Monday, December 26, 2011

Homily for Christmas Day

The Word became flesh, and that is what we celebrate today. Each year on December 25th we celebrate the day in which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ entered the world. Jesus Christ is our light and the day in which we celebrate His birth is no accident. While there is no way to determine the exact calendar day for the Lord’s birth there’s significance to celebrating it on the 25th of December year after year. Beginning each December 25th the days begin to get longer and longer, thus there is no better day to celebrate Christmas when we celebrate the birth of the true light.

Last evening at the Vigil Mass I preached on the significance of Christmas. We all know the basic answer that Christmas is about the birth of our Savior, but we can say more. Christmas is about celebrating life. Each Christmas, new life is breathed into the Church. It is unfortunate that holidays such as these are becoming more stressful. They are becoming more and more stressful because we are losing focus on the real meaning of the season. All too often in preparing for this day we are rushing to the stores to purchase that perfect gift or we are trying to find an equal numbers of gifts for each individual to balance things out and make it fair. As I said last evening I repeat again this morning Christmas isn’t about materialism but rather about gathering as a family and celebrating what truly matters the birth of our Savior.

Christmas is indeed a time for giving; one of the gifts that more is becoming underappreciated in today’s society is the gift of life. Today people looking at the economy are delaying the start of families, which is the wrong answer to our current predicament. This morning we celebrate God’s plan as it begins to be set into motion. Accepting God’s plan is the answer! The greatest gift mankind has ever known came to us in the form of a child. Each time we hear an infant child cry out we are reminded of the innocent voice of God. Every single time a child is born whether it be a boy or a girl, for we are created in the image and likeness of God, we welcome God into the world.

Is life easy, the answer is of course not, but we weren’t promised an easy road! In fact, the road is going to get tougher before it gets better. However, in order for things to get better we need to accept God’s plan for all life in all its stages. Light indeed entered the world; the light still pierces the world today with His word and presence. May we open ourselves up to it! Do not try to comprehend God’s logic, because no one here can comprehend it! As you leave here today and the next time you here a child cry out, be reminded of the innocent voice of God. Hope indeed entered the world on Christmas Day! May we let that child in the manger melt our hearts so we can celebrate and experience the true joy of Christmas.

Homily for Christmas Eve

This evening, all throughout the world Christians everywhere are coming together to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Each year we come together “forever singing the goodness of the Lord.” Indeed the Lord is good and it is evident in this great mystery we gather to celebrate and honor.

What is it that we celebrate each Christmas? Well we already answered it, the birth of our Savior, but my brothers and sisters there is much more to that answer. Each Christmas we celebrate the gift of new life. On Christmas day, we celebrate the day in which God became man to save us from sin and death. Every time we gather to celebrate Christmas new life is breathed into the Church. It is such a joyful season! Yet for some sadly Christmas is becoming an added burden. People get stressed around this time of year. Why? The answer is simple because we as a society are losing focus of the true meaning of the season.

Each year in preparation for this time of year, people rush out to the stores in search for that perfect gift. So often we put too much stress on how much we spend on individuals, how many gifts we need to buy. Christmas is not a time for materialism, but rather a time to celebrate what truly matters. One of the greatest gifts God has given us is often the one that is the most underappreciated and that is the awesome gift of life. Mankind is becoming less accepting of this gift especially now in these difficult times and this is the wrong attitude to have. The answer to all our modern problems can be solved by accepting God’s plan for life in its entirety, and this is our message of hope this Christmas; however each one of us must be open to it. If we choose not to accept God’s gift, than the stress some find themselves in not just on days such as these but on others will become more stressful and feel unbearable. My brothers and sisters things will in fact get worse before things get better, but it is only in the acceptance of God’s gift of life will things get better in time.

God’s logic is very different from our own. Truthfully no one can comprehend it for at times it is simple and at other times complex. In today’s world also everyone has to have an opinion which often gets in the way. You see there is only one opinion that matters and that is God’s. Today we must be open to God’s plan, not our own. What is God’s plan well the answer is simple life. We must (not should) be open to it. Is life easy, no of course not! Every journey has its ups and downs! Just ask the Holy Family. That is why we come here each Sunday and every Sunday. Oh how the Lord wishes the Church would be this packed each weekend. There is no reason it shouldn’t because each Sunday is Christmas, each Sunday is Easter, and each time we gather here in this beautiful Church God wants to give us the grace we need to carry life’s burdens.

