Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Homily for the Monday after the Epiphany…the Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” On this Monday after the Epiphany in the first reading we are challenged to test the spirits. Indeed within our world there are many false prophets. This is how we know whether the spirit is of God or not…“every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belong to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God.”

How do we know today whether or not which is presented before us comes from the Lord? In order to answer that question we need to ask ourselves is this message leading us to Jesus Christ. If the answer is no…then the message is false. However, if the answer is yes then the message is true. One this Monday following the Epiphany of the Lord and on this memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus let’s look for the road which leads to our Lord Jesus Christ.


Homily for the Epiphany of the Lord

Epiphany means revelation and what is revealed to us today is the glory of God. Listen again to these words from the prophet Isaiah, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” God’s glory was revealed to us in a special way with the birth of Christ. Although we celebrate His birth year after year, you and I must look for the ways in which the Lord’s glory is communicated today.

Yet today we have moments of Epiphany, times in which our Lord reveals Himself to us on a daily basis. The most powerful way the Lord reveals Himself is of course in the Most Holy Eucharist. At the consecration we experience the Mysterium Fidei which is Latin for the phrase “mystery of faith” when the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In recent years, it has come apparent that Catholics across the board in many places are losing an appreciation for the real presence of Christ. Beginning with the revolution of the 1960’s we have seen a dramatic drop in Church attendance. Yes the Church is growing, yet Mass attendance is down. While it would be easy to put the blame on the changing culture, can we place all the blame on that? Perhaps we can place some of the blame on our shoulders for allowing ourselves to lose that sense of the Mysterium Fidei.

Unfortunately many of us cannot appreciate the Mysterium Fidei because we as individuals become set in our ways. The Church is not centered on individuals, but rather is centered solely on Jesus Christ. We as Catholics have lost the sense of the Mysterium Fidei because we have thrown out many of our venerable traditions. Today the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated in many places in such a way that it has almost become routine! There is nothing routine about the Sacred Mysteries we celebrate and that is what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is, a mystery. By eating and treating the Most Holy Eucharist as it were a mere piece of bread has contributed to the growth of the lack of appreciation and understanding for the real presence of Jesus Christ.

Thinking about the awesome gift that has been bestowed upon us as priests in the gift of the priesthood this phrase always stands out, “O Priest of God, say this Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” Everyone should reflect on those words for every Mass one attends. If we think of it in that way, the more we all grow to appreciate the Mysterium Fidei.

This morning the responsorial psalm we sang was, “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.” Carpe Diem! Seize the day that is our theme for this Sunday. On this Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord we need to recapture our sense of the Mysterium Fidei! The Lord reveals Himself day after day week after week with the Lord shining the light of His presence in the world. Are we taking that light with us or are we allowing ourselves to block it? As you kneel down in adoration as those words are being said which makes the Mysterium Fidei present ask the Lord to open your eyes of faith and our hearts to experience His glory!


Homily for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God

St. Paul in writing to the people of Galatia wrote, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Today we honor Mary the mother of God because without her yes none of this would be possible.

In today’s Gospel we heard about the shepherds who traveled in haste to give witness to the greatest gift ever bestowed upon us. When they arrived in Bethlehem they found Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus lying in a manger. They told everyone what had been revealed to them about this child and Mary pondered all these things in her heart. This is a key part of the Gospel, “and Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” It is in this Gospel we see the pieces of the puzzle come together. Although Mary believed the angels message that she was to become the Mother of God, this encounter with the shepherds simply reinforced the message which had been revealed to her.

May God bless us in his mercy! Indeed He has through the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was her “yes” accepting the plan that God laid out for her that saved us all. Mary is the Mother of God and at the same time the mother of us all. It is in gratitude we honor her today! As we continue to take time to reflect on the great gift bestowed upon mankind may we take the time today to say thank you to Mary and ask her intercession in helping us follow the path which leads to her Son!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

“Beloved: This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” A few days ago we celebrated the day in which the divine light formally entered the world with the birth of Christ.

Today’s Gospel we heard once again the account of the angel appearing to Joseph in a dream and asking him to take his family to Egypt because Herod issued an order to have all boys two and under killed. Because of Herod’s fear, greed, and pride he ordered this great massacre. However, as we have heard in the Gospel despite this great massacre he failed to achieve his goal. Although many innocent children were killed Herod was unable to stifle the light. In today’s world many innocent children die of abortion each and every single day. Many innocent children suffer in poverty from war and insurrection. Yet despite all this evil in the world the light of Christ cannot be dimmed. The light of Christ is much stronger than any evil present in the world today. This is our hope; this is the message that must be proclaimed by all of us every day of our lives.

