Sunday, January 30, 2022
Love – Homily for January 29th
Saint Paul in our 2nd reading today gives us an examination of conscience about whether we have true love in our heart for God and also our neighbor
1) “Love is patient” – are you patient? We live in a world that is going faster and faster each day, which is a temptation to be inpatient. Do I drive patiently? Do I wait in line patiently? Am I patient with my children? With my spouse?
2) “love is kind” – Am I kind? There is a sign I’ve seen over the years that says “Just be kind” But saint Paul teaches that there is more to it than JUST being kind, but kindness is an aspect of Love. Are you kind to those you meet for the first time… but also are you kind to your children, your family, and those that you have known for a long time? So often it is easy to take for granted those whom we have known for a long time.
3) “Love is not jealous” – are you jealous of anyone? Jealousy is one of the seven deadly sins
4) “Love is not pompous, and it is not inflated” – pomposity is the deadly sin of pride
5) “Love is not rude” – are we rude to each other? Social media and the anonymity have caused a seemingly 2,000 percent increase in rudeness – are we part of that?
6) “Love does not seek its own interests” – Do you put your needs first, or do you put your neighbors needs above your needs?
7) “Love is not quick-tempered” – do we blow up at others, either out loud or in the silence of our heart?
8) “Love does not brood over injury” – do we do that? Do we sulk and meditate on the wrongs that have been done to us?
9) “Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing” – what is wrongdoing? We have to first understand and know what wrongdoing is. There is a moral code that Christ gives us which is why Saint Paul ends this examination of conscience with…
10) “Love rejoices with the truth.” Love rejoices in the Truth, and Love does not rejoice in lies. There are a lot of lies being uttered these days…do we spread these lies…do we believe these lies…or do we rejoice in the Truth?
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Sunday, January 23, 2022
"Adoptionism" and other Heresies
Adoptionism is a heresy that says Jesus Christ was adopted by God the Father at His Baptism. But this cannot be true for many reasons.
1) We have the Christmas story and the Angel says to the shepherds “Today a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”
2) and the Magi visiting asking where the newborn King of the Jews can be found.
3) We have the story of Jesus’ presentation in the temple where Simeon sees the newborn Christ and the Bible says “Simeon took him into his arms and said “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples”
4) We have the story of a teenage Jesus teaching the Scribes and Scholars, and Jesus’ response to His parents, “did you not know that I would be in my Father’s house?”
So even though most heresies are defeated by Scripture, most heresies are designed to spread among those who do not know the Scriptures.
At His Baptism, we do have the Spirit descending upon Jesus, but the Church Fathers all saw that as a sign for other people, not that Jesus was, at the moment, being adopted into the Trinity.
So when we hear in our Gospel today that “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” it does not mean that at Jesus’ baptism in the previous chapter that Jesus received, for the first time, the Holy Spirit, but instead Saint Cyril points out that Christ did not perform miracles as did the saints, but Jesus Christ, being by nature the Son of God, Jesus exercises by His own power that grace which is of the Holy Spirit.
And this is one of the many reasons Jesus gave us the Catholic Church – to sort out what is true and false teaching. It isn’t just “me and Jesus”… “me and Jesus” has resulted in about 60,000 different denominations of Christians…we need to always be checking what we are hearing in our hearts and consciences with what the Catholic Church teaches about Jesus.
Lots of heresies have found temporary footholds in the hearts of Catholics throughout 2,000 years, but the Catholic Church has never ceased to point them out and, ultimately, defeat them. When there are genuine disagreements on how to interpret a particular passage of Scripture, the Church is Christ’s appointed referee in the dispute.
May we always be seeking to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church and Her saints.
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Our Psalm today is “Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations” and “Announce His salvation day after day”
I want to ask us all to think about a question: “Are we proclaiming God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations?” and are you announcing His salvation day after day?
If we are not yet announcing God’s salvation day after day, what might that look like? I think a good place to start might be a line that we pray at every Mass, and that line is when we ask God to “order our days in His peace.”
I have found that to be the case, over time, as I have turned my life over to Christ, slowly and with fits and starts, He has ordered my life in His peace
What do I mean by ordered? I mean that whereas when I was younger, I felt a lot of times like my life and the world around me were chaotic and I didn’t know which way was up, Christ has, over time, grounded my feet, because it is a sickening feeling to not know where the ground is. As a priest, I have found an order in the rhythm of the day, daily Mass, a daily rosary, the Liturgy of the Hours that all priests promise to pray several times throughout each day, there is a comfort to that order which also still allows us also to be open to the new things, the intrusions of the spiritually poor and or physically poor.
In fact, I would say ordering our days according to God’s plan LEADS PRECISELY to our ability to spot the needs of our neighbors better.
And secondly, there is that word at the end – peace. Christ, through His Church, offers each person peace…and in a world that seems to be attacking that Peace that Christ offers, a world that is attacking that Peace more and more each day…woe to us if we do not share what we have found in the Catholic Church, woe to us if we sit on this Good News and keep it for ourselves.
