Thursday, December 31, 2009

Homily for the Solemnity of Holy Mary Mother of God

“God sent his Son, born of a woman.” It is that woman whom St. Paul speaks of to the Galatians whom we honor today. The title of Mother of God is indeed the Blessed Mother’s greatest title.
When she accepted the Lord’s invitation to become the Mother of God, Mary opened the door for God’s plan of salvation. As soon as she said “yes” she became at once the mother of our Savior. At the same time she also became our mother as well. Mary as our spiritual mother models for us true faithfulness and true humility in her willingness to accept the will of God. It is her faithfulness and her humility that we are called to model in our lives. By saying “yes” Mary once again made her commitment to make God the center of her life. Like Mary, we make God the center of our lives when we say “yes” accepting God’s will.
We are so blessed to have a wonderful advocate and intercessor in the person of the Blessed Mother. As we honor her today she has only one desire for each one of us and that is to lead us to her Son. When we seek her help she takes us by the hand just like a caring parent and walks us to our desired destination. Sadly today, we live in a world in which we have our own agendas, our own desires, and our own wants that are contrary to the will of God. Society has a mistaken notion of freedom. Many today think freedom means do whatever you want. If we think we can find happiness believing and living a life which is clearly contrary to the will of God than we are terribly mistaken. Mary’s agenda, her desire, and her wants were to always do the will of the Lord. True freedom is only realized and understood when we accept and follow the will of God in our lives. Our Blessed Mother understood that! May we pray for the grace and the strength to say yes to God and allow the example of the Blessed Virgin to guide our lives!
The Lord blessed Mary with the great honor of being the Mother of God. He also blesses us with a radiant light in the Blessed Mother who lights up our way leading us to her Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As we continue with this Sacred Liturgy we ask her intercession…Mary Mother of God, pray for us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family

Just a day after celebrating the birth of our Savior we gather here today to honor the Holy Family. We look to the Holy Family as the model of our earthly families. While their situation was certainly unique, Mary and Joseph endured some of the same challenges we face today in our modern world. They had to work hard to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Life at times wasn’t easy even for them.
In the today’s Gospel realizing that Jesus was missing they went out searching for Him, and found Him in the temple where he was sitting down with the teachers. He was dialoguing with them asking questions and listening to them. It says in the Gospel that Mary and Joseph were astonished. If we place ourselves in their shoes we could add a variety of emotions; anger, concern, relief, and stress to name a few just like any parent would be if they lost their child. In this Gospel passage we see two elements; the love and concern of Mary and Joseph for their son Jesus, and Jesus’ love and respect for His parents that He was obedient and returned to Nazareth with them. Parents must model the love and concern of Mary and Joseph for their children. Children must model Jesus’ love and respect for their parents.
Parenting today is not easy and our society doesn’t help parents in their situation. Both parents today are so busy trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads that they are working two or more jobs just to make ends meet and during this time the kids are in daycare. Then when the children are at home with both parents, because they are drained (and rightfully so) the parents drained from work spend more time trying to appease their children by giving them what they want.
One of the toughest things we must realize as parents and yes I refer to myself as a parent looking at it in terms of my priesthood is that we must recognize that we are not our children’s best friends, but rather their parents and in my case your shepherd. If we spend most of our time being our children’s friend then when it comes time to be their parent children to challenge or discipline them the children naturally balk. Parents are the primary educators of the Children. In canon 226 in the Code of Canon Law it states, “Since they have given life to their children, parents have a most grave obligation and possess the right to educate them. Therefore, it is for Christian parents particularly to take care of the Christian education of their children according to the doctrine handed on by the Church.” Therefore it is essential for parents to be the ones to teach their children about God and about what is right and what is wrong. No one else can do that. Being a parent is an awesome vocation which comes with great responsibilities.
Once again, it’s not easy being a parent in today’s world. For those of us who are also children we must also strive to be like Jesus in today’s Gospel and respect our parents. If they ask us to do something to help them out then we should do it out of love and respect. They have a very difficult task. At 28 I still listen to my parents. While it may at times today be difficult we must strive more than ever to model the life of the Holy Family. As we ponder the awesome gift we have received in the person of Jesus Christ may we ask Him today in our prayers to help us grow in mutual love and respect for one another bringing us closer as His beloved children thus building up the true Holy Family in the Heavenly Kingdom. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pray for us!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Homily at the Children's 6PM Christmas Eve Mass

Here is a link to the video of my homily given at the 6PM Children's Christmas Eve Mass at Corpus Christi in Chambersburg.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Homily for Christmas Mass During the Day

“A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.” These words give us a gentle reminder of what the season of Christmas is all about. It is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Last evening the readings focused on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. This morning the focus turns to the events right after his birth.
Our Savior has come. He came to us in humility in the form of an infant child. It’s a wondrous sight to gaze upon an image of the baby Jesus. This is how much our Lord loved us. Today we celebrate once again our Lord’s birth and every time we gather each year to celebrate this great event we also celebrate our own rebirth. Our Lord’s birth is an outward sign of His infinite love and mercy. It is God’s gift to us; it’s the most important gift of all. You and I today are called to rededicate ourselves to God.
The Heavenly Father came down for those who most needed Him. We need our Lord today more than ever. So many times we can lose sight of Him and forget what the season of Christmas is all about. We become so wrapped up with the details and the hustle and bustle this day often brings. However, as you exchange gifts today don’t forget the greatest gift of all, the baby Jesus. In honor of our Lord’s birth may we today seek out those who need to experience His love and mercy the most!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Homily for the 4PM Christmas Eve Vigil Mass

As we listen to the readings this evening we begin the immediate preparations for the birth of our Savior. The first reading from the prophet Isaiah speaks of the restoration of the people of Israel. Many times you and I can feel like those early people of Israel. These individuals suffered during the exile and often wondered where God is at. Perhaps there are some who gather here this evening asking that very same question.
This evening we come here looking for hope looking for a savior. Listen to these words, “No more shall people call you “forsaken,” or your land “desolate,” but you shall be called “My Delight, “ and your land “Espoused.” For the Lord delights in you and makes your land his spouse.” We are God’s children! The Heavenly Father delights in us so much that He sent His only Son to be born of the Virgin Mary to be like us in every way but sin. That is how much God loves us and that my brothers and sisters we celebrate this evening.
We hear about the account of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel. In Matthew’s Gospel we see how Jesus fulfills all of the predictions about the Messiah that was contained in the laws and the prophets. For it says, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear and son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.” The name Emmanuel means “God is with us.” Yes God is with us, he is present right here in this Church. He speaks to us in His Word and we will have the opportunity to receive in the Holy Eucharist and take Him with us throughout the day tonight and tomorrow.
The Lord has blessed us with many wonderful gifts and it’s my hope that these next few hours you take the opportunity to count them. Each one of us gathered here has received a special gift and it is the most important gift of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to have a God who would think of us so much that He would become one like us in all ways but sin and embrace our human suffering. However, today is not a day to focus on our struggles but rather celebrate the awesome gifts that have been given us. Tomorrow most of you will be exchanging gifts underneath the tree, remember that everything that has been given to us is a gift.
Often times holidays can be stressful because when we gather together as families many different personalities can clash. It happens! But remember the reason for the season. As we gaze upon the Nativity Scene remember that this is a season for families. Look out for each other. Bear witness to Christ in your lives. Proclaim Him as the New Born King. Our responsorial psalm was, “forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” Proclaim the Lord’s goodness by showing others the love of Jesus Christ. Look to Him as your example and look particular at the image of the Christ child. Remember that’s how much God has loved us. As we prepare to exchange gifts under the Christmas tree may we never forget the most precious gift of all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Getting into that Christmas Spirit...

(Father Keith M. Carroll takes a moment to pose with Father Christmas)
A Message from Father Christmas
Dear Children,
As you gather with your family and friends and exchange gifts underneath the Christmas Tree...please do not forget the greatest gift of all our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This Christmas continue to spread our Lord's love by reaching out to others. In doing so you will feel your hearts fill up with love and joy. Always remember it is in giving that you receive. May God bless you and your families this Christmas Season as you celebrate the birth of our Savior!
In Christ,
Father Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

This morning’s theme is preparation. Something we have heard alot about these past few weeks. As we listened to the readings this morning they both speak of prophets. In the first reading from the book of the prophet Malachi it says in the very first line, “thus says the Lord God: Lo I am sending you a messenger to prepare the way before me.” This prophet is Elijah.
Turning to Luke’s Gospel account today we hear of the birth of John the Baptist, the one who was called to prepare a way for the Lord. Mysterious events surrounded his birth. The first miracle was that Elizabeth was able to bear a child for she was called barren. Then Zechariah we hear in this morning’s Gospel after writing the name of John on the tablet “his mouth was opened, his tongue freed.” John was a special child destined by God to prepare a way for Him in the world. For the purpose of the prophets in the Sacred Scriptures was to do just that.
We are now getting down to the wire. In less than forty eight hours we will together be celebrating our Lord’s birth. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.” Yes indeed! May we pray for the grace in the midst of our crazy schedules to continue preparing a place for the Lord in our hearts!