Christmas is about new life! Let the words of the prophet Isaiah echo once more in this Church, “For Zion's sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet!” Only God can bring hope in a difficult time and inspire the necessary change needed to keep us afloat for many more years to come. Hope entered the world on Christmas Day in the form of the infant baby boy lying in the manger.

In closing be reminded that our Lord entered the world the in the very way we all entered the world. Christmas is indeed about life and the Lord wishes to issue a challenge to us. The next time we hear an infant child cry out be reminded of the innocent voice of God. Every child that is born to us, whether a boy or a girl (because we are created in His image), is as if He entered the world once more. Today we give thanks and praise this Christmas to Almighty God for the greatest ever bestowed upon the world, that little baby in the manger our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we let that little child melt our hearts so that we can celebrate and experience the true joy of Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

“The mystery kept secret for long ages has now been manifested.” What mystery manifested? This secret of course is related to the birth of a savior. Today on the fourth Sunday of Advent we are making our immediate preparations for the birth of our Savior. The readings which up to a few weeks ago focused on the Second Coming of Christ are now focused on the events leading up to His birth.

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the world to save it. As the angel Gabriel said these words to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” These words should echo and resound in our ears as well. We should not be afraid for we have found favor with God that He would come into the world to all these wonderful things for us. Also we shouldn’t forget that God is still in the world doing awesome things for us all the time. Do not be afraid my brothers and sisters the Lord is with us now, open your hearts to Him!

May we go forth this Sunday and into the week this week singing the goodness of the Lord so that we can gather back here next weekend filled with joy celebrating His presence among us!

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent

For the past two weeks of Advent I have focused in one the Sacrament of Reconciliation and how we can utilize that gift for preparing our hearts and minds for the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Often times when we even think about the idea of confessing our sins we become filled with anxiety, Today I do not what to focus on that anxiety but rather focus on what that great sacrament allows us to do and that is…REJOICE!!! “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

That is the theme for the week, REJOICE! Brothers and sisters the day is coming closer. I don’t need to tell parents that Christmas is around the corner they can tell that by the excitement in their children. We can tell the mood in the liturgy has changed by the change of color for we have temporarily moved from purple to rose. Also as the listened to the readings they sound more upbeat! The Lord is coming and we should all be rejoicing! Well let’s get more specific we should all be rejoicing now because the Lord is already here in our midst.

This weekend as we leave here we should be rejoicing, as we should be rejoicing every single second of our lives. St. Paul in writing to the people of Thessalonica says something very profound “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterance. Test everything; retain what is good. Reframe from every kind of evil.” My brothers and sister do not let the spirit of this age dampen your spirit. Do not quench the Spirit that is within you! Stay focused on Him who is love. It’s so easy because of sin to overlook the presence of God in our midst. As John the Baptist said, “There is one among you whom you do not recognize.” Open your eyes! God the Father is here, God the Son is here, God the Spirit is right here in our midst! We don’t have to look far. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us, may we bring this good news to the world that is hungering and thirsting to hear it!

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent

“But according to His promise we await a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.” These words remind us that as we gather here each week we are awaiting for the Lord’s triumphant return in glory. It’s a day in which our Lord calls us to be prepared for because as we also heard from the Second Letter of Saint Peter, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief,” in other words we do not know when it will be.

Last week in my homily I mentioned the importance of utilizing the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Advent to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Each advent we have the opportunity to experience a rebirth, a turning away from our sinful behavior putting us back on the right track. As we heard in today’s Gospel from Mark we heard a quotation from the prophet Isaiah, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” We prepare a way for the Lord every single time we remove those road blocks known as sins. By removing sin from our hearts the Lord has a clear path to work awesome wonders in and through us.

Today each of us must come to a greater understanding of the sacrament of reconciliation and the great gift that it offers. Like we take this opportunity advent provides for us to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we must also prepare our hearts and minds for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We must take some time to really examine our consciousness. Mankind today is really in danger of recognizing the presence of sin not only in our lives but also in the world. Do we really recognize the presence of sin? For example I do not believe we can go one day without committing a sin. Now it is certainly possible but because we are human it is not necessarily probable. How many of us get agitated while driving? Maybe we get angry or annoyed with a comment someone made or something that they did. How many of us stepped on or walked into something and let out a few choice words? Maybe for those who are dependent on others get frustrated when those they rely on cannot fulfill their obligation. Finally, perhaps the Lord put an opportunity into our lives to really proclaim the Gospel and we in the end failed to act. These are just a few things to think about.

