Friday, July 31, 2009

Homily for Friday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time

One of the most important things we can do is present ourselves and offer up to Him the sacrifice of our lives. Speaking to Moses the Lord said, “when you come into the land which I am giving, and reap your harvest, you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest who shall wave the sheaf before the Lord that it may be acceptable for you.” Indeed the Lord has blest all of us with many wonderful gifts, how often do we take these gifts for granted. Do we thank God for giving us these wonderful gifts?
Perhaps the problem is like the people we find in this morning’s Gospel account from Matthew that they could not grasp what the Lord was saying because they knew Him too well. “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty needs? Is He not the carpenter’s son?” Maybe at times that’s what our problem is today. We have become come too familiar and have lost a sense of the sacred. Maybe we over intellectualize things, or water down things too much. May we pray for the grace today to never lose sight of the sacred and to give the Lord thanks for everything that he has given us! St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time

This morning’s Gospel reminds us of the Last Judgment. It’s something we don’t like to think about. Jesus likens the Kingdom of Heaven this morning like a net thrown into the sea. After catching a bunch of fish the fishermen reel it ashore. They take the good fish and put it in the bucket and toss out the bad. That is what will happen at the last judgment, like it or not.
Some will say, “Well if God is all merciful then why would He cast us out.” God doesn’t cast us out, we cast ourselves out. Many times we take God’s love and mercy for granted. We think oh I’ll confess my sins later. Big mistake, we must always be aware of our own sinfulness, for we do not know when the Lord will call us each home. This morning, meditate and reflect on those times we may have not acted as we should have and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Always seek the Lord’s love and mercy and when we do all of us will see how lovely it is to dwell in the presence of the Lord.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time

There are certain aspects of God that we as human beings can never fully grasp. For example, while we can explain the Trinity as Three Person in one God, no one can fully grasp this mystery. Some things are impossible to explain and understand.
However, we still can know many things about God through revelation. In the first reading the Lord passing through Moses cried out, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin.” We are blest to have such a merciful God. However, the Lord does hold us accountable for our failings. For the passage continues “yet not declaring the guilty guiltless.” Therefore, we must always aware of our own sinfulness and be ready to seek forgiveness when we fail. By seeking the Lord’s forgiveness we will experience firsthand our Lord’s kindness and mercy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Regarding the Sacred Liturgy...the use of the Chalice Veil

(Above: The chalice covered with the green chalice veil)

About two weekends ago I began using chalice veils to cover my chalice during Mass. Some may wonder what significance the chalice veil has and why I began to use it. First, I began to use it because the chalice veil should be used. has a practical purpose. The chalice veil signifies the color of the day. For example, on the feast of St. Peter and Paul, the color used would have been red to signify that they were martyrs. On Sundays in Ordinary Time we use green to signify the color of the season. Also the chalice veil helps protect the chalice from collecting dust and from insects from getting into the chalice. More importantly the chalice veil should be used because it gives reverence to the chalice.

Sacred Vessels need to be treated with respect because of their sacred purpose. It is in those sacred vessels that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. As I meditate on the use of the chalice veil personally the chalice veil adds a special addition to the Sacred Liturgy. When the chalice is veiled it is clothed with humility. Then when the chalice veil is removed one sees the beauty of the chalice. As the Lord was glorified on the cross in the Sacred Liturgy the Lord through His humility is also glorified.

Homily for Monday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time

You and I are called to give thanks to the Lord always. Our Lord has blest us all with many wonderful gifts, but how many times do we take them for granted. In this morning’s first reading Moses came down off the mountain with the two tablets which contained the Ten Commandments. Moses was upset when he saw the people worshiping idols other than God.
Are there other idols in our lives? Perhaps we at times can be preoccupied with finances, material possessions. Maybe we spend too much time in front of the computer or television set. There are many distractions which can keep us from focusing on our relationship with the Lord. Jesus in the Gospel likened the Kingdom of Heaven to a tiny little mustard seed. When the seed grows it becomes a large plant. That seed is contained in us and for it to grow all we need is to water it. How do we water it? By following the Lord’s commandments and by placing our faith in Him and not in worldly idols. As we approach the altar of the Lord this morning ask him for the grace to persevere that way that tiny mustard seed that is within all of us can grow to its full potential.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homily for the Closing of the Day of Eucharistic Adoration at St. Jude’s in Mifflintown