Homily for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

This morning’s focus is on the greatness of the Lord. As we just heard in the Gospel the second half of yesterday’s Gospel in which Mary responds to Elizabeth’s greeting. She said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Our Lord has done many wonderful things for us. Sometimes we don’t always recognize those things because we are at times stressed out with things that might be going on in our lives.
In the first reading from the book of Samuel, Hannah presents Samuel in the temple dedicating him to God. She was grateful for the gift of her son that she wanted to dedicate him back to the one who made that gift possible. The Lord has done many wonderful things for us. Today as we approach Christmas let’s take some to reflect on all the blessings and gifts the Lord has given us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Homily for Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

This morning we hear in the first reading from the Song of Songs, “Hark! My lover here he comes springing across the hills.” The opening verse relates to us this week of the coming of Christ. Our Heavenly Father reached out to us when He sent His Son into our midst. He also today continues to reach out to us through the Church and her sacraments.
You and I are getting closer to that glorious day in which we will together celebrate the Lord’s birth. The challenge these next few days is not to get overwhelmed with all the details. So often we become obsessed if we know we have guests coming over making sure there is enough food to eat and that the house is cleaned and in order. However, during these next few days we need to make sure we are taking a breather from time to time and make sure that we are spending a little time in prayer. May we continue to exult in the Lord, and always sing to Him a new song!

Santa Claus pays a visit!

Father Christmas kneels down before the Christmas Creche outside of Corpus Christi Church in Chambersburg during the first major snow storm of the year!

Homily for the Forth Sunday of Advent preached at the other Sunday Masses

In just a few short days you and I will be gathered here at Church and with our family and friends celebrating the Lord’s birth. Some of us will be traveling while others will be staying here with family coming into town. Often times this time of year can be stressful because we are so busy getting things ready. However, this season is so important we should try not to let the stress get to us.
As we speak of our own travels over the holiday season we hear in the Gospel of another traveling lady, our Blessed Mother. She set out to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the midst of her own trials and tribulations. Elizabeth at the time was of course also with child. The Blessed Mother went out to see her cousin so she could of service to her. What is the significance of this Gospel passage? First the account of the Visitation reminds us of how others will be visiting us this Christmas Season and how we will set out to visit others. As we prepare to welcome Christ into our hearts we should also be prepared to welcome others into our homes as if they themselves were Christ. This is a season of generosity. How quick we are to forget this fact in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas day. We are called to reach out to others.
Now when one hears the word generosity the first thing that comes to mind is ok let’s take out our wallets. There are other ways we can be generous. In particular as we approach this Christmas Season one of the ways we can express our generosity is by modeling our Blessed Mother’s example and be willing to sacrifice our time reaching out to others in need especially members of our own families. Many times we can overlook those family and friends who live by themselves and are unable to travel for the Christmas Holiday. If we cannot visit them in person then pick up the phone and call them. Also we may know some shut-ins who have no family. Reach out to them. Invite them into your homes or be kind enough to check in on them this Christmas. See if they need a Christmas meal. This is how we are called to be generous.
The other significance of this Gospel passage is that we hear today about the very first person who recognized the presence of Christ. It was the child in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb.” The very first person to recognize the presence of Jesus in the world was an unborn child. You and I live in a world where many are quick to write off the unborn. Sadly there are also many who tend to write off children in general. This passage demonstrates that a child in the womb is a life and that all children are a gift from God. As a priest there is nothing that bothers me more is when I hear a parent say I don’t bring my children into Church because I feel they are not welcome. This is one situation I often hear from parents is when one of their children begins to act up of how someone sitting around the family reacts by either by making some sort of gesture such as the rolling of the eyes or by saying something directly to them. While many Churches have an option by providing Children’s Chapels (or Crying Rooms) a place where parents can take their children when they begin to act up for a prolonged period of time, children must be welcomed openly in the Church. Speaking as a priest, children do not distract me one bit. In fact, it brings me so much joy to hear the sound of a crying infant because in that beautiful sound I hear the future of the Church.
This evening as we heard in the Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, “Behold I come to do your will,” may we strive to do the will of our Heavenly Father by reaching out and inviting all to celebrate with us the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Homily for the Forth Sunday of Advent 5PM Mass

Do to the inclimate weather this evening I am going to give you a summary of my homily for this weekend. Be good to each other! God bless!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Why would John the Baptist send his disciples to ask Jesus, “are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Does John the Baptist not know that Jesus is the Son of God the one sent to save mankind? Of course he does! For it was John himself who prophesized, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,” then why would He need to ask. John asked his disciples this question so they themselves could be satisfied.
That is why Jesus didn’t answer the disciples question directly; rather he points to all his miracles and works. Sometimes it’s easier for people to accept actions and works than actual words. John the Baptist could have easily said he is the Messiah and be done with it, but rather he sent the disciples out to see for themselves. Then Jesus did not simply say to John’s disciples, “yes I am the Messiah,” than they wouldn’t believe Him.
As we get closer to the day in which we celebrate our Lord’s birth, may we share with those we meet day in and day out our belief in the new born King.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Salvation is promised to all the poor. Every Christmas we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior the day in which the Lord entered the world for the purpose of saving each one of us. We are the poor. You and I have our own crosses, our own faults, our own weaknesses. None of us gathered here are perfect, yet the promise of salvation is open to all of us.
All we have to do is cry out to Him. As the responsorial psalm says, “the Lord hears the cry of the poor.” He hears us every time we cry out in our need. In the Gospel Jesus tells a story of two sons. One who refused to go out do his chores but later had a change of heart and chose to go out and the other son who said yes but chose not to do what he was asked. You and I at times model both sons. Sometimes we say no and then do what has been asked of us. At other times we say yes but our actions don’t always follow our words.
Today the Lord invites us to allow Him into our hearts to allow Him to work in our lives. Although we have our own faults may we not them get in our way from following the Lord’s invitation to always do His will!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homily for Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Jesus this morning does not answer the scribes and Pharisee’s! Why? The reason our Lord did not answer their question was because they were unwilling to commit to answer His. They asked what authority do you teach and he asked them where John’s Baptism originated from. The Scribes and Pharisees couldn’t answer. Their hearts were closed.
The Season of Advent is a time of preparation, to prepare our hearts. We are called to open our hearts and allow Him in. As we pray, “teach me your ways oh Lord,” my we strive to always keep our hearts open to allow the Lord to work in our lives.

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent

Rejoice my dear brothers and sisters for the Lord is near. Today we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. The word Gaudete is a Latin Phrase which means rejoice. Why should we rejoice? We should rejoice one for in a few days all of us gathered here will celebrate the birth of our Savior.
During the first two weeks of Advent the readings were geared towards the Second Coming. Now we can look at the Second Coming in two ways. The first way of looking at the Second Coming is the Lord’s return in glory at the end of time. However, the second way of looking at it is that of the Lord’s coming into our hearts. That is why we have the season of Advent to take the opportunity to rid ourselves of those things that get in the way and allow ourselves to focus on the birth of Christ.
In Luke’s Gospel account today we have the crowds, the tax collectors, and the soldiers all seeking out John the Baptist asking Him about what they should do. To the crowds he said, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has done.” Then to the tax collectors he said, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Finally to the soldiers, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” What is it that we can take from these exchanges? From these exchanges we can see that our Lord doesn’t want us to reject who we are or what we do, but asks us to be virtuous. We are called to always do the right thing.
Advent and Lent are two times in the Liturgical Year we are encouraged to do penance. For most people going to confession is like going to the dentist. It’s something we all dread! We find it stressful. However, once we do it, just like leaving the dentist’s office we feel a whole lot better. Penance is a great way of preparation. In the Church’s Liturgy that is why we have the Penitential Rite in the very beginning of the Liturgy to prepare ourselves to listen to the Word of God and receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist. Now some will notice I do not use the Penitential Rite listed for the advent penance service and I stick with the Confiteor. Some will ask why? The reason I stick with the Confiteor is because I feel it is more penitential compared with the other invocations listed in the Missal. Many of the other invocations in our Missal are English adaptations. Now I just get this picture in my mind of the Lord sitting at the right hand of the Father listening on when we say… “You are Son of God and Son of Mary,” and the Lord grinning from ear to ear looking down at us saying, “I’m God I know that, tell me that you’re sorry.” The Penitential Rite just like the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not about telling our Lord how great He is, restating what He did for us, or who He is for He already knows that, it is about preparing ourselves to receive Him into our hearts by completely emptying ourselves to Him. That’s what our Lord is looking for from us.
Rejoice the Lord is near! As we get closer to celebrating the Birth of Jesus, may we continue to prepare ourselves by reflecting on our lives, and removing those obstacles that get in the way and allow the Lord to enter completely into our hearts!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homily for Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Many of us have had the experience in life at one point or another of the feeling of not being able to please everyone. In today’s world it’s actually quite normal to feel that way. Take a look at what the Lord said, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘he is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘look he a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
When it comes to living our faith it’s about the same. We will find some who will respect us, and at the same time find others who will ridicule us. However, as we listened this morning to the words from the prophet Isaiah, “I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.” Thus, everything that comes from the mouth of God is true and good. If we follow the will of God, the Lord promises us prosperity, not in worldly allurements but in the heavenly kingdom.
There is plenty of truth in our responsorial psalm. “Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.” This morning let’s reflect on those words and strive to always follow the Lord. In doing so He will show us the light of life!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homily for the Immaculate Conception