When we approach confession we have to be completely honest and hold nothing back. If we are tempted to hold something back from God because we are ashamed and embarrassed for what we have done, here’s a hint, that’s not God talking! That’s someone else. Today we are called to prepare a clear path for the Lord and one of the ways we do that is by utilizing the gift God has given us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we can remove those barriers. May we always pray as we heard in the opening collect, “almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son.” It is in that sacrament that we encounter the Savior and experience His love and mercy.

This advent may we model the humility of John the Baptist who often proclaimed as we heard in Mark’s Gospel, “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” Yes, the day of the Lord will come like a thief, which is why we should be living every single day of our lives as the day of the Lord. Be humble! Trust in God! Trust in His love and His mercy! This is how we prepare the way for the Lord!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homily for the First Sunday of Advent 2011

“Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” The words from today’s Gospel remind us that we are always to be on guard, to always be prepared. Each year this period of time is set aside for us to take this opportunity to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.

The opening words from our Lord Jesus Christ might make some of us feel a little uncomfortable because of its reference to the Second Coming. Why does this make us uncomfortable? Perhaps it is a fear of the unknown, or maybe because it makes us think of our own mortality. There is nothing comfortable about the word of God for if it is truly preached to its fullness there will be times in which it will make us truly feel uncomfortable. God’s love is expressed in many ways as we see in Sacred Scripture through His miracles, how He often related with others but there were certain times where His Words could pierce any heart. No one should ever become comfortable with their faith because the very moment they do is the moment we start slipping away from our Lord.

Our Lord will come again in glory but in the meantime we celebrate year after year His triumphant entrance into the world at Christmas as…a baby. Often times when we talk about the love of God we are quick to point out as we should the image of Christ crucified. However, we mustn’t forget this example of humility of our Lord and Savior entering the world as one of us. It is this coming of Christ we are preparing to celebrate in a few short weeks.

That leads us to ponder how we are preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior. To prepare means to look ahead.  Advent is a time of preparation a time in which we should always be on guard. One of the ways we prepare our hearts is by utilizing the Sacrament that often makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is such a great sacrament it is sad that it is often underutilized. The cause of its underutilization stems from several things but two I like to focus on a lack of an understanding of what sin is and the other is pride. These are the two ways in which the evil one attempts to drive us away from experiencing God’s love and mercy. First, everyone is afraid to address sin in our society out of fear of what others may think thus, leading each other down the wrong road. Our Lord calls us each to testify to the fullness of the truth, not half-truths! Then the last thing mentioned was pride. No one wants to admit today that they made a mistake and are wrong. Pride is so dangerous not only because it is one of the seven deadly sins but also because it causes us not to recognize the other sins in our lives.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever you do…don’t let the devil win! Prepare your hearts for the coming of our Savior. Yes we do not know the day or the hour, for the Lord said at the end of Gospel, “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” Advent is a time for prayerful preparation with that said may we utilize the words of our responsorial psalm for our meditation for the week, “Lord make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.” Keep those words and the message of Jesus Christ close in your hearts and minds.

Introducing…the New Translation of the Roman Missal

After many weeks of preparation this evening in Roman Catholic Church’s in the United States we will begin using the New Translation of the Roman Missal. As I said at the end of yesterday’s weekday Mass, “as one door closes, another one opens.” One of the biggest change Catholics will expect to hear is at the very beginning and throughout the liturgy when the priest says, “the Lord be with you,” the faithful will respond, “and with your Spirit.” While this is one of several changes in the language of the Mass, I choose this one to mention because it reminds us all, priest and faithful alike, that is the Spirit guiding the Church.

As the Spirit guided the Church forty plus years ago, the Spirit continues to be in the driver’s seat. We give thanks to almighty God for the many blessings that the older translation brought to the life of the Church and we look ahead to the many blessings that will stem from the New Translation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homily for the Closing of Forty Hours on Tuesday 11/15/2011 at St. Andrews in Waynesboro

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever! My brothers and sister before I begin, once again I would like to thank you pastor Father Bateman for giving this opportunity to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. It is always a great joy for me to be with all of you who played an integral part of my formation as a priest. For that I will always be grateful! Thank you for your prayers and support and be assured of mine in return.

