Jesus seem to suggest He is not God?

And so I was reading in the Catena Aurea and St. Augustine had a marvelous answer.  He said Jesus did not identify himself as God to this particular person because that particular person would not have been able to process it.

So in today’s Gospel, we have a different person asking questions, and our Gospel says that Jesus SAW that the man answered with understanding. 

2 different persons, one is known to be early on the path, the other person further along the path, but again the important thing is that Jesus is able to perfectly read souls because He is God.  Nothing is hidden from God.

Sometimes we think there is a part of us that we try to hide from God…maybe we also try to hide it from ourselves.  But although we may be able to fool ourselves, there is no fooling Jesus.  When Jesus first encountered the Apostle Nathanael, Jesus “here is a man with no duplicity.”

May Jesus say the same thing to us when, at the final judgment, we come face to face with the Lord.  Like the man in today’s Gospel may it be said of us that we are not far from the Kingdom of God

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Catholics Should "Be Silent"?

Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 23rd and 24th of 2021


And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me!”


Our world is telling Catholics to be silent.  In the United States, for now, Catholics are pressured through a mostly silent campaign to encourage self-censoring, and to discourage speaking the Truth in Love.


In other areas of the world, people are being martyred and tortured for their Catholic Faith and that is a much more literal instance of the world telling Catholics to be silent.


But we know that in some ways, the softer encouragement to self-censor is MORE effective than killing and torturing Catholics because when it gets down to martyrdom and torture, Catholics wake up and start to take their faith seriously.  Those who see fellow Catholics being killed for their Catholic Faith never forget that.


But when it is a soft, subtle campaign to make every Catholic self-censor, it is much easier to just cut little corners, to rationalize our decisions telling ourselves “after all, it is just a pinch of incense to Caesar, what harm can that do?”


But then one day, hopefully, we wake up after cutting corners and keeping silent and giving our tacit approval to lies, and we hopefully have the experience of recognizing we are far from the path, and we are able to cry out with a full-throated “Son of David, have pity on me!”


But the hour is late, and none of us is guaranteed the next minute. 


Before we see fellow Catholics being jailed, tortured and martyred for their Catholic Faith, may we stand up now and say “I will not give my tacit approval to lies anymore.  I am a Catholic first and foremost, and I march under the banner of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is Truth.  No matter what else you throw at me, I will never waver.”

Sunday, October 17, 2021

How to be great

Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, October 16 and 17, 2021


“Those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.  But it shall not be so among you.  Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.”

The Apostles desire greatness and Jesus says the key is a willingness to serve.

10 days ago, our youth groups were reflecting on the virtue of Magnanimity, which just means a striving for a greatness of soul.  We watched a video put out by the Knights of Columbus on this virtue.  It talked about this very Gospel passage, and what it means to be a great leader: SERVICE

You can strive to be the best janitor, the best husband the best wife, the best parent, the best student the best plumber you can be…wherever you find yourself you can strive for becoming great, and that will be attained in proportion to how well you serve those under you. 

I find great value in getting down among the trenches with you all, setting up tables and chairs for dinners or Oktoberfest, setting up stuff for the youth group, helping clean up after events, and not leaving until the cleaning is done.  Trying to help fix things when I can, going out once a month to the sick and shut ins, helping set up for Mass – I truly feel that there is no job in the parish that I am above.

And I think, because of that approach, I think I am a better leader. 

On your sports teams, if you are a star or a senior, do you lord it over those under you or do you help carry out the bag of balls to practice even though it is not expected?

At work, do you help those under you with their tasks, even though you could tell them to do it themselves?

At the parish, do you help out even though it is not required nor expected?

In your family, do you lord it over your siblings or help them accomplish their task?


“Those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.  But it shall not be so among you.  Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.”