Video for the Feast of the Most Holy Family

Video of the 6:00PM Christmas Eve Children’s Mass Homily

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family

Yesterday most of us gathered with our families and friends to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Less than twenty four hours later we gather once again as a parish family to gaze upon this image which is situated to my right and that this the image of the Holy Family…Joseph and Mary with the infant baby Jesus.

My brothers and sisters we cannot negate the importance of families in today’s society. In fact, the family unit is important and necessary. Without good healthy strong families our society would be at a loss. Yet today we see our world is full of broken families which have led to in many cases a loss of morals. Many of our criminals incarcerated in our prisons are products of broken homes. How did we reach this point? Is their hope for our society? Can we turn things around? The answer to all these questions is of course we can! We have hope and it can be seen in the humble image next to me, the image of the Holy Family.

This morning we heard in the Gospel that the angel of the Lord once again appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.” Even the Holy Family had difficulties arise and this was one of them. We must realize that conflicts and difficulties will arise within any relationship. One of the things we really need to focus on in marriage preparation is the phrase “for better or for worst, in good times and in bad.” It’s easy for us to run away when things get rough, but did the challenge facing the Holy Family drive them apart. No, it brought them even closer together as a family.

Parents must also understand that they are the primary educators of the faith. That it is not the responsibility of our Catholic Schools and our Religious Education program. Children should be getting the basics at home so many of the things which we go over here should not be something new. Also parents must be willing to discipline their children. Discipline is not abuse, but rather discipline as it is defined is a training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. Actually discipline is a form of love. This is something that is lacking in today’s society. Why are we afraid to discipline? Unfortunately many people confuse discipline with abuse. I’ve known many good parents who have been contacted by the child welfare office because someone witnessed them discipline their child. Abuse does happen and unfortunately is prevalent in places within our society however we should be careful not to confuse the two.

A failure to discipline has contributed to the decline in morality throughout the world. This past summer a young man I was in scouts with was shot and killed and the alleged shooter was a fifteen year old. I cannot help but think how this could have been allowed to happen. Is this what we want for our society? Too many people have bought into this concept that discipline is harmful to a child’s growth. The fact is without discipline there is no growth taking place. Many of these kids who grow up without discipline end up like that fifteen year old. How many lives have to be affected by our lack willingness to challenge and give guidance to one another? Parents are called not to be their children’s best friend but are called to be truly their parent giving them guidance preparing them for the future that lies ahead. That doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t be friendly with their children but rather when push comes to shove that they understand that most grave responsibility which has been placed upon their shoulders. Parents have a responsibility not only to discipline but also to monitor what their children are watching on television, what sites they are visiting on the internet, and what video games they are playing regularly. That’s not invading your child’s privacy that is being their parent. When I lived in my parent’s house, I followed the rules they established and I still do when I am home…the same should apply for all households. A word to children, listen to your parents. One day you will appreciate what they have said and done for you.

Our goal today is to take a good close look at this special image which is before us. May we strive to model the example of the Holy Family in our homes! Families are the core of our society and without good healthy families we are at a lost. There is no such thing as a perfect family; however our families are perfected when we unite them to the Lord and His family. As we approach these sacred mysteries today may we ask the Lord to strengthen our families so that we can make a positive impact helping others see the glory of God within our world!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Homily for Christmas Day (Using the Readings for Mass during the Day)

This morning “all the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” As each of us gathers here this morning we celebrate the birth of our Savoir Jesus Christ. On this day we celebrate the day in which our Heavenly Father demonstrated His great love by sending down to earth His only begotten Son, who was borne of the Virgin Mary and became Man!

Jesus Christ is our greatest gift. He is the greatest gift that has ever been bestowed upon mankind. Our Heavenly Father gave the gift of His begotten Son freely without asking for any reward. Today our young children were visited by another individual who gives of Himself and that is Santa. Father Christmas demonstrates to us the importance of giving much like our Lord gave of Himself totally. Santa Claus shows us today how we are to give without considering the benefits. In doing so Santa Claus points everyone today in the direction of Jesus Christ! There is no conflict between the two, but rather an intimate connection; both men show us that it is in giving that we receive.