On Sunday night we mediated on the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Cross and on the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we should see the intimate connection between the two sacrifices as we look at the image of Christ crucified and the image of our Eucharistic Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist. We were also reminded that as we gather for these Eucharistic devotions we gaze upon our Eucharistic Lord we are gazing upon the one because He loves us so much who continues to offer Himself for our sake.

Then last night we talked about the Blessed Mother and her connection to the Most Holy Eucharist. Every time we celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist we are recalling His passion and death. We briefly mentioned the devotion of the way of the cross in which we are given the powerful encounter of the Blessed Mother and her Son Jesus as He was carrying the heavy wooden cross. Some of the most powerful encounters of the events of the Lord’s passion are characterized not by words but with silence. Quoting from Bishop Connelly as wrote in His column on the new translation, “Because silence amplifies the magnitude of what we are watching.” The Blessed Mother entered into the mystery of the Lord’s passion something you and I should do every time we come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and here for Eucharistic adoration. One of the ways we do this is my learning the importance and meaning behind being silent, something we often tend to forget.

Finally tonight as we come to a close of our special time basking in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, I want to focus on the theme, “Receiving our Eucharistic Lord into our Hearts.” Yesterday I mentioned that as a Church not only do we have a crises in the understanding of what it means to be still in the presence of the Lord but more recently we are faced with a crises of belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Most of us gathered here already has a belief that this is Jesus on our altar for that is what has been drawling us here each evening but that doesn’t mean we all have room to grow in our appreciation and understanding of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Tonight I want to talk about our physical reception of the Most Holy Eucharist. There is a normative way of receiving Holy Communion in the Church and that is reception of the tongue. Before I talk about the indult that allows for communion to be received in the hand, I want to focus on the great spiritual benefit of the traditional way of receiving communion in this manner. Again a year or two after being elected to lead the Catholic Church, His holiness Pope Benedict XVI invited people who received from him at papal Masses, to kneel and receive communion on the tongue. Primarily this was done to protect the Lord from ending up in places where He shouldn’t be such as eBay. While standing for communion is the norm here there is something to be said about the posture of kneeling. What does the posture signify? Kneeling signifies humility and let’s face it sometimes we all need to learn how to be more humble especially in today’s world.

The second action is the symbolism of receiving on the tongue. To illustrate what receiving on tongue signifies I want to ask how many of you have ever had the privilege of feeding a baby a bottle. If you have ever had that awesome experience, take a moment and think back to it. Then imagine yourself as the baby. A baby relies on us to feed him or her much like we relied on our parents to feed us. It’s a matter of trust. When individuals receive on the tongue it represents a willingness on the part of the communicant to trust the Lord to feed them. Combing the two postures they represent together an act of humility before the Lord and a willingness to trust Him to feed and nourish us.

Now I would like to say something about receiving communion in the hand. The posture of receiving communion in the hand is approved here in the United States and in various places throughout the world where conferences of bishops have asked for it. Memoriale Domine a document released in regards to the proper reception of Holy Communion had some concerns about allowing communion in the hand. The concern was about a loss of respect towards the Most Holy Eucharist and the loss of a belief in the real presence. Sadly in places around the world and even here at home this is what we are faced with today. The truth be told, there was a well-founded hope that allowing communion in the hand would help the faithful grow in their relationship with Christ. Unfortunately, in many places this never occurred. True story I once witnessed someone receive communion, step to the side where they preceded to throw the host in the air in order to catch it with their mouths. I have also seen many variations of receiving communion in the hand, I have seen some place the host in their mouth as if they were taking a pill, and then on other times I have had individuals take communion out of my hand. There is only one way we should receive communion in the hand and that is my placing one hand over the other making a throne for the Lord who is our true king and then proceed to place Him in our mouths reverently in front of the minister of communion.

I do not want to continue without saying that many people receive communion in the hand very reverently, however unfortunately we cannot deny at the same time that there are abuses that are taking place in our midst. Now Jesus did say, “take and eat,” and “take and drink” but this means so much more than a physical reception of communion. A deeper understanding of the Lord’s words should be understood as taking what we have received into our hearts into the world. God has given us a gift in the Most Holy Eucharist and it’s a gift that He wishes would be shared.

