Saturday, September 24, 2022

Saint Augustine on Catholic Giving 50% of their income - homily for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Saint Augustine on Catholics Giving 50% of their income

As I was doing research for last weekend’s homily on the steward slashing out his take from the master’s bills, I also came across an interesting thing that Saint Augustine said.  St. Augustine said that the steward, in telling the person who owed 100 measures of oil to sit and write a new bill for 50 measures of oil…the meaning of that action is this…Jews were commanded by God to give 10% to God, but Catholics should give half of their income to God.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis assigns to each new priest a mentor priest who is not the newly ordained priest’s pastor, and so I met with him once a month for a year or so.  He said he always published his tax returns in the bulletin.


So my recent tax returns, for the year 2021 I had a total gross income of 34,485.  My charitable donations totaled $17,243.  I didn’t crunch the numbers until today, but it worked out that last year I gave away to charity exactly 50%.  The largest part was to Saint Paul’s and Annunciation, roughly 11,000 dollars to the 2 parishes, and another 2,500 dollars to FOCUS missionary efforts, 2,000 dollars to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis annual appeal, and then the rest to catholic charitable organizations working all over the world to help the poorest of the poor.


So why do I share this?  Don’t I know that Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6 that we should keep quiet when we give alms, and that we should not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, and that if we announce our giving, we have already received our reward?  I have made the decision, through prayer, to forego my reward as my mentor pastor 14 years ago, in order to inspire Catholics to open their hearts more to the poor.  Catholics are statistically at the bottom in terms of their giving …and so I am sharing my giving publicly.  We live in a community where we are mostly sheltered from having to step right over poor people sitting at our doors, as the rich man in today’s parable in our Gospel had to step right over the poor man Lazarus.  But we don’t have to look far to see the poor in our community.  And also, the Catholic Church challenges us to give to all parts of the world generously as well.  To give to help eliminate the deaths of 25,000 children who starve to death every day around the world, to give so that our parishes can help alleviate the needs of the poor in our local communities and also provide a beautiful place of refuge for the poor in our communities.


In chapter 6, verse 38 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”  Let us all examine our giving, and trust that when God dares us to outdo him in generosity, that God really will supply all our needs.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

What in the world is going on with this parable?!? Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2022


 “What in the world is going on with this parable?”

This week, I fielded lots of questions from our youth groups about today’s parable, and the questions were understandable.  Why does Jesus appear to praising dishonesty?

I have done more research for this homily than any other homily in my life.  And I found the answer on Friday, just in the nick of time!  One of probably 20 commentaries I checked was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, where they have the entire Catholic Bible, along with the readings for each day of the year.  The Bishops’ website is an awesome tool, and I highly recommend their website for going deeper into Scripture.

I found the answer in a footnote about the parable of the “dishonest steward”, which says this (and here I am paraphrasing): The parable of the dishonest steward has to be understood in light of the custom in Palestine at the time of Jesus where stewards would add an expected cut for themselves in addition to what their master charged.

The dishonesty of the steward refers to the fact that the steward squandered his master’s property through dishonesty.  The dishonesty does not refer to the steward adding on his own cut to the master’s charge.  The master then commends the steward who has decided to not take his, the steward’s, own portion, but only having them write out the amount that each owed the master.

The steward acts in this way in order to win over the debtors because the steward and master both know he is being dismissed from his position.  The parable, then, teaches the prudent use of one’s material goods in light of an imminent crisis.”

So that is the end of the note on the bishops’ website.  A modern example might be a stock broker who knows he is going to be fired, and decides he will cut out his own commission in order to build up a relationship of trust with his clients, so that when he loses his job, the clients might give him a recommendation for his next job.  The stock broker does not defraud his company.  And the steward in the parable does not defraud his master.

What is the application for us…I think one of the things that Jesus is trying to say to us with this parable is that we are always facing the real possibility that at any moment we could die.  Are we always worried about making money and building bigger barns to store it all in?  God has given us countless material blessings…do we hold on to the material blessings tightly, or do we share generously and freely with the poor? 

If we do share our money freely with the poor, the poor will be there on the day of judgment ready to explain to God how we helped them and we put their needs ahead of our own needs. And, lest we think we are buying the vote of a poor person for us on the day of judgment, St. Thomas Aquinas clarifies that those of us who give alms to the poor in order to obtain from them the assistance of their prayers do not give with the intent of buying their prayers; but by our giving generously to the poor we can inspire the poor to pray for us out of charity. (Summa, second part of the second part, question 100, article 3, reply to objection 2)

Lord, may you open our hearts to continue to grow in generosity toward the poor in our own community and all throughout the world.  Amen!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Our Lady of Sorrows Homily for 2022

Our Lady of Sorrows

When I was up at Mayo Clinic after my first brain surgery, it took me about 5 days to wake up.  I was only awake about 5 minutes each day, and the thing I remember seeing is my Mom at the foot of my bed.  Sometimes it was night and she was hunched over in a chair sleeping at my feet.  Other times she was praying a rosary.  A few weeks later I remember telling my friend Fr. Meyer as I was preparing to go the next morning into emergency surgery…I said “I know this is harder on my friends and family than it is me.”  And I meant my mom and dad first and foremost.