The Word has indeed become flesh as He becomes flesh before our very eyes, day after day, week after week on this very altar. So often we lose sight of those gifts especially those gifts that present themselves to us right before our very eyes. In the Gospel we heard, “A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” My brothers and sisters, each one of us today are called to be a John! You and I have a duty to take the message that we receive and take us with us. All too often we are afraid to live our faith out of fear of offending someone which is a mistake on our part. There is nothing offensive about our faith. If we all stood up for what we truly believed in and lived our faith in the world it would be a better place. You and I cannot remain silent. If we remain silent and become too afraid to live our faith, then greed and worldliness will begin to rule over our lives.

Today our Lord has spoken to us in the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. He continues to speak to us in many ways that so often we miss out because we close our ears of faith. My brothers and sisters it is our Lord’s words we are called to take with us in our thoughts, words, and actions. The Lord is dwelling with us; this is a gift that is not meant to be kept to ourselves but is a gift that is meant to be shared. On this Christmas Day as we gather together with our families may we share the gifts that have been given to us with one another in order to prepare ourselves to share the true message of Christmas with everyone we meet throughout this New Year!

Homily for the Nativity of the Lord Jesus (Vigil Mass at 4PM in Corpus Christi Church)

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” It is with that line on behalf of Father O’Brien, Father Palomino, and myself I would like to extend to all of you the words that people are afraid to use out of fear, but without fear I say to you this afternoon, “Merry Christmas!” To the guests of our parishioners or to those perhaps just simply visiting the area this afternoon I welcome you openly to Corpus Christi Church.

This afternoon we gather here to prepare ourselves in anticipation for the birth of our Savior. The readings for the vigil, the readings for the Mass at midnight, the readings for the Mass at Dawn, and the Mass during the day help us to focus on the actual events leading up to the Lord’s birth. At this particular liturgy in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah we heard the line, “For the Lord delights in you and makes your land his spouse.” My brothers and sisters the Lord delights in each one of us. If He didn’t our God wouldn’t have sent down His only Son to be born of the Virgin Mary. Listening to this part of the reading should fill every one of us gathered here in this packed Church with hope and reassurance. Our Heavenly Father loved us all so much that He was born in a humble manger to set the stage for the greatest act of love which would come to fulfillment thirty three years later.

We were reminded this afternoon what the word “Emmanuel” means in the Gospel. It simply means, “God is with us!” How often do we forget that the Lord is with us? Today we gather here to celebrate His birth the day in which God’s the Father’s love was manifested. However, so many times we miss out in His presence among us here and now. As we celebrate “God is with us” we must look for the ways our Lord shows us His love. One of the ways He demonstrates His love is through our families. Christmas affords us all the opportunity to gather together. Another way He manifests Himself is through the Sacred Mysteries we celebrate this afternoon.

A few moments ago we sang together, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” Today as we leave here having been enlightened by his word and nourished by His Most Sacred Body we are challenged to always sing His goodness. In the Second Reading we hear how Saint Paul bears witness to Christ. You and I are called to live and practice our faith. Living and practicing our faith go hand in hand. In order to live our faith more fully in the world one needs to be practicing the faith and yes practicing the faith means going to Church every single Sunday. There is a reason why the Church asks us to go to Mass every weekend and holy day of obligation, and to utilize the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year. Our Lord knows what we need and that is expressed through His Church. You and I need to gather together each week to listen to the word of God, to receive our Lord into our hearts when we feel that we are able, and finally we need to gather together to support one another in the faith. We as a Church are a family we are family that needs to support one another!

Christmas Eve or Day is not the only day we celebrate “God is with us.” You and I have the opportunity to experience “God is with us” each and every single day on this very altar! As Saint Paul bore witness to Christ in His ministry, may we bear witness to Christ not only this evening and all day tomorrow but wear witness to Him every single day of our lives. May our Lord continue to bless all of you and may you have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Homily for Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

In little over twenty four hours from now you and I will gather here in this Church to celebrate the birth of Savior. Today’s readings are about prophets. In the first reading taken from the Book of the Prophet Malachi we heard this verse, “Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the day of the Lord comes.” Then in today’s Gospel we have the account of the birth of John the Baptist.

As we come down to the final hours of our advent preparation may we strive today to be prophets! Holidays are often stressful and unfortunately we are not the prophets we are called to be. Today stop and mediate on ways we can be prophets to others. May we let the light of love shine forth from our hearts allowing others to experience with us the joy of Christmas!

Homily for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

The first reading from the Book of Samuel we hear how Hannah returns to give thanks for the birth of her son Samuel. Listen once again to her words, “I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.”

Christmas is an opportunity not only for giving but also a time to give thanks. As we get ever closer to the celebration of the Lord’s birth let’s take this opportunity to be thankful. It is so tempting to become overwhelmed with last minute shopping and last minute details, let’s take this opportunity to give thanks to the Lord who is our savior for all the many gifts and blessings.