This evening we have been focusing more on externals. We must understand that externals are extremely important. Externals help convey an interior reality. In some cases where we have lost the external actions we have also seen the loss of interior belief. Take away the exterior posture slowly the interior reality begins to erode. What we say and do conveys what we truly believe. As a Church we have many externals. Take a close look at the Lord present in the monstrance. Many monstrances are very decorative. Also many of the vessels we use Mass are very elaborate and they should be for again what we say and do conveys what we as Catholics believe. Our Lord Jesus Christ using the common elements of bread and wine chose these common items to become the Bread of Life and the Cup of Eternal Salvation. Jesus chose a humble piece of bread to become the bread of life and what we see in the monstrance is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is glorified in His humility.

Tonight I want to conclude by returning our focus to tonight’s theme “Receiving our Eucharistic Lord into our Hearts.” While we have focused a lot on the physical reception of Holy Communion we must always remember that receiving our Eucharistic Lord is much more than a physical reception but that it’s a true spiritual reception. We must ask ourselves are we receiving our Lord worthily into our hearts. Today we were given some food for thought in looking at the reasons and meaning behind what we do. Now as we come to the end of our time in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord for this evening may we humbly place ourselves at His feet and seek His help to help us grow in a deeper appreciation of the gift of His body, blood, soul and divinity contained in the Eucharist. Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

Homily for the Closing of Forty Hours on Monday 11/14/2011 at St. Andrews in Waynesboro

To recap yesterday we mediated on the theme “the sacrifice of the past, and the sacrifice of the present” taking a closer look at the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the Eucharist. Tonight I would like to focus on the Blessed Mother and the Most Holy Eucharist. In order for us to grasp her connection to the Most Holy Eucharist we must travel back in time to that day in which our Lord sacrificed His very life on the cross.

When we together pray the way of the cross there is one powerful station that stands out and that is when our Lord Jesus Christ while carrying the wait of the cross meets His mother on the road to Calvary. One cannot even fathom Mary’s anguish as she encounters her son in that condition. At that moment, Mary was not just a mere spectator but rather a participant in the passion of her Son. Then a little later as her Son hung upon the cross there she was His feet staring up at Him in anguish with love. At that very hour her heart was also pierced. The Blessed Mother stayed by her son’s side to the very end. She never left Him even for a very second. Mary has a special role in the Church because she has only one single goal in mind and that is to lead us to her beloved Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Mary’s participation to her Son’s passion is an example for us to follow when it comes to celebrating these Sacred Mysteries. How did the Blessed Mother participate in her Son’s passion? When we read the accounts of the Lord’s passion one thing stands out, and that is no words are exchanged. There is silence. Now perhaps words were exchanged but what makes the accounts of the Lord’s passion more powerful are the periods of silence. Every time we gather to adore our Eucharistic Lord this is what we experience, prolonged periods of silence. My dear friends in Christ, I believe this is another reason why in many places we are having trouble filling slots for adoration chapels and even for a period of time for forty hours. In the Catholic Church today we are faced with a crisis of belief, which I will allude more tomorrow but today that there is also this fear of silence. You see we do not what to do when there is nothing to do. We live in a world where we must be doing something. Unfortunately, what we have lost is the appreciation of just being able to stand still.

Bishop Connelly the auxiliary bishop of Denver Colorado wrote a good article in preparation for the new translation of the Roman Missal on the importance of silence in the liturgy. In the article written by Bishop Connelly he used the example of the horrific events of 9/11. He shared his experience of watching the events unfold on television over in Rome. One of the things he said stood out was the events of that day brought many throughout the world to complete silence. Many of us perhaps looking back at that day had a similar experience. The bishop said, the one thing he learned that day was by power of silence. He wrote, “A silent moment, in a loud, chaotic, confusing world, amplifies reality. In silence, without distraction, we see what is real—what is truly before us. We are given the time to better comprehend the true meaning of things.”