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.” Today we sing with joy for the Lord has done and continues to do marvelous things for us. On this feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary we celebrate God’s plan of salvation set in motion when the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without sin.
In the New Testament there are two types of Salvation. One understanding of salvation is that we will be saved at the end of time during the final judgment. However according to Saint Luke salvation is something we have already experienced. It is this type of Salvation that was set in motion when the Blessed Mother was immaculately conceived. From the very beginning our Blessed Mother was “Full of Grace” as the angel Gabriel greeted her. Mary having been filled with grace from the very beginning was able to respond quickly to the Lord’s invitation to be the mother of his Son.
It was Mary’s yes that opened the door for all of us to be saved. In accepting that invitation she also modeled for us the attitude of humble service. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ we must always strive to model the Blessed Virgin Mary’s willingness to serve. As Mary said so beautifully, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” As the heavenly Father chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Mother of His Son, he also chooses us to fulfill a special mission. We are called to be holy!
As we continue today to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary during this season of Advent may we strive always to live a life of humble service saying yes to the will of God!

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” This week our goal is to make a path for the Lord to work in our lives. Often times when we move from one place to another we pack everything up move it to another location and it remains in boxes on the center of the floor for a couple of weeks until we find the time to sit and unpack everything. Many times these boxes of things create obstacles for us. The Season of Advent is about preparing a place for the Lord by getting rid of those obstacles that get in the way.
What obstacles do we have today? The obstacles that get in our way are plentiful and it’s usually those things that we allow. Many times it’s our own attitudes and mindsets that prevent us for properly preparing ourselves for this Holy Season. That is why the Church encourages us to take advantage of His gift of forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we confess our sins freely in the Sacrament we let it all go getting rid of those obstacles that prevent us from coming to Him.
Another important way once we confess our sins we help maintain our spiritual growth is by praying. That is why advent is a time of penance and prayer. You and I grow every time we take the time to pray. Many times we become bogged down with details. We are out there in the stores looking for that perfect gift for our families and friends. Now there is nothing wrong with going shopping for that perfect gift, just don’t lose focus of what this season is all about. It is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
This evening at the conclusion the Mass we will process out to our garden property along Philadelphia Ave to bless the New Nativity Scene outside the Church. (Sunday Homily: Last evening at the conclusion of the 5PM Mass we processed outside to bless the new nativity scene outside of Church.) Our new nativity scene reminds all of us that the Season of Advent is about celebrating our Lord’s birth. Looking at the crèche we are also reminded by the image of the Holy Family that this season is about gathering with our family and friends. Gathering with our friends and family celebrating the birth of our Savior is the heart of Christmas. That is why we must take every opportunity we can to make room for the Lord in our hearts.
In the last couple weeks many have voiced their opinions about the crèche being removed from the square. There is no doubt that the decision was disappointing to many of us. Today my brothers and sisters I stand before you today as one of your shepherds to tell you it’s time to move forward. Advent is not a time to be swinging criticisms at one another. It’s not the boroughs fault, it’s not the chambers fault and it certainly is not the downtown business fault. The borough council in reaching their decision looked at the big picture and the recent decisions of the Supreme Court and acted with the best interest for everybody. The crèche is a symbol. It is a symbol of our faith, and we here at Corpus Christi decided to display that symbol on our property proudly. Jesus Christ Himself is not present physically in that crèche. He is present here in this Church, in the Word of God, in the Most Holy Eucharist, and in one another. The crèche simply reminds all of us for the reason of the season. If we allow one group to cause us to swing pot shots at one another during this time of preparation than they have won! Now my brothers and sisters is not the time to criticize one group or another, rather it is a time to reflect and prepare. We are blessed to live and worship in a great city, let’s stand up and support it. I encourage all of you to place the image of the Nativity Set in your businesses, homes, and property. Do it however for the right reasons. Don’t do it out of spite but rather do it proudly to express your faith in the birth of our Savior.
While the crèche might not be placed where we all want it to be, let’s show those in the minority who do not believe the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. We can do that by living out our faith not necessarily in our words but more importantly in our actions. By showing them the love and respect as Children of God it is our hope and prayer that it will prepare a way for the Lord to work in their hearts. At the same time as we reach out to them with compassion and love we will be making room in our hearts for the coming of the Lord.

Homily for Friday of the First Week of Advent

Alright boys and girls the Gospel this morning we have the story of the farmer who went out to sow seeds. Now how many of you have ever planted anything. (They raise their hands.) Ok how many of you have ever planted anything directly into a large garden? (Again they raise their hands.)

Good...who can tell what you do to prepare the ground? First Student...plant the seed! Ok what do you do before that? Second Student...You dig a whole! We are getting closer...before that. Third need to clear the debris. Right before we can plant anything we need to clear the debris and the weeds from the area. Then we have to water it and make sure it gets plenty of sunlight.

Boys and girls what season are we in? Everyone! They yell...ADVENT. Great we are in the season of advent which is a period of time set aside to prepare for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. During these next few weeks we water the seed of faith inside us and we do that through penance and prayer. In a few days those in third grade on up will have the opportunity to go to confession and ask God to forgive us our sins. We are removing those weeds that get in our way and we water and give sunlight to the seed when we pray.

Today boys and girls I want you to strive to keep that seed growing by always telling God you are sorry and always praying to Him who loves us so much!

Homily for Thursday of the First Week of Advent

“Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal rock.” Once again this morning in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah you and I are reminded of the importance of putting our faith and trust in God. Many times we don’t put our trust in the Lord as much as we should. At times we place our trust in things such as money. Now money is a good thing to have in hand, however most of it passes through our hands like sand.
Advent is not only a time of preparation but it also a time for some serious reflection. The key word to reflect on this morning in our readings this morning is rock. Why the word rock? If we think about the word one of the first descriptions that comes to mind is of something solid. Our Lord said in the Gospel, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock.” If we place our complete faith and trust in the Lord and by living that faith and trust in the Lord out in our lives we can withstand any storm. Faith in our Lord strengthens not just our faith communities but also our families.
As we come to the close of our first week of Advent let us take some time to reflect on our own preparations for the birth of the Savior. We must ask ourselves is the Lord the rock in our lives.

Homily for Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

This morning in the first reading we hear how the Lord will provide for the needs of His people. That promise is fulfilled in the Gospel in the very person of Jesus Christ. It’s amazing if we stop and think how the Lord is constantly pouring out His love upon us.
Every Advent represents a new beginning. For us it’s an opportunity to begin anew with a clean slate. As we listened to the Gospel this morning we heard of how the Lord brought healing to those who were sick and suffering. Also we see His concern for those gathered because they didn’t have anything to eat for a long period of time. We too have an opportunity to experience and receive spiritual healing and nourishment throughout the season of Advent. During Advent we have the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and of course the opportunity each and every day to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Our Lord is constantly pouring out His love and as we receive His gift of love we are called to share it with others. As Jesus invites us to His feast we called to extend that invitation to all those we meet. By bringing others to Christ we at the same time bring ourselves closer to Him. Life is that always easy, but he continues to offer his healing and peace and many ways. May we always be open to receiving his gift of healing and peace!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah once again there is a clear reference to the birth of the Savior. “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him.” During the season of Advent we are preparing ourselves to receive the Lord in our hearts. Our preparation to two fold, we are preparing a place for the Lord now, and second we are also preparing for His return in glory.
Now what is Jesus saying when he turned to his disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Many prophets and kings spent a lot of time searching for the Messiah they longed to see. Our Lord explains to His disciples how blest they are because they are in His midst. This we mustn’t forget during advent as we prepare to celebrate our Saviors birth is that he is already present among us. We at times can easily forget that He is at work in the world.
As we go through our day we must ask ourselves are we like the prophets and kings who are failing to see the Lord at work or are we like those early disciples who recognize the Lord’s hand at work in our lives. May we not get so wrapped up in the midst of our preparation during the season of Advent for the coming of the Lord that we fail to see Him at work here and now.