Homily for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today’s opening line from the first reading from the Song of Songs makes for a perfect love song. “Hark! My lover – here he come springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills.” In a few short days you and I will be celebrating the greatest act of love the world has ever known when the Lord became the flesh.

Our goal for today is to act and reflect joyfully. It’s so easy for us to become discouraged, however has we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift ever bestowed upon mankind we should stay positive. As Christmas draws closer and closer let’s reflect with joy on all the things that have been given to us. May that joy flow out to all those we meet helping them to experience the joy that Christmas has the potential to bring.

Homily for Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory. That’s our goal for this Monday to let the Lord into our hearts and minds. Listen to the words the angel spoke to the Blessed Mother, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary conceived and bore a son. That same Holy Spirit is at work in the world. Make this your goal for today, take five minutes and spend it quietly to yourself. Reflect on how the Holy Spirit is working in your lives. As I mentioned in my homily yesterday we get ourselves wrapped up and excited over details that we lose sight of what this season is all about. Five minutes of silent reflection is a great way to condition ourselves for what we are going to celebrate in a few days. As we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s humble triumphant entrance into our world may we take advantage of humbling ourselves in prayer in His awesome presence!

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Advent is coming to a close and Christmas is literally right around the corner and today we are challenged to “let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.” The readings for this week are centered on the birth of Christ. Listen to the very last line of the first reading from the prophet Isaiah! “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”

This passage is once again referenced in today’s Gospel from Matthew, however it goes on to explain what the word means and that is “God is with us.” Our Lord is within our midst. Do we see the Lord at work in the world or do we totally Him? So often we tend to get wrapped up with trying to find that perfect gift or we panic when we look at how much we need to spend that we lose sight of what this season is truly about. If we are one of those who find themselves getting wrapped up with all that is going on chill out for moment. Put yourselves in the presence of God. Our Lord is indeed with us, spend time with Him. Holiday’s are stressful, because we make them be! Pray and relax in the presence of the Lord.

On this fourth Sunday of Advent we see the wisdom of the Church for using the readings leading up to the Birth of Christ, because we are getting to close to that special day. It’s like we said, right around the corner. We have about a week to get everything ready! As you prepare to celebrate Christmas with your family do not neglect your responsibility to prepare your hearts and minds spiritually. Don’t stress out too much about the details…presence under the tree, what you are going to feed the extra quests in your house, but rather keep your eyes fixed on Jesus! Our Lord Jesus Christ is the reason for the season, may we never lose sight of that!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Homily for Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

“I am the Lord, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe, I the Lord, do all these things.” This opening line taken from our first reading this morning reminds us that the Lord is the author of everything. All our blessings and even our crosses come from God.

That last line is often difficult for us to understand, our Lord gives us crosses. He gives us crosses for two reasons, one to help us grow in the faith. We cannot carry our crosses alone and we need help. Not only help from others but more importantly help from the Lord. As our crosses become increasingly more difficult we should instinctively turn to Him for help. The second purpose of crosses is to give us an opportunity to help one another. All of us share crosses to some degree and we have the ability to help one another with them.

Our Gospel is similar to the one proclaimed this past weekend where John sends two disciples to the Lord. It says in the Gospel, “at that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits.” As we have said repeatedly the last several days is that advent is a time of preparation. Today our preparation gets a little deeper. God has indeed given us everything. Part of our preparation today is to learn how to place our trust in the Lord. While God does not provide us physical healing, when we come to Him our Lord does indeed provide us spiritual healing. He helps us carry those difficult crosses. In your prayers today and as you go home make a mental note of all the gifts that have been given to you and also take a close look at those crosses and look for ways the Lord communicates to us through them showing us His love.

Homily for Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Together as we listen to the Gospel he heard our Lord say, “When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.” The season of advent is about paving a way for the Lord to work in the world. We do that when we live our faith through our thoughts, words, and actions.