Before I begin I would like to convey to all of you my great joy for being able to be here to preach the homily at your annual Eucharistic Devotion. Back in the summer of 2005 I was assigned to Sacred Heart and St. Jude’s for my first summer assignment and it is good to be back. Please know you have always been in my prayers and I would like to say thank you for your prayers and now see the fruit of your prayers as I now return as a priest of Jesus Christ. This afternoon is also my first time here in the new Church, I was supposed to be here last year but some car troubles prevented me, but I am happy to be here now to share this time with you. I would like to extend my appreciation to your pastor Father Bill Weary for his kind invitation and allowing me this opportunity to return to St. Jude’s.
Our responsorial psalm for this Sunday is fitting, “the hand of the Lord feeds us; He answers all our needs.” How blest are we that the hand of the Lord continues to feed us through the Most Holy Eucharist. The next few weekends at Mass we will be hearing passages from Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. This chapter contains what is known as the Bread of Life discourse. These next few weekends I encourage all of us to meditate on the importance of the Holy Eucharist in our lives. More than ever today we need time to pause and reflect on the Blessed Sacrament. There is a danger that all of us can fall into is that we receive Holy Communion as a matter of habit and not think about and appreciate the great gift we receive. This is prevalent problem in our churches today. It is evident when we see same individuals every week show up late for Mass, it is evident when the same people each week leave early, and it is evident by the way some individuals present themselves for Holy Communion for they don’t know the proper way to receive our Lord. Thus, it is necessary for us to meditate on this great gift we can so often take for granted.
It was no accident that our Lord that night in the upper room gathered with His twelve apostles picked up a humble piece of bread and a cup filled with wine and said, “this is my body, which will be given up for you. This is the cup of my blood, the blood the new and everlasting covenant which will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven do this in memory of me.” Why bread and wine? Jesus chose bread and wine to become His Body and Blood because bread and wine are symbolic of food and drink. Bread and wine give us nourishment and strength, thus the Body and Blood of Christ nourishes and gives us the strength we need to persevere in life. How blest we are that our Lord loves us so much that he continues to come to us in a humble manner everyday in the Eucharist. Also, how blest we are to have this wonderful opportunity to kneel and sit in His awesome presence as we worship Him exposed in the monstrance.
One of the earliest writings in His pontificate, our Holy Father Pope Benedict wrote an apostolic exhortation entitled, Sacramentum Cartitas, “The Sacrament of Love.” Indeed that is what the Eucharist is the sacrament of love. There are many people who criticize our Holy Father for his views on the Liturgy. Some are even saying He is turning the clock back and reversing the progress of the Second Vatican Council. How wrong they are! Our Holy Father in his wisdom as guardian of the Church’s liturgy in everything that He has done to enhance the Sacred Celebration has done so in order to cultivate a deeper love and respect for the Holy Eucharist. He is not changing things for the sake of changing things. Perhaps yes we need to stop, step back and see what we have lost then and only then begin to move forward.
Pope Benedict realizes a need for a deeper love and respect for the Lord in the Holy Eucharist in today’s world. In addition to some of the problems already mentioned another problem prevalent is individuals finding it not necessary to go to Church on Sunday. This is a major problem. Many individuals don’t find it necessary to go to Mass on Sunday because they feel that they can worship God on their own. While yes we can worship God on our own wherever we please the decision of an individual to conscientiously skip Mass on Sunday is a sin. It is a sin because it violates the commandment to keep Holy the Sabbath day. They will say well I keep Holy the Sabbath day but not in Church, but it still wrong. It is wrong because it violates the Lord’s command which the priest says at every Mass when He raises the chalice, “Do this in memory of me.”
