Monday, April 29, 2024

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter 2024


“The Father Prunes Those Who Bear Fruit So They can Bear MORE Fruit”

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter, 2024


The first Fall Saturday when I was a seminarian at St. Meinrad, I popped a bowl of popcorn and had prepared to watch several college football games in the TV lounge.  I expected lots of other seminarians to do the same.  Only one other guy showed up, and so, after about an hour, I got up and found something better to do with my time.


Jesus says in our Gospel that God the Father will prune all those who are ALREADY bearing fruit so that we can bear MORE fruit.  And I have found this to be so true in my life.


Of course Jesus also mentions mortal sin in today’s Gospel as being basically one of us looking down, and seeing that we are connected to Christ the vine, and saying to ourselves “I know that this sin that I am about to commit will sever me from Christ, but I am going to do it anyway.”  The only way to remedy that deadly sin is to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


But back to college football.  Watching college football is not inherently sinful.  But, over time, God showed me that it is not the BEST use of my time.  And the same goes for TV, my smartphone, social media, etc.  God the Father, in me cooperating with His desire to prune or cut those parts of my life away, has allowed me to bear more fruit.


And the Devil is always going to be telling each of us “Here comes God the Father with his big scary pruning scissors, He is going to cut you and it is really going to hurt” but again, we need to know that the Devil is a liar.


We need to trust that God the father, in seeing that we are bearing fruit, wants us to give Him permission to trim some things from our life so that we can bear MORE fruit.

Monday, April 22, 2024

4th Sunday of Easter, 2024

 Below is a video series that All Saints Catholic Church, one of my 4 parishes, called "Rise Up".  It also is a summary of my homily yesterday for the 4th Sunday of Easter.

Monday, April 15, 2024

You Can't Eat a Eucharistic Miracle


First Communion 2024


Dear young people, I have some bad news for you, but then I want to explain how it is good news.


Your first Eucharist that you will receive in just a few minutes will likely taste just like the 2 practice hosts that you received at practice a few days ago.  And a lot of Catholics and non-Catholics ask why the bread, when consecrated, does not turn into visible flesh and blood.


The good news is that the bread and wine, when a priest prays the words of consecration over them, still has the appearance of bread and wine so that we can still eat Him.


In the history of the Catholic Church there have been about 200 times where, at Mass, when the priest prayed over the bread and wine, the host did turn into human flesh and blood.  The problem is that then no one was able to consume Jesus.  The Flesh and Blood of Jesus were all put behind glass and preserved in some way.


So again, it is actually great news that Jesus comes to us under the APPEARANCE of bread so that we can still consume Him.


And He changes us, over time, into Himself.   That is why your parents and relatives who are here this morning need to keep bringing you back on Sundays and Holy Days…Jesus works on us slowly…the transformation into Jesus is a life-long process…

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Cowardice and St. Stanislaus


“Cowardice” a Homily for the Memorial of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr


I was blessed to give a witness talk and have the Mass yesterday at a local senior retreat.  I then enjoyed lunch with the seniors and the retreat chaperones.  While in line, someone took the Lord’s name in vain.  I am not sure if it was a chaperone or a student, but I know other people heard it, and that other people knew I heard it, and other people saw that I didn’t do anything to correct it.


Today the Church remembers St. Stanislaus, who was a bishop in Poland martyred by a King that St. Stanislaus stood up to.  The reading in the Breviary today for St. Stanislaus is from Saint Cyprian, and his letter ends in this way “The soldier of Christ, trained by Christ’s commands and instructions, does not begin to panic at the thought of battle, but is ready for the crown of victory.”


As I was reading that this morning, I was convicted that St. Stanislaus stood up to a king, and I didn’t correct a person out of fear.  I resolved, this morning in the confessional, to go back to the retreat and apologize to anyone who heard this person take the Lord’s name in vain and also saw me not do anything to correct him.


I love the Catholic Church for so many reasons, and one of the reasons I love the Catholic Church is that the Church sees EVERY action of ours to have eternal repercussions, NOTHING is insignificant…and so I sinned in not correcting the person, and I sinned by the scandal I caused…and so I am going to confess that sin but also make reparations for my sins and go and apologize, and hopefully, in doing that, the next time something like this happens, and I will have the courage to correct a person out of love.  Amen.