Images of the New Nativity Set

Below are images of the New 12 Piece Nativity Scene purchased for our Parish.

Homily for the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

(This was the Second Homily of the Day given for the Members of the NET Team)

The Gospel reading is one that we would expect on a feast of an apostle. This morning’s Gospel relates to the calling of the apostle Andrew. When we hear the account of the calling of early apostles we are also reminded of our own specific calling. You my dear brothers and sisters have been called to evangelize bringing the Gospel to other young people like yourselves. The calling you have received is a special one.
Now there is one word that stands out in the Gospel and it’s one that hopefully should be familiar to all of you and that is the word “net.” We are called to cast out our nets into the world. Each time you give a retreat or stand up and give a testimony to others you are casting out your net. It is our hope when we cast out of nets that some good comes out of it. Although you may never see it directly something good always happens. Never get discouraged your work is fruitful.
Yesterday and today you had the opportunity to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Today you have the opportunity not just to adore the Lord but actually receive him in the Holy Eucharist. One of you commented on a picture that is hanging in my office the one that shows the Eucharist as a sun with the words Survival of Life. Jesus Christ is our survival of life. No matter how bad things may get He is always there for us. There is a story behind that picture and if you don’t mind I would like to share that story with you.
When I was in seminary I had a rough time because I was not what you would say the best student in the world. One day I remember kneeling down in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament like He was on the altar last night and I was there for about a half hour. Now I remember it clearly I was doing what we often do best I was venting just talking to the Lord. It was truly a one sided conversation with me doing all the talking. There was no listening involved. So after thirty minutes of be talking directly to the Lord I returned to my room. Not long after returning to the room I received a call from a relative of mine who was a Sister of Saint Joseph and she asked me if she could visit. I said yes and not long after that she arrived. We walked around the seminary for a while then before she left she told me that there was something she wanted to give me. Opening the trunk of her car she pulled out that picture and after looking at it was a bit it dawned on me that the Lord Himself at that moment was saying something to me. Keith come to me I am your survival of life. Place your trust in me and I will help you.
There were several times I wanted to give up and throw in the towel, but I am so glad I didn’t. In your ministry you will experience these same types of trials, but I encourage you never to become discouraged when things don’t go the way you planned. The Lord is at work in those moments. As I told some of you at breakfast I have only been a priest a little over five months now. Let me tell you how good God is and how he can work in our lives. I was born on the 6th of June 1981 and I was ordained a priest on the 6th of June 2009. So on the day, in which the Lord gave me life, it was also the day He gave me a share in His life. Our Lord works in mysterious ways, as you will find or perhaps already found out in your ministry.
My dear friends this Mass is being celebrated for you and your intentions. It has been an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity to spend this time with you. Thank you for all the good work that you do in building up God’s Kingdom. Keep casting out nets and never give up hope. The Lord is at work in you! As we prepare to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist always remember that He is our Survival of Life. Don’t hesitate to come to Him when things seem rough, He is there for us whenever we need Him.

Homily for the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Our readings this morning for the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle stress the importance of preaching the word of God. Faith is something that can only grow when the word of God is affectively preached. You and I are called to preach the word of God each and every day. Some people preach it formally while others pass on the faith simply by the way we live our lives.
Like on every feast of the apostles we have a gospel passage that is related to their calling. This reminds us that we to are called, we have a responsibility to proclaim the faith. The Lord’s words are spirit and truth. May we strive always to proclaim it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homily for the First Sunday of Advent

To you, O Lord, I lift my soul. Advent is a time of opportunity. It is an opportunity for us to focus preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord by lifting our hearts and minds. This week our readings speak of anticipation of the coming of the Lord. In the Book of Daniel the opening line says, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah.” This promise refers to the coming of the Savior.
Turning to the Gospel account from Luke, Jesus makes reference to his Second Coming when he says, “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the cloud with power and great glory.” Why this focus on the Second Coming of Christ? The reason we have this focus on the Second Coming is because every advent is about preparing a place for the Lord in our hearts. Many times there are distractions and our Lord warns us about them today. “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing or drunkenness and the anxieties of everyday life, and that they catch you by surprise like a trap.” How do we prepare a place for the Lord in the midst of everything?
During the Season of Advent we are encouraged to prepare ourselves spiritually. One of the Sacraments we are encouraged to take advantage of is the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation. By confessing our sins to the Lord and receiving His absolution we make room for Him in our hearts and properly dispose ourselves to listen to His words and act on them. We might also want to consider carving some time into our schedule to spend some extra time in prayer. Although we all have crazy schedules spending time in prayer is essential in order to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.
Another way we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord is by decorating our homes and putting up symbols that remind us of what the Season is all about. Perhaps one might consider getting a miniature Advent Wreath for their homes to light each week. Lighting each candle every week helps gives us something to look forward to. In addition to the Advent Wreath and perhaps of course the Christmas tree we might also want to put up a Nativity Set a long with our other decorations. The Nativity Scene reminds us that for us as Christians the Christmas Season is about celebrating the greatest gift of all the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I am sure everyone here read about the decision of this week to remove the crèche from the center of the square. While for many of us this is disappointing our reaction must not be one of criticism, rather it should be one of loving action. This past week after the decision we decided that we would purchase an outdoor Nativity Scene that will be placed in the garden area alongside Philadelphia Avenue. The Nativity Scene is one of many symbols of the Christmas Season and for us and is one we will display proudly. It reminds us of how awesome our God is that He would come to us in the form of a little child.
This advent as we prepare our homes to celebrate Christmas may we not forget to prepare our hearts. Please consider taking advantage of the many spiritual blessings the season of Advent has to offer. By confessing our sins removing those things that weigh us down and by carving time in our schedule for a little extra prayer we will make more room for the Lord in our hearts.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Father Carroll’s Statement in regards to the decision to remove the Christmas Crèche from the Square in Downtown Chambersburg

This past week the Chambersburg Borough Council voted unanimously to remove the crèche from the square downtown. Now the council made this decision after receiving a request from a group who consider themselves non-believers who wanted to put a sign in support of our troops. The council decided to take an all or nothing approach and they decided on the later. While there are a few who welcomed the Borough Councils decision the majority of the residents of Chambersburg are upset about it. Some have harshly criticized the Borough Council for this decision and that’s unfortunate. I of course personally do not agree with the Borough Council’s decision but I can understand why they took the avenue that they did.
The Christmas Crèche is one of many symbolic images of the Christmas Season. For Christians, the Christmas Season is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. For others the Christmas Season is an opportunity for families to come together to give and share with one another. In recent years we as a nation have gone overboard by removing all religious references and symbols from our public buildings out of fear of potentially offending somebody. For Christians the Christmas Crèche serves as a reminder of birth of Christ. One thing I must ask is how can this image of a man and woman with child gathered with a stable filled with animals and three wise men be considered offensive. Even for a non-believer this is a beautiful image, it’s an image of a family. It’s sad today that we need to fight for the right to celebrate Christmas. Are we going to rip down all the lights and the Christmas trees? What’s next? Are we going to force members of the clergy and religious communities not to wear religious garb in public out of fear of offending someone?
In the United States of America we have a right to freedom of religion. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian celebrating Christmas, whether you are Jewish celebrating Hanukkah, or perhaps someone who uses Christmas as an opportunity to gather with family and friends we should have the right to express our beliefs openly. That is what our nation’s Founding Fathers intended for our great nation. Some will say that the crèche’s presence is unconstitutional; I argue that its removal is in itself unconstitutional. If we remove all references and symbols of religious significance then what we are doing is suppressing all forms of religions.
Situations and times like these can make or break us. It can bring out the best or the worst in us. In Thursday’s paper I read that there are few who threatened to boycott downtown business because of the Borough Council’s decision to remove the crèche. Boycotting downtown businesses is not the answer. It’s not the business fault and in fact I would encourage all of us to continue to support them because the majority of them are not in favor of the decision. If we start boycotting downtown businesses then those who have sought out to destroy the spirit of Christmas have succeeded.
As we move forward we need to look at how our decisions now will affect future generations. We are destroying the Christmas Spirit for our children. Some will make the argument that Christmas displays should only be displayed in Church’s and in private homes. Well it’s a sad day when in this great nation we the people cannot publically express our religious beliefs. While we might have lost the right to place the crèche in the town’s square I encourage everyone…church’s, downtown business owners, and home owners to keep the Christmas Spirit alive by proudly displaying images of the Christmas Season. We should be proud to live in such a great city. Let’s continue showing it by moving forward and rising to the occasion showing the world our Christmas Spirit!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 34th Week of Ordinary Time