May each of us proclaim Christ’s marvelous deeds to all the nations and announce His salvation day after day.
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Sunday, January 9, 2022
"He shall bring forth Justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street”
We are all here because we desire, on some level, to Hear Christ speak to us. And the main way that we reach out to God is through prayer.
But if you are like me, you want to see and hear from Jesus Himself
And so I think it is important to remind ourselves of several things
1) When we hear the words of the Mass and participate in the Mass with a full, active, and conscious participation, Christ IS speaking to us!
Secondly, when we enter into private prayer, know that Christ, as the Prophet Isaiah reminds us in the first reading, Jesus Christ does not cry out, He does not shout, He does not make his voice heard in the street.”
The implication of that fact for us is that Jesus, at least 99.99999% of the time, refuses to shout above the noise of our world, but rather he speaks softly to us.
That puts the onus on us to remove ourselves from the Dictatorship of Noise and find silence in our lives and I think we need to do that at least 30 minutes a day.
Christ does not make himself heard above the buzz of Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Youtube/Netflix/Disney+/smartphones/emails etc. Christ IS calling us away to a quiet place to be alone with Him so that we can increase our chances of hearing His voice.
He Himself also sought out quiet places away from the crowd, often early in the morning, to be alone in prayer with the Father and the Holy Spirit
May we follow His lead and seek Him where He promised to be found, notably in the words and actions of the Mass, and in the silence, away from the noise of the world.
Sunday, January 2, 2022
I had been trying all week to come up with a homily for the Epiphany, but for some reason, nothing came to mind. And then, on New Year’s Eve, I caught the last 5 minutes of the Foo Fighters front man being interviewed on NPR. He said some really fascinating things, and although he probably didn’t realize it, some of the things he said speak to our celebration of the appearance of the Magi. Immediately when I got back home, I searched for the interview and found some fascinating excerpts from his interview:
1) “When I went to my first punk rock show, there was this real sense of community and that tribe of those like-minded kids that maybe all felt the same.
That was one of the things I loved so much was the people coming together.”
And 2) “This was where everyone could come; these were the misfits; these were the weirdos these were the freaks; but this is where they found their tribe and their community, and I felt like them, and when we get together there’s some comfort and some reassurance in that. “Oh, this is where we belong.”
What Dave Grohl, the lead singer of Foo Fighters was getting it is there was a comfort in belonging to a tribe, and I think we all know what he means. Even the Jews had 12 TRIBES, and those 12 tribes didn’t always get along.
But what we celebrate today with the arrival of the non-Jews from the East is the end of tribal divisions… or at least the possibility that now exists to end tribalism.
All have the option of joining the one tribe of the Catholic Church. And that is good news, particularly for the poor, the misfits, the freaks, the drug addicts, the abused, the broken, all are now invited to join the ultimate tribe of the Catholic Church.
Imagine whatever you think is the worst sin – anyone who has committed that sin is still welcome here in the Catholic Church. Of course, for the non-Catholic and the fallen-away Catholic, there are some simple rites of initiation or reconciliation if you want to participate fully and take advantage of all that the Church offers, but we need to let everyone in our community know that they are welcome to come in, and even to attend Mass.
We have signs in front of our Church saying that all welcome to come inside, and yet still I got a call a few months ago from a person who said he sat out in the parking lot at Annunciation for a half hour trying to work up the courage to come in, and he finally did and he was so glad, and he just called to thank us for leaving our Church open.
How many people out there are in that exact same position? How many people don’t think they’re welcome in our Churches? The Devil of course desires to sift us all like sand, each our own individual grain, each ultimately our own tribe, but God desires to draw everyone together into the one tribe of the Catholic Church.
Let us go out and invite people to just come in. Because only here will they find the end of tribalism.
Saturday, January 1, 2022
“Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
I want to issue a challenge to all men: pray the rosary every day
And if you have a family, LEAD them in the rosary every night
Pray the rosary and also bring your family to Mass.
A study found that if a father does not go to church, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers.
Fathers need to take their family to Church every Sunday and Holy Day (unless you are sick or caring for someone who is sick), but also, as a way to make the transition easier, I also want to challenge in a particular way families, but everyone, to pray the Rosary daily.
Mass can seem unintelligible to both young and old, and so, in addition to the Mass, the rosary can provide a wonderful supplement for a couple of reasons.
1) While at Mass it is true that everyone is participating, the priest is the presider, while at the family rosary, the Father can take the lead.
Secondly, what we hear in our Gospel today, about how Mary kept all these things and ponder them in Her heart, Mary was an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry, and so the rosary is a great way to tap into those fruits of Mary’s ponderings!
I challenge all men in the parish to make Catholicism their top priority, and if you have a family, to bring your family to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day (unless sick or caring for someone who is sick), and to lead your family in a nightly rosary. It will transform your family and our parish!