Early on in his pontificate Pope Benedict requested that the crucifix be placed on the center of the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica and in places that he has been the crucifix is placed on the center of the altar. This change to make the crucifix more prominent is important because it reminds us of the close connection between the sacrifice that is taking place on the altar, with the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Think about it, picture the priest saying the words with us looking on “this is my body, which will be given up for you,” then elevating the Sacred Host staring directly towards the image of Christ crucified. Then the chalice saying the words “Do this in memory of me,” and doing the same thing elevating the chalice looking at the image of the crucified Christ. One of the mistakes we have made is we have either removed entirely or turned our backs to the crucifix. The image of the crucified Lord must be central in every parish church, every Catholic School, and in every home. When we remove the crucifix we lose sight of the purpose of redemptive suffering and find the necessity of receiving Holy Communion regularly no longer necessary.
There is a connection between what happens here on the altar each day and what happened that day on Calvary. By removing the image of the cross many people have lost sight of the Eucharist. Through His suffering and death our Lord showed us the way to salvation. On that day, it was through this humility that He was glorified. Today it is that very same humility He becomes glorified when that humble piece of bread becomes the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ. He is our strength and when we are faced with those moments of burden and doubt it is in those moments we need to place our trust in Him.
Please allow me to share a story from my early days of seminary formation and my devotion to the Holy Eucharist. Those who know me well know one of my crosses is academics. When it came time for tests I always struggled and several times I was tempted just to give up. One day in chapel, I remember praying after Mass before the Lord exposed on the altar just as He is today. I will admit as I was praying I was the one doing all the talking for at the time I really wasn’t interested in what the Lord had to say. It was truly a one sided conversation. After about a half hour I left the chapel and returned to my room. Not long after returning to my room I had a knock on my door and it was one of my brothers to tell me I had a phone call. We did not have phones in our rooms so if someone wanted to get a hold of us they called the dorm phone. Answering the phone it was one of my relatives who was a Sister of St. Joseph stationed nearby and wanted to come visit. Of course I said sure and she arrived about a half hour latter. For about an hour we walked around campus and talked. Before she left she told me she had something to give me. Opening the trunk of her car she presented me with a picture that was given to her by one of her student’s years earlier. It was a picture of a field with the sun up in the corner, but in the sun were the letters IHS to signify that the sun was the Eucharist. Then in the other corner were the words, “Survival of Life.” Then it dawned on me the message our Lord wanted to get through to me that He is our survival of life. He wanted to me to come towards Him and present my concerns and needs and that He will give me the strength that I need to persevere. As you can see that I made it and that God willed it that I was ordained a priest and I still have picture. It is hanging on the wall over in my office at Corpus Christi’s parish center.
My brothers and sisters the Most Holy Eucharist is our survival of life. When faced with great difficulties do not hesitate to place your concerns into the palm of His hands. Our Lord Himself will guide you and give you the strength you need handle the concerns of everyday life. In one of the Sacristy’s I was in I remember seeing a plaque that said, “Priest of God, celebrate every Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” For our purposes today I would like to rephrase that slightly, “Children of God, when you come forward to receive Holy Communion, receive Him as it were your first time, your last time, your only time. As we come forward every time to receive our Lord may we say these words to ourselves. If we say this to ourselves every time receiving communion will never become just a matter of habit. Every time we come forward it will become more special each and every day. Our experience will become more personal and more spiritual.
As we continue to meditate and pray in the presence of our Lord may we pray for the grace to always be aware and open to His presence and that we may experience it in a whole new light each and every day.