Once again we are reminded that following the Lord is never easy. The Lord’s message is often seen as out dated and those who live and preach it are often persecuted and rejected by others. In fact, we know we are doing a good job when there are more people out to get us then praise us. Jesus says, “They will seize and persecute you, they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.” Later on he says, “You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
Wow this gives us all something to think about that even some of those within our inner circle could reject us because of the message we preach. Despite the difficulties the Lord is always clear to tell us to never give up hope. Keep plugging forward. As we continue to preach the Gospel in our daily lives may we pray for the grace of perseverance in the midst of our earthly trials!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homily for Monday of the 34th Week of Ordinary Time

The Gospel account for today is one we heard a few weeks back on a Sunday. Today’s proclamation is rather short but to the point. Jesus watches closely to those who put offerings into the treasury. While many wealthy individuals put in large sums this poor widow by putting in those two small coins put in more. This poor widow was giving here whole livelihood.
As we approach thanksgiving in only a few short days may we strive to exemplify the life of the poor widow by giving completely of ourselves and offering the Lord our entire lives!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King 2009

“You say that I am King,” the Lord responds to Pilate this morning in the Gospel. Often times we profess our Lord as King, but our actions and words say otherwise. We come to Church listen to the Word of God, receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, and then when we leave we go back to that same way of life. Why is that?
Looking at my own life and my own sinfulness I can say with absolute certainty why this happens. It happens because we are not giving God our all. We are too distracted by all the noise that is present in the world. There are just too many distractions out there and when we come here each weekend we just simply hold onto them. Our Lord is not just any king; He is a King who humbled Himself by becoming man like us in all ways but sin. Jesus was put on trial as we heard in the Gospel and was ultimately sentenced to death, death on the cross. We need to model that humility. Now I don’t know about you but our Lord is a King I want to follow because if we think about it we should want to embrace a King that would love us so much that He would embrace suffering and death.
A question that might be going through our minds is the question of how one can overcome our own sinfulness and proclaim Christ as King. One thing we must be clear is that we are all sinners and yes there will be times we leave here and we fail. Someone will pull out in front of us while we are driving and that’s it we lose our temper. It happens to the best of us. How does one make Christ the King? You and I make Christ the King in our lives when we place everything into his hands. What do I mean by everything? By everything I am talking about our challenges, our joys, and our sufferings.
On this feast of Christ the King it is fitting that we should talk briefly about Eucharistic Adoration and the Mass. We are so blessed here to have the Adoration Chapel a place where we can adore the Lord in such an intimate way. I would like to personally encourage everyone here to take advantage of that opportunity to spend some time with the Lord. If one is struggling with a particular problem go there with a spirit of prayer and total surrender. Place yourselves in his hand and pour out your hearts to Him. By taking things to the Lord we find a sense of peace and relief. We are always in need of individuals willing to spend time with our Lord in prayer. Many of our regular adorers are moving out of the area, some because of health reasons are no longer able to come on a regular basis, and others have been called home to the Lord. So there is this need for individuals to step up and dedicate one hour with the Lord and it is a wonderful opportunity and I encourage everyone to take advantage of it.
Another vehicle provided by the Lord to assist us on a journey is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is the manifestation of the Paschal Mystery, the life…death….resurrection…ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us often times take this wonderful gift for granted. One of the ways we actively participate in the Liturgy (and this is the true active participation that was intended by the Second Vatican Council) is every time we gather together we offer Him the very sacrifice of our lives. We bring to Him our very lives, our challenges, our joys, and our pains. In the Liturgy of the Word our Lord turns towards us and speaks about his life, and then we turn to the Lord in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When the priest prays aloud the words of the Eucharistic prayer the faithful gaze with him upon the image of the crucified Lord. As he stands at the center of the father offering the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ, the faithful participate by listening intently while at the same time presenting their concerns and needs to the Altar of God. After we offer our lives to the Lord He extends to us His great gift of love when He comes down from the altar much like He came down off the cross and meets us in an intimate way in the Eucharist. Upon receiving this gift we kneel down in adoration and appreciation. Then we stand up giving thanks and before we leave as He did for His early disciples our Lord gives us His blessing and commission to go out into the world. Once that is done our Lord ascends from our midst leaving us to go and carry out the mission our He gives us.
On this the feast of Christ the King we must ask ourselves is Christ our King. Are we giving ourselves to Him totally allow Him to work in our lives? These are questions we must ask ourselves each and every day. Let’s make Christ our King by taking advantage of the wonderful spiritual opportunities we have here at Corpus Christi Parish. By making Jesus Christ the King in your lives and I assure you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Homily of the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

If you haven’t heard the news reports yet, we have received word from the Vatican that our Bishop His Excellency the Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades has been appointed Bishop of Fort Wayne South Bend Indiana. He will be installed as the Bishop of that Diocese on January 13, 2010. May we pray for Bishop Rhoades as he begins his transition! Pray also for our Holy Father Pope Benedict as he prayerfully discerns who to appoint as our next spiritual leader.
As we listened to the readings today the one thing that stands out in the first reading and the Gospel is the clear reference to the end of time. Next weekend is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, so this year is drawling to a close. In the first reading from the book of Daniel we hear about Michael and how he will appear during the time of distress. Then Jesus in the Gospel is clearly referring to His Second Coming.
Now in both passages there is something contained in them that we should take note. In the book of Daniel it says “at that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.” What book is he referring to? Our Lord says in the Gospel, "And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” Who are the elect? Many will point to these passages and try to argue that there are only a limited number of people who are going to be saved. That is simply not true. Those who put their complete trust in God are His elect. We are God’s elect. Now that doesn’t mean our salvation is guaranteed. He has given us a free will and we can choose for ourselves whether or not we want to follow Him. However, these passages in no way suggest that it’s only going to be a few who will join our Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom. That door is open to all of us.
The scripture readings for today do give us something to think about. Are we living up to the call we are called to live? Jesus reminds us at the very end of the Gospel, “but of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Therefore we need to be prepared, by being faithful witnesses to the Gospel each and every day.
As we approach the close of this liturgical year and the upcoming holiday season may we pray for the grace to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel! In only a few short weeks we will approach the season of giving. While many of us are in no doubt struggling may we pray for the grace to continuously give of ourselves to God and our neighbor! Last week, I mentioned that it doesn’t matter how much we give, or what we give, as long as whatever we give it comes from the heart. We may not be able to give as much monetarily generous as we were last year; however we might consider sharing some of our gifts and talents and handing down those things we no longer use. Do not be afraid to give! When we stop giving we shut the doors to our hearts and become truly miserable. It is in giving we receive…we receive joy, peace, and satisfaction knowing we did something good.
Corpus Christi Church is truly a giving parish. Do not lose that giving spirit! You do a lot to support this parish and its many organizations! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please take these words to heart. We are so blessed with many opportunities here at Corpus Christi to come together as a family of faith to support each other and to assist one another in preparing for the heavenly kingdom.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time…the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours

As a nation today we remember those men and women who served our countries throughout the years. We honor those men and women who laid down their lives to protect the interests of this great nation and fought to free those who were unjustly deprived of freedom. On this Veterans Day we pray for those serving in our nation’s military throughout the world.
Today we also honor another soldier St. Martin of Tours. At the age of 18 he had a conversion experience. The story goes one day he ran across a man on the street. Martin moved with compassion gave this man his cloak. Later Martin had a dream and in that dream he saw that man and it was Jesus. Those with the Lord asked Him about the individual who gave Him the cloak. Our Lord responded, “My friend Martin.” From that day on Martin became another type of soldier, a soldier of Christ.
When I studied at St. Charles Seminary the college division chapel was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. Walking into the chapel on the left there was a stain class widow depicting St. Martin as a soldier. Then when you walked out of the chapel on the left directly across from the other stain class widow was a widow that depicted Martin as a bishop. Some might ponder the significance. This relates to the conversion that is supposed to take place each and every time we come here to Church. Like Martin who was converted we should be converted. We should be moved to change from our sinful ways. After receiving our Lord we should be moved as He Himself commands us each and every day to go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Every time we come here it should be a conversion experience.
My dear brothers and sisters, may we pray for our nation’s military men and women who work so hard to serve our country. May we also pray for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for others! Today may we pray for St. Martin’s intercession that we may become like Him, soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time

