Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter 2013

 

“My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” A simple message for each of us to ponder this fifth Sunday of Easter, but is it really that simple? Do we really understand the responsibilities that come with loving one another?

Think about what Jesus said to His disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Last week, was Good Shepherd Sunday and we reflected on the meaning of what it takes to be a good shepherd. For one to be a good shepherd there must be a willingness to lay ones life down for ones sheep. Jesus did that for us, laid down His very life for each of us on the cross. The cross is the means and the way but it is not the end. Today’s invitation to us from God is to model that example of love and demonstrate it back to Him by our willingness to lay down our lives for each other.

One way we demonstrate our love is by our willingness to share the truth. In today’s world we have become too timid. When it comes to our faith, we cannot allow ourselves to be cold or lukewarm, but on fire. The Church is not a cafeteria where one picks and chooses what want one wants to accept and believe. We must accept the entire package. There is a distinction between those who accept the teachings of Christ but struggle to live it, and those who outright reject it. For those of us who accept the teachings of Christ and His Church but struggle daily to live it, this is where we belong. The Church was never meant to be a safe haven for Saints but rather a hospital and refuge for sinners. We demonstrate our faith each time we step up to the plate and utilize the gifts He has given us such as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Utilizing the sacrament of reconciliation frequently demonstrates our openness not only to receiving God’s mercy but also our receptiveness and our recognition of the truth.

Jesus never rejects anyone…the Church never rejects anyone. It is the individuals themselves who often reject Christ and the Church, but it’s never Christ or the Church who rejects them. Our Lord presents us with the truth and it is up to us whether or not we wish to accept. Jesus today gives us a command: “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Are we ready to experience rejection and ridicule for our faith? Are we willing to lay down our lives for those we love, showing them the way to heaven as Christ did for us?

As we leave here today may we never forget that to love means a willingness on our part to sacrifice ourselves! The only way we can experience the true resurrection when our journey on this earth is complete is if we openly accept our portion of the cross which has been given us. No cross…no resurrection! May we keep this in mind from today’s first reading, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God!” In other words…no pain, no gain! Therefore, let us love one another following our Lord’s example!

 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reflection given at the Divine Mercy Service on 4/7/2013

 

Brothers and sisters, it is good that we are here in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament taking this time to meditate upon the mercy of God.

Just because its Easter, doesn’t mean we stop focusing on sin because sin still isn’t prevalent in our lives. Most of us are faced and struggle with our sins each single day. Truth is sin weighs us down. Sin discourages us. For many of us our sins are the crosses we carry through life that despite our openness to God’s mercy and that desire not to fall into that sin again, we because of our human nature fall back into them. Don’t let sin discourage you! God never tires of offering us His mercy which is something Pope Francis has been stressing since His election.

Perhaps there is something you are constantly struggling with it, place it before His feet today. In a few moments I will walk back into the confessional allowing you my brothers and sisters to experience first hand the abundant mercy of God. However, before you walk back I want you to look for a moment at our Eucharistic Lord. Brothers and sisters, this is Jesus Christ, who humbly presents Himself to us on this very altar. All yourselves to model that humility, bring those bottled up sins to light and when your ready walk back to that open door that awaits you (of course it might be closed because someone is in the confessional but wait for them to open the door). Take advantage of this opportunity, for God wants us to experience His mercy.

It is important for us to focus on our weaknesses because when we openly confess and face our sins, it is then we experience a resurrection. There is that feeling of relief that a burden has been lifted from our shoulders. Now if we are not experiencing that feeling then we must ask ourselves honestly if we are approaching the sacrament in the right way. When I myself approach the sacrament of reconciliation I do so like most people with a hint of nervousness. That nervousness isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s a sign of humility and strength for it signifies our awareness of our flaws. Release those things that are bottling you up inside and I promise each of you when you do as you leave the confessional you will experience a feeling of peace and relief that perhaps you haven’t felt in years.

Now as I invited each of you to experience God’s mercy this afternoon in this year of faith I ask and challenge each of you to extend His mercy. Be merciful to those who are in most need of God’s mercy. Perhaps there is someone you are struggling to forgive then ask God to help you forgive. Maybe you know someone who is burdened and weighed down with different things, see if there is anything you can do to help. Be instruments brothers and sisters of God’s mercy. Yes it might be challenging and difficult for us to do some of these things right now in our lives, but with the help of God all things are possible. Open your hearts to the abundant love and mercy of God and share this gift the Lord desires to give you this afternoon with all those you meet. God bless!!!

 

Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter…Divine Mercy Sunday 2013

 

“Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles.” Our opening line from the Acts of the Apostles reminds each of us to think carefully about the signs and wonders that are taking place in our midst each single day. It is really important for each of us on this Divine Mercy Sunday to open our eyes of faith to the Lord’s goodness. The more we strive to make ourselves aware of the Lord’s goodness and when we take an opportunity to help others to see His mighty hand at work the more we can bring ourselves and others closer to the Lord.

Can you work miracles? Think about that for a moment…can you and I work miracles? The answer is yes…you can work miracles. I work miracles each day when I am faithful to my vocation as a priest, to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, anointing the sick, and forgiving sins. You too can perform miracles when you are faithful to the vocation God has called you and when you live a life committed to the mission of Christ. Caring for your children, caring for a sick relative or friend, reaching out to someone in need, and praying for someone in need of prayers are all ways in which we can perform little miracles in our lives and perhaps be a miracle for someone else.

This Second Sunday of Easter is known as Divine Mercy Sunday. I challenge all of us to take a moment today and spend some time reflecting on how we can be instruments of God’s mercy.

 

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter…Divine Mercy Sunday 2013 at Boy Scout Camp

 

One of the things you learn as you go through the ranks of scouting you will learn the Boy Scout Slogan “to do a good turn daily.” This Sunday I invite each of you to make that a goal for each day…each day I want us to ask God to help us do something that is good. Cleaning your rooms, helping to do the dishes, take out the trash are some things we can do each day to do a good turn.

Perhaps there are other opportunities you might be given throughout the day such as inviting someone who is standing along the side by themselves to play at recess at school or to help someone maybe by giving them a pencil or piece of paper, or even helping them to answer a question on their own when they don’t know the answer. The reason I am mentioning these things today is because today is the Second Sunday of Easter also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. When we make every effort to do a good thing each day we are given an opportunity to demonstrate God’s mercy. When we think of mercy it doesn’t just mean to forgive sins, which is a major part of it but not the whole picture. Demonstrating God’s mercy means making God’s healing presence felt and when we do kind deeds and say kind things we make God’s mercy felt.

The scouting program is a wonderful opportunity not to just simply learn new skills but to learn new skills that can help people and when we help others we help ourselves become better people. May we strive each day to do a good turn so that we can make God’s love and mercy felt!!!