Mary too was at the foot of the Cross, and while my parents and family and myself are all sinners, Mary and Christ were both without sin.  So their love was even more perfect than my mother and family’s love for me, but also love does not really admit of degrees.


Saint Bernard in today’s office of readings says “Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart.  For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son”


Some of us here today might not know their mother.  Some of us here today may not have a good relationship with their mother.  And some of us here this morning may have a mother who has died.  But now our Blessed Mother sits in Heaven at the right side of her son Jesus.  She is now the mother of all of us, so whether we have a great relationship with our earthly mother or not, Mary desires nothing more than to intercede for us and our intentions.


Let us go to Mary with our needs and our intentions, asking Her to place our needs and petitions at the foot of Her Son, where once she watched him die, but now rejoices with Him in Heaven.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Bob Boyle Funeral Homily


Bob Boyle funeral homily


First of all to Rita, on behalf of all of us in this Church, it was an honor and a privilege to have a front row seat for your 69 years of married life with Bob.  The way you cared for him during his battle with Alzheimer’s, even taking a job as a receptionist at the Hermitage during Covid so that you could still be with him every day…heroic even falls short of describing what you did for Bob and how you loved him more than yourself.


Sean and Angie, Colleen and Mark, Molly and Ed, Kevin and Amy and Brian and Q, it was an also an honor and a privilege to see how you all supported Rita in your various ways.  In our first reading today we heard this “take care of your father when he is old, even if his mind fail, be considerate of him.”  You all lived that out in a special way that none of us who watched from a distance will ever forget.


The south side Catholic community is a village, and there is truth that it does take a village to raise children.  Melissa Allerd, Don Elbreg, Kirk Heisig, Myself, Matt Hollowell, Father Tony Hollowell, Kathy Marren, Mike Moylan, Jimmy Moylan, Ann Reece, Judy Reichmuth, Matt Tebbe, and Candy Thorn all spent significant time growing up at 421 Daffon Drive and that circle only expanded as the Boyle children grew older.


Brian started an annual golf tournament when Bob was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s with the intent of bringing Fathers and Sons together, and that golf tournament has impacted tons of Father-Son relationships, and most of those fathers and sons are here today.  The annual golf tournament got a write up in Golf Digest, and at the end of the article Bob shared:  "Thank God for my son. This trip is the best thing that ever happened to us."


Bob loved the Catholic Church.  He was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, some of whom are here today.  He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus.  He loved all things Irish, and Saint Patrick’s day was always his favorite day of the year.  He was a huge Notre Dame fan, which is a requirement for any Irish Catholic.

He spent most of his retirement in service to the Catholic Church.  He helped with technology here at St. Barnabas, and his kind Irish heart even allowed him to cross over into enemy territory to help at St. Jude with their technology as well!  He donated his time also to Roncalli High School, and IPS – teaching elementary computer technology.  Here at St. Barnabas, Bob also served as a reader for Masses, as a member of the Finance and Technology Committees, he served on the Parish Council, and, fittingly, he served as a marriage prep mentor to couples preparing for marriage at St. Barnabas. 




We hear about the summit of the Catholic Faith in our Gospel today. That center of the Catholic Church is the belief in Jesus Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.  The belief that Christ is really present, Body Blood Soul and Divinity at Mass made the Catholic Mass a non-negotiable for him and his family every weekend.  I remember coming to Saint Barnabas often after spending a Saturday night at the Boyle’s.  It was not even a question…Bob took Jesus’ words seriously and came with his family to Mass every week, and it formed the center of Bob’s life.  In our Gospel today Jesus says to a crowd “Amen Amen I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”  Bob ate the Body of Christ, and so we now commend Bob to Jesus, trusting that Jesus will keep his promise and raise Bob up on the last day.


Bob Boyle, know that we will continue to offer Masses for you and to pray for you.  Please pray for us.   

"Where is Heaven" - Homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 2022


Where is Heaven? Homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sam Harris, who is a celebrity in the atheist community, several weeks ago asked the question, “Where is Heaven anyway?” He then gave the response: “We have all these satellites in space and no one has even seen heaven”


Sam Harris echoed the now 60-year-old comment from Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin after the first manned spaceflight when Yuri said "I went up to space, but I didn't encounter God."