Yesterday for the feast of the dedication of the Lateran basilica I mentioned that we are the Church living temples of faith. This morning we hear in the Book of Wisdom that “God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature.” From the very beginning of time we were destined to be with God.
While sin entered the world, we are reminded that “the souls of the just are in the hand of God.” All we have to do is place our complete trust in Him. All of us have our own struggles, but if we place our trust in Him constantly He extends to us His gift of grace and mercy. May we strive each and every day to bless the Lord at all times in all our thoughts and actions.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Homily for the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran

Normally when we have a feast day in the Church it is usually in honor of a particular Saint. Today’s feast is in honor of a dedication of a Church. This isn’t just any Church! It is the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome. Also it is the Cathedral of Rome, the official seat of the Bishop of Rome.
Why do we honor this Church? The Basilica of St. John Lateran stands as a sign of devotion and a sign of unity with the chair of Peter. Being that it is the oldest of the Basilicas it stands as a testament of faith. In the second reading this morning we are reminded however, that the Church is more than a building. We are the Church and our faith is rooted in Jesus Christ. The Lateran Basilica just like our beloved Corpus Christi Church stands as a testimony of our faith. It was built by us the people of God. With our faith firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, may we pray this morning to always be the living temples of faith we are called to be.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Homily for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today there are two parts of the Gospel. In the first part our Lord teaching the crowds says, “Beware of the Scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.” This passage is directed at all of us. Many times we can do things for all the wrong reasons. Instead of doing things for the common good of others there is at times a tendency in us to want to do it for our own good. We look for things to do that will in turn make us look good.
After he said this He watched the crowd and one poor widow caught his attention. He watched as some rich people placed large sums of money in the treasury. However, the poor widow placed only two small coins into the treasury. Looking on calling his disciples to himself, He said to them, “Amen I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus of wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” There is something to be said about giving from our heart. That is what our Lord wants to stress in the Gospel account for today.
In light of our current economic situation many of you are struggling to meet ends meet. Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. As we approach the Holiday Season I want to stress we have a lot to be thankful for and I realize as we begin to approach the Christmas Season for many of you it will be stressful. When we find ourselves in desperate situations we tend to close the doors to our hearts. I challenge all of us not to let that happen. Perhaps we might not be able to be as generous as we were last Christmas, however it isn’t about how much we give, or what we give, as long as whatever we decide to give it comes from the heart.
We are approaching the season of giving. Since many people are struggling, I challenge all of us to model the widow we find in today’s Gospel. Yes we need to save, we need to be careful how we spend our money but that doesn’t mean we stop giving. There is more to giving than just money. We can give money but perhaps we might want to give our talents and time. Maybe we might want to consider donating those things we no longer use to someone who might now need them. Whatever we do as we approach this holiday season do not lose that spirit of giving because when we stop giving we become miserable. It is in giving we receive…we receive joy, peace, and satisfaction knowing we did something good.
Do not be afraid to give. A few weeks ago I mentioned, how blest we are as a parish. We have one of the most effective St. Vincent De Paul programs I have ever seen. It’s a program supported by you! Corpus Christi Church is truly a giving parish and I once again thank you for the generous support you give to our various programs and to our parish. Another thing I encourage all of us to take advantage of is participating in some of our parish gatherings. Yesterday we had the Craft Fair, in a couple weeks we have the Celebrate Corpus Christi Breakfast, and there other events coming up. Take advantage of these opportunities. It does more than raise money for particular organizations and the parish. These activities bring us together as a parish. It gives us the opportunity to gather and socialize as a parish family to encourage and support one another. Today more than ever we need our families for support.
My dear brothers and sister may we today model the poor widow in today’s Gospel by giving totally of ourselves to the Lord and to one another. As our beloved late Holy Father Pope John Paul II said so many a times, “Be not afraid.” As we prepare to close out this Liturgical Year and begin a new one in only a few short weeks let us be thankful to God for all the gifts He has given us and may we strive to keep the spirit of giving alive in our hearts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 31st Week of Ordinary Time

You and I are sinners! There is a tendency in us to forget that. The Scribes and Pharisees did in the Gospel account for today. Complaining about the Lord they said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus responds by challenging them by using two parables, the first of the Lost Sheep and the second of the lost coin. Our Lord by using these parables is illustrating the importance of every single individual. The Lord loves each one of us so much He longs for us to be with Him.
In everything we do we must strive not to be like the Scribes and Pharisees but to always try to be more like the Lord. We must always keep our eyes open for the lost sheep within our midst. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans this morning speaks clearly of not judging one another. This means we are not to write anyone off. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t challenge each other to a greater holiness a greater love. It’s just when we look at others we must remember that we are sinners as well and never write anyone off. As we approach the altar of the Lord this morning may we ask Him for the grace never to judge one another and to always to be on the lookout for the modern day lost sheep in our society.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Homily for All Souls 2009

On this feast of All Souls we have many options to choose from when it comes to picking the readings. Taking a look at our Second Reading from St. Paul we are reminded that none of us live is to live for ourselves. “For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.” Today we commemorate All Souls day, where we pray for all those who have died and we particularly remember the souls in purgatory.
Purgatory is often a misunderstood place. It is often seen as a place where one slaves away to pay off a debt that they incurred while here on earth. Purgatory is a place of purification a place of refinement. While many don’t understand purgatory, for us who believe it is a positive place, for if one dies and are placed in purgatory they are truly in the hands of God. As the Lord said in today’s Gospel, “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” Therefore today let’s make it a point to come to the Lord each and every day. Let us ask our brothers and sisters who have gone before us to intercede for us before the Lord to help us with always living for Him by living for others.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Homily for All Saints 2009

We gather together today to honor all those Saints who have gone before us and are gathered with our Lord in the heavenly kingdom. There is a tendency when we hear about Saints we think just of those who are publically recognized by the Church as such. Saints like our own, Saints Katherine Drexel, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and John Neumann to name a few. However, anyone who is in the heavenly kingdom is a Saint.
In the book of Revelation we hear about John’s vision, where he saw “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue.” Here we get to see the great diversity of Saints. Everyone who dies and is present in the heavenly kingdom is considered Saints. When we refer to the Communion of Saints we are referring to everyone in heaven. That is our goal my brothers and sisters to strive for the heavenly kingdom.
How do we make it to the heavenly Kingdom? To find the answer we turn to Matthews Gospel. Our Lord sitting down after he reached the top of the mountain began to teach His disciples. He didn’t teach them with big words rather He taught them by addressing their needs. Our Lord in some cases today addressed an element of their suffering and then gave them words of encouragement. That is what he does for all of us today. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.” Listen closely to the words of the Lord. Not only does he address those who suffer, he also addresses those who follow the commandments closely, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Those who follow the will of God as the Lord said at the end of today’s Gospel, their reward will be great in heaven.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are God’s children and He loves us so much. While things at times may be tough He never ever abandons us. There is a natural tendency in all of us longing to see the face of God. Today we are blessed with people in Heaven to help us reach the heavenly kingdom. Reach out to them, seek their help. Place yourselves in the palm of God’s loving and merciful hands. If we all do this we will accomplish our goal in life, to see firsthand the face of God.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Homily for Friday of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time School Liturgy

Today boys and girls I present to you this candle. As I mentioned in the beginning of this Liturgy the readings focus on light and that you and I are called to be a light in the world. Boys and Girls do you know when you receive this candle??? That’s right…in the Sacrament of Baptism.
When we were baptized we became members of God’s family and became children of the light. This light has been given to us and we are to see to it that it is kept burning brightly for all to see. We keep this light burning brightly when we follow Jesus. When Jesus lived here among us on earth He did many wonderful things reaching out to others. You and I are called to do the same. Every time we reach out to help another person, or say a kind word we fuel that light and keep it burning brightly.
Boys and Girls, today as we continue to pray let us ask Jesus to help us, to help us keep that light lit and burning brightly for all those to see.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Homily for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude

We are members of God’s family. How awesome is that! St. Paul in writing to the Ephesians states that our foundation is “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. “ Today we honor two of the apostles Saints Simon and Jude. The apostles of course are his closest friends the ones he entrusted with this awesome ministry.
You and I should be familiar with the Gospel account for today. It’s Luke’s account of the calling of the twelve. As our Lord called the twelve, he calls you and me today. We are called to this very special ministry of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. May we turn to Jesus Christ who is our capstone and ask Him for His divine assistance in proclaiming the message of Christ’s love through all the earth.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time

This morning I want to echo once again the beautiful opening words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” Where do we find our hope the hope that St. Paul refers to future glory? That hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
God so loved each one of us that He became man and embraced suffering. Our Lord embraced suffering to the point of death, death on the cross. The story of course doesn’t end there after three days He rose again from the dead. Our focus mainly today is on the image of the resurrected Christ. This is fine, but without the cross there would be no resurrection. So today let us mediate on the image of Christ crucified, the way in which He demonstrated to us His marvels of His love. He continues to demonstrate his marvelous love for us here and now in this Sacred Liturgy. For it was through His passion and death He gave us all hope in the great things to come.

