Monday, August 31, 2009

Homily for Monday of 22nd Week of Ordinary Time

Fulfillment is the central theme of our readings this morning. Reading the scroll from the prophet Isaiah our Lord proclaimed, the “Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” After quoting from Isaiah he said, “Today the scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Our Lord proclaimed that day in the temple that he is the anointed one the Holy One of God, the one in which the prophets foretold.
While one part of the prophecy has been fulfilled we now await a second part, our Lord’s return in glory. That is what St. Paul was speaking about today in the first reading to the people of Thessalonica. This reading speaks about death and the Lord’s return in glory. Back when Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians it was their belief that the Second Coming was going to happen soon. Here we are today in 2009. However, the Lord will return in glory and only he knows the day and the hour. Our challenge today is to always be prepared for that day when the second part of the promise is fulfilled, the day when our Lord will return in glory.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Homily for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Speaking to the people Moses asked them to follow the commandments of God and not to add to them. The commandments of the Lord are already perfect and encompass everything, but because of our human nature we tend to complicate matters a bit by adding to them or interpreting them our own way.
How does our Lord challenge us this Sunday? Addressing the Pharisees and Scribes our Lord said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” Our Lord challenges us to give our hearts completely to him and not just honor him with our lips. We must ask ourselves when we gather here do we give our heart completely to Him or do we hold ourselves back.
There are many people who are holding back from giving themselves over completely to the Lord. What are they holding onto? They are holding on destructive concepts and thoughts that are contrary to what our Lord teaches. Listen again carefully to our Lord’s words from the Gospel, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” When we close the door of our hearts to the words of the Lord, trouble starts. Everything begins to collapse.
If we look back over the last couple decades this is what happened. Let’s look at the issue of contraception. Last week I alluded to this issue in my homily when reflecting on the Second Reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians when I said, “Therefore we must note that the use of artificial means within the bond of marriage causes a barrier to form and prevent that divine life which God intended from the very beginning from flowing.” Contraception is the closing the door of one’s heart to the divine plan of God. When love is expressed openly between husband and wife in the marital relationship it is always procreative. While not necessarily always physically procreative it is always spiritually procreative. That is why contraception is so dangerous. When a couple uses contraceptives within the marital relationship that expression of love which should be always procreative becomes in essence a dead act. That is why married couples who use contraception have a higher rate of divorce. If you have never read Pope Paul VI encyclical Humanie Vitae, I encourage you to read it. Study it closely and compare it with our society today. In doing so you will find everything Paul VI warned about 40 plus years ago came true.
How has contraception affected us today elsewhere in the world in particular with our own country? Let’s take a look at the current condition of our economy. As contraception became more acceptable, people obviously began to have fewer children, which opened the door for businesses to ship their production overseas. With fewer laborers business owners were tempted to ship their business overseas where they could find more laborers who would work at a much lower wage (actually next to nothing), which in the end put more money in the owners pockets. So, today we have families here at home struggling to find work, while others are being consumed by greed. Thus, greed, pride, and self-centeredness have all contributed to our economic collapse. There is NO DENYING IT!
Today you and I are called to open our hearts to words of the Lord. From the moment we accept and follow our Lord’s commandments divine life radiates from us. Therefore, we must strive to “be Doers of the Word,” as the letter of Saint James suggests. Too many times we talk the talk but we just don’t walk the walk. We are called to turn our attention from our own desires and wants and concern ourselves with those who are less fortunate. May we pray that our faith may always be expressed by our actions! As we are reminded by the responsorial psalm “the one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” Is there hope for us today in 2009? Of course there is! However, if we hope to live in the presence of the Lord then we must turn our hearts back to Him and be open to His Word.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 21st Week of Ordinary Time