Saint Paul, however, in our 2nd reading today, gives us the only real and logical notion of Heaven and God when Saint Paul says “To the king of ages, invisible, the only God”  invisible means not able to be seen. 


Here is what Sam Harris and Yuri Gagarin and most atheists do not understand: time and space are finite concepts, and God is not limited by them.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 2794 that when we pray “Our Father, who art in Heaven” Heaven does not mean a place and the Catechism continues “Our Father is not "elsewhere": God transcends everything we can conceive of”


I think Sam Harris is expressing a question that most Catholics have as well about Heaven and its location.


But we can rest assured that Heaven is real even though it is not present somewhere in the universe.  God made the universe, and time and space.  Heaven is occupied by the angels and all the saints who have died in a state of grace and, every person in Heaven is experiencing eternal and infinite bliss beyond the universe.


Lord, we ask tonight for the strength to continue to conform our lives to your plan, knowing that when we do that, it helps us both to experience peace in this life, even amidst great suffering, and also our conforming our lives to your plan will eventually allow us to enter the eternal and infinite bliss of seeing you face to face in Heaven.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Joyce Barrell funeral homily


First of all, I would like to thank every parishioner of Annunciation.  To try and list everyone who helped Joyce would be pointless because literally every parishioner helped Joyce in some way.


First of all, a lot of parishioners were involved in cleaning out her rental apartment.  Joyce had some sort of mental break when her mother died, and basically her apartment was frozen in time from when her mom died.  As we were cleaning out her rental 7 or 8 years ago, We found a lot of cards from Joyce’s mom to Joyce with the “Hallmark Lady who was always saying inappropriate things, was always wearing a hat and a coat and smoking.”  It occurred to me after seeing all of those cards that perhaps Joyce was in some way, in the deep recesses of her mind, keeping that connection to her mom alive by acting that character out every day, even though it got her thrown out of most of the establishments in Brazil!


The entire parish was involved because our St. Vincent DePaul Society paid for 3 dumpsters worth of trash to be hauled away from her apartment, parishioners helped mover her into the Brazil towers, parishioners straightened out her finances, parishioners did her legal work, parishioners helped her when it was time to move from Brazil towers to the nursing home, parishioners brought Joyce the Eucharist while she was in the nursing home.


Caring for Joyce Barrell is the single greatest act, on the part of a parish, that I have ever witnessed as a pastor.


And, in caring for Joyce, I think we all learned again the lesson that is all over the New Testament; caring for someone does not just help that person, and it is not just some tally mark that goes into our column only to be paid out to us at the Final Judgment; no, helping Joyce changed every single one of us, for the better, WHILE we were helping her.


Joyce Barrell, we will continue to pray for you.  Please pray for us!  Amen.

"The Church's Teaching on Contraception Brought Me Back to the Catholic Church"

 This is a talk given by Dr. Maria Bajuyo at one of my parishes 7 years ago.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Talk 5 Years Ago on ministering to people with gender issues

 I think this talk was one of my best so far, not because I planned it out that way, but because the Holy Spirit took over in some spots and allow me the opportunity to process some of the things that had happened over the first few years of my priesthood.  I hope it helps some of you.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 2022


St. Bede provides us some comfort when we hear Jesus say in our Gospel today “anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple”  St. Bede says there is a difference between renouncing all of our possessions, which Jesus DOES ask us to do, and LEAVING all of our possessions, which Jesus only asks some people to do.


The people that Jesus asks to LEAVE their possessions are monks and nuns


So first of all, some of you here today might be hearing Jesus call you to LEAVE all your possessions and follow him.  Let me know at some point if you are hearing Jesus invite you to becoming a monk or a nun, and I can help answer any initial questions and connect you with people who will help you figure out where God is calling you to.

But most of us, myself included, are not monks or nuns, so the question remains from our Gospel today: what does it look like for me to RENOUNCE my possessions but not leave them all behind?


And elsewhere in the Gospels Jesus gives us some examples because there are an infinite number of ways that we can loosen our grip on our material possessions…

Matthew 5:40 Jesus says if someone asks for your coat, give them your coat and also your undercoat as well

Are we willing, at a moment’s notice, to give to someone who needs what we have?


Jesus also says if someone wants you to accompany them for a mile, Jesus instructs us to accompany them for 2 miles. 

Do we have friends or family who desire us to help them?  Nursing homes are awfully lonely places, do we go and visit family and friends there?  Do we visit fellow parishioners? 

Are there other ways, besides walking, that we can accompany those who need some of our time?  Time is a precious commodity in our culture…are we generous with our time?

We don’t necessarily need to leave all of our possessions behind, but I think if we are honest we can loosen on our grip on our possessions, on our money and our time.  If we don’t at least loosen our grip, we risk not being a disciple of Jesus.