Message to the Hispanic Community...

Mis estimados hermanos y hermanas de la comunidad hispánica del St. Jude, mientras que no puedo agarrar y comunicar a usted en su propia lengua hermosa, hablamos juntos una lengua y ésa es la lengua del amor, nuestro amor para el Senor Jesucristo. Mi mensaje para ustedes es lugar su confianza en Jesús; Él es nuestra supervivencia de la vida. ¡Cómo bendecidos que somos el señor nos da la eucaristía para estar juntos! ¡Dios les bendiga! Jesus les ama. Yo tambien les amo.

English Translation...

My dear brothers and sisters of St. Jude’s Hispanic community, while I am not able to grasp and communicate to you in your own beautiful language, we speak together one language and that is the language of love, our love for Jesus Christ. My message to you is place your trust in Jesus; He is our Survival of Life. How blest we are that the Lord gives us the Eucharist to bring us together! May God bless you! Jesus loves you, I love you!

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This weekend at the parish we had a missionary priest come to speak at the parish. Therefore, I did not need to preach this weekend. However I want to point out that the next few weekends we will be proclaiming the Gospel from the 6th chapter of John. This chapter contains what is known as the Bread of Life discourse. Therefore my homilies the next few weekends will focus on the Eucharist. How blest we are as our responsorial psalm says for this Sunday that, "the hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers our needs. He gives us such a wonderful gift in the Holy Eucharist which unfortunately some of us take for granted. We are blest these next couple weekends to focus and meditate on this great gift which has been given us. So stay tuned...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday of the 16th Week of Ordinary

This morning we are reminded in the responsorial psalm that the Lord has the words of everlasting life. The Lord should be our rock and foundation. Once again the Lord speaks to His disciples in the form of a parable using the example of a tiny seed. What is “rich soil” in reference to in this morning’s Gospel? The “rich soil” represents the Lord. Those who place their trust in the Lord find the strength they need to carry the burdens life brings them. The more we place our hope and trust in the Lord the more we grow in faith.
How does one water the seed of faith? It is done by following our Lord’s commandments which are listed today from the Book of Exodus. Many times we think of freedom as being able to do what we want. However, true freedom is found in following the will of God and embracing everything that is thrown our way. Place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and you will find the true freedom we all long for, the true freedom that brings us everlasting joy and peace.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time

There are times we hear and see things that we do not grasp. All of us probably have had those moments when we are staring into a book, at a computer screen, or a trying to figure out one of those puzzles we end up looking for an answer or solution that we simply cannot find, but in reality is right under our nose. Then there are those times we kind of get the concept but miss the point. That is why Jesus explains to his disciples His reasoning for utilizing parables in His ministry. Parables can be a very powerful tool because they can help us grasp the idea better or help us grasp the idea on a whole new level.
We gather here each day to give Glory and Praise to our God who reveals His awesome wonders to us. As I said yesterday morning in the homily when we come forward to receive communion imagine if it were your, first, your last, your only time receiving our Lord. When we do that our experience of receiving the Lord becomes a little more special each and every day. Our experience becomes more personal and more spiritual. May we pray for the grace to always be open to His presence and that we may experience it in a whole new way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time

The Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.” We are truly blessed that the same promise our Lord made to Moses is true for us today. Every time we gather here we receive bread from heaven. Many times sadly there are people who take it for granted. There is a plaque I saw once in a sacristy for priests that says, “Priest of God, celebrate this Mass as if it were you first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” Think about it!
As you come forward today reflect on this…when you come up today to receive our Lord think of it as if it was your first time, you last time, your only time. Take these simple words to heart and you will come to a greater appreciation of the great gift we receive each and every day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time

Glazing over the passages this morning we see a connection. The Lord told Moses in the Book of Exodus, “stretch out your hand over the sea that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians. “ Here we see the powerful mighty hand of God as He protects the children of Israel. Then in the Gospel it said stretching out his hand toward his disciples, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
The stretching out of one’s hand is a powerful gesture. It symbolizes a willingness to give. Many times were tempted to hold our hands back out of fear of being hurt. However, what happens when one does decide to hold back? They become a lone and miserable. Our challenge today is to model our Lord’s example by stretching out one’s hands for another and then we can sit back and watch what mighty deeds our Lord can accomplish through us.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time

Many times we can be like the scribes and Pharisees who said to Jesus, “Teacher we wish to see a sign from you.” Miracles are everywhere and they happen all the time. Perhaps at times we don’t notice them because we are so preoccupied looking for the spectacular and don’t notice the little miracles that happen around us on a daily basis. The miracle could be a little thing such as someone saying Good Morning, How are you doing today, God bless you, have a good day, or just a beautiful simple smile. They occur every day we just have to be open to it. In a few moments, a miracle will happen right before our eyes when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ.
This morning let us pray for the grace to be open to the ways our Lord communicates to us each day in those little ways.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Homily for the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