One could easily associate the first reading today with parenting. In fact Saint Paul in the first reading says, “As you know, we treated each of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.” We must recognize that there are two types of parents, biological and spiritual. Each of us is called to help one another in this earthly journey to reach our final destination…heaven.
In a world that is afraid of calling others to a greater perfection we can ourselves tend to pull back. We are afraid to challenge and even at times discipline out of fear of being not liked. Our Lord wasn’t afraid of this and in fact as we see in the Gospel He was rather blunt with the scribes and Pharisees, “woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.” Parents are charged with the responsibility of raising their children helping them to grow in knowledge and love of God. As a priest I have that very same responsibility. You and I are called to model the example of our Lord and Saint Paul as seen in the readings today. True love is not letting others do what they want; true love is a love that dares to challenge. All of us gathered here are called to challenge others to strive for their true reward, eternal life with our Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Website Launched by the USCCB to Prepare the Faithful for the New Translation of the Roman Missal

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a new website to prepare everyone for the New Translation of the Roman Missal which is due out...hopefully late 2010 early 2011. When we gather as the title of the website describes we will hear new words, with a deeper meaning but it is the same Mass.

Below are examples of changes that will be noticeable in the New Missal.

Current translation: The Greeting, Sign of Peace, Concluding Rite

Priest: The Lord be with you
People: And also with you.

New Translation:

Priest: The Lord be with you
People: And with your spirit.

About the change...the phrase "and with your spirit," is more faithful to the Latin text, "et cum spiritu tuo." This greeting is used when addressing ordained ministers. It serves as a reminder for the priest or deacon that when they stand and lead the faithful in Liturgical Prayer that they stand in the person of Christ, head and shepherd of the Church.

Current Translation: The Confiteor

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God.

New Translation:

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words,in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,through my fault, through my fault,through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Explanation of the change. Again it is more faithful to the Latin Text.

Latin Text:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti et vobis, fratres,
quia peccavi nimis
cogitatione, verbo, opere, et omissióne:
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Vírginem,
omnes Angelos et Sanctos,
et vos, fratres, orare pro me
ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

As you can see in the Latin it says, "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa." It says clearly, "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." The repeating of the phrase three times keeps with the Scripturial idea that everything comes in three. Also it stresses our act of penance at a deeper level instead of just saying in passing, "through my own fault."

New Translation of the Gloria:

Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

New Translation of the Creed:

I believe in one God,the Father almighty,maker of heaven and earth,of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ,the Only Begotten Son of God,born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light,true God from true God, begotten, not made,consubstantial with the Father;through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvationhe came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spiritwas incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in gloryto judge the living and the deadand his kingdom will have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. And one, holy, catholicand apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Note on the Translation of the Creed: Some will ask why the change from "we" to "I?" Don't we when we proclaim the Creed do it together as a community? We must recognize that the Creed in Latin begins with "Credo" which is acturately translated "I believe." You and I can hide many things under the royal "we." Some can say we as a Church believe this, however I as an individual believe another. Therefore, we can no longer hide our feelings under the so called "royal we." The Creed is a personal statement of faith! As we make our personal statement of faith we do so in community.

Translation of the Preface Dialogue:
Current Translation:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanksto the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

New Translation:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanksto the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.

Note: The phrase "it is right and just," is a simpliar and more faithful translation of the Latin, "Dignum et iustum est."

Mystery of Faith formally the Memorial Acclamation

Current Translation:

Priest: Let us proclaimthe mystery of faith:
A – Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
B – Dying you destroyed our death,rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.
C – When we eat this breadand drink this cup,we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
D – Lord, by your crossand resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.

New Translation:

Priest: The mystery of faith.
[Christ has died… a U.S. adaptation yet to be decided by Holy See]
A – We proclaim your death, O Lord,and profess your Resurrectionuntil you come again.
B – When we eat this Breadand drink this Cup,we proclaim your death, O Lord,until you come again.
C – Save us, Savior of the world,for by your Crossand Resurrection,you have set us free.

