Tuesday, July 9, 2024

National Eucharistic Procession Elizabeth Ann Seton Route Enters into Indiana

 The National Eucharistic Procession that started on Pentecost Sunday at the Atlantic Ocean in Connecticut entered the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in mine and Fr. Meyer's parish boundaries.  Here is a beautiful 2 minute video that captured one leg of our 6 miles today

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Are we saved by Faith Alone?

 

Saved by Faith Alone?

 

Most of the 30,000 different sects of protestantism in the US teach "Salvation comes to each person by Faith alone", which is just flat wrong.

 

 

Saint Paul says in Romans 3:28 "For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law" so Martin Luther took that, and then in his own translation added "ALONE" so that it reads "For we consider that a person is justified by faith ALONE apart from works of the law" in Martin Luther's "Bible"

 

And St. Paul also writes to the Galatians in Galatians 2:16 "a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified."

 

So Martin Luther took these two lines from St. Paul, and accuse Catholics of believing that we believe that we are justified by our works.

 

 

But St. Paul is not saying that our works do not matter, St. Paul is saying "works OF THE LAW" as in, "The Jewish Law" 

 

When St. Paul talks about "works of the law" there are 3 different types of laws in the Old Testament:

 

1) Laws that established cultural customs for the Jewish people (circumcision, what foods to eat and not eat, etc.)

 

2) Laws governing Jewish Temple worship

 

3) and there are lots of Moral Laws in the Old Testament, which do not change over time.

 

St. Paul, in Romans and Galatians is referring to the Jewish cultural laws, which no longer apply to Christians when he says "apart from works of the law"

 

 

Anyone who doubts the importance of our works can look to several places:

 

1) James 2: 15-17 "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead"

 

2) And, as Catholics, we could also point to Matthew 25 where the things Jesus requires for entrance into Heaven are all WORKS: "I was naked and you clothed me, in prison and you visited me, hunger and you gave me food…"

 

3) There also at least 7 other places in the same Letter to the Romans where St. Paul says our salvation IS based on works that we perform:

 

2:6  “God will repay everyone according to his works"

2:7 “eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works” 

2:10 “There will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good

2:13 “For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified


2:16 “God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.” 

10:9 “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

10:10 “one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.”

 

These are all "works".  

Saturday, June 8, 2024

A Brief Reflection on the first ending to the Gospel of John

 "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31


This is the first ending of John's Gospel.  Chapter 21 goes on to recount the conversation between Jesus and Peter "do you love Me more than these..."


But I just want to reflect briefly on the end of chapter 20.


John implies that his Gospel is all that is needed to establish the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that through belief in Jesus, we have life in Jesus' name...and recently that just struck me for the first time.



Thursday, June 6, 2024

15 Years a Priest

Today, June 6th, is my 15th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  Thank you for all of the prayers!





Monday, May 20, 2024

A Pentecost Examination of Conscience

 

A Pentecost Examination of Conscience 2024

Today, we celebrate one of the great Solemnities in our Catholic Church.  It is the Solemnity of Pentecost.  Pentecost was originally a harvest feast for the Jewish People, but of course it became the day where the Holy Spirit was first poured out on humanity.  And what happens??? The Holy Spirit immediately turns cowards into men and women of great courage who run out of their locked room and immediately start preaching the Good News of Jesus without any fear whatsoever.

 

I have said many times that on the day of my Confirmation, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting even though my catechists and parents likely told me 1,000 times.  It was not until I was teaching a Confirmation class in a local parish while still a seminarian that I learned what I had received at my Confirmation.  And learning the gifts that I had received through my Confirmation, it instantly changed me into a rather cowardly seminarian into a bold seminarian.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit, though, need to be opened, and if we don’t know that we have received gifts, then we can’t open them.

Confirmation is Latin for “to strengthen” and the Holy Spirit, on all of us who have been confirmed, bestows lots of gifts, and St. Paul says that the Holy Spirit a unique set of gifts and amounts of those gifts to each person.  So first of all, do you know that you have received the Holy Spirit at your confirmation, and that the Holy Spirit has given you the strength to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ without fear?  Do you also understand that the Holy Spirit has given you a unique proportion of all these gifts that the Holy Spirit has not given to any other person besides you? 

 

And finally, regardless of the unique way that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been poured out upon you, Saint Paul says there are 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit.  You can find them in the Catechism and I like to use these 12 fruits as a regular examination of conscience.

Charity – do you seek to lay down YOUR life for other’s holy needs and holy desires?

Joy – do you radiate Joy to other people?

Peace – we live in a world that is always trying to upset our peace, but when you meet a peaceful person you know it.  When people meet you, do they recognize that you are at peace?