If we carefully listened this morning to the readings one word should have stood out to us, the word shepherd. In the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah the opening words from the Lord is one of warning, “woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord.” Today there are many sheep that have become lost and have strayed because of bad shepherds.
Last week at the Masses I preached at I made reference that many Catholics have come to reject the Church’s teachings regarding issues of life because of members of the clergy stood up and preached that this is ok. Well it’s not ok and let me repeat that Holy Mother Church has always upheld and will always uphold the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception till natural death. This will never change!!!
The Lord says this morning, “I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them, so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing.” He continues to call shepherds today to lead His flock. Now this leaves us with questions who are the shepherds in today’s world. All of us gathered here are called to be shepherds. Priests and religious are called to shepherd the people of God through their example of a life of prayer and service dedicated to God. Parents you are called be shepherds to your children my fostering the gifts God has given them and help them grow in their relationship with the Lord. Too those who consecrate themselves to God in living the single life you are shepherds to everyone by the example of your lives. We are all called to be shepherds.
All of us at times have fallen short and we wonder to ourselves how it is that the Lord works through us. Let be said, that it is no accident that the Lord referred to Himself as “the Good Shepherd.” The Shepherd was seen as an outcast because they often were dirty and they smelled horrible after long hours pasturing their sheep. In referring to Himself as Shepherd the Lord once again demonstrates His great humility. Because of our human nature we have fallen short, but our challenge is never give up. When we fall we are called to get right back up again and move ahead. However, we don’t do it alone.
Our challenge this Sunday my brothers and sisters is to turn to the Lord who is our shepherd and worship in awe as He continues to present Himself to us in such a humble manner on this very altar in the Most Holy Eucharist. As we together come forward to receive Him may we pray for the strength to model Him as we shepherd those under our care.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Homily for Friday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time

This morning we celebrate a Votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist. It is fitting also today that the readings speak about the Sabbath. What does to it mean to keep Holy the Sabbath day? Let’s begin first at looking at what is the Sabbath day. It is a day of rest, dedicated to our Lord God to give Him praise and thanks for all the wonderful gifts that he has given us. The Sabbath day should be a day in which we avoid unnecessary labor. Sunday is a day we dedicate to God, but it is also a day of service. It is a good day to go visit families and friends. Perhaps, one of our family members or next door neighbors had surgery and is unable to do household chores. Can we help them with the choirs of everyday life on Sunday? Of course we can. Medical professionals, some of our many public servants are required to work on Sundays and we thank the good Lord that they do.
Work is at times necessary. May we strive to dedicate time to worship our Lord on Sunday here at Mass and then go forth as our Lord commands us at the end of every liturgy…”Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Once again we have this reminder to always place our faith and hope in the Lord. Why this constant reminder? Because I think we need to hear it over and over again. Many times when we are faced with the trials that pop up in our lives we try to keep it to ourselves. Why? Because, we are proud! We think that we can handle it our own. This morning Jesus reminds us to come to Him, and He will give us rest.
This morning we honor our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Blessed Mother will help us come to her son. If we find ourselves in the position of always being proud then let us ask the Blessed Mother to intercede to the Lord and to ask Him for the grace of humility so that we may find that rest our Lord was talking about this morning in the Gospel.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation, this is the theme of our readings this morning. In the first reading, the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush. If we think about it the Lord appears to us each day when we gather here for Mass. We listen to Him speak to us in the Word and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. Many times we can take that for granted, but this morning Mosses demonstrates to us how we are to respond, “Here I am Lord.”
Saint Bonaventure gave the Church a great gift through his academic pursuits. It is through his work that people came to a greater knowledge of God. This morning may we ask for the grace to be always aware of the ways the Lord speaks to us each day and be open to express the Lord’s kindness and mercy to all those we meet today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Regarding the Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy

Individuals ask that every time I say, “The Mass is ended go in peace,” to include “Have a good day” afterwards. While some priests often include, “have a good day” at the end of Mass this should not be done and here is why.