Father Carroll's interpretation on the US adaption. It is my humble opinion that the US adaption "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again" does not flow with the nature of the Eucharistic Prayer. The next time one is at Mass listen carefully to the Eucharistic Prayer. It is dialogue between the priest and the faithful (who particapate by listening intently) with the Heavenly Father. In the other proclamations we make a statement of faith while the US adaption is just simply a statement of fact. Therefore it does not flow with the nature of the prayer.

Ecce Angus Dei:

Current Translation:

Priest: This is the Lamb of Godwho takes awaythe sins of the world.Happy are those who are calledto his supper.
All: Lord, I am not worthyto receive you,but only say the word and I shall be healed.

New Translation:

Priest: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes awaythe sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
All: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

People's response: Is more faithful of course to the Latin but it is also based on the Scripture passage about the Centurion's faith, "I am not worthy to have you come under my roof."

These are only some of the changes that will be noticeable in the New Missal which hopefully will be out in late 2010 early 2011. While I did not provide catechesis for every new translation here in this blog I hope that my commentaries help you understand why there needs to be a new translation. Hopefully this new translation will provide us all the opportunity to grow to have a deeper devotion and love for the Church's liturgy.

In Christ,

Fr. Carroll

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Homily for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

There are a lot of people who want to shy away from today’s Second Reading. In fact, there is a shorter form in the lectionary of the same reading in which the part some would find controversial is taken out of it. The part individuals cringe at is when Paul says, “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands.” Liberal feminist take this verse way out of context. Pointing the finger at Saint Paul and the Church they accuse us of advocating this idea that women belong just in the kitchen and not anywhere else. That is a far cry from what Saint Paul and what the Church is actually saying. They forget that in just a few verses down Paul also says “Husbands, love your wives.” When a couple enters the Sacred Bond of marriage there is a mutual submission to one another. The husband gives up his desires and wants for the sake of the marriage and so does his wife in this mutual self-giving. What happens when this mutual self giving is expressed in the husband and wife's expression of marital love? Divine life always flows perhaps not always physically but always spiritually. Therefore we must note that the use of artificial means within the bond of marriage causes a barrier to form and prevent that divine life which God intended from the very beginning from flowing.
Using the analogy of a married couple Saint Paul illustrates this self-giving in which all of us are called to have in our relationship with the Lord. As Christ gave Himself over to us completely being put on trial, scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, forced to carry of heavy wooden cross, stripped of His clothes, mocked, and crucified, we are called to show that very same love back to the Lord. Our Lord by subjecting Himself to death on the cross gave us life. This brothers and sisters is the central theme of the Second Reading. If we give ourselves over completely to the Lord, and place our trust in His ways, divine life flows within and through us.
In the first reading and the Gospel we find the central theme of serving the Lord. We are together called to serve the Lord with our whole heart and mind. As the Lord completely handed himself over to us we are called to completely hand ourselves back over to Him. This is the message we are called to preach. Many people have left the Church or are currently not practicing the faith because this message wasn’t adequately preached. This is what they were told, “Jesus loves you,” and “you are special,” the famous catechesis of the 1970's and 80's. While these statements are not wrong by any means, people left it at that. They were never told how much Jesus loves them and how special they are. Instead all references to the cross were removed. In Church’s today the image of the crucifix is not even present. It has been replaced with the image of the resurrected Christ. Yes, there was a resurrection but we can’t forget that it didn’t happen without the crucifixion. You and I need to be reminded of the very degree of how much the Lord loved us. Without the cross of Christ we cannot cope with the trials of life and I believe removing the crucifix from the central place in our Church, homes and schools is the main reason many people have left the Church or do not practice the faith as they should. However, with it we can handle anything that is thrown our way. Thus the crucifix must be prominent in every Church, every classroom, and every home.
Our Lord by His Word and Example shows us the way to eternal life. May we pray for the grace to respond completely as Simon Peter did at the end of the Gospel, “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” My dear brothers and sisters may we pray for the strength to reject the lies promulgated by the world and trust in everything the Lord says. Thus, in doing so, we will receive the words of eternal life.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Homily for Friday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time