We cannot be afraid of letting ourselves come to a standstill and allowing ourselves to spend some quit time with the Lord. Periods of adoration like forty hours teaches us something if we will allow it, and that is the importance of being silent in presence of God. Like Mary standing at the foot of the cross which held her Son, we come kneel and sit at the feet of our Eucharistic Lord. If someone is struggling to spend periods of silence before the Blessed Sacrament I would invite them to seek the intercession of the Blessed Mother. For example pray the rosary because as we pray it we are given the opportunity to mediate ever so closely on the importance events on the Lord’s life.

I began my talk with stating the theme “The Blessed Mother and the Most Holy Eucharist.” Our blessed mother is ever so related to the Sacred Mysteries we come here this evening to celebrate and adore. We should follow her example and allow ourselves to enter into the mystery of the Lord’s passion. If we struggle with doing that from time to time, seek her help and guidance remembering that she has one goal in mind and that is to bring us here to the feet of her beloved Son!

Homily for the Closing of Forty Hours on Sunday 11/13/2011 at St. Andrews in Waynesboro

My brothers and sisters in Christ I want to begin by thanking your pastor Father Bateman for inviting me to be the homilist these next three nights for your parish celebration of forty hours in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord. For those of you who might not know me, my name is Father Keith Carroll and I am currently the parochial vicar of Corpus Christi Church in Chambersburg. Also I am no stranger to this great parish for I had the pleasure of being assigned here twice as a seminarian once in the school and then in the parish religious education program.

Tonight I want to focus on the theme “the sacrifice of the past and the sacrifice of the present.” Every time we gather to celebrate these sacred mysteries we should see an intimate connection between the two sacrifices. I am speaking of the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the Most Holy Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI not to long after becoming the Holy Father went back to the venerable tradition of placing the crucifix back in the center of the altar. This gesture helps one see the connection between the cross and the Eucharist. However, today one often hears the complaint when the crucifix is placed on the altar that one cannot what is going on at the altar. These common complaints suggest a lack of catechesis of what the Mass is about. It’s not about always seeing, but about believing. Looking towards the cross reminds everyone that the focus should be on God. Every celebration of the Mass is Ad Orientum…celebrated towards God.

Right now I would like for you to listen to the words of consecration and since we are two weeks from the introduction the new translation the Roman Missal we will use the words that will soon become familiar to us all. “Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my Body which will be given up for you.” After saying those words the priest elevates the Sacred Host. When the Sacred Host is elevated and the crucifix is placed on the center of the altar the priest and the faithful should be gazing at the image of Christ crucified. Looking to the crucifix we should see the symbol of the very body that the Lord sacrificed for us. Then as we see the Sacred Host we should see the real presence of the one who continuously offers Himself day in and day out.

Turning to the words over the consecration of the precious blood, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.” Let us focus on the words, “Do this in memory of me.” The Lord sacrificed Himself once and for all on the cross, however He continuously offers Himself on the altar and He asks us to offer back to Him the sacrifice of our very lives. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ asks us to continuously celebrate these Sacred Mysteries so that we can follow His command to do this in memory of him.

Tonight as we gather in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord we have the opportunity to adore Him who continuously sacrifices Himself for our sake so that we can be nourished and strengthened in the faith. Eucharistic Adoration is an extension of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which gives us the opportunity to adore Sacred Body of the Lord. As we come to adore Him we also have the opportunity to offer the sacrifice of our lives much like we do at every celebration of the Mass. Continue to take advantage of this great opportunity. Our Lord Jesus Christ offers Himself for us continuously; we should always be ready to do the same offering ourselves back to Him. As you leave here tonight reflect on connection between the cross and Eucharist. The more we strive to see the connection between the two sacrifices the more we appreciate and grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Homily for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Dear brothers and sisters, we are now only a few short weeks away before introducing the new translation of the Mass. This week we have turned our focus to the phrase, “and with your spirit.” The phrase “And with your spirit” is an accurate translation from the Latin of the phrase, “et cum spiritu tuo.”

Within the Sacred Liturgy when the priest or deacon during the proclamation of the Gospel says, “the Lord be with you,” you will now say “and with your spirit.” This dialogue is expressed four times within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The first time is at the greeting, as we already mentioned at the proclamation of the Gospel, the beginning of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, and finally at the conclusion of Mass. This phrase is meant to remind you the faithful that Christ is ever present in this Eucharistic assembly, and is meant to remind us the members of the clergy that we stand in persona Christi.

