Monday, November 20, 2023

"Advent Adoration" Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


“Advent Adoration” Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


I returned this morning from the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, and it was a great experience!  Fr. Meyer and I have always prioritized our young people having experiences where they are connected to the larger Catholic Church, and this year there were over 12,000 people who attended NCYC!


The morning and evening sessions took place in Lucas Oil Stadium, while the break out sessions took place in the Convention Center across the street from Lucas Oil Stadium.


On Saturday night, during dinner, we asked the teens and chaperones to share, at their tables, their favorite experiences of NCYC, and overwhelmingly the favorite for most of them was Eucharistic Adoration, which took place for approximately one hour on Friday night in Lucas Oil Stadium.  But that holy hour only had about 5 minutes of silence, and the rest of the time there was music and talks going on. 


There was also SILENT adoration taking place throughout the 4 days of NCYC in the Convention Center as well, and most of our young people and chaperones shared that they actually preferred the SILENT adoration in the convention center.


Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote about several years ago called “The Power of Silence” with the subtitle “Combatting the Dictatorship of Noise” and we do live in a very loud world…radios, tv’s, social media, earbuds, smart phones…we are assaulted by noise all the time.


So at our parishes during Advent, we are going to be ending our Masses during Advent with just a few minutes of silent adoration and then move right into Benediction…there are handouts as you leave Mass for those who want more info…but this is part of the Eucharistic Revival that has been talked about a lot.


Fr. Meyer and I hope that this experience and exposure to a few minutes of silence in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus will draw us all closer to Christ, to the Catholic Church that Jesus established…and closer to one another as well!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Baby Indi

For those of you who are not familiar, Britain is on socialized medicine, and despite the Prime Minister of Italy granting baby Indi and her parents Italian Citizenship, and despite Pope Francis offering the Bambino Gesu to treat Baby Indi, Lord Justice Peter Jackson of the English Court of Appeal, citing a “best interests” of the child standard, blocked Indi’s parents from accepting Italy’s offer.

Baby Indi died on Monday morning, but something happened that the Devil did not attend.  A person suggested to Baby Indi's parents that she get baptized...and not only did the parents allow her to get baptized before she died...the parents were baptized as well!

The Father said that he had seen so much evil through this whole thing that it shook him out of his spiritual slumber.

J.R.R. Tolkien described God and Heaven, metaphorically, as a symphony with God as the conductor.  The Devil and other demons are playing notes off the script, trying to wreck the symphony, but God is able to weave their discordant notes into the symphony, and still make the symphony perfect and beautiful.

That is clearly what happened in this instance.  As St. Paul assures the Romans, "God is working all things for the good for those who love Him"!!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2023

"The 10 Virgins" Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023 “The 10 Virgins”


In the parable in our Gospel today, it may sound strange…we might ask why 10 virgins were waiting, in the middle of the night, for the groom to come back, by himself, for a wedding party, but every Jew listening to Jesus would understand the customs involved, and a quick internet search will point those things out to anyone interested.


But I want to focus on vocations, this weekend, as this is National Vocations Awareness Week in the United States, and some of the vocations involve vows related to virginity.


First of all, I never felt any pressure from my family to be a priest.  My parents just said once or twice over the years as we were growing up “if any of you became a priest or a sister, we would support you in that decision”  I would discourage any family from applying any sort of pressure to a young person.


I personally heard a very clear call my sophomore year of college when I made a commitment to read one chapter of the Gospel each day.  I just heard Jesus putting on my heart, every time I opened the Bible “be a priest”.  So that is the number one recommendation for discerning your vocation…read one chapter of the Gospel each day on your own.


I would just like to say a few things about the priesthood – I have never missed having children of my own… As a priest, no matter how young you are, you are welcomed into hospitals and nursing homes passed all the aunts and uncles and cousins right to the bed side because you have the Sacraments of the Church…and we invited to all of your wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, graduation parties, first Communion parties…

We are also connected to the family of the priests of the past…every family typically buys their son a chalice when he is ordained a priest, and usually when that priest dies no one knows what to do with that chalice, so they are kept in the archives at the diocese.  I went down to the Archdiocese and picked out one such chalice that was originally a gift to Fr. Edgar O’Connor, who was ordained a priest on May 25, 1920.  The Archdiocese gave me some information on Fr. Edgar O’Connor and my parents had it refurbished, and so now both of our names are on the bottom of this chalice.  Every time I celebrate Mass with this chalice, I see both my name and Fr. Edgar O’Connor’s name on the bottom of the chalice.  I now pray for the repose of his soul every night, and then I ask him to pray for me.


It is a beautiful thing…and all the religious brothers and sisters I know feel the same way about their vocations even though we all take vows to be live as virgins.  There is a young woman who I first got to know when I was the Chaplain at Cardinal Ritter.  Just a few years ago she made final vows for the Sisters of Life based in New York City.  The Sisters of Life are highly engaged in the pro-life movement, they minister to women and fathers who chose to have abortions, and they also celebrate with women and fathers that have chosen life…they have birthday parties for babies and take care of the families…she does not have any biological children but she is a mother to hundreds of fathers, mothers, and children.


When I was first ordained a priest, lots of people told them “you must be really proud of John” and they responded with “we are really proud of all of our children…” I think that was so wise of them to say because all of my siblings are still practicing Catholics and most of them are married and having children…marriage is also a beautiful vocation!


In conclusion, whether you are discerning your “capital v” Vocation (marriage, priesthood, become a religious sister or brother, or the consecrated single life) or you have already chosen one, and are just wondering what God is calling you to do today, my advice is the same…read one chapter of the Gospels each day…and in those 4 minutes God will let you know what you should do in order to grow in holiness and happiness.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


In our first reading today the prophet Malachi warns the priests, saying “Listen, O priests, you have turned aside from the way and have caused many to falter by your instruction.”

In our own day as well, we still see lots of priests leading people astray by their instruction.  And those priests and bishops and Church leaders, if they do not repent, risk the fires of Hell.


Saint Paul, on the other hand, provides the Thessalonians a great summation of HIS approach, and it needs to be the same approach for all of us in this Church today.


St. Paul says this: “We were determined not only to share the Gospel with you, but even our very selves”  That is beautiful! 


First of all, St. Paul says he shared the Gospel with the Thessalonians…and sharing the Gospel can be pretty simple and straight forward…humanity sinned, God became a human person in order to rescue us, and now, through baptism and life in the Catholic Church, we had the gift of finding great joy in this life and in the life to come by following Christ who said “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly!”  That is a beautiful invitation.


But that second part that saint Paul says is also critical…Saint Paul also tells the Thessalonians “Not only did we share the Gospel with you, we shared OUR VERY SELVES…” and that is really profound…he says he gave himself completely and wanted to be their friend.


All of us here this morning know one person that we can first of all demonstrate how much we love them by sharing our very self with that person…someone who is not here right now…I want you to think of that person, and make a resolution…I will be the best friend I can be to that person…radical friendship makes sharing the good news of the Gospel and the Catholic Church more fruitful…

Some of us fall more deeply in love with the Catholic, or even convert, by reading the Church Fathers and other saints, some of us are drawn to the Catholic because of the beauty of the Mass, the music, the beauty of the Church buildings, the incense…but all of us desire friendship as well and there are lots of people in our world today who have no one to be a friend to them. 

So please, go out and be a friend to someone, share yourself with that person, and in that process, you can that person and yourself becomes saints.