There is a temptation for us to ponder which of the commandments is the greatest. Which one would harm us more if we choose to break it? The Pharisees trying to trick our Lord posed to him this very same question. Our Lord knowing their intentions simplified the commandments for them. Love God, and love your neighbor.
Many times you and I tend to complicate things. We get bogged down with specifics, however the commandments are simple. In everything we do we are called to love the Lord our God above all things and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Pius X. He is better known as the pope who invited young children to recieve Holy Communion and encouraged frequent reception of the Blessed Sacrament. This morning as we gather here to worship our Lord let us thank Him for the great gift that through the work of St. Pius X we have the opportunity to receive on a daily basis. As you and I continue with this Sacred Liturgy, ask the Lord to teach us His ways and to guide us in His truth.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time

“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” All of us who gather here in this Church this morning are called by God to be open to His word and follow Him. While the invitation is there the choice is ultimately ours.
We are the servants dispatched in the Gospel account. Each of us carries the responsibility to invite everyone we meet to this feast. Some will respond openly to the invitation while others will reject it. The Lord does not discriminate. Again it’s left up to the individual. May we strive to always to accept our Lord’s invitation and extend that invitation to others openly inviting them into the Lord’s house!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time

This morning’s Gospel verse reads, “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.” What a perfect reminder for all of us gathered here today. The Liturgy is not just something we do but it is truly alive. The Word of God although it was written thousands of years ago when it is proclaimed, it is proclaimed in the present meaning that it is still very much relevant today.
What message is our Lord trying to get across to us today? Using the parable of the land owner our Lord shows us that everyone is treated equally in the eyes of God. There is a danger to us that we could develop the mindset, well I do more than that other person I should be treated differently in the eyes of God. Our Lord loves us equally. Our challenge this morning is to model the landowner in generosity and treat everyone as equals as they are seen in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time

Speaking to His disciples our Lord tells them that it is hard for one who is rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Going back to our theme of material possessions of yesterday’s homily there are many things which can distract us from our relationship with God. If you think about it there really is nothing wrong with material possessions, however there is something to be said about having too much of a good thing. That’s how the evil one tricks us, he takes what is a good and twists it around.
What does the world tell us? The world tells us if you have money and a lot of material possessions that you are in good shape. Today Jesus says to the crowd gathered, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The world tells us to be happy we need money and possessions to be happy. What road does Jesus show us? He shows us the road to heaven is through suffering. That’s what makes it so hard. However, if you and I embrace the road of suffering and place our total trust in the Lord we will find peace and be well on our way on the road to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Homily for Monday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time

