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!