Homily for Monday of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time

Jesus turning to the crowd this morning says, “Hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering.” He speaks to the crowds with rather harsh and strong words to drive home a point. Our God is the God of Salvation, his saving acts never stop. He is still working them today although we ourselves might be blind to them.
Many people confuse service and work. When defining them I like to separate them, while yes our society uses them interchangeably. Service is something we provide for the betterment of others, while work is something we do to earn a living. Sunday is a day when we should try to avoid unnecessary work; however it should always be a day of service. Now there are some who need to work on Sundays, firefighters, medical staff, and police officers to name a few. Our Lord reached out today in the Gospel to the woman who had been crippled by the spirit, may we strive today and everyday to reach out to all those in need.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Homily for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” This plea of Bartimaeus should be constantly our plea to the merciful Father. Today, one thing we can take away from the blind man in today’s Gospel is his persistence. Despite being rebuked by the crowds he didn’t give up and in fact he cried out to the Lord and said a second time, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Did this blind man’s plea go unnoticed? The answer is no, after hearing his pleas the Lord called him over.
As we look at the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Behold I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng.” One thing you and I can take from these readings is the Lord has an affection and love for those who suffer. He does not want them to feel like they are outcasts. Many times you and I can listen too much to those crowds who prevent us from coming to Him. Who are the modern crowds today? They are the ones who say to us, why do you put your faith in God who lets you suffer? How can you put your faith in a God who let’s bad things happen to good people? These are the voices we need to ignore. Do not give up on your faith, no matter how bad things may appear or actually get.
Today may we model our lives after Bartimaeus! Be persistent! Jesus looking at the blind man with love asked him what he wanted. This morning he asks us the very same question,” What do you want me to do for you?” May our response be the same, “Master I want to see!” Don’t be afraid to tell him what you need. If we ask the Lord presenting ourselves to Him completely, holding nothing back, he will grant the very same thing he granted Bartimaeus, he will help us to see the ways of His Kingdom.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homily for Friday of 29th Week of Ordinary Time

You and I struggle with many things and at times find it difficult to follow the commandments. It is often difficult because we find pleasure in many worldly things. It’s a struggle because sometimes we find sinning more pleasurable. If we stop to think about it we know it’s true. That’s how the devil tricks us; he takes what is good and twists it. Many people struggle with sins of the flesh because sex is naturally good. Others struggle with gathering up worldly possessions and money because they want to be comfortable and not suffer. Let’s face it having a roof over our head and having other things to keep us preoccupied is a lot better than the alternative. However, that’s where we have to be careful.
God does not want us to be unhappy, however at the same time he warns us about worldly pleasures. True happiness is found when we follow the will of God, and not our own will. At times when we follow our own will, while we try to keep an outward appearance of happiness, deep inside us we know something is missing. It’s a struggle we all have, and as St. Paul points out the answer can be found in Jesus Christ. As we prepare to come forward to receive our Lord Jesus Christ in a personal way in the most Holy Eucharist, let’s ask to Him to teach us His ways.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

“But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God.” When we hear the word slave our immediate reaction because of our history is one of negativity. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word slave as “a person held in servitude as the chattel of another or one that is completely subservient to a dominating force.” What we have to take into account this morning that St. Paul was speaking in human terms as he himself stated, “because of our human nature.”
Yes to be a slave of God means we have to surrender ourselves to Him but at the same time He doesn’t domineer over us. Rather, he gives us the free will to be able choose whether we follow Him or not. Now what is the benefit of placing our trust in the hands of God? St. Paul answers, “The benefit that you have leads to satisfaction, and its end is eternal life.”
Today our Lord challenges us to follow Him. The road he asks us to follow isn’t easy, he eludes that when he says, and “Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Many times you and I fall in the trap where we become comfortable and get set in our ways. When we are challenged to a greater holiness we balk at it. I believe today we are afraid of living out our faith because we are afraid of what others may think. Jesus Christ wasn’t afraid. He isn’t afraid to challenge us to follow and place our trust in Him. Neither was St. Paul! If you and I are living out our faith correctly we will find many who will chastise us. “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.” Place your hope in the Lord, and just sit back and watch what happens.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” If we struggle at times with being overwhelmed perhaps we should turn to this passage to help us. You and I are blessed with many gifts, one of which is the gift of faith. We gather here each day to be nourished by the Lord and each time we gather here we receive a gift. It’s a gift not to be kept to ourselves but a gift that is meant to be shared.
When we become discouraged may we remember the words we said together a moment ago, “Our help is in the name of the Lord.” Repeat it to yourselves throughout the day. Take that short phrase to prayer. As we make this short phrase from the responsorial psalm our focus for the day, the easier it will become for us to place our trust in the Lord.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

One of the things I love about St. Paul’s writings is that he tells us the way it is. While at times his writings might be hard to understand the one thing that permeates through his entire writings is the focus on love, especially the love our Lord Jesus Christ has for us. This morning he speaks of how sin and death entered the world through the disobedience of one, and how it was through the obedience of one we are all saved. Another thing to take note he says to the Romans, “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.”
My dear brothers and sisters, while we live in a society where a lack of faith permeates, the grace of God is still present, all we have to do is ask for it. God is more than ready to come to our aide, but He wants us to do it on our own accord. This morning our Gospel verse reads, “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son Man.” Let’s make that the goal for today, to always be vigilant and to pray. If we do this daily, you and I will experience the love our Lord has for each one of us.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Homily for Monday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” These words from our Lord remind us of the importance of simplicity. So many times we get wrapped up and become jealous of others who may have more than we do. Our Lord reminds us that there is something more.
The danger exists in all of us. Although we come here day after day to be nourished by the word of God and in the reception of Holy Communion we too can become distracted. While we may at times become discouraged let us today model the faith of Abraham. As it is written, “Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do.” Let us rejoice for the Lord continues to be with us each day and pray for the strength to always place our trust in Him.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Homily for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time...World Mission Sunday

“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” Does this sound familiar? At times we can be like James and John that instead of asking the Lord for things we need, we demand things from Him. What were the two sons of Zebedee looking for? They were looking for places of honor in the heavenly kingdom. How did our Lord respond to their request? He said, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink? Or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
Once again as we have seen many times before our Lord is indirectly making reference to His upcoming passion and death on the cross. For when He says, “can you drink that cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized,” he isn’t speaking about a glass of water or the sacrament of baptism he is speaking about the trials and tribulations of life. Can we accept the crosses life has in store for us? That’s the question. You and I so often wrongly believe we can find happiness by avoiding the crosses of life. However, true happiness is not found running away from the cross, true happiness is found when we accept and embrace it.
Can anything good come from suffering? The answer can be found in the passage of the first reading from the prophet Isaiah. In the first reading it says, “If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him.” Then it also goes onto to say, “Through his sufferings, my servant shall justify many.” Yes a lot of good can come from suffering. This weekend is World Mission Sunday. You and I bear the awesome responsibility to care for one another, whether that is here at home or abroad. Here at Corpus we already have a wonderful missionary spirit. Your generosity is clearly evident in the weekly parish collections; your willingness to contribute to our Saint Vincent De Paul program is something to be commended. I can truly say this, in all of the parishes I have been assigned we have the most effective St. Vincent De Paul Program I have ever seen. You are to be commended because I know many of you are struggling as well. Keep up the good work.
While we will continue to seek your generosity I would like to ask you to assist me in my missionary work as a priest. Many times from the pulpit I have said that we live in a world that looks for happiness in all the wrong places. We look for happiness in material possessions and money. Today many of our people are unfortantely losing their shirts. Normally when people hit bottom there is a natural tendency in them to turn back to God. However, it’s my fear this isn’t happening. It’s not happening because of the lack of faith that is prevalent in our culture. We live in a society that in essence has turned its back on the crucifix and rejects the idea of redemptive suffering. This is very dangerous and we see the effects of this more and more in the news reports. When people hit rock bottom they end up turning not only end up hurting themselves but also those they love.
Today, I challenge all of you to grow in holiness. I challenge you to strengthen your relationship with the Lord through prayer and be a people of service always striving to bring others to Christ. Also be open to the crosses of life. Embrace them with joy, allowing the Lord to work through you. I would also like to ask everyone to assist me in my priestly ministry my inviting the lost sheep back home. You know who they are, even better than I do; they are your co-workers, neighbors, and even members of your own family. Invite them home to the Lord. More than ever we need the Lord, we His love.
We find our strength and hope in the Lord and when we place our trust in Him we can handle anything. This is the truth! Do not run away from the cross, run towards it and ask the Lord for the strength to carry it well. If we all want to see change, the change we can really believe in, than let us start by placing our hope in Jesus Christ and we will not be disappointed!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Homily for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time...and explanation of new diocesan guidelines to help prevent the spread of flu