Was there ever a time when working towards some achievement you did everything required but for some reason you just fell short? It happens to all of us at some point in our life. The young man in this morning’s Gospel had that similar experience. As our Lord listed several of the commandments the young man said, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” The young man recognized that there was something lacking.
Jesus challenged that young man as He challenges all of us today. If we want to be perfect then we need to divest ourselves of worldly desires and worldly possessions. We need to live a life dedicated totally to God. Many times we can become wrapped up in the things of this world and become preoccupied with doing the just bare minimum in order to succeed. This morning we are called to answer our Lord’s call to follow Him not just by living the commandments but also by giving up our own wants and desires to strive for our true heavenly treasure.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Homily for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. We can relate this opening verse from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians with our society today, for there are many distractions that can trap us. The readings these past several weeks from John’s Gospel allowed us to focus particularly on the Most Holy Eucharist. Today I would like to focus on what does our “amen” mean, and the proper reception of Holy Communion.
The word “Amen” means “so be it” or “I believe.” Every time the priest or the extraordinary minister presents the host and says “the body of Christ” to which you respond “amen” you are professing two things; your belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and your belief in everything that our Lord teaches as true. When one presents themselves to communion without believing these two things they commit a grave sin. An example of a situation where one should not receive communion is if one holds a position contrary to the Church’s teachings on life issues. Roman Catholics who hold onto these positions should refrain from receiving Communion. Again the choice is theirs; however one must realize the gravity of such a decision. A Catholic who however, publically manifests a position contrary to God’s law by either word or action, after attempts are made to reconcile that individual, canonical penalties can be imposed on them which can result in the denial of the reception of Holy Communion until a reconciliation with the Lord and His Church takes place.
Now it is time for us to look at how one physically receives our Lord. Back in May of 1969 the Congregation of Divine Worship under Pope Paul VI issued a document entitled Memoriale Domini the instruction on the manner of distributing communion. Prior to this documents release the Holy Father polled the bishops asking three questions. I would like to call our attention to the first question asked. “Does it seem that the proposal should be accepted by which, besides the traditional mode, the rite of receiving Holy Communion in the hand would be permitted?” The results 567 bishops voted yes, 1,233 bishops voted no, 315 bishops voted yes with reservations and there were 20 invalid votes. As one can see the majority of bishops said no which prompted the congregation to respond, “After he had considered the observations and the counsel of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule" the Churches, in view of the seriousness of the matter and the importance of the arguments proposed, the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed.” Thus, today communion on the tongue must and should be taught as the norm of receiving Holy Communion.
However, the document released by the congregation conceded that in places were practice of receiving communion in the hand began without prior approval of the Apostolic See that it may continue. The document warns however, “A change in a matter of such importance, which rests on a very ancient and venerable tradition, besides touching upon discipline can also include dangers. These may be feared from a new manner of administering Holy Communion: they are a lessening of reverence toward the noble Sacrament of the altar, its profanation, or the adulteration of correct doctrine. Today forty years later the practice of receiving communion in the hand is something that needs to be looked at. There are some who do not want this practice to change, however some of the warnings the document points out have come true. Our Lord has become more easily accessible to Satanic Cults and our Lord more recently has also made an appearance on EBay.
While the Church does teach communion on the tongue as the norm she has recognized communion in the hand as an option in some areas where the Holy See has granted permission. However, it must be done correctly. Let’s begin practically, if one so chooses to receive communion in the hand their hands must be clean. It is an abuse to receive Holy Communion on the hand when one has scribbling all over their hands. Also there is one method approved of receiving Holy Communion and that is with both hands…left over right or vice versa making a throne for the Lord. Both hands are required. Approaching the minister they make a bow of the head. When the minister says, “the Body or Blood of Christ” the individual is to reply by saying “Amen.” They are also to receive communion in the presence of the minister, ideally right in front of them. The purpose of this is so that no one walks away with our Lord without properly consuming Him. Also, no one should ever grab the Sacred Host out of the hands of the minister. This is not Giant, Target, or Wal-Mart you are not picking something off a shelf you are receiving our Lord Jesus Christ. If one cannot receive properly on the hand in the way prescribed by Holy Mother Church then one is required to receive communion on the tongue. These guidelines are not meant to discriminate but to protect the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament.
We are blessed to have Pope Benedict XVI as our shepherd here on earth. Pope Benedict XVI has been a blessing to the Church calling the People of God to a greater devotion of the Eucharist. There are people who have accused the Holy Father of trying to attempt a reversal of the reforms of Second Vatican Council. This is simply not true. Let it be said that all the changes that has been made under his leadership has not been done for the sake of change but has been done in order to foster a greater devotion, a greater love and a greater respect for the Most Holy Eucharist. My brothers and sisters I leave you with this thought while some have accused the Holy Father and others of moving the Church backwards perhaps today in 2009 we need to look back and reclaim what we have lost before we can once again move forward.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Homily for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2009

On this the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary we commemorate Mary being assumed into heaven. In the Second Reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians we are reminded that we will one day be raised from the dead to be with him in heaven. Speaking to the Corinthians Paul said, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. In the midst of our sufferings and trials on earth we need to be reminded of our Lord’s resurrection. There is hope in the midst of our sufferings and trials.
In this morning’s Gospel from Luke we have the account of the visitation where Mary trekked out to visit her cousin Elizabeth. When Mary greeted Elizabeth the child leapt in her womb. It is interesting that it was an unborn child who was the first to recognize the presence of Jesus. As I was preparing this homily I read in a commentary something interesting “it is those whom society would evaluate as insignificant who are able to respond to God’s call.” In a society who is quick to right off the unborn, we see in this case that it was the unborn baby John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb who first recognized Christ present in their midst.
This morning we learn that if we wish to be with the Lord in heaven we need to be humble. We are blessed this morning to have Mary the Mother of God as our example of humility. In her hymn of praise we see how she gives glory to God. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” The first thing our Blessed Mother does is give glory to God. You and I are to model her example and give God praise and thanksgiving to God for all the marvelous things He has done for us. So too often we take these gifts for granted and we fail to offer praise and thanks to our God.
As our Lord called our Blessed Mother the Lord calls each one of us to a particular responsibility. He calls some to the married life, and calls others to consider a vocation to the priesthood and religious life. Also he calls some to dedicate their lives to the single life living a life of service to God and His Church. We must also recognize that our Lord calls some to suffer alongside Him. These sufferings and trials can take many forms. There are individuals who are suffering from illnesses, or a particular sin. Also there are individuals who are suffering in our midst as a result of the current economic crises trying to make ends meet. While each one of us has our own cross to carry may we turn this morning to the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who shows us how to be humble! By embracing the life we have been called to live while there will be moments of difficulties each one of us will find a sense of peace knowing that we have embraced the will of God. This morning on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary let us ask her to intercede on our behalf and to help lead us to her Son.

Homily for Friday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time

You and I are blessed that our Lord’s mercy endures forever! No matter how many times we fail Him, He is always there waiting with open arms. Jesus highlights the challenge this morning in the Gospel when he said, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted.” Using the example of divorce within marriage, he said that Moses allowed it because of the hardness of their hearts. Many times our hearts can be hardened because of a bad experience we have with some particular individual or organization.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it. There are many people who hear the word of God and reject it. They reject it because they find the word difficult to follow or they find some excuse not to accept because they don’t like what was said. Each day the word proclaimed here in Church is not the word of man but truly the Word of God. May we pray for the grace always to accept it and remember in those times when we do not that the Lord’s mercy endures forever.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homily for Thursday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time

Forgiveness is the central theme of the Gospel today. Peter this morning approaches the Lord and asks him how many times he should forgive His brother if he sin against Him. Our Lord said to Peter,” I say to you not seven time but seventy-seven times.” Translate that into our terms we should always forgive our brothers and sisters when they sin against us.
Sometimes forgiveness is easier said than done. When one hurts us there is this anger that builds up within us that distracts us. Many times we struggle in our prayer life when there is anger present in our heart towards someone. Anger ultimately keeps us away from God. Today if there is any anger or ill feeling eating up inside us may we pray for the grace to do as the Lord asks us and forgive our brothers and sisters. In doing so we will find an inner peace and at the same time grow in our relationship with the Lord.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homily for Wednesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time

Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire. How does one become filled with this fire? You and I are filled with this fire soon as we humble ourselves and place our trust in the Lord. This fire is instilled in us at the moment of baptism when we become children of God and the more we spend time in prayer and receive the Sacraments of the Church this fire is rekindled within us.
At the end of the Gospel the Lord reminds us that, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This closing verse of this morning’s Gospel reminds all of us gathered here today of the importance of recognizing our role in the Church. Each of us has a role and every role is important. Today may we conscious of our role in the Church and pray for the grace to keep that fire within our soul kindled.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time