The Liturgy does not belong to any individual, it belongs to God. Only the Roman Pontiff as successor to Saint Peter can institute change in the Liturgy. In the Roman Missal here are the current dismissals approved by the Church:

1) Go in the peace of Christ
2) The Mass is ended, go in peace
3) Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

These are the only words that the priest is to say. Notice all three options have one thing in common, the word “go.” When the priest says these words it is our Lord speaking through Him. So when the priest says, “The Mass is ended go in peace.” It is our Lord Himself giving us this command to take what we have received at this particular Mass and to go forth in the world and live it. By adding the words “have a good day,” it takes away from that command of Christ.
That is why as a priest, I will not include the words, “have a good day,” at the end of Mass. For those who need to hear those words from me as a priest they are included outside of Church when I greet people after Mass.

Homily for Tuesday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. Once again we are reminded of the importance of turning towards the Lord in our hour of need. Yesterday morning we talked briefly about some of the crosses our Lord asks us to carry. We all have them, but we don’t have to carry them alone. You and I gather in Church to receive our Lord in the most Holy Eucharist. He is our strength our survival for life. Turn to Him. Allow the Church to be your Simon of Cyrene.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, understood what it mean to carry the cross. She experienced a lot of pain in her life and experienced ridicule from her fellow Indian people as she lived and proclaimed Jesus Christ. Today let us ask the Lord for the grace to humble ourselves before Him and ask Him for the help we need to embrace and carry the crosses life has in store for us.

Now that the internet is back up...the Homily for Monday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time

Our Lord’s opening words to the Gospel are shocking, “Do not think I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” What does our Lord mean? Many times we struggle throughout our lives and when we do we turn away from God and put our trust in earthly possessions. Jesus warns us today of that, and tells us God comes first. That’s why he uses the example of the In-laws and parents. Not that he wants to establish strained relationships within our families but to illustrate the importance of God coming first in our lives.
God humbled himself and took on human form through the person of Jesus Christ. Our Lord suffered and experienced some of the same pain we ourselves face daily. He even humbled himself to the point of death, death on the cross. This morning he encourages us to take up our crosses and follow after Him. May we who suffer daily with our crosses of life always recognize that our help is in the name of the Lord and always place our trust in Him!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

At the end of Mass of every Mass the priest or deacon says, “the Mass has ended go in peace.” This is the very theme we have for this Sunday readings. In the first reading Amos spoke to Amaziah of what the Lord had said to Him, “Go, and prophesy to my people Israel.” Then in Mark’s Gospel we heard of Jesus summoning the twelve and beginning to send them out. Our Lord Jesus Christ as He sent out those early apostles calls us to go out to preach the Good News in the world.
This past week our Holy Father released, “Charity in Truth,” his new social encyclical. In this pastoral letter Pope Benedict addressed a variety of issues, from the economy, the environment, and the dignity of the human person. Many of the problems we face today are a product of our society’s self-centered mentality. Instead of caring about the needs of others, we ponder to ourselves what we can do to improve our lives. Today in the midst of our economic crisis there is a major temptation on our part to look after our own needs. While there is this temptation, we must strive not to have this attitude. A self-centered attitude is destructive. There is something to be said about the old saying, “it is in giving that we receive.” When we give ourselves over totally and share the gifts and wealth we have been given we do receive something in return. This reward could take the form of a physical reward but it also could simply be the reward of joy that fills our hearts knowing that we did something good.
Pope Benedict wrote, “Openness to life is centre of true development. When a society moves towards a denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good.” If we are to turn things around for our economy, our environment, and our families and build up our Lord’s great kingdom up here on earth then we must be open to life in all forms and be willing to preach the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ with charity.
My brothers and sisters there are many Catholics who openly oppose the teachings of the Church when it comes to life issues. Many people were taught that this was ok by even some of members of the clergy. The suppression of the dignity of every human life is the root of all the problems we face together today. Holy Mother Church has always upheld and will always uphold the dignity of every human life from the moment of conception till natural death. This is what all of us gathered here are called to go preach and go teach through the example of our lives. Be open to life, be open to the will of God and you will see the greatness of Lord and things will get better, perhaps not necessarily easier, but better. Think about it!

Friday, July 10, 2009

First Mass of Thanksgiving

For those who are interested below are some images from my First Mass of Thanksgiving which was held at St. Rose of Lima Church in York on the 7th of June 2009 (The photographs were taken by Elbe-Photography.)
(Above) Is my new has the Holy Family and the Sacred Heart of Jesus images on the base.
The chalice was chosen because when I celebrate Mass I remember the Most Perfect Family...Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the family who raised me, and the family I am called to serve. Also the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a reminder to me that every priest is to strive to have the heart of Christ.

Incensing the gifts that are on the altar

"This is my Body which will be given up for you"

The proud newly ordained Father Keith Michael Carroll

Homily for Friday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time

One of the biggest mistakes we make as human beings is that we try to do everything ourselves. When faced with a particular problem we try to fix it on our own rather than ask for help. Jesus reminds us again this morning of the importance of placing our trust in Him. The opening words to the twelve, “behold I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves.” Perhaps some of us may have experienced in our lives at times rejection from family and friends because of what we believe and practice as Catholics.
However, today the Lord reminds us when we go out and give witness to the faith through the example of our lives that it is not us, for when we place our trust completely in Him, it will be the Spirit of the Lord speaking through us. When we find ourselves experiencing the crosses of life it’s in those moments more than ever do we need him the most. Also when we find ourselves struggling in a relationship with a family member or one of our friends we need to ask the Lord for his grace to give us an answer on how to handle the situation.
This morning may we always remember that the salvation of the just comes from the Lord and when faced with difficulties may we pray for the grace never to forget that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time

God has a plan for all of us. Joseph in the first reading from the book of Genesis alludes to this when he says, “It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” The Lord intended Joseph to create a safe haven for His chosen family during a famine. He bore no ill feelings towards his brothers but saw the good that came out of his bad experience.
This morning’s Gospel is a continuation of yesterdays. As we concluded yesterday with our Lord saying, “The Kingdom of God is at hand”…we are reminded of that again this morning. Jesus told his apostles, to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. Our Lord in some way gives us all the ability and responsibility to do this very task. From the very moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we have the ability to do things that we perhaps never would have imagined. All of us were given these gifts freely from God and as our Lord says today, “without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” May we today pray for the grace to always accept the gifts the Lord has given to us and in doing so we will see ever more clearly the marvels the Lord can work through us!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.” We must take these words to heart. The first part of today’s responsorial psalm is a plea for mercy. You and I must always place our trust in the Lord. It is in the Lord we find our strength. Like children who say to their parents when asked to do something, they say “I will get to it later.” Many times there is a tendency in all of us to wait to the last minute when it comes time to our relationship with the Lord. Well there is always tomorrow, we would say. The Lord reminds us clearly that the, “Kingdom of God is at hand.” This passage rings true to this day. Take note that the passage doesn’t say the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand and or will be at hand it says in the present “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Therefore, we must always be prepared and live our lives always aware of our Lord’s presence.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time

All of us are probably familiar with Jesus’ closing words of this morning’s Gospel, “The Harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Many times we associate this reading with the call of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. While these vocations are clearly important we must understand that all of us gathered here are called to labor in the Lord’s Vineyard. You can open doors and reach individuals that we as members of the clergy are unable to reach.
Our ways of laboring the vineyard of the Lord differ for each of us. Some are able to go out and do various forms of service, for example helping in a food kitchen, visiting other members of our family or members of the parish who are unable to come to Church. Perhaps, one day we might come to a point when it becomes impossible for us to serve in an outward manner. Then the most important way one can labor in God’s vineyard and it’s the one that is unfortunately not always considered is prayer. Jesus said, “Ask the master of the harvest.” Prayer is the most important way we can help harvest the Lord’s vineyard on earth.
May we today pray for the grace to find the strength to persevere in modeling our Lord’s call and His example!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Homily for Monday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time