There are many individuals today we are at a lost and are in need of hearing the Lords beautiful words. Our Lord reminded the chief priests and the elders of the people that the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before them. As we can imagine that probably didn’t sit well with them at all. Yet it is true, many times all of us write off individuals who don’t live according to the commandments of the Lord. Notice the Lord doesn’t say that they are guaranteed heaven what He said to the chief priests and the elders that they are answering the Lord’s call to conversion. That is what the season of advent is all about, it is about a response. How are we responding to the Lord’s call? Are we responding in such a way that is not only bringing us closer to the Lord but also bringing others to Him as well? These are the questions we must reflect on today!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homily for Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Take a shot! Have you ever had one of those moments when a situation presented itself that you chose not to participate in and afterwards you can kick yourself for not doing it. Each of us probably had that happen to us at time point in our lives. Today the chief priests and the elders approached the Lord and asked Him, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” In response the Lord said “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Advent is about preparing our hearts for the birth of our savior. It is a time of preparation. With any type of preparation it means we got to take chances. Are we doing everything possible to prepare our hearts for the coming of our savior or are we letting worldliness distract us and get in the way. Our responsorial psalm was “teach me your ways, O Lord.” Are we letting the Lord guide our hearts and minds this advent or are we just allowing ourselves to get in the way. This advent, take a chance and let the Lord Take control of our spiritual preparation!

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent

Let the countdown begin! “Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.” Today we lit the third rose candle on the advent wreath which signifies that the day in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord is getting closer. Can’t you feel the excitement in the air!

Some may be saying what excitement, come on we celebrate Christmas every year. Perhaps some might be thinking Father we can’t get excited about this Christmas money is tight and we are struggling to stay afloat. Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Be strong, and fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication.” My brothers and sisters our God has come to save us and that is what we celebrate this Christmas. No matter how bad things might seem, let’s keep our chins up! Saint Nicolas or Santa Claus shows each of us that it is in giving that we receive and sometimes even Santa is affected by budget cuts. It’s not that he can’t afford to make those toys, but rather he wants to show us the true purpose of Christmas. Santa like Jesus gives without counting the cost. While we might not be able to afford everything we want to buy this Christmas don’t lose that spirit of giving. They are many ways we can give without going shopping or handing out cash this Christmas, give of your time to reach out to those in need. Spend time together as a family. Christmas is about Jesus Christ and helping others to experience the love He has for each one of us!

We all have something to rejoice about this Christmas! Our Lord has given us many gifts…gifts that we so often take for granted that it takes economic hardships and other problems that arise for us to appreciate the gifts that we have! Indeed today we must make our hearts firm for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Soon we all be gathered back here celebrating the greatest gift that has ever been given to the world in the Christ child. However, we need to be patient. There is still work that must be done!

As we heard in the Gospel “behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.” You and I have a call and that call is this…to prepare the way of the Lord. Keep Jesus Christ in Christmas. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly afraid to live one’s faith on one’s sleeve. Our world is becoming increasingly messed up because the prince of darkness is interested in ruining our spirit. We cannot bury our faith in the ground and expect it to grow; we need to keep it out in the open for everyone to see. Without God there is no other alternative and the dimmer the light of Christ becomes. If we want to truly prepare our hearts for the birth our savior, than what we need to do is take this opportunity seriously. So often we get ourselves wrapped up in details that we lose sight of everything. Continue with your spiritual preparation and if anyone hasn’t started, start it today! Spend some time in prayer, go to confession and get rid of those things that weigh us down. Let’s celebrate the birth of our Savior with a clean slate.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet this advent season and it’s a good way for us to grow spiritually each day. It’s a gift that we have as a parish and that is our perpetual adoration chapel. My brothers and sisters our Lord extends to us the invitation to spend time with Him and when we do He fills us with His abundant grace. What we have here as a parish is truly a gift and I hope that many more accept the invitation to spend time with Him in adoration and prayer. As time goes by more hours open up and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to cover hours. In some cases people are covering more than one hour in the chapel or are taking several hours throughout the week to cover times. We have a lot of people in this parish, new people coming into the parish regularly; we should be able to cover those hours. Let me remind all of us here present, this is really truly Jesus Christ! It is not a symbol; it is truly the Lord Himself. Jesus did not say, “This is a symbol of my body,” he said clearly “This is my body.” If we as Catholics truly believed it was truly Jesus Christ we would not hesitate to run in haste to be in His presence. This is an awesome gift that we have going here my brothers and sisters it would be a shame if we lose it.

Lord, come and save us! May we place everything into His hands and continue our preparations for the day in which we celebrate the birthday of our Savior by keeping Christ in Christmas and living our faith in our thoughts, words, and actions!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remembering those who have died this day

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor!  On this day back in 1941 our base in Pearl Harbor was attacked and many people lost their lives.

We remember those who died in the attacks of Pearl Harbor and we remember all those who have died in service to our country.  Also we continue to pray for all those men and women who continue to serve our nation each day abroad and at home. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Homily for Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Yesterday we heard in the first reading, “I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, and “Fear not, I will help you.” Then we hear in this morning’s responsorial psalm, “those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.” Advent is a time in which we prepare our hearts and minds for the light that is to come.

There is some truth in today’s Gospel, often times when we live our faith, we cannot win! Listen to what Jesus 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 is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” However, this should not discourage us from living our faith. The Advent season is a gift. It’s a gift of time in which we have the opportunity to take some time to prepare our hearts and minds for this special celebration that awaits us!

For approximately the first two weeks focus on our spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord in a few days we will notice a shift in the readings preparing us for the immediate birth of our Savior! There is plenty of wisdom to this setup because we cannot prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the Lord’s birth if we don’t do immediate preparations in our own lives. Today my brothers and sisters in Christ, keep your eyes focused and centered on Christ whom is the light that lightens our paths!

Homily for Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

“I am the Lord, your God, who grasp for your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” During advent we are asked to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the Lord’s birth. Too often in the midst of our preparation we hit a rut and can’t get ourselves out of it. Reflecting back on my own life the times I find myself getting stuck are when I become focused on doing things myself rather than trusting in the Lord.

The Lord reminds us through the writing of the prophet Isaiah that He is there with us every step of the way. There is only one thing we must do and that is to simply ask Him. If we ask the Lord to help us, He will do it. So often we hear those words, but because we are so accustomed to doing things ourselves we fall back into the old pattern. Listen to these words that concluded the Gospel, “whoever has ears ought to hear.” What does it mean to truly hear the word of the Lord? Many times we hear the way the world does, in ear out the other; however that is not the way we should hear. When we hear the word of God we should let it penetrate from our ears down into our hearts.

Our goal for today is to truly open our hearts and minds to the Lord, allowing Him to grasp us by the hand to assist us with our advent preparation!

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (7PM Mass)

Two stories stand out in today’s readings! The first is the one of the fall of Adam and Eve and the second is story of the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel appeared before Mary and told her of God’s plan for her to become the Mother of God. Why is it that we have these two very different stories within the readings?

As Catholics we refer to Mary as the New Eve and her Son Jesus as the new Adam. With Mary’s Immaculate Conception the day in which she was conceived without sin set God’s plan in motion for mankind’s salvation. Today my brothers and sisters in Christ we should be singing a new song for we celebrate our Lord doing something truly magnificent for each of us. In choosing Mary he opened the door for us to be saved. You and I are His chosen people and although we often fail He did not leave us on our own. Mary’s yes opened the door for us to bask in the Lord’s presence when our earthly journey is over.

In his opening words the angelic messenger Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you!” Like the Blessed Virgin Mary we too are full of grace. We were instilled with a divine grace at our baptism although many times because of our human tendencies that grace is often dimmed. It is fitting that the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception falls during the Holy Season of Advent. The Sacred Season of Advent is a season of preparation and one way we prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is through penance. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we remove those obstacles that block out that light of grace that is in us and although the Lord is with us in few short moments we will receive Him into our hearts in the precious way through the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Now having the Lord within us comes with a responsibility and it’s a responsibility to live our faith. Yes we too like the Blessed Mother have been chosen for a mission. For some of us that mission is already something that we grasp while others it is a call they are still discerning! However, Saint Pail is right in his writing to the people of Ephesus when he said to them, “he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world.” For what purpose did he create us? Listen again to Saint Paul’s words of wisdom, “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.”

Thus today as we celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception may we look for ways to continue our discernment or to live out the vocations to which we have been called!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (7AM Mass)

Today as we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary the day in which she was conceived without sin setting God’s divine plan in motion in which she was a major part! In the Gospel the angel Gabriel’s opening words to her were, “Hail full of grace. The Lord is with you.” Indeed from the very beginning the Lord was with the Virgin Mary preparing her for the call in which she would fulfill.

As we celebrate this great solemnity we should let those words also resound in our hearts, “Hail full of grace. The Lord is with you.” Although at times we might not be living a life of grace because of our many failings in this season of grace in which this celebration is situated the season of Advent we have the opportunity to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and strength so that the divine grace which was instilled in us at baptism shines brightly. Finally as we come forward to receive Jesus in need the Lord of host will dwell in us completely and as we go worth into the world we celebrate with great joy the plan in which our Lord set in motion by choosing the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Mother of God. Like Mary we too are called…we are called to bear witness to Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel of love!

Homily for Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.” In sending His Son into the world the Heavenly Father comforted us with His presence. This advent we must make it a point to reach out to those who need to be comforted and help raise their spirits so they can celebrate with joy the birth of our Savior.

Often times we tend to forget and neglect those who have no one left or live too far to visit them. We cannot let ourselves forget about those individuals. There are also those individuals who have been away from the family of faith for a considerable about of time. You and I must also this advent make every effort to reach out to them and gently invite them back to the Lord and His family.

As we continue this advent may we include in our preparation reaching out to all those who need our help and assist them by preparing their hearts for coming of our Savior!

Homily for Monday of the Second Week of Advent

“We have seen incredible things today.” You and I have an opportunity to see astonishing things every day. Yet all too often we miss them because we are not playing close attention or were so busy looking for the spectacular that we miss the ordinary things that happen all the time. For example you and I have the opportunity to often hear the words, “I absolve you from your sins,” but so often to we fail to see the value of those important words.

The scribes and Pharisees missed the point any many times so do we! That is why our Lord performed the miracle He did as we heard in the Gospel. Our Lord saved the paralytic spiritually which is the most important healing on can receive. Reading their hearts He said so “that you may believe that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” he said to the one paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” When extraordinary miracles happen it is because there is a lack of faith. Advent is an opportunity for us to grow in faith and that is why we need to take this opportunity to prepare our hearts and minds spiritually for the celebration of the Lord’s birth.

Yes our Lord has come to save us! That is what we must remember today! Today look for the ordinary ways the Lord shows His saving love!

Homily for Thursday of the First Week of Advent (1:30 Nursing Home Homily)

One word stands out in our readings today and that word is strength! It is fitting to ask ourselves in this first week of Advent to think about where we place our faith and trust. Whom do we seek for strength? Do we rely only on ourselves?

There is only one true source of strength and that is Jesus Christ. Often times when we enter the winter months and the days get shorter and bodily aches and pains are more noticeable with the change of temperature we need find ourselves needing more strength. At this Sacred Liturgy we invite those who would like to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing to please extend your hands as I come around. In this Sacrament the Lord gives us not only a special grace but also a special strength. If we open our hearts and minds to the Lord we have the opportunity to experience a special kind of healing of body, mind, and spirit.

As you and I my brothers and sisters continue to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the Lord’s birth may we make every effort each and every day to keep our eyes focused on our Lord Jesus Christ through our prayers. Keep focused on Christ and we will experience the joy that awaits us in the celebration of the birth of our Savior.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today we remember in our prayers all those who suffer from the devastating disease of AIDES and the HIV virus. These individuals need our love, our prayers, and our support. May we remember all of them in our prayers and entrust them to our Divine Physician Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent 10:30AM Mass

Listen carefully to the words of Saint Paul in this morning’s Second Reading, “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. Piggybacking from my homily from last week I challenged all of us to make this goal as a parish, “to build this family of faith to build up Corpus Christi…the Body of Christ.”

Last week we focused on accepting children and young families into our faith community. This week we shall focus on accepting and welcoming those in our community who are young at heart. Here at Corpus Christi we have a wonderful outreach to the sick and homebound. We have a great team of Extraordinary Ministers who visit our nursing homes and parishioners who are home bound on a regular basis. There are many of you who volunteer your time to reach out to those who are homebound and bring them to Church every Sunday. Of course there is much more that we can do to address the needs of those who come to worship with us each week.

As we get older our hearing and our vision begin to deteriorate. It is very easy for us to get distracted. For those of you who do not know I suffer from glaucoma in both eyes and when I lose my place it is easy for me myself to become frustrated and it takes me sometime to figure out where I am at. As I travel around to parishes around the diocese I see how many of them address the needs of those who are young at heart. Some of them have Missalettes that contain not only the readings for the day but also the words of the Mass so those who cannot hear clearly can follow along. Others have the audio devices that one can plug directly into your ears to follow along a little closer when one cannot hear directly from the speakers. Many parishes are working to make their parishes more ADA accessible. There is more work that can and should be done to address the needs of those who are physically struggle.

Now going back to last week’s homily a few individuals came to me to talk about my homily which I am very grateful. As I said before I am grateful for individuals who do that. There are times I say things in the homily that I know will cause a stir and that is done to get us thinking. All too often we sit here week after week and that’s what we do, we simply just sit. The purpose of the homily was to encourage us to be more welcoming as a parish community to our young children. There are some who took my words to say that I don’t care about the young at heart and their desire to worship at Mass. If that is the way you took my comments than I truly apologize, however my intent was to clearly remind us of the importance of every child and that we should not easily become disturbed when they start to make a fuss. When every child cries we should hear the voice of God. To us that should not be a distraction but a blessing. Cell phones are a distraction, Father Carroll’s naturally loud voice is often a distraction, but a child’s cry represents the humble innocent voice of God who came to us as an infant. Over the years we have become preoccupied with the concept of hearing every word that is said, however we already know them. What happens when a priest gets to the point in his life that he is unable to project his voice even to the point of not being able to project his voice with the help of the microphone? Does that disqualify him from celebrating Mass publically? The answer is no…because what is more important that we hear every single word or that we receive Jesus. Hopefully our answer is that we receive Jesus.

Not everyone is going to agree with this interpretation; however it is the right one. Yes young families must try to respect the needs of others around them; however those who are young at heart must become more understanding of our younger families. It is not always practical in the middle of the sermon or in middle of the consecration for people to get up and utilize the children’s chapel when they are sitting in the middle of the pew without causing a greater distraction. During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we should not be focusing necessarily on the words spoken but rather should be focusing our hearts and minds on the Lord and how He speaks to us. We mustn’t forget that our Lord came to us in the form of an innocent crying infant and we will one day in the presence of God fall down in His presence where we will find ourselves speechless unable to clearly get out a single word much like an infant.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI began Advent with the vigil for life focusing on the unborn for a reason because every child is a blessing. They are not a distraction. With that said we must also respect the needs and formulate ways to minister to those within our parish community who are young at heart. After beginning the year our Holy Father turned to pray for the sick and the less fortunate. The Church is one family and we must respect and welcome one another. Failure to do that is once again a failure on our part to welcome Jesus Christ into our lives.

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent 9AM Mass Homily

Listen carefully to the words of Saint Paul in this morning’s Second Reading, “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. Piggybacking from my homily from last week I challenged all of us to make this goal as a parish, “to build this family of faith to build up Corpus Christi…the Body of Christ.” Many times as priests we hear this complaint from people especially young families that they don’t feel welcomed in our Church’s because they feel embarrassed when their young ones act up. I have also heard this passed down to me second hand, that there are individuals within this parish that don’t feel it is necessary to support the youth and their involvement.

Our Lord welcomed children and so should we. Corpus Christi Church is not a community of faith but is something much stronger…a family. You and I have a grave obligation to welcome all of those in our midst. If there is one thing that bothers me is when I hear how our young families feel they are treated when they come here to worship our Eucharistic Lord. We as Catholics need to do a better job when it comes to living our faith in the world and welcoming others into our parish family. Everyone who worships here should feel the warmth of the radiance of God’s love every time they worship with us.

My dear brothers and sisters we cannot begin to prepare the way of the Lord if we do not openly welcome everyone, especially our young people! No one should ever feel that they are unwelcomed in this family. For those who have committed this act of injustice by becoming impatient with others when their children begin to fuss, complained when someone took your seat in the pew or failed to welcome the outsider into our family of faith than you must do as John the Baptist said in today’s Gospel, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” We don’t come here to be entertained, we don’t gather together to listen to the homily, you and I gather here for one purpose and that is to give thanks and worship the Lord. Our children, our families are gifts from God, any failure to recognize those gifts than we are failing miserably when it comes to our relationship with the Lord.

With that said I understand completely were our older parishioners come from. As our hearing and vision begin to decrease (which I completely understand because I do have glaucoma in both of eyes) it is easy for us to get agitated and frustrated when we get distracted. I feel we are not doing enough to address your concerns and needs as well. Some parishes provide listening devices to assist those with hearing disabilities. Others provide visual aids through Missalettes that contain the words of the Mass in them that way if you could not hear what was going on clearly you could follow them along. These are some suggestions all our churches ought to look at. Here at Corpus Christi there is one thing we do well and that is we have a wonderful group of lay extraordinary ministers who take our Lord out to the sick each weekend and during the week. As a priest I am very appreciative of the ministry they provide and the assistance these ministers give me in assisting me in my priestly ministry. Perhaps some may wonder why I keep the tabernacle key on me rather than leave it in the tabernacle for ministers to get communion in between Masses and a major part of that reason is not because I distrust our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion but rather because I want to keep a connection with those who are homebound. Every time the ministers come forward I ask them the number of hosts and who they are going to see. When I hand them the Sacred Host, I ask them to tell those whom they are going to see to give them my greetings and to assure them of my prayers. That way they know that we as priests haven’t forgotten them and that they are important.

Our Lord invites and welcomes everyone into His Holy Family. This morning I leave you with this question directed towards all of us. Are we doing everything that we can to extend that open invitation to everyone?