“Be brave and steadfast!” Moses words to Joshua speak to us today. At times we need to be reminded that in our lives the Lord Himself is present with us. Why is it hard to live and preach the Gospel? It is hard to live and preach the Gospel because we are afraid of being persecuted and rejected by others. The enemy uses many different tactics to try to deter us from doing what we are called to do.
All of us gathered here are called to be steadfast in living our faith and preaching the Gospel. The best way we preach the Gospel is through prayer and our witness of living the Christian faith by the way we live our lives. While others will reject us at times we must pray for the grace to be brave and know that the Lord is with us always, every step of the way!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Homily for Monday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time

As we look at the first reading this morning Moses speaks to the people gathered and explains to them about what they are called to do. What did he tell them? He said, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow His ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments.” This is how we are to live.
Included in this reading is also a challenge. “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.” Many times you and I can become stiff-necked, for we are quick to point out the flaws of others and fail to see their good qualities. Our Lord ministered to all people. Saints and sinners alike! May we pray for the grace to overcome whatever prejudice we may have in our hearts and strive to look at others despite their flaws with love through the eyes of Christ! It is this radical love that will convince others of our Lord’s truth.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Homily for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus says, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” and the people gathered around him stood in disbelief. They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?” At every Mass when the words of consecration are said by the priest, the ordinary piece of bread becomes the Body of Christ, the bread that comes down from heaven. The problem the Jewish people were struggling with is that they couldn’t understand how our Lord could say “I am the bread come down from heaven,” when they knew where He lived, and knew his family.
Do we believe that the host every time the words of consecration are said becomes the bread that came down from heaven, the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ? Sometimes one would have to wonder. Perhaps we have become too casual and as a people become blinded to the real presence of Jesus Christ. Think about it! Whatever happened to the concept of wearing our Sunday best? Some individuals show up to Mass looking like they’re going to the beach or a picnic. Now I am not saying we need to be going suit and tie formal, but we need to be aware of how we enter our Lord’s temple. Some will say, “Well Father we actually just came from a picnic or we are going to one.” Others will say, “Father you should be glad we’re here.” I remember going to family picnics on Saturday afternoons, but I always remember taking a set of clothes along with me to change into that way I could dress a little bit more appropriately for Mass. Let’s face it there are people who dress better going out to eat even out to eat at a fast food restaurant then they do when they come to Church. In regards to this matter all I am asking is that we consider how we present ourselves in the Lord’s house and to ask ourselves whether or not we are giving the Lord our very best.
Another current phenomenon that happens today in every parish is the very bad practice of some individuals leaving immediately after receiving Holy Communion. In some cases, perhaps on an occasion it is legit because of health. However, I believe it happens primarily because individuals want to be the first ones out of the parking lot and the first ones in line at the local restaurant. Now what does this communicate? It communicates first a lack of belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. If one truly believed that they are receiving Jesus and truly in His presence one would not want to leave. Secondly it communicates an individual’s arrogance and pride. When one leaves Church early for a reason other than health, one in essence says, “Thanks Lord, but no thanks.” They fail to see the importance of giving Him thanks for this awesome gift they just received. Not only that people who leave early fail to see the importance of the Lord giving us His blessing and His commission to “Go in peace, to love and serve Him,” at the end of Mass.
Today as we are reminded so beautifully by St. Paul in His letter to the Ephesians “be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” Our Lord loved us so much that He laid down His life for us and continues to lay down his life today in a special way through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We must ask ourselves are we showing the Lord the same love and respect He showed and continues to show us today by laying down our lives for Him. Brothers and Sisters, our Lord us blessed us with a wonderful gift in the Most Holy Eucharist, please don’t take that gift for granted.

Plunge the Priest!

The Word of the Day...HUMILITAS!
Those kids will never get me in the water

I guess that I have been proven wrong!

