Sunday, April 24, 2022

Divine Mercy 2022


Jesus says in our Gospel blessed are those who have not seen, and believed. 

One of the things that this line from Christ implies is that even though He promises to be present in every Sacrament of the Church, we should not expect to ever SEE Him, rather He says that we are blessed if we still believe in Him without actually seeing Him.


Saint Paul puts it this way to the Romans in chapter 8 verses 24 and 25: “hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance”


It is also Divine Mercy today and at the bottom of the Divine Mercy image is 5 words, “Jesus I trust in you.”  Trust and hope go hand in hand.  One can only trust if they have not been let down by the other person.  The moment the person asking for trust lets us down, it is hard to reestablish that Trust.  But Jesus always and everywhere keeps his promises, so when Jesus asks us to trust Him, it makes sense for us to trust Him.


There are over 100 Eucharistic Miracles that have been approved by the Catholic Church, usually because of a doubt in the priest’s mind, where the bread at the consecration did actually turn into physical flesh or the wine, at the consecration, became physical blood.  But I have always thought that God, in His Mercy, does not reveal Himself that way 99.9999% of the time SO THAT WE CAN STILL EAT and receive him into our body and souls.  Sometimes we think it might be nice to see a Eucharistic Miracle like that, but would anyone want to actually eat Jesus’ skin?


So let us put our trust in Christ when He says to us “Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe”

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Easter 2022


If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God…not of what is on earth.


This encouragement from Saint Paul to the Colossians is an encouragement that is still applicable to us today, to seek what is above, not of what is on earth.


Seeking implies a striving for…saint Paul elsewhere uses the image of athletes denying themselves all sorts of things so that they can win…the same analogy applies to scholarly study…scholars deny themselves sleep because they are striving to master a subject…and good students sacrifice the prize of basking in the now to strive forward on their pursuit of a degree


Let us STRIVE for what is above…Jesus’ Resurrection opens for us the possible of living with Him forever in Eternal bliss.  This world is not corrupt, God made it, but this world is not our HOME.  Let us strive with one another to get to our Heavenly home.


A friend said a good way to find holy and good friends is to run toward Heaven and then look and see who is running in the same direction.  May we do that… may we run for Heaven and also look and see who is running in that same direction and encourage each other with the unbelievable if it were not true, the message that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and opened up for us a way if we follow his teaching, his example, let us be nourished by the Sacraments, by the food for the journey, and let us win Heaven through Christ’s victory.  Amen!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

A Video from a Few Years Ago that I Love


Holy Thursday 2022


When I first moved out to the Terre Haute Deanery for my first ever stint as a pastor, I was tasked with having to finish off the closing of Holy Rosary parish in Seelyville.  

The North Star is located almost directly on the line the Earth spins around and so it always is in the same place in the sky and was used by sailors and others as a reliable way to orient themselves.


In my final homily at Holy Rosary in Seelyville before the parish was merged into Annunciation, I encouraged the parishioners of Holy Rosary in Seelyville to keep their eyes fixed on the only True North Star, Jesus in the Eucharist, and if they did that, they would be able to weather whatever storms came their way, including the closing of their parish.


I have tried to follow my own advice as much as possible.  Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist has been a North Star, a fixed point that I know is true, and I have kept my eyes fixed on Jesus throughout my time in seminary and the priesthood.  There has been a lot that has happened in my priesthood, a lot of the things from my priesthood have been good beyond my wildest dreams, and some of it has been difficult, but all of the things that have happened have been a blessing to me.


Tonight, the Church asks that the homily reflect on 3 related topics, the priesthood, the Eucharist and service to the poor and our friends. 


Right after the homily, I will wash the feet of 12 parishioners as a reminder of what Jesus did before the First Mass.  At that First Mass he also instituted the priesthood and also, for the first time turned bread and wine into Himself.


It is pretty easy to see how these three themes of the priesthood, the Eucharist and service are related.  In the priesthood, we are called to die to ourselves.  This “death to self” is actually sometimes easier in big ways than it is in small ways that no one will ever see.  In both arenas, the public and the private, the priest is called to die to self, and so is every person who is baptized.


Dying to our own desires and wants; dying to how we want to spend our free time; all those ways of dying, like Jesus’ death, bears fruit in other people’s lives because when we lay our wants to the side, we more easily recognize the ways we can serve others.  And Jesus says when we serve others, we also serve Him.


May Jesus in the Eucharist be a North Star for all of us, a point that we fix our eyes and hearts on, and, in walking toward Jesus, also imitate His laying down His life, so we may share in His Resurrection

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

If God Made Judas Betray Jesus...


There is an idea that has been around for a while and that idea could be summarized by the question “Didn’t Judas HAVE to hand Jesus over?” 

But the Gospels of course discredit this

Jesus: “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.  It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

If we believe, wrongly, that God made Judas betray Jesus, there are TWO huge implications of this error

It is first of all important to know that God never has someone do evil.  Here’s the problem with thinking God DOES make someone do evil – if God can have people do evil acts for good outcomes, then we can start doing evil things because of the good outcomes that we think will happen

It becomes okay to destroy embryos for the good perceived outcome of curing diabetes

It becomes okay to use contraception in my marriage for the good perceived outcome of making my marriage happier

It becomes okay to experiment on human beings for the perceived good outcome of medical science

It becomes okay to torture people for the perceived good outcome of saving soldiers lives

It becomes okay to make money illegally for the perceived good outcome of feeding my family


Even worse…it starts to be the case that if God wills evil or causes evil, then I can do evil too.

Unfortunately in some Catholic circles it has become fashionable to say that obviously sinful acts might not actually BE evil, as the circumstances or intentions of an act might make an evil act actually good.  But paragraph 1759 of the Catechism quotes St. Thomas Aquinas as saying "An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention"

Also, to anyone who would appeal to their conscience, paragraph 1761 says “ There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to choose, because their choice entails a disorder of the will”

Jesus’ words about Judas need to be with us always – Woe to that man by whom the son of man is betrayed.  It would be better for that man if he had never been born

Monday, April 4, 2022

The Joy of Being Forgiven


Homily for April 2nd and 3rd – Go and sin no more

Father Vince Lampert, the exorcist for our Archdiocese, came to Saint Paul’s on Thursday night and gave an AWESOME talk about exorcisms.  I encourage anyone who missed it to go to Saint Paul’s Facebook page and watch all of it.  (click here or watch below)

Fr. Vince talked a lot about confession and noted “When we recommit ourselves to God, God does not care about the past, God cares about where we are.  When people live in the past, they live in a world of guilt, and when you live in a world of guilt, your best friend is going to be the Devil…the Devil is described in the book of Revelation as an accuser.”


We see this encouragement to go to confession and then move forward knowing that we start anew in all three readings from today. 

Our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah says, speaking on behalf of God “Remember not the events of the past, see, I am doing something new!”

Saint Paul tells the Philippians in our 2nd reading today: “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal”

And in our Gospel we hear Jesus say to the woman caught in adultery “Neither do I condemn you…go, and from now on do not sin any more.”


In the Mass and in the Confessional, most of the prayers and words of the priest are offered on behalf of himself and the people.  But when the crucial words of consecration at Mass and absolution in the confessional are said, it switches to the first person…”I absolve you” “This is my Body”

The Church says that in that moment, Christ is literally saying those words through the priest


And so the sacrament of reconciliation is just that, an opportunity to reconcile with God himself, to not just start over, not just to have our sins forgiven, but also to receive new grace from God moving forward.


The average confession lasts three minutes.  The confessional and the Mass are the last place the Devil wants you to be.  But when we leave the confessional, I promise you will sing with the Psalmist “The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy”