Monday, May 31, 2010

Homily for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary…with a note of thanks to all those who served our country over the years on this Memorial Day.

“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold onto what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord.” What perfect words taken from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans to begin our reflection this morning on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Today is the day we commemorate Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary journeyed to see her out of love and respect for her cousin. We could picture that Mary’s journey wasn’t necessarily an easy one. For starters, she was pregnant and secondly she was probably traveling by way of a camel. Unlike today were we can travel by car with air-conditioning, she had to make a sacrifice. Mary showed her cousin Elizabeth respect by going out to assist and spend time with her. Today is about hospitality and service. In a nation today we also remember those who served to protect our country. We pray for those who are currently serving our country in various parts of the world. And today we especially remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to protect our nation. As our Blessed Mother reached out to her cousin Elizabeth may we strive to reach out to others with that same sincere love that was demonstrated perfectly to us this morning!

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(Just a word of thanks to all those who have served our great nation over the many years!  Thank you for the sacrifice you made and for those currently serving our nation thank you for the sacrifice you are making today to serve and protect our country.  Your service to our country is truly appreciated and please know all of you are in our prayers!!!)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Homily for the Most Holy Trinity.

“A man stayed home while his wife went to Church. When she returned, he inquired about the sermon. She said it was ok. Well what did the preacher preach about? He persisted. I don’t know, she said, he never did say.”[i] Perhaps today if someone here was going out later today to visit someone who is physically unable to make it to Mass and the individual being visited asked about what Father preached on today, one might respond and say to them, “well let me be honest, it’s a mystery to me.” My brothers and sisters this morning/evening we gather here to contemplate a mystery…the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

The Most Holy Trinity is the mystery of three persons in one divine nature. For us it is easy for us to say but it’s impossible for us to truly grasp. It easy for us to say the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Also it is easy for us to say, the Father is not the Son, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. We can grasp that each person of the Trinity has a specific role. However, there are no human words that can adequately define the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Often we use the image of the leaf of a three leaf clover to give visualization, but that too is inadequate. The Trinity is not a thing, but rather is a relationship of persons.

God the Father is our creator. He created everything out of nothing. Because of the fall of man it became necessary that He send His only Son to redeem us through His passion, death, and resurrection on the cross. After His resurrection and ascension into heaven it was necessary to send the Holy Spirit to remain with us and to sanctify the world. The Most Holy Trinity is at work today. Everyday life is created. At every celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus makes Himself present to us. Having been filled with the graces of the Holy Spirit we take the Lord with us out to the world. It is our vocation to bring the Good News of the Gospel into the world by our example and in doing this we each day help to sanctify the world. Yes, the Most Holy Trinity is at work!

As Jesus said in the Gospel, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” Indeed there is a lot more we can say about the Holy Trinity; however they would just be words. We will never fully understand the mystery until we are with the Lord in the heavenly kingdom. Until then we just simply accept and mediate on this great mystery of our faith.


[i] Jones, Loyal ed. The Preacher Joke Book: Religious Anecdotes from the Oral Tradition, (Atlanta: August House, 1989) p 35.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Homily for Friday of the Eighth Week of Easter

“Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies.” These words taken from the first reading from the first letter of Saint Peter reminds each of us this morning that all our actions and words should be directed by God.

Many times we allow the crosses that come with following Christ to distract us and get in the way of the unique mission that has been given to us. We are also reminded in the first reading, “Do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ.” What happens when we turn away from God’s plan to follow our own? It becomes ours, not His. Many times we steer clear of preaching the Gospel because we are afraid of what people will think. We would rather avoid conflict and please everyone than direct them to Christ.

In today’s Gospel we see our Lord Jesus Christ in rare form. We find Him turning over tables and flipping over chairs. Image ourselves standing there in the temple! What would we think we saw Jesus do this? Most of us would stand there in a state of shock. Also image ourselves listening to our Lord’s words, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.” These are words that were meant to pierce the heart. To effectively preach the Gospel we need to let the Spirit into our hearts and allow Him to flow through us. We need to preach not what others want to hear but rather what they need to hear. While none of us who are gathered here are perfect, we have a moral obligation to help one another get to heaven. So this morning we need to stop and ask ourselves are we using the gifts God has given us to their fullest potential? Are we living up to the unique mission that has been given to us? Finally, are we allowing the Lord’s words to flow through us or are we standing idle out of fear of upsetting the applecart? These are questions we must ask and as we prepare to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist may we seek His guidance in helping us to bring ourselves and others to Him.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Homily for Thursday of the Eighth Week of Easter

What great imagery we have in the first few lines of the first reading, “like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation for you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Infants need milk in order to grow and we ourselves need something to help us grow spiritually.

This morning we must ponder what we must do in order to grow spiritually stronger. In order for us to grow spiritually stronger we need to constantly be seeking God. As the blind man recognized by calling out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me,” the blind man recognized that the Lord Himself is our spiritual milk. While you and I gather here each morning and spend time with Him each and every day there are times in which we forget this. Maybe we don’t intend to forget this but we become distracted with everything that is going on that we lose sight of it. The goal is to make it a point to keep our focus on Christ. Today as we come with joy into the presence of the Lord we ask for the strength to persevere in the faith and to stay focused on Him who is our spiritual nourishment.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Homily for Wednesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time the Memorial of Saint Philip Neri

“Can you drink the chalice that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” You and I know that our Lord isn’t referring to the chalice used for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Baptism. He is speaking of His own passion.

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This morning we honor the priestly life of Saint Philip Neri. His life was one of virtue. He strived each and every day to live the Catholic Faith. Looking at his life he established the Oratory a community of priests and lay brothers who live in community and bound together by no formal vow but only with the bond of charity. Saint Philip lived a life of faith through his preaching and time spent in the confessional. Today we seek his intercessions for all priests and also for you the lay members of the Church. We look back to the example he gave in his life and ask him to help us grow in holiness. In the first reading taken from the letter of Peter we heard, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flowers wilts; but the word of God remains forever.” Indeed, how true! Saint Philip gave up everything and embraced the crosses that were placed upon him. My brothers and sisters our crosses and tribulations are only temporary and when we enter the heavenly kingdom we will find our true everlasting happiness because we will discover that the word of the Lord indeed remains forever.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Homily for Tuesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time the Memorial of Saint Gregory VII

“Be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, be holy because I am holy.” This morning you and I are challenged to holiness. Sometimes that is easier said than done at times, but that my brothers and sisters is our goal today. We are to strive for holiness.