Let's try this again

Back down into the water once again

The prize for plunging the priest...a free trip to the CONFESSIONAL! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Homily for the Transfiguration of the Lord

There are many things we can say about this beautiful feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, however we have so little time. The central theme of the readings today focus on the glorification of the Lord. Let's reflect today how the Lord comes to us in such a glorious way each and every day especially in the great gift of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reflection for Tuesday of the 18th Week of Ordinary Time

(Memorial of St. John Marie Vianney)
On this August 4, 2009 we remember St. John Vianney the patron Saint of parish priests. In the first reading our Lord said through Ezekiel, “I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel.” We are truly blessed that the Lord continues to bless us with many wonderful priests who have served the Church so faithfully over the years. Also we are truly blessed to have a wonderful model in the life of the Cur of Ars.
St. John Vianney certainly had his struggles. He wasn’t really good in Latin and when it came time for him to be tested he prayed to be asked only the question he knew. What happened? Well let’s say the rest is history. He became a perfect model in the way every parish priest should strive to live their lives. His chief labor was the direction of souls. People from Ars, neighboring towns and even other countries sought out this beloved saint. Later in his life it was said that he spent up to 18 hours in the confessional.
Today on this memorial please pray for your priests. Pray that they have the grace to persevere in their ministry in the Lord’s Vineyard. Also, pray for your priests that in their ministry they may strive to live a life as demonstrated by the Cur of Ars.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reflection for Monday of the 18th Week of Ordinary Time

Since there are three priests and only two weekday Masses…this week is my off week in which I do not have to worry about preaching a homily. However, glancing over the readings I may from time to time for my own spirituality write out a reflection on the days readings.
There is one phrase that stands out this morning from the first reading, “I cannot carry all this people myself.” One of the things we tend to do often when we are faced with a problem is that we try to carry the burden ourselves. Why is that? Perhaps it’s our pride; we find it humiliating to ask for help. If we don’t feel humiliated then we feel that there is no help available.
However, we see in today’s Gospel that our Lord has the power to do all things. Our Lord’s disciples wanted to send the crowd away for them to go home and get something to eat. Jesus told them to feed the crowd themselves. As they looked down they only saw five loaves and two fish and they were perplexed. In our own humanness we would be perplexed as well. The numbers don’t add up. What happened??? The Lord showed his love and power by providing for His people. Our Lord's disciples passed out food to the crowds. Everyone who ate were satisfied. Nothing is impossible for God. May we always sing with joy to God, who is our help! He never abandons us.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Homily for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Last week we heard and we will continue to hear these next few weeks from John’s Gospel. The accounts we have heard and will be hearing from are known as the Bread of Life discourse. Therefore these next few weeks there is no better topic to discuss then the Most Holy Eucharist.
In the first reading from the book of Exodus we see the lack of gratitude of the Israelite Community. Here they have just been saved from slavery from Egypt and they were complaining. They refused to place their trust in God. Yet despite their lack of gratitude the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you should eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the Lord, am your God.” Many times we are like that early Israelite community. We for one reason or another although our Lord has blessed us with many gifts, we complain and reject Him. Perhaps we take Him for granted. Yet, despite our own failings, like the Father showed that early Israelite community, He continues to give us Bread from Heaven.
Jesus in today’s Gospel challenges us not to “work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Many times we look for the things we think will make us happy. We need to have bigger and better things to show off our wealth to others. A lot of people who are truly blessed to have fame and wealth are not happy. Why? They bought into a lie. Sometimes the more you have the more alone and isolated you become. If we want to be truly happy then we must place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. In a few moments I will say the words of consecration and the humble piece of bread and the chalice filled with wine will become before our very eyes, the Bread of Life and Cup of Eternal Salvation. As Jesus said at the end of the Gospel, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never huger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
My dear brothers and sisters, if we want to find to true and everlasting happiness in the midst of the trials of life we are urged today to place our faith, our hope, our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is truly our survival of life.