Saturday, March 30, 2024

Good Friday 2024


Good Friday 2024

There are 5 precepts in the Catholic Church.  What is a precept?  The Catechism says that:

“The obligatory character of these laws are the necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation unless you are sick or caring for someone who is sick

The second precept is that you shall confess your sins at least once a year.  This required confession at least once a year ensures proper preparation for the Eucharist.

95% of Catholics surveyed reported NOT following either the first precept or not following the 2nd or not following either one.


St. Paul in his 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians says there will be a great falling away from the Catholic Church during or near the time of the anti-Christ.  95% of American Catholics have admitted themselves that they don’t take Jesus and the Church seriously.

And Jesus asks a haunting question in Luke’s Gospel…when the Son of Man comes, will he find Faith on Earth…


One of the most beautiful descriptions of our standard approach to Jesus was written by Fr. Thomas Merton.  Fr. Merton writes this:

"I suppose it is usual for elder brothers, when they are still children, to feel themselves demeaned by the company of a brother four or five years younger, whom they regard as a baby and whom they tend to patronise and look down upon. So when Russ and I and Bill made huts in the woods out of boards and tar-paper which we collected around the foundations of the many cheap houses which the speculators were now putting up, as fast as they could, all over Douglaston, we severely prohibited John Paul and Russ’s little brother Tommy and their friends from coming anywhere near us. And if they did try to come and get into our hut, or even to look at it, we would chase them away with stones.


When I think now of that part of my childhood, the picture I get of my brother John Paul is this: standing in a field, about a hundred yards away from the clump of sumachs where we have built our hut, is this little perplexed five-year-old kid in short pants and a kind of a leather jacket, standing quite still, with his arms hanging down at his sides, and gazing in our direction, afraid to come any nearer on account of the stones, as insulted as he is saddened, and his eyes full of indignation and sorrow. And yet he does not go away. We shout at him to get out of there, to beat it, and go home, and wing a couple of more rocks in that direction, and he does not go away. We tell him to play in some other place. He does not move.

And there he stands, not sobbing, not crying, but angry and unhappy and offended and tremendously sad. And yet he is fascinated by what we are doing, nailing shingles all over our new hut. And his tremendous desire to be with us and to do what we are doing will not permit him to go away. The law written in his nature says that he must be with his elder brother, and do what he is doing: and he cannot understand why this law of love is being so wildly and unjustly violated in his case.

Many times it was like that. And in a sense, this terrible situation is the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely arbitrary reason that we simply do not want it. We work to separate ourselves from that love. We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it.”


We all need to stop throwing stones at Jesus to keep Jesus away from us.  We need to let Jesus, who is perfect love, flood our hearts.


Jesus is not a dictator nor is he an egomaniac who demands that we worship Him on Sundays and confess our sins once a year…Jesus made us and knows what is best for us…let us recommit to allowing perfect love to once again flood our being.  Amen.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Homily for Palm Sunday 2024


“Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear!”


Most of the people in our Gospel today act out of fear.  Every Apostle flees when soldiers come to arrest Jesus.  Peter, after promising to never abandon Jesus, several hours later denies even knowing Jesus three times out of fear.


Pontius Pilate knows Jesus is innocent, but out of fear of the Jews and fear of losing his power, condemns Jesus to death anyway.


Many of us are tempted to be fearful.  Certainly the Devil has a lot of ammunition to make us fearful in 2024…wars, rumors of wars, plagues, elections…


But Jesus says, over and over again “DO NOT BE AFRAID!”  The phrase “do not be afraid” is the most frequent phrase in the Bible. 


If you heard Fr. Vince Lampert’s talk, he confirms that the Devil wants us afraid, wants us to think God is NOT in control and that God is NOT in charge.  But the Devil is a liar.


One of the few people who does not act out of fear in the events surrounding Jesus’ Crucifixion is Jesus’ best friend the Apostle John.  St. John the Apostle stands by the foot of the Cross unafraid and unwavering.  And the Apostle John has written several letters that are in the New Testament.   In one of those letters St. John writes “Perfect Love casts out ALL fear” (1 John 4:18)


At this and every Mass, Jesus, who is Perfect Love, shows up when the priest prays the Words of Consecration.  At the end of this Mass you will have the opportunity to spend a few minutes in silent adoration in the Real Presence of Perfect Love.  Whatever you might be afraid of in your life today…turn those fears over to Jesus who is Perfect Love, and ask Jesus to cast out all your fears.


You will be amazed at what will happen!