Now the phrase “the Lord be with you” and “with your spirit” has its roots in Sacred Scripture. It stems from St. Paul. For example, in Galatians St. Paul says, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Then in the Second Letter to Timothy closes with “the Lord be with your Spirit. Although this phrase might sound a bit unfamiliar at first, it “directly reflects the biblical understanding that, through Baptism, the Spirit of God dwells in us and unites us as one Body in Christ.

My brothers and sisters as we begin using this new translation and especially the phrase “and with your spirit,” may we be ever reminded of the Lord’s spirit among us. As we heard in the first reading, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples.” The Lord continues to provide for our needs, He is here right now at this very moment! Today as we prepare to embrace these changes may we take this great opportunity to renew our hearts and to deepen our understanding of these Holy Mysteries that we celebrate!

Homily for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus. He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” My brothers and sisters we are called to imitate and model the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this mean? It means we let go of our desires and wants! Also it means that we are to be ready to lay down our lives for one another. Finally it means turning away from sin! In today’s Gospel the first son said no to his father’s request to go into the vineyard but then later changed His mind and decided to go. The second son said yes but didn’t. When it comes to our faith it is not merely words, but more importantly action. Many of us can talk the talk, but can we truly walk the walk. It’s not always easy but we have a good example in the person of Jesus Christ! Follow His example closely; He will not lead us astray. Like Jesus the heavenly Father, will exult all those who in the end do His will.

May we pray for the grace to humble ourselves letting go of those things we may want to do for the sake of building up His kingdom!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homily for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

My brothers and sisters in Christ, in the first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah begins by saying “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while He is near.” It is very easy to forget the presence of the Lord around us especially when things become difficult. We can begin to question where He is at when all these things are happening. However, we must remember that even during those most difficult moments in our lives the Lord never leaves our side.

As most of you heard in the news or by word of mouth our mission Church Our Lady of Refuge burned to the ground last weekend early Sunday Morning. I celebrated Mass there last Saturday evening and I returned to Doylesburg to survey the Church property on Sunday Morning. Peering in from the front door I was able to look at the wall where the old main altar would have been and seen the charred remains of the crucifix the same crucifix in which I knelt down to say my brief prayer of thanksgiving after celebrating Mass a few hours before. Yes the damaged tabernacle was pulled from the rubble by fire company volunteers and its contents were removed and buried. For me the charred remains of the cross and the damaged tabernacle reminded me as it should remind all of us of the Lord’s presence.

Now whenever tragic events such like this occur we can begin to question why. Some of you might have had that experience. I will be honest when I heard about the news of the fire early Sunday morning I became sick to my stomach. My heart and prayers immediately went out to the parishioners of our mission however there was a part of me inside questioning myself was it something that I done, since I was the last one out of the Church was it something that I forgot to check. All these thoughts began to rush into my mind. It’s a typical human reaction. Why did this happen? That leads us to the next important line from the first reading “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord.” We do not know why, we do not know what the Lord has in store for us. All I know now is that the Lord was present last Sunday morning as He is present every single time anyone experiences a trial. We must give thanks to almighty God no one was hurt and we must pray to accept as with anything else in our lives what has happened and move forward. God always has a plan we just need to pray to be able to accept it.

Matthew’s Gospel speaks about the generosity of the Lord. The Lord pours out His generosity evenly among His people. God has no favorites for each and every one of us gathered here and those who are not with us for whatever reason are His special children. He is always waiting to demonstrate His generosity to us although sometimes we need to be ready to ask and be open to receiving it. Remember the words of our responsorial psalm, “the Lord is near to all who call upon Him.” Stay close to the Lord my brothers and sisters…please stay close to Him. We are so blessed here in this parish for we have the Lord exposed and glorified on the altar in the chapel next door. If someone is not an adorer I would encourage anyone who might not be to consider it. Remember my brothers and sisters that is not a piece of bread we merely put in our mouths but is Him our Lord and Savior our redeemer Jesus Christ. You and I are so blessed to hear His voice speak to us in this Sacred Liturgy. The Lord is indeed near and no matter what we do we must stay close to Him! It is a must! Without the Lord we would be lost.

As you leave here today I give you a homework assignment and that is to invite all those you know to stay close to the Lord! Invite them to pray, invite them to worship. I also encourage and urgently invite you to consider your own spiritual life. We must ask ourselves, are we calling upon the Lord when we are in trouble? Are we taking the Lord for granted? During the day are we taking time to pray or is the extent of our spiritual life left to just Sunday? Now is the time to remain close to the Lord. May we go forth today giving thanks to the Lord for all that He has given us and by returning the favor by staying close to Him!