"Christ's Glorified Body Still Has Wounds???" Divine Mercy 2024


Divine Mercy 2024 “Christ’s Glorified Body Still Has His Wounds???”


Leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday in 2020, I was in my room at the Mayo Clinic having had several brain surgeries.  I was doing Mass every day from my hospital room, but had plenty of time to research my homilies.  I was thinking then about Christ’s Resurrected and Glorified Body still having wounds from His Crucifixion.  The Catholic Church teaches that everyone, at the final judgment, will have their soul and body reunited, and that the bodies of those entering Heaven will be perfect…so I was thinking “Why does Jesus’s Glorified Body still has wounds”?


And it turns out that St. Thomas Aquinas, 800 years ago, asked the same question and has a really beautiful answer… St. Thomas said, essentially, that Christ’s resurrected Body still has his wounds because they were earned out of love, and so seeing his wounds in Heaven will cause us all the more to be thankful for his sacrifice for us.


And that made sense to me, and I preached from my hospital room 4 years ago that I hope all the victims of priestly sexual assault will still see my wounds, and that we will be able to rejoice together.


Everyone here today has wounds and scars…some scars come from surgeries or injuries or cancer, and many of us also have hidden scars of depression, anxiety, or the mental and emotional scars of watching a person that we love suffer.


Again, the beautiful teaching of the Catholic Church is that EVERY SINGLE DROP of our suffering can be offered up for other people.  If you haven’t done that yet, I invite you to do that now…there’s no magic formula… you can just say some version of “Jesus I offer my suffering up for _______” or “I offering my suffering up for wherever you see the graces are most needed” and hopefully, when you get to Heaven, those who you have suffered for will be able to see your scars and rejoice together with you!

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Does Jesus Hate Women? Homily for Tuesday in the Octave of Easter, 2024


“Stop Holding on to Me” Tuesday in the Octave of Easter 2024


Jesus makes a strange demand of Mary Magdalene in today’s Gospel “stop holding on to me”  Does he not women to touch him?  St. Thomas Aquinas quotes St. Augustine on this Passage: St. Augustine says this: “Didn’t Jesus tell Thomas to touch His side?  Who can be so absurd as to suppose that disciples should touch Him before He ascended to His Father, but not that women should touch Him before He ascended?  We read of women touching Him before He ascended, including Mary Magdalene herself in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 28:9 “And behold, Jesus met them [Mary Magdalene and the other Mary] on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet.”)


Rather, St. Augustine points out that Jesus commands Mary Magdalene not to touch yet in this Gospel because Mary Magdalene was still weeping at the tomb, and so believed in Him only as a man.  Also, St. John Chrysostom says that Jesus also told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him “so as to allow her to feel awe in talking with Him, as Jesus also no longer keeps company with His disciples”

Monday, April 1, 2024

Easter 2024


Easter 2024


Christmas is a time that most of us can, as human persons, identify with…most notably the joy of the birth of a child.  We all know mothers who have given birth to children, and those are causes for great celebration.


But Easter and the events leading up to Easter are very foreign to us on a natural level…we need to remember that all that was necessary for Jesus to save us from Hell was for Jesus to die and resurrect.  And because Jesus created space and time, Jesus could have set up the Old Testament prophecies any way He wanted to, so we are faced with this confusing reality that Jesus CHOSE to be TORTURED to death and then resurrect.  as St. Peter reminds us in our first reading today “To Jesus all the prophets bear witness”.  It is clear to us, as we look back through the Old Testament with hindsight, we do see how nearly every line of the Old Testament points not just to Jesus’ death, but to his immense suffering that He would undergo.


What are we to take from this?  I think one thing we can say definitively is that Jesus came not only to save us but to show us how to live, and In the Gospels, over and over again, Jesus says some variation of “if you want to live, pick up your cross of suffering and follow Me”


Jesus Christ, in CHOOSING to be tortured to death, has made holy our suffering too, and that is the great news of Easter…by Jesus’ Resurrection, He has definitely shown that His triumph over death was through suffering, and so our suffering as well has a sanctifying effect in our life now, in the lives of other people if we offer our sufferings up for them, and, thirdly, our suffering in imitation of Christ also helps us draw closer to Heaven.


Jesus Christ SUFFERED death, but was resurrected today.  Amen.  Alleluia!!!