How do we become holy? First we become holy through prayer. It begins with having a relationship with God. Does it stop there? No! Secondly we need to always have a spirit of conversion. Being human we often fall into sin. We need to turn around get back up and confess our sins. Now God forgives us. The third thing we need to do is be able to offer forgiveness ourselves. If we follow these three steps; pray, turn back to God seeking forgiveness, and being able to forgive the sins of those who hurt us we will grow in holiness. As we mediate this morning on the Sacred Mysteries may we approach the Lord with open hearts and minds seeking His help in helping us to grow in holiness!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shepherding…

 

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(A photo with me and a young member of my flock… a three week old lamb.) 

Homily for Monday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

“Who can be saved?” Jesus responds to this question with the answer, “For men it is impossible, but not for God.” Stop for a moment and think about this transaction for a moment. Often times you and I become so wrapped up with asking the question in regards to our salvation, what I can do to be saved. Maybe we look back on our own faults and think to ourselves what I can do to overcome them. But isn’t really up to us?

We cannot overcome our own faults and weaknesses without God. Another thing to think about, have we ever thought of our crosses as gifts. Even though many of our crosses our own sins, every time we repent from them we are renewed. It’s when we sin and don’t repent it becomes a problem. God gives us a grace every single time we turn back to Him and the more we do the more strength He gives us to overcome our trials. Each one of us has our own crosses and things that we struggle with on a day to day basis. Today our challenge is to realize that we cannot overcome them on our own, but that we need God’s grace to pull us through.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Homily for Pentecost 2010

In the Gospel we heard our Lord say to his disciples, “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” This morning as we gather together we commemorate Pentecost the day in which the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles.

When we were baptized we were introduced to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then on the day of confirmation we were sealed with the seven gifts of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in each one of our hearts and because of this, we have a responsibility. Our responsibility is to proclaim to others the mighty acts of God. If we take a moment to stop and think, God has blessed and done many great things for us. He has blessed us with clothing, food, and shelter. Also he has blessed us with families who care, nurture, and protect us. Finally how can we forget the greatest gift of all the Church and her Sacraments! It is through the Sacraments that we experience firsthand the Spirit at work.

You and I are filled with the Holy Spirit! However there are times in life in which we lose sight of the Spirit working in our lives. Yesterday in the first reading taken from the prophet Ezekiel for the Vigil of Pentecost there was a line that read, “Dry bones; hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you that you may come to life.” Now a question for all of us, are our bones dry? Let’s put this quote into context for today by replacing the word “bones” with “Spirit.” Are we truly filled with the Spirit? There are many times we may tend to cloud the Spirit from working freely in our lives.

What must we do to allow the Spirit work in our lives? First we need to keep focused and persevere in prayer. At times when we pray it will feel that we don’t get anything out it. We will wonder if God is really there, however we must be persistent. In our lives the Lord doesn’t always ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful. If we are faithful to our commitments and our prayer life we will grow even stronger in everything we do. Secondly we need to get rid of those things that keep us away from following Christ. Perhaps it might be some attachment to a particular attitude we have, or a particular grudge we are holding in our hearts, maybe it’s acquiring more material possessions for ourselves, these are but a few of the things that keep us from growing closer to the Lord.

As we commemorate this feast of Pentecost may we strive to open our hearts completely to the Spirit! We open our hearts when we rid ourselves of those things that bog us down. By doing deeds, saying kind words, reaching out to others who need help, seeking forgiveness when we hurt someone and being willing to forgive others when they hurt us, we open ourselves up for the Holy Spirit to work wonders. May we pray that the Lord send the Spirit down upon all of us today so that we may go forth to renew the face of the earth!

Homily for the Vigil Pentecost 2010

“Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” This evening there is a line in the first reading from the book of the Prophet of Ezekiel, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you that you may come to life.” Now please allow me to pose a question, are our bones dry? Let me put this line into context today and replace the word “bones” with “spirit.” Are we full of zeal for the faith or do we need some work?

This evening we celebrate the vigil of Pentecost the day on which the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles. Often Pentecost is referred to as the birthday of the Church. Now this is up for debate some say the Church was born at the Last Supper when the Lord celebrated the First Mass with the Apostles, others will say the Church’s birthday was at Pentecost. Well let’s not argue about this for there is one thing we cannot deny and that this is the day in which the Holy Spirit came down and revealed Himself to those gathered. The Holy Spirit is alive and breathing in the Church today, but the question remains are we open to it! Are we allowing the Spirit to breathe and live in our lives each day!

What must we do to allow the Spirit work in our lives? First we need to keep focused and persevere in prayer. At times when we pray it will feel that we don’t get anything out it. We will wonder if God is really there, however we must be persistent. In our lives the Lord doesn’t always ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful. If we are faithful to our commitments and our prayer life we will grow even stronger in everything we do. Secondly we need to get rid of those things that keep us away from following Christ. Perhaps it might be some attachment to a particular attitude we have, or a particular grudge we are holding in our hearts, maybe it’s acquiring more material possessions for ourselves, these are but a few of the things that keep us from growing closer to the Lord. What happens when we clear some of these things out of the way? As the Gospel says, “Rivers of living water flow from within him who believes in me.” Believe and persevere! Be open to the Holy Spirit! Allow Him to work in you! Good things will come about for those who are open to it.

This evening as we approach our Lord in the Holy Eucharist may we pray together, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.”

First Permanent Deacon Class to be ordained in the Diocese of Harrisburg in 27 years…

Bishop Kevin Rhoades the Bishop of Fort Wayne South Bend in Indiana and the former Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg returns to Harrisburg to ordain 23 men to the permanent diaconate this morning at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Harrisburg at 10AM. This will be the first permanent diaconate class to be ordained from the Diocese of Harrisburg in twenty seven years. We congratulate these men and assure them of our prayers as they go forth to proclaim the Gospel!

We at Corpus Christi in Chambersburg look forward this morning to the ordination of one of our own Mr. Rick Ramsey. Deacon Ramsey will be assigned back here at Corpus Christi. Thank you Deacon Ramsey for saying yes to serving the Lord and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Homily for Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter 8:30AM School Mass

Today I would like to take this opportunity to explain a particular devotion that we have in the Church and that is the Forty Hours Devotion. You should have received or will be receiving a letter that I wrote to you and your families inviting you to take advantage of this special opportunity to spend time with our Lord.

The Forty Hours Devotion was brought over to this country by St. John Neumann the fourth bishop of Philadelphia. That is why this particular devotion is centered primarily in this area. Those of you who have been to the City of Philadelphia know that it isn’t that far away. Let’s say for example you go to some parts of the state of California they might honestly ask you what Forty Hours is about. Forty Hours is a very special devotion that allows us to come into Church to pray in the Lord’s presence. During Forty Hours the Sacred Host is placed in a vessel called a Monstrance and is placed on the center of the Altar. People throughout the day and night come into Church to pray in front of our Lord.

Traditionally in this parish we have our Forty Hours devotion on the weekend of the Feast of Corpus Christi. There is no better way to celebrate our parish feast than to adore and honor the Sacred Body of Christ. Why should we come? Well there is no better reason than to have the opportunity to kneel, pray, and sit at the feet of Jesus. Yes, we live in a busy world. Most of you would understand because all throughout the year many of you are going from school to basketball or soccer practice, band, scouts, and back home to do homework. We live in a noisy world with a lot going on and that is why God willing when the day comes when I am a pastor of a parish I will not allow any evening parish activities other than the evening prayer service for the sole purpose of encouraging the entire parish community to come together to worship in awe before the presence of our Eucharistic Lord. When Jesus is in the center of the altar of Sacrifice then for those three days He must be the center of all parish activity!

Now there were two women; you might have heard of them Martha and Mary. Both women were in the presence of Jesus. Martha was busy about making sure everything was perfect for Jesus and she was frustrated with her sister Mary because she was there doing nothing except spending time with Jesus. She was so frustrated that she even went to Jesus and complained. Jesus looked at her and said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need for only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Beginning on June 6th after the Noon Mass continuing through Tuesday Evening on June 8th we will plenty of opportunity to accept Lord’s invitation to spend time with him in prayer. I would strongly encourage you to come and join us each night to pray with your extended family.

We just heard in the Gospel Jesus say to his friends, “the Spirit will help you and will tell you about me.” The Spirit is speaking to us but are we listening. In the Church today we need a renewal! The time has come for us to make a choice. We need to make Jesus Christ our survival of life the center of our lives as Mary did in story I referenced from scripture and shared with you this morning. We must credit Martha for something, she was a doer! At times we need to be a people of prayer but we must also at times be a people of action. You and I must preach the Gospel by doing good things and saying kind words to brighten other people’s day. This is our work. Forty Hours is a perfect opportunity for us boys and girls to pray with Jesus and to ask Him to help us make good choices. Teachers I would like to invite you on Monday June 7th and Tuesday June 8th if you have any time available in your busy schedules to consider bringing your students into the Church for ten or fifteen minutes and allow them and yourselves the opportunity to say a quiet prayer in front of our risen Lord. It will also be beneficial for the people of our parish to see our children in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and I know that time spent will be beneficial for all of you.

In a couple weeks we will have an opportunity to adore our Lord on the altar. It is an opportunity that we just cannot pass up, but the question is will we choose the better part and accept the Lord’s invitation to be with Him.

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(“If Jesus is going to be present in the center of the Altar of Sacrifice for those three days, then he must be the center of all parish activity.” Homily for Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter at the 8:30AM Mass)

Homily for Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter (7AM Mass Homily)

As the Lord asked Peter, He asks us today, “Do you love me? And in response to Peter’s answer our Lord said, “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” My brothers and sisters in Christ the Lord asks us to tend the flock. We tend the flock when we show Christ to others. Perhaps you have noticed that I use that phrase a lot, “Show Christ to others.” While it’s easy for us to say do this and do that, by saying show Christ to others, we see the bigger picture. It isn’t enough to say “do good works.” Hopefully we all do good works each and every day, but when we say show Christ to others it reminds the individual of their spiritual responsibility to be messengers of the Gospel.

Are we willing to follow the Lord? We must ask ourselves that very question today. Our Lord also said to Peter, “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will lead you and lead you where you do not want to go.” As we grow older the more we realize that we need to place our hope in the Lord. Our challenge today is for us to stretch out our hands and allow the Lord to guide us. Perhaps where He is asking us to go will be difficult, but when we do no matter how hard the road will be, we will be able to withstand anything that comes our way because we will know that the Lord is at our side.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homily for Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.” Our responsorial psalm is a perfect prayer for us this morning. There is so much out there that can distract us from our mission here in this life. Sometimes it can be eternal things such as a preoccupation with material things. At other times if were honest it’s our own stubbornness that get’s in the way. Today there is so much that is out there that keeps us from doing what we are called by God to do.

Our Lord is praying once again in the Gospel for us to be one. = We should not be caught up with all these things that keep us away from this unity that God desires. This morning may we pray for the grace to commend one another to God and ask Him to keep us safe from those things that harm our relationship with one another!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homily for Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

“May they be one just as we are one!” Again the Lord’s is praying for us to be one. It is his desire that we be united together with Him. Yet today are we truly one? If we look closely it is unfortunate that in many circles we are not united. We have our own individual ideals that sometimes are even contrary to the Lord’s.

There is a lot of confusion and internal struggles that are going on in our world today and it is sad today even within our Church. Today younger Catholics who long for a tradition that was all but abandoned are openly ridiculed. I often hear people say that younger priests are bringing back things that were tossed out forty years ago such as burses, chalice veils, maniples and even the Latin Language. Well as I like to point out the Church never abandoned these Sacred Practices. Another example some think the Second Vatican Council removed Latin entirely from the Liturgy. On the contrary the document on the Sacred Liturgy from the documents of the Second Vatican Council clearly states, “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” Thus the Church is clear Latin was never abrogated. It is part of our tradition and unites us as a Church. Therefore, every Catholic should be taught to have a basic appreciation for the language and what it accomplishes, a unity with one another a common worship throughout the world.

Today my dear brothers and sisters we follow Paul’s example and commend one another to God and in doing so we together pray for that true unity which the Lord desires.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AS WE APPROACH THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI IN A FEW WEEKS…

Please come join us for the Celebrate Corpus Christi Dinner Dance

Saturday June 5th

Sponsored by

The Celebrate Corpus Christi Committee

As We Begin to Celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi

AND

The Tenth Year Anniversary of our Adoration Chapel

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Location:              Corpus Christi Parish Center

Time:                               6:30PM – 11PM

Cost:                           $12.50 per person

Fabulous Entertainment provided by Nancy and Jody

Why attend? Attending this event provides an opportunity to grow closer together as a parish family. Socializing together also gives us the opportunity to socialize with individuals we may not have even met even although we worship together in one Church week after week. Another reason to attend…just too simply get out of the house and have FUN!!!

The proceeds benefit the upkeep the Parish Center

We also extend an invitation to come join us in prayer as we worship in awe in the presence of the Lord during our

FORTY HOURS DEVOTION

Beginning

Sunday June 6th after the 12 Noon Mass and Continuing through Tuesday June 8th

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Each night we will have Evening Prayer at 7PM with Father David Hereshko, Administrator Pro-Tem of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbotstown as the Homilist.

On Tuesday Evening we will process the Blessed Sacrament from the Church to the perpetual adoration chapel.

Adoration will be available in the Church during overnight hours during those three nights

During this year we ask that you pray in particular for our Adoration Chapel and those who adore our Lord on a regular basis. We also ask that you pray that more people will open their hearts to consider spending an hour a week in the presence of Christ.

Homily for Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” These words from Paul came at the close of our first reading this morning and they give us something to meditate upon today. Paul told those gathered around, “I did not shrink from proclaiming to you.” Do we ever shrink from the truth or do we at times compromise it.

One of the biggest errors in our society is a tendency to stir clear of the truth. Of course everything has a time and a place but there are times there is a hesitation to proclaim boldly our faith. We have a moral obligation to proclaim and teach the truth that has been presented to us by God Himself. That is our call from God today. The key is that we do it with humility as Paul says earlier in the reading. He says, “Yet I consider life of no importance, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” Today may we pray for the grace to do just that “to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace!” May we not shrink from that awesome responsibility!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Homily for Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“Take courage, I have conquered the world.” Often times we might be tempted to become discouraged when we see all the negative things going on in our world today. However the Lord’s words at the end of the Gospel should bring us peace knowing that despite all those things that might be circulating in our world now that the battle has already been won!

My brothers and sisters the Holy Spirit dwells within us. The Holy Spirit entered our hearts, minds, and souls when we were baptized and when we were confirmed we received the fullness of the Spirit. Having received the Spirit we are scattered out to proclaim the Gospel message to our circles of family, friend, and coworkers. Our Lord refers to this when he says, “Behold the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.” Of course this passage has to be placed in context. The Lord never abandons us, yet there are times in which the Lord asks us to go forth and be missionaries. As we come here every morning to be in His midst we leave here with a charge to love and serve the Lord. My brothers and sisters today let’s take a moment to specifically reflect on what the Lord is telling us today. As we mediate on these sacred mysteries may we offer a song of praise to the Lord by the very way we live our lives in our world each day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Homily for the Youth Groups Evening Holy Hour Theme “Our Heavenly Mother”

As we kneel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament this evening it is fitting that we honor one of the individuals who was instrumental in bringing each one of us here today and that is our Blessed Mother. She really has only one role that is to bring you and me closer to her beloved Son Jesus Christ.

It’s unfortunate today that her role is often misunderstood by people of other faiths. They tend to look at us Catholics and say that we worship Mary. There are others who would say that we shouldn’t honor her at all. Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Who wouldn’t honor the person who would say “yes” to the will of God? It was her “yes” that put God’s plan of salvation in motion. Soon as Mary said “yes” she became the Mother of God and in many ways our mother too. We look to Mary the Mother of God for guidance. You and I seek her intercession to bring us closer to Christ. Stop for a moment and think about your own mothers as you were growing up. Think of how often they would take your hand when you crossed the street or took you by the hand to keep you from getting lost in a crowded mall. Today your mothers are guiding you even today as you prepare to make some important decisions in your life. Mothers give us directions. Our Blessed Mother does the same thing for us today. Look to her!

This morning I had the privilege of installing the officers for the Corpus Christi Council of Catholic Women. In my address to them I quoted Mary’s line at the Wedding Feast of Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” Once again we see Mary directing us to her Son. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton said to her sisters before her death, “Be daughter of the Church.” Tonight I have to adapt that ever so slightly to say, “Be daughters and sons of the Church.” Be faithful to Jesus Christ and His Church. Your young minds will have a tendency to often ask questions and that’s ok because we need to ask questions from time to time in order for us to grow stronger in the faith. But please keep this in mind always strive to remain faithful to Christ and faithful to the Church. At times it will be difficult but the Lord asks to follow Him. You and I have plenty of help in this department. We have the Church and her Sacraments, we have one another for support, and we also have the person we honor today our Blessed Mother. Look to Christ and His Mother!

Now someone coming here from outside the Catholic Church observing our holy hour this evening could say shouldn’t this all be about Jesus. Here you have the Sacred Host on the altar which you proclaim to be Jesus and you are speaking not of Him but of His mother. It’s a valid observation! But we cannot forget how much it pleases Christ when we worship in awe before His presence and honor His holy mother. Mary is indeed crowned Queen of Heaven and of Earth. Again stop and think if it wasn’t for Mary’s “yes” we would not have the Eucharist. Her role is vital in the life of the Church and every individual should bow our heads in gratitude and reverence for all that she has done for us. Today as we crown the statue of Mary signifying her special role in the Church let us be reminded that it not only us who crowns her this evening as our heavenly Mother but also her beloved Son Jesus the Christ present here with us on the altar.

Introduction for the Ladies Brunch and Installation of the Corpus Christi’s Catholic Council of Catholic Women’s Officers

It is with great honor that I have this privilege to install the officers for Corpus Christi’s Catholic Council of Catholic Women. Before the installation ceremony, please allow me to say a few words to you this morning. This morning, my dear women of the parish I wish to hold up three women for you to model yourselves after.

First we have Martha and her sister Mary. These two women were very different. Martha was a doer. You are called to be doers to be messengers of the Gospel. As Bishop Odoki said so simply to our confirmation candidates a week ago, “You are called to be missionaries.” We must begin our missionary work at the core in our homes, and then to those we meet in various organizations. Many of you are involved in parish organizations and I also know many of you are in other community organizations as well. What a perfect opportunity you have to bring the Lord into the community. At times we are prohibited from mentioning the name of Jesus in public but what is to stop us from helping others to know who Jesus is by our actions, our good deeds, and words.

The Second Person is Mary the sister of Martha. She was criticized by Martha for spending time with Jesus. Now ladies let’s be honest there are many times when it’s easy to criticize others for not doing any work. For starters let’s strive not to complain but strive to model Mary and spend some quality time with Jesus. We need to have a balance in our lives. Yes we must be like Martha and be doers but there are times when we need to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus. There are many ways we can spend quality time with the Lord. For starters we spend quality time with Jesus every time we gather at Church on Sunday for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That time each week allows us to present to God our needs and worship in awe in the midst of His presence. There is another way in which we here at Corpus Christi Church have an opportunity to spend time with the Lord in adoration. We are so blessed here to have in our parish a perpetual adoration chapel where we can come and adore our Lord on a regular basis. Many of you already have a Holy Hour in the chapel regularly and if you don’t, I invite you to consider that awesome opportunity. Those who gather on a regular basis can testify to the personal encounter one can experience with the risen Lord. Another way we spend time with Jesus is when we live our vocations. Many of you have families. By spending time with your families you are spending time with Jesus. How easy it is for us to forget that when we spend time with our families, at the same time we are spending time with Christ. These are just of a few ways we spend time with the Lord.

Finally the most important lady I ask you to strive to model your lives after is in fact the Blessed Mother. At the wedding feast of Cana Mary told them, “Do whatever He tells you.” Today Mary the Mother of God speaks to you ladies today those very same words. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton said to her sisters before her death, “Be daughters of the Church.” Today I challenge you as one of your shepherds to be those daughters of the Church you are called to be. Please be faithful to Christ and His Church. We must look to Christ and Him alone for guidance. The role of Mary is to bring people to her Son. You my dear ladies of the parish have that same responsibility. Always strive to bring others to Christ! Be Daughter of the Church!

Speaking as one of your shepherds we need your help in evangelization. You have the opportunity to bring the Gospel to those we as priests cannot reach. My dear ladies you have an understanding of things that we men can never fully understand. I need your help in bringing the message of the good news of Jesus Christ into the world. As I stand before you today I beg you for your help in this mission. Please know we as your priests appreciate the work that you do and we look forward to working with you. May we work together hand in hand to build up the Body of Christ!

Before I start with the installation I have to issue you an apology. Believe me when I say I don’t like to eat and run or in this case install and run, however I have to be a good son and take my mother out for mother’s day a week late and I also show my sister around the parish so after I install the officers I will have to leave. Please don’t hold my quick exit against me. Again I thank you for this opportunity to install the officers for the Corpus Christi’s Council of Catholic women and I truly mean what I said that I look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

What we have just heard from the Gospel is a prayer from our Lord Jesus Christ for his people. He says, “Holy Father, I pray not only for them (meaning his apostles), but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” This passage wasn’t meant for his apostles. This prayer was meant for us. When we hear this prayer this morning it is as if the Lord is praying it right here right now speaking directly to us.

Our Lord has taken his place at the right hand of the Father which we commemorated this past Thursday and today looks down over us praying to the Father on our behalf. What is Jesus’ prayer specifically for us today? As he sits at the right hand of the Father our Lord Jesus Christ prays that we may continue his missionary work in the Church. It is not easy following in the steps of Jesus. In the first reading we have the account of the death of Stephen the first deacon. This account is another one that illustrates the cost of following the Lord Jesus Christ. To live the faith is not an easy one. The Lord asks each of us gathered here to be martyrs just like Stephen. Perhaps the Lord won’t ask us to give up our lives physically for the sake of the Gospel but there is a true sense of martyrdom if we live our faiths according to the will of the Lord. If we are true to it we will at times experience persecution and rejection from others. Yet the Lord pleads for us to persevere in the faith to follow Him always. Stephen was put to death for proclaiming the Lord as the Messiah. Can we too be bold enough to proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah the teacher of all truth? That is the question we must ponder today.

While we will often suffer for the Lord’s name, we don’t stand there and suffer alone. Our Lord is right there standing right next to us every step of the way. Jesus hasn’t abandoned us. Stop and think for moment do we recognize Jesus in our lives. Do we see Christ in others? Do we recognize Christ here in this Church? Upon my arrival here almost now a year ago we have tackled together these very questions. Jesus Christ is here standing among us. He is present in me as a priest and He is present in each of you. Of course our Lord speaks to us in His word and most importantly He is present to all of us here in the tabernacle. Our Lord never has abandoned us and He has given us ways to constantly remind us of that each and every day.

Yes the Lord is King, the most high over all the earth. He stands in the Heavenly City and looks down upon each of us today. Continuing with this Sacred Liturgy may we lift up our hearts and minds to the Lord and ask Him for that very grace to accept those crosses in our lives so that we can embrace the challenges that arise each day, knowing of course that the Lord is always with us, so that we can spread the Gospel message to others.

Homily for the Seventh Sunday given at a Boy Scout camping Event

What we have just heard from the Gospel is a prayer from our Lord Jesus Christ for his people. He says, “Holy Father, I pray not only for them (meaning his apostles), but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” This passage wasn’t meant for his apostles. This prayer was meant for us. When we hear this prayer this morning it is as if the Lord is praying it right here right now speaking directly to us.

You as members of the Boy Scouts of America and I as a Catholic priest today are experiencing a trial because of the sins of some of our own. I mention this to you today because I know it has effect on you. It has too! However, we should expect it and accept it as part of the cross of Christ. One thing we can’t do is react and point fingers. They expect us to do that. People have been hurt and there is only one thing we can do and that is say “we are sorry.” Will it ever be enough… unfortunately no. Today we as a society need to learn to hold ourselves accountable and say we are sorry when mistakes have been made and we as a society need to learn the value of forgiveness. It is forgiveness that brings true healing to the heart. Being able to forgive is the only way we can bring about true healing.

Now there is another thing we can’t do and that is to steer away from our principles. That’s what people want us to do. They want to call us hypocrites and everything else to silence the message and for us to compromise our core values. While yes we should be strongly scrutinized because of the handling of sinful behavior of some of our members we cannot cower for if we do than the evil one has won. You and I stand for something that is awesome. We stand for something that is right! We should be proud to be members of such a great organization such as the Boy Scouts of America. Let’s together raise our right hands a repeat a loud the Scout Oath followed by the Scout law;

One my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

These are the principles we stand for and I say we because I am one of you an Eagle Scout and once an Eagle Scout always an Eagle Scout. We have a lot to share with the world. Don’t let society because the sins of a few steer you away from the fundamental principles we stand for.As a priest I can’t let the sins of few hamper the proclamation of the Gospel.

It’s awesome being a Boy Scout because we get to do a lot of cool things that many of our peers have never experienced. We have an opportunity to go camping and hiking and the ability to appreciate God’s gift in everything especially in nature. Let me say that it is awesome to be a priest! Yes society may think I am strange for wanting to give up a family and worldly possessions. Please let me assure I haven’t given up any of that…for my family is bigger than ever and I have all that I need to live. What’s more important as a priest I have the awesome responsibility to bring Christ to others as I am bringing Christ to you tonight in a special way in the Holy Eucharist. This evening the main reason I am addressing some of the scandals going on in our organizations because today’s first reading speaks of martyrdom.

As he sits at the right hand of the Father our Lord Jesus Christ prays that we may continue his missionary work in the Church. It is not easy following in the steps of Jesus. In the first reading we have the account of the death of Stephen the first deacon. This account is another one that illustrates the cost of following the Lord Jesus Christ. To live the faith is not an easy one. The Lord asks each of us gathered here to be martyrs just like Stephen. Perhaps the Lord won’t ask us to give up our lives physically for the sake of the Gospel but there is a true sense of martyrdom if we live our faiths according to the will of the Lord. If we are true to it we will at times experience persecution and rejection from others. Yet the Lord pleads for us to persevere in the faith to follow Him always. Stephen was put to death for proclaiming the Lord as the Messiah. Can we too be bold enough to proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah the teacher of all truth? That is the question we must ponder today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Homily for the Feast of Saint Matthias

This morning’s first reading is the account of the first ever election of a new bishop. Here in the account taken from the Acts of the Apostles we hear of the selection of Matthias the apostle who replaced Judas Iscariot.

You and I share in the apostolic ministry of the Church in different degrees. As a priest I confer God’s grace upon you as you approach the Sacraments. You my dear brothers and sisters having received that grace are called to give witness to that faith in the world. Indeed as we heard in the Gospel account today, “it was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” God has chosen us for a special mission and it’s a mission that only you and I can complete. As we honor St. Matthias we take this opportunity to pray for our Holy Father who will appoint a new shepherd for our diocese. May the Holy Father inspired by the Holy Spirit select a good and holy man to be our Good Shepherd! This morning as we together give thanks to God may we pray always for the strength to accept that responsibility that has been given to us!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Homily for Ascension Thursday (7PM Mass)

Today we hear that once again of God’s plan being set in motion. Our Lord Jesus Christ was taken up to heaven to take his place at the right hand of the Father setting the stage for the Holy Spirit to work in the world.

There is a line in the first reading that I want to turn our attention towards, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky.” In today’s society we have more and more people looking for the return of the Messiah than wanting to be effective ministers of the Gospel. Today there are more people who stand idle and let the proclamation of the faith to others. We must never forget that all of us are messengers of the Gospel and that we have an obligation to live our faith in the world. You and I cannot stand idle for more than ever today are we needed to look up to Christ and allow the Spirit to flow through our hearts and minds. As our Lord was raised up into to heaven we need to rise up in one accord joyfully. We are called not to stand idle but are called to live and proclaim our faith.

Our Lord said in the Gospel to his disciples, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations.” Indeed our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sake and at times we will suffer for the sake of the Kingdom of God. All though out this year I have been making constant reference to the cross and the reason for that is because we live in a society that tries to avoid it. If we think everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows and something happens to us that knocks us down its much harder to get back up and move forward. However if we accept the cross as part of our life we can get back up and move forward. Our Lord suffered, died, and rose again on the third day. We too will rise up on the last day. All we have to do is keep our chin up and move ahead.

Last weekend Bishop Odoki the auxiliary Bishop of Gula and the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese in Arua in Uganda reminded our confirmation students that they were called to be missionaries. Many of us gathered here having been baptized and confirmed are called to keep that missionary spirit alive. While many are not called to proclaim the Gospel vocally in the community we are called to be missionaries were it matters the most, in the home. Yes we are to be witnesses to the faith in the community and in the world but the way we can be the most effective missionaries is when we begin at the heart, our families.

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(Bishop Odoki, the auxiliary Bishop of Gula Archdiocese and the apostolic administrator of the Arua Diocese)

This evening may we pray for the grace to be effective missionaries! May we not just stand idle but do as the Lord asked to be witnesses to the faith. It’s the little things we do on a regular basis that will have the most impact in people’s lives. Today where there are a lot of people who stand idle and let the proclamation of the faith to others, may we on this Ascension Thursday pray for the grace to look up to the Lord but also to rise up and be messengers of peace and joy!

Homily for Ascension Thursday (7:00AM Mass)

Today we hear that once again of God’s plan being set in motion. Our Lord Jesus Christ was taken up to heaven to take his place at the right hand of the Father setting the stage for the Holy Spirit to work in the world.

There is a line in the first reading that I want to turn our attention towards, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky.” In today’s society we have more and more people looking for the return of the Messiah than wanting to be effective ministers of the Gospel. Today there are more people who stand idle and let the proclamation of the faith to others. On this Ascension Thursday may we pray for the grace to look up to the Lord but also to rise up and be messengers of peace and joy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Homily for Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

“Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” Indeed everything around us is a gift from God. It is easy for us to recognize the gifts that bring us joy. However the ones that we struggle the most with are recognizing those gifts that don’t always bring worldly happiness. This of course is in reference to our crosses, our daily struggles. While we might not be able to fully grasp and understand this all the time, our challenges in life are truly gifts from God.

As we heard in the Gospel our Lord said to his disciples gathered around Him, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” Again we hear about Spirit. Today we so often look for things that will bring us immediate happiness. But where do we find true happiness? Is it in living in luxury? Is it in striving to have a lot of money? No our true happiness is found when we follow God. Will it always be easy? Of course not, however we will be at peace being able to feel the Spirit at work in our lives. Yes indeed heaven and earth is full of the glory of the Lord. This morning in our prayers may we ask the Lord to be able to see his glory in the world even in those things we have a hard time struggling with on a daily basis.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let the children come to me… The importance of bringing young children to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

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Jesus speaking to his disciples said, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Our Lord said this in response to his disciples who were trying to prevent the young people from coming up to the Lord. Many times we are like those early disciples.

It always bothers me when I hear young families when they come up to me and say that they feel unwelcomed in a Catholic Church. During those years when I sat in the pew I often saw the roll of the eye when a young child would begin to act up in Church from older parishioners. Unfortunately, I once even heard a priest stop in the middle of Mass and ask the family to take the child in the so-called “Crying Room.” I was an altar server at that particular Mass and believe me I was embarrassed. Situations like these are unfortunate. Children have a right to be present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In fact, parents have an obligation to take their children to Church every Sunday. Parents should not be made to feel that their families are unwelcome in the Catholic Church. I know some parents who even go at different times to allow one of them to go to Mass while the other one stays at home to watch the kids and the other parent goes later in the day. However, does it have to be this way???

We have an obligation to make our Churches a place of welcome for families with young children. Parents should not be made to feel that their children are a distraction on Sundays. By taking children to Mass from the earliest of ages the child is taught the importance of Sunday Mass. They have a right to be there and we have an obligation to make them feel welcomed. Now I mentioned a little while back in a homily that children who cry or make a fuss during Mass doesn’t bother me. It really doesn’t! In fact it brings me great joy to hear children at Mass. They are the present (here and now) and future of the Church. In those rare occasions that I myself become distracted in the midst of giving a homily, I take it as the Lord Himself telling me “Father it’s time to stop!” Young children represent the youth of the Church.

How can we make our young families feel welcome in the Catholic Church? Well first, we must stop rolling our eyes or turning around to glare them down when their children begin to make a fuss at Mass. We must remember we were once young ourselves and when we were at that age we didn’t know better. Children have a right to be in the body of the Church for they too are part of the Body of Christ. Now some may ask should we still provide these so-called “Crying Rooms.” While children do have a right to be in the body of the Church, I think it’s important that we still provide these rooms. First let me propose a name change from “Crying Room” to a “Children’s chapel.” These rooms should be connected to the Church to provide a space for families to take their children when they begin to act up for a prolonged period of time. While these chapels provide a quiet space for families to care for their children they are not disconnected from the Body of Christ. Again these rooms should only be used temporarily to allow families to care and comfort their children and not be a place where families must feel that that have to take their children every time they attend Church.

One of the things I personally take issue with is this separation the Liturgy of the Word for children. In parishes where this occurs the children leave after the opening prayer and return during the offertory. While this was introduced in good faith so that the word of God can be broken open for them, call me old school but I personally don’t feel it’s a good idea to separate our young people from the Mass. What I propose is that it would be better for one of the Sunday Liturgy’s be designated as a family liturgy and the homily should be directed towards children. That way the young people can experience and participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Now one of the precepts of the Church is to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligations. This applies to children also. Unfortunately today when religious education is on Sunday many families drop their kids off for religious education, turn around and not take their children to Mass. Some even drop their kids off to class and go to Mass themselves.   But the problem with this is while their kids are going to Religious Ed they are not recognizing the importance of Sunday Mass. They think religious education is more important than attending Church. It’s interesting to hear and see the young people at Church when they receive their First Communion. For many of them it is been a while since many of them stepped inside a Catholic Church. At the first communion retreat I had one young child ask me, “Who I was?” They didn’t even recognize their parish priest. This is not good. Children must have some religious education and must also attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Here where I am assigned families have the opportunity to go to Mass before Religious Ed at 9AM or after at 12 Noon. It is perfect to allow families to attend Mass together. One must note that there is a plus side to having Religious Education in between the two Mass times. It allows a husband and wife an opportunity to spend one hour together a time that they may not get during the week. In today’s society there are many things to do. Take advantage of the opportunity.

Once again our Lord said, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” May we strive as a Community of Faith to provide a warm welcoming atmosphere for our young families who want to bring their children to Christ who always welcomes them to be with Him!

Homily for Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Jesus told his disciples this morning, “It is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.” The Advocate of course is the Holy Spirit. Once again the Lord implores us today to be open to the Spirit who will guide us to the truth.

In order to be open to the Spirit we need humility. We need to recognize that we can do nothing on our own. As I mentioned yesterday morning so often this is easier said than done. For at times we become so distracted by things whether it is material things or our own quirks it is so hard to keep our focus. That is why we need God in our lives, and we need each other for mutual support. Yes we will be distracted but as it once was said, the Lord doesn’t always expect us to be successful, He expects us to be faithful. As we approach our Lord today may we ask Him for the grace and strength to be faithful in our prayers and in our vocations in life!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Liturgical Catechesis…the use of Latin

The parish began using Latin Mass parts during the Liturgy a few months back. As one can imagine this might cause a stir with a few. It is unfortunate that many people think that the Second Vatican Council abolished all Latin from the Sacred Liturgy. That is not true! Below is what the Second Vatican Council said about the Latin language in the document Sacrosactum Concilium.