The readings this morning speak of faith. Maria Goretti, the young saint we honor today, is a perfect model of a Saint who models this morning’s responsorial psalm, “In you my God, I place trust.” As a young girl she was taught by her parents to always place her trust in God. Maria died young. One day her neighbor Alessandro advanced towards her with the purpose of forcing himself on her, and she fought off his advances. Alessandro became so enraged that her stabbed young Maria to death.
However, there is still more we can learn from young Maria. Before she died, she publically stated that she forgave her attacker and prayed that she would one day see him in heaven. Alessandro was sent off to prison, but while there felt Maria’s presence in a dream and repented. In the dream Maria presented fourteen flowers, one for each stab wound.
May we pray for that faith that Saint Maria Goretti demonstrated. In a world in which our young people struggle so much with following God’s law regarding chastity may we who gather here faithfully day in and day out pray for them, that they may say yes to God’s will and reject the lies in which the world promulgates.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Homily for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Following Mark’s Gospel account from the fifth chapter last week we saw how Jesus had the ability and the power to cure every affliction. This morning in the beginning of Mark’s 6th chapter we see how the townspeople treated Him. One would think after performing some miracles they would receive Him with great honor. Instead, they rejected Him.
Why did they reject Him? Listen to the questions once again that was posed. Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given Him? Is He not the carpenter, the Son of Mary? They rejected Him because they knew Him too well. Think about it! Image someone in our own family or circle of friends coming to us about a concern they have. What is our typical reaction, do we listen? Most of the time if we are honest with ourselves no, we brush their concerns off.
Now let’s look at another scenario. Do we see Jesus Christ in those who are less fortunate, in the beggar on the street; do we see Jesus Christ in the sinner? Many times we fail to see how Christ presents Himself to us. What is our usual first reaction to someone who is less fortunate, or struggling with a particular sin? Most times, we write them off. We need to open our eyes, for our Lord gives us the opportunity through these individuals to be His ambassadors, to be His prophets. Jesus Christ can work through them, do not write them off. Our Lord doesn’t write us off, and so we are to model His example.
My brothers and sisters, all of us gathered here today our weak individuals. When we struggle through life we either complain, or we focus on the weaknesses of others. No one here wants to struggle in life, however if we follow Christ that is what we have in store for us. Following Jesus’ example means picking up the cross. Listen to the words of St. Paul as he talks about his own suffering, “Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for the power is made perfect in weakness.” When we struggle and suffer through life we need to place our trust in the Lord and ask Him for His grace to persevere.
As we prepare to present our needs to the Lord at the altar and receive His Body and Blood let us pray that we always keep our eyes fixed on Him, and plead for his mercy when we fail. In humbling ourselves before the Lord and admitting our own failings and weaknesses we will show everyone we meet how strong we truly are.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Homily for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The opening line of the first reading from the book of Wisdom points out that God did not make death. Many times we cry out in our agony during difficult moments in our lives or when we watch others suffer, God where are you? If you are so good why do they or why do I suffer so much? Sin and death were not created by God, but a consequence of the fall.
We will at times suffer either through our own trials or by watching the trials of others. Don’t despair for the Lord has the ability and the power to heal every affliction. In today’s Gospel we see clearly that nothing is impossible for God. That is why we have the two miracle accounts the first of the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage and then the raising of the daughter of Jarius from the dead. Whenever we need God, do not hesitate to cry out to Him. He is always there and will always answer our prayers according to His will. Will we find relief from physical suffering? Maybe then again maybe not, but if we place our total trust in the will of God and offer up our sufferings up to Him then we will find a sense of peace.
Always remember that nothing is impossible for God. There is no sin that is unforgiveable. Whenever we feel those moments when we question the will of God, it’s in those moments we need to place all our trust in Him. Place your trust in God and when we do that we will be able to sing with greater joy the words we sung only a few moments ago, “I will praise you Lord for you have rescued me.”