The Apostles wanted to be APPOINTED to leadership positions, but Jesus was a very practical guy.  He encourages servant leadership precisely for the reason that it is MORE EFFECTIVE than a simple appointment to a position!  May we trust in Jesus, may we seek to be great not by simply being put in a position of authority, but by earning the trust of those who we have been asked to lead. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Prudence, Contraception, Abortion, Conscience, etc.

We hear in our first reading today from the book of Wisdom: “I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.  I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her.”

A lot of times, people reach out to me and asking what they should do in a specific situation.  And in so many of those instances I have to say “I don’t know.  You are the only one, in conversation with God, who will know what the best decision is.”

The Catholic Church is thought of as telling everyone how to act in every situation, and that just is not the case.  Of course on every topic that seems to dominate our national conversation at the moment, the Church does have very black and white answers: it is never okay to kill a child in the womb, sexual activity is only proper in a marriage, marriage is only between one man and one woman, contraception is never justified, there are only 2 sexes, it is never good to look at pornography… and so the Church, in saying these eternal truths, is viewed from both the outside (and sometimes the inside) as being dictatorial.

But the vast majority of the thousands of decisions we make each day do NOT involve any of the above, and so the Church encourages us to use prudence.  And prudence is the ability to discern the best path forward in a situation.

It was even acknowledged as a virtue in pre-christian civilizations such as the Greeks.  Obviously, through Christ, all the virtues take on an even greater depth and prudence is considered to be the charioteer of all the other virtues.

It has the power to help us decide among not just good and evil, but also when we have lots of good things we could do, it helps us choose the best of all the good options.

Again, most of the thousands of decisions we make each day do NOT involve any objectively evil options.

In all of our decisions, big and small, may we act with prudence, using our past experiences and the Church’s teachings as a guide, to become a better decision maker each day. 


Sunday, October 3, 2021

A Marriage Morning of Reflection


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, October 2nd-3rd   A Marriage Morning of Reflection

We have reflected a lot on the centrality of Marriage to a civilization.


Leo XIII, in his encyclical titled “On Socialism” states that the foundation of a society rests first of all in the indissoluble union of man and wife.  We can also see the centrality of marriage looking at the teaching of those who hate the notion of marriage and have made it their project to tear marriage apart.


Kate Millet was the author of “Sexual Politics”, published in 1970.  There she decried the patriarchy of the monogamous nuclear family.  Her sister Mallory recounts attending a meeting with Kate Millet and her communist apparatchiks. 

“We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back and forth recitation, like a litany, a type of prayer done in the Catholic Church.  But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:

“Why are we here today?” Kate asked.  “To make revolution” they answered.  “What kind of revolution?” Kate replied.  “The cultural revolution,” they chanted.  “And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” Kate demanded.  “By destroying the American family!” they answered.  “How do we destroy the family?” Kate came back.  “By destroying the American Patriarch” they cried exuberantly.  “And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.  “By taking away his power!” they said.  “How do we do that?” Kate asked.  “By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.  “How do we destroy monogamy?”  Kate asked.  “By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexual acts!” they resounded” (The Devil and Karl Marx, by Paul Kengor, pg. 366)


But instead of railing against the evils of divorce, I would like to actually do something about strengthening marriages.  Besides, if you are here, you are likely not the people that need to hear about the importance of marriage and family.


When I first came to Annunciation, but before I was assigned to Saint Paul’s, I brought out a friend Dr. Eric Gudan to give a morning of reflection on marriage.  It was offered to single people, people preparing for marriage, and also to married couples.  I am doing that again.  I have been communicating with Dr. Gudan, and he has committed to coming sometime in November or early December.  I will get that date out to you as soon as it is nailed down.  Everyone who attended his talks and exercises 8 years ago found them extremely entertaining and revitalizing.


I am also offering a $200 gift to card to St. Elmo’s to one lucky couple or single person who attends.  Breakfast from Panera will be provided at St. Paul starting at 8:30 am.  Again, marriage is under attack, and we all probably already know that.  Let’s work on our marriage, or make ourselves a better spouse even before we get married.  What God has joined together, may no man break asunder.