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

4. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above. [1]

First the Church is clear the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin Rite. Catholics who think the Second Vatican Council abolished Latin in the Sacred Liturgy are mistaken. While the Church does not propose a complete return to the Latin language, the Church continues to encourage its use especially in liturgies where a number of people of different nationalities are gathered together. Latin is a common language that unites us together. Even in Liturgies that are celebrated mainly in the vernacular the Church encourages that some parts of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be in the language of the Church.

It is unfortunate today that many people do not see the importance of the Latin language in the tradition of the Church. What is more unfortunate is the criticism some pose against the younger generation of the Church who wish to maintain this Sacred Tradition. Speaking as someone who appreciates the use of the Sacred Language it is not that young people what to see a total return of the way things were done years ago, young people want to maintain the tradition of the Church in which so many tossed out after the Second Vatican Council.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the vernacular can provide a wonderful opportunity for catechesis. It is with great joy that the Holy See has approved the New Translation of the Roman Missal. This new translation will provide an opportunity for liturgical renewal in the life of the Church.


[1]http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

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I would like to extend to all Mother’s a Blessed and Happy Mothers Day!!!  As you raise your families, may you always strive to model the example of the Blessed Mother who cared for her Son Jesus.  I ask that the Lord bless you in your special vocations as mothers as you nurture the faith in your families.

Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children, so you watch over your Church.  Bless these women, that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers.  Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.  Grant that we, their sons and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect.  Grant this through Christ our Lord.  (Taken from the Book of Blessings)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

The central theme of our readings today focuses on being open to the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. We just heard, “whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him.” God loves us because He created us in His own image and likeness. Because of this He loves us unconditionally. However there are times in which you and I don’t keep His word.

In last week’s Gospel we heard the Lord say to his disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” For us gathered here today what does the Lord’s definition of love mean for us? You and I are called to show love and respect towards one another because we are created in the image and likeness of God. Secondly, it means being able to accept and obey the commandments of God. In today’s world it is utterly amazing how many people out their openly reject the Lord’s commandments. Now there is a difference between those who fail to follow the commandments and those who openly reject them. For example, most of us would agree taking the Lord’s name in vein is sinful. Now let’s say we leave this Sacred Place and someone pulls out in front of us. Perhaps there could be a few choice words that flow out our mouths. We become angry, enraged, perturbed and we might say some things we shouldn’t have said. It happens!

Now there are some who outright reject the Lord’s teachings expressed through His Church in regards to matters of faith that the Church holds Sacred. For a person to ask why the Church teaches what she does is not problematic in itself because we need to ask questions in order to grow in our faith. However for us to say well the Church needs to get with the time on issues of the faith is problematic because who are we to think we can redefine the Ten Commandments. Thus, we are called to follow the way established by Lord Himself. It is when we accept the will of God and follow it in our lives do we experience the Holy Spirit at work in us.

The role of the Holy Spirit is to guide us while we are here on this earth. If we are open to the Spirit, He can work wonders. My brothers and sisters be open to the Spirit, be open to the will of God and you will see the goodness of the Lord. In baptism you and I became members of God’s family and like a true father He loves us no matter what we do. However, we are accountable for our own actions. Yet if we come to Him and are open to His Spirit, He will guide us in the direction we need to go in order to experience the heavenly city.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homily for Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

My brothers and sisters in Christ may we do as the Responsorial Psalm says to go out and “proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.” As we continue to celebrate this Easter Season we continue to contemplate on all that the Lord has done for us.

He has blessed us with families who care for us, food on the table, and shelter. Also he has blest us most of all with the opportunity to receive the resurrected Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. However, with our many gifts comes a responsibility. You and I are called by God to live our faith in the world. This doesn’t mean we go around quoting the bible every second we get and that’s not to say the bible isn’t important but there is a time and place. People need to first be open to it. What you and I need to do first is show others who Jesus is and we do that by the way we live our faith. We do more by our thoughts, works, and actions then we do from our words. As we prepare to come forward to receive Jesus may our prayer be this, “Lord Jesus help me to be more like you.”

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Returning to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the good news and exhorted them to persevere in the midst of difficulties. They said, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” This passage reminds us that even in the midst of our own difficulties that we are not alone for this is what is asked of disciples of the Lord.

There is a cross that comes along when we live our faith. What we find many times when we live our faith is that individuals will be quick to pass judgments on us; perhaps they will even reject us. This is what we should come to expect. When we accept the crosses that come with living our faith than we see how the Lord works to transform others. Unfortunately today we live in a society that openly rejects the cross by avoiding pain and suffering. It is unfortunate that even many people today even see gifts from God as crosses that need to be avoided. All life is Sacred and we as Catholics must be open to life from the moment of conception to natural death. When we close the door of our heart to life, we immediately close the door of our heart to Jesus Christ.

Our Lord in the Gospel gave each of us a new commandment to follow, “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” You and I are called to love God and each other. How does God know that we love Him? First, he knows that we love Him when we follow His commandments. Secondly He knows that we love Him when we take care of those things that He has given us in the environment (animals, plants, trees, etc.). Finally, He knows that we love Him when we show love and respect for one another. Also notice our Lord said, “As I have loved you.” What does this mean? It means that we love one another unconditionally. There will be times in life where the ones we love will hurt us and when they do it will be painful. However, we must continue to love them no matter how hurt we may be inside. Jesus suffered at the hands of others but as He hung upon the cross He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We must be open to forgiveness.

If we want to be happy then we must accept the cross and the hardships that come from it. In the book of Revelation we heard, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” Indeed when we accept Christ and the burdens that come with it we have a guarantee that things will get better. Perhaps not in this life but in the life promised us in the heavenly kingdom. Jesus said so often said to his disciples, keep my commandments and take up your cross and follow after me. Our Lord continues to extend that invitation. Are we open to accept it?