One thing that stands out from today’s first reading is the power of wisdom and how it surpasses all the riches of the world. True wealth is not found in material possessions, it is found in wisdom. That is what Jesus challenges us today in the Gospel, he tells the rich man to go and sell what He has and give it to the poor. Now we can look at this passage literally or we can look at it at a spiritual level. If we look at it literally then we simply go sell what we have and be done with it. However, if we look at it spiritually than we need to recognize that everything that has been given to us has been given to us by God and we need to thank Him for those gifts. One of the ways we thank him is by sharing those gifts with others. To those more has been given, more is expected.
Now there is one thing that we don’t want to share with everyone else and that is this flu bug that is going around. In light of this upcoming flu season the Diocese of Harrisburg has adopted two norms starting next weekend Oct 17th and 18th. Beginning next weekend distribution of the precious blood is generally suspended. The second norm adopted is that beginning next weekend the sign of peace is to be offered with no physical contact. For example if the priest celebrant chooses to extend the invitation for the sign of peace one way we can greet each other is by bowing the head to those around us. Although the sign of peace has become customary the General Instruction of the Roman Missal clearly refers to it as an option therefore the priest celebrant may choose not to extend the invitation for the exchange of the sign of peace. For example after the priest says, “may the peace of the Lord be with you always with you,” he usually says “let us offer each other the sign of peace.” The priest celebrant may choose to skip that second line and go right into the Lamb of God.
These two norms established by the Diocese of Harrisburg begins next weekend and will be in effect until further notice. Last weekend I was asked about other things we can do to prevent the flu from spreading. One of the things I will gladly address is the issue of holding hands during the Our Father. This has become custom in a lot of parishes but is not included in the Liturgy. Therefore, please do not hold hands during the Our Father. Some may wonder why it’s wrong and it’s not wrong in a sinful way, however it just shouldn’t be done. Everything in the liturgy is done for a particular purpose. Holding hands during the Our Father detracts or takes away from that true act of unity which is expressed in the reception of Holy Communion.
Also last week I was asked about the possibility of requiring the faithful to receive Holy Communion in the hand only. Some dioceses around the United States has adopted this policy, however Rome is clear communion may never be denied to those who wish to receive in the traditional manner. Therefore if the communicant wishes to receive on the tongue they may continue to do so. While some are trying to encourage the faithful to receive communion in the hand I will actually encourage the opposite. If we think about it where would we find most germs, on the tongue or in the hands? Most germs would be found in the hands because we touch everything with our hands. So please consider that along with these other norms as we try to prevent the spread of the flu. As a Sacred Minister of Holy Communion I am not overly concerned about the spread of the flu through Holy Communion because I believe I am distributing the Body of Christ and that He will protect all of us.
The best way we can prevent the danger of spreading the flu is simply by not coming to Mass when we feel sick. If we are truly sick than missing Mass is NOT A SIN. Therefore, there is no need to confess it. Also even if you are sick on Saturday and feel a little better on Sunday and not sure if the disease has run its course, if you find yourself concerned about spreading germs and you feel it is best to stay home then do it. Once again it is NOT A SIN; it is an act of charity. Also if you feel sick at any point during the Sacred Liturgy you have my explicit permission to get up and leave Mass early. Yes I did say you have my explicit permission to leave…that’s of course only if you feel sick, and not to beat the crowd getting in line for the breakfast special at some restaurant.
Finally in regards to me as a priest I will continue to greet people offering to shake hands after Mass. As a priest I feel it is necessary and important to do that. There is a danger of becoming overly obsessed with worrying about the flu. I am not saying we shouldn’t be concerned but at the same time we shouldn’t panic. If you are one who is overly sensitive to following certain health procedures, you may want to consider purchasing little bottles of hand sanitizers for your cars or to carry with you. Now I just spoke to you about if one’s sick it’s ok not to come to Mass, unfortunately I don’t have that luxury. My ministry is kind of essential for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Please know if at any point I am not feeling well I will not greet you in the back of Church. I just wanted all of you to know that in cases when I don’t stand back and greet you after Mass for a couple weeks that I’m not being anti-social.
During these next few months let us pray for all those affected by the flu and ask the Lord’s help to protect each one of us from harm. If we work together and use our heads taking a few simple precautions we can prevent this deadly flu from spreading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 27th Week of Ordinary Time...The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

We gather together to commemorate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. In the last line of the first reading for today it says, “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. The most Holy Rosary is a very powerful devotion. Because if we pray it well, and mediate on each mystery we are at that very moment being brought closer to Christ.
Our Gospel account this morning is of when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she is to give birth to a son and that she is to name him Jesus. Mary is the mother of God and she is our mother too. When I was younger I remember my mother grabbing my hand to walk my brother and me across the street. You and I when we pray the rosary that is what the Blessed Mother does, she grabs us by the hand holding on to it tight and leads us to her Son. That is why the rosary is so powerful.
As we continue our devotion to the Most Holy Rosary may we always strive to grow closer to Jesus through the intercession of His Blessed Mother!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Concerns over Swine Flu…

This past weekend one of the extraordinary ministers in the parish asked me if I could ask the parishioners to receive on the hand only in fear of the swine flu epidemic. Although we are in the midst of the spreading swine flu epidemic I will not tell communicants that they have to receive on the hand only.
A few weeks back I preached on the proper reception of Holy Communion. Holy Mother Church teaches that the norm for receiving Holy Communion in the Roman Rite is on the tongue. Reception of Holy Communion in the hand is seen as an option. I encourage everyone to read the document Memoriale Domini, the document that addresses instruction of the manner of distributing Holy Communion from the Congregation of Divine Worship issued in 1969. The document can be found on the EWTN website. Here is the link.
Some may question the documents relevance today, however while the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand is an approved option here in the United States one must recognize and teach reception of communion on the tongue as the norm in the Roman Rite. In regards to the swine flu I believe it would be a mistake to require the faithful to receive in the hand. First, I believe those who think they will spread disease by placing the Sacred Host on the tongue are mistaken. There is a greater chance of one spreading the disease by touching ones hands than my accidentally touching ones tongue. If we think about it more germs can be found on the hand. There is the argument that by placing the Sacred Host on the hand limits contact. That’s not true, because the Sacred Host is to be placed directly on the hand, not dropped in place and in that simple exchange there is a danger of brushing up against the hand of the communicant. Therefore I find that encouraging reception of Holy Communion on the hand during this swine flu epidemic would be wrong and unnecessary and in fact I would encourage the opposite. Besides if we as ministers truly believe we are distributing and receiving the Body of Christ than we should trust that our Lord will protect us from all disease or harm.
Now during this swine flu epidemic I would encourage the discontinuation of the distribution of the Precious Blood. While we do use purificators to wipe the chalice it really isn’t sanitary. Although the minister should turn the chalice each time as they wipe the mouth of the chalice all we are really doing is wiping germs all over the chalice. Therefore it would make more sense to discontinue distribution of the precious blood. Besides whether we receive the Holy Eucharist whether it is under the Sacred Host or the Precious Blood we are always receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
How else can we prevent the spread of the flu? You and I can both limit the spread of the flu by simply using our heads. It goes without saying we need to wash our hands on a regular basis. It might not be a bad idea to have a little container of instant hand sanitizer in your pocket. If we know we are feeling a little sick then we should not extend our hands to our neighbors during the sign of peace. All you have to do is simply bow your head to the person next to you. This is not rude; it’s an act of charity. This weekend I was also asked to mention to the congregation not to hold hands during the Our Father to prevent the spread of the flu. Well this one is easy because we are not supposed to be holding hands during the Our Father. I will use this opportunity for a little liturgical catechesis. Holding hands during the Our Father has become a popular gesture for us during the Liturgy. Some may ask why it is wrong to hold hands during the Our Father. Well it’s not necessarily wrong it just shouldn’t be done because it detracts or takes away from that true act of unity which is expressed in the reception of Holy Communion. That is why I caution and encourage people not to hold hands for the Our Father.
Now the best way we can prevent the danger of spreading the flu is simply by not coming to Mass when we feel sick. If we are truly sick than missing Mass is NOT A SIN. Therefore, there is no need to confess it. Also even if you are sick on Saturday and feel a little better on Sunday and not sure if the disease has run its course, if you find yourself concerned about spreading germs and you feel it is best to stay home then do it. Once again it is NOT A SIN; it is an act of charity.
During these next few months let us pray for all those affected by the flu and ask the Lord’s help to protect each one of us from harm. If we work together and take a few simple precautions we can prevent the flu from spreading.