Patience – are you a person of patience?

Goodness – when you meet a person who is full of goodness, you know it instantly as well.  Do people who meet you say that they have just met a good person?

Generosity – are we generous with our time?  Are we generous with our talent and treasure?

Gentleness – Jesus promised adversity to anyone who would follow him in the world.  Do we let adversity destroy our Gentleness?

Faithfulness – are we faithful to God no matter what happens to us?

Modesty – do we dress properly?

Self-control – do we submit our various passions to our reasoning and logic or are we ruled by our passions and desires?

And the twelfth is chastity -  do we seek to live out our human sexuality according to our state in life?

 

Monday, May 13, 2024

On Catholics Worshipping Statues and Worshipping Mary

 

May Crowning 2024 “On Catholics Worshipping Statues”

 

Most non-Catholic houses of worship do not contain any statues of saints nor images of any saints.  Why is this?  It is based on a misreading of Exodus 20:4.  Exodus 20:4 says “You shall not make any GRAVEN images” and lest anyone doubt that God meant “NO STATUES NOR IMAGES” in Exodus 25 God COMMANDS Moses to make 2 statues of angels for the Tabernacle.

 

And on whether it is right to seek anyone to intercede for us, it is important to remember that we all ask each other to pray for things all the time…"Dave, please pray for this issue in my life right now”

 

And if I asked my Mom to pray for me, no one would scream “Why don’t you just pray to Jesus?”  And if my Mom died and I went to her grave and whispered some prayer intentions asking her to intercede for me with Jesus, no one would say “Why don’t you just pray to Jesus?”  And if I had a statue of my Mom made at her grave and brought flowers to her grave, no one would ask “Why are you worshipping that statue and bringing flowers to it?”

 

That is exactly what we are doing today in crowning this statue of our Blessed Mother and bringing flowers to place in front of her statue.


Furthermore, one of the 10 Commandments command each of us to honor our mother and father.  There are many different verses in the New Testament that say that we are adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ through our baptism.  (one example: Romans 8:15 "You received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”).  So to not honor Mary is to not honor our Mother, which is a direct violation of one of the commandments.  So any person who is baptized in Jesus Christ and yet does not HONOR Mary commits a grave sin.

Please know that what we are doing this morning in crowning this statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is both right and just!  


Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for us!

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!!!

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!

Friday, February 23, 2024

The Scandal of Rupnik

When I was still on Twitter, when the logo for the year of mercy was released in 2015, I commented that it was hideous.  


I stand by that assessment...the oversized eyes, the melding of one of their eyes...it is creepy and hideous.

And then all the allegations have come out against the artist Fr. Rupnik...that he allegedly convinced religious sisters to have sex with him so that he could create his art.

Some, defending the idea that Rupnik's "art" should remain in Catholic Churches all over the world say some form of "Well, Carvaggio was a drunk and may have murdered someone; are you going to take down all of his work as well?"

But here is a big distinction: Carvaggio never murdered someone to help make his art.


Rupnik allegedly sexually enticed religious sisters and then allegedly absolved them of that same sin in the confessional, which incurs a latae sentiae excommunication on Rupnik if he in fact did that.  


Caravaggio never did anything that incurred a latae sententiae excommunication to make his art.


And Caravaggio's paintings are masterpieces, and Rupnik's art is hideous and creepy.


1st Sunday of Lent, 2024, The Angelus

 The Angelus


A recent survey found that 90% of Americans believe in angels, which is a greater percentage than believe in God, which does not make much sense to me, but hardly anything makes sense to me in the United States in 2024.

Almost every CHAPTER in the Bible mentions angels.  Including our Gospel today, which says the angels ministered to Jesus in the desert.

At every Mass, we believe that in a special and unique way ALL the Angels and saints are present here, eventhough we cannot see them...and no other Christian denomination believes that about their worship service.


At Mass, when the priest finishes the preface he says some version of "now with all the angels and saints, let us together acclaim...Holy Holy Holy..."

That is the exact phrase that both Ezekiel in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation say that the angels and saints are singing unceasingly and without end...we are literally singing WITH the angels.


As I always say, the Catholic Church has a buffet of options for prayers and devotions, and not every prayer will be helpful for every Catholic, but one prayer that Fr. Meyer and I both pray is the "Angelus".  We start every morning in the rectory chapel with the Angelus at 6am.  The Pope every Sunday prays the angelus at noon and then gives a short reflection to those gathered in St. Peter's Square.


A parishioner donated cards with the prayers of the Angelus on it, and so I will ask the ushers to come forward at this time and pass out the cards to anyone who is interested, and/or looking for something to do during Lent.