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Our Lady of Refuge before the fire…

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What remains of Our Lady of Refuge Sunday Morning 9/11/11

Please keep the faithful people of Our Lady of Refuge Mission in Doylesburg Pa in your prayers during this most difficult time.  Over the years many people have been baptized, buried, and married in this little Church.   It is such a terrible loss! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Homily for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Listen to these words once again from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, “If I tell the wicked, ‘O wicked one, you shall surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.” These are some mighty strong words coming from the mouth of the Lord and they are words He asks to ponder today.

The Lord will hold us responsible for the fall of our brothers and sisters if we stand back and do nothing to save them. This should lead us to ponder are we doing everything that we humanly possibly can to reach out to the lost. Do we know someone heading down the wrong road? Many of us do. However, we must ask ourselves are we doing anything about it. There are people who are developing bad habits, getting themselves into the wrong crowds all because they have no other alternative. Some people chose not to speak out because they fear how they are going to be perceived. Be not afraid…speak out and live your faith. Do not be ashamed to be Christians! Speaking out and living your faith could quite possibly save a life maybe even your own!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homily for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Let us begin with a question…are we truly thirsting for the Lord? It’s a question only we can ponder for ourselves. Our Lord in today’s Gospel reminds us that whoever wishes to come after Him “must deny himself.” Take note that this is some really strong words coming directly from the Lord. What does it mean today for one to deny oneself?

Many of us probably can already come up with an answer. To deny one selves means to give up what we desire and want for the sake of another. Is that right? Absolutely! But the question is it easy? While it’s an easy concept to grasp, it’s not an easy one to follow! Why is it becoming increasingly more difficult to deny oneself? Perhaps it has something to do with fear! Letting go of oneself often entails perhaps some things that we ourselves are uncomfortable with doing. For example God has asked some people to give up everything worldly and live their lives day to day. Some individuals give up high paying jobs to do things that will make a difference in the world. If God asked some individuals to do that, they would be hesitant. Why??? Because they would be concerned about how they are going to put food on their tables and pay the countless bills. When it comes to some of these things there is a natural fear that can overtake us.

Another reason it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny oneself in today’s world is because the mindset of many individuals has changed. At one time in our history we could accept things in faith. Today if we asked some individuals to accept things in faith they would be like…yeah right I can’t accept anything on faith! More and more people want something that is concrete. In essence we want to be able a plan and we want to see results. When the Lord asks something of us many times it is as if He is saying “jump!” Jump where…jump into the unknown! Often times when the Lord asks us to do something many times He is asking us to leave our comfort zones. It’s utterly amazing every time I attempt to do my own thing; it often doesn’t go the way that I plan. However, the opposite happens when I let it all go and place everything to His hands. Everything goes much better.

Dying to self means letting go! It means letting go of this self centered attitude that has consumed so many of us in recent times. Begin by placing everything, not just some things, but everything into God’s hands. Going back to my homily from last week we talked about staying close and following Jesus who is our rock. We follow Him by listening and following everything that He has taught us. In today’s world everyone has an opinion, but in the Catholic Church there is only one person’s opinion that matters and that is of course our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now we must ask ourselves are we thirsting for the Lord or are we thirsting for the things of the world. The things of this world will dissipate but the love of God doesn’t. God’s love is everlasting. As we leave here today let us pray for the grace to deny ourselves and to go after the Lord. In doing so perhaps we won’t be building up worldly but instead building up treasure where it truly belongs in the heavenly kingdom!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Homily for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings focus on the exchange of keys. The exchange of keys is symbolic and it’s symbolic of an exchange of power or a new responsibility. In today’s Gospel from Matthew we witness our Lord Jesus Christ passing on the responsibility of the Church on earth into the hands of Saint Peter. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

From Peter the papacy has been passed down generations and now rests in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI. Throughout the centuries the Church has experienced many scandals and trials, and yet despite them the Church still stands strong standing as a testament to the Lord’s words, “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

My brothers and sisters we mustn’t forget that a set of keys have also been placed into our hands. Each one of us has an individual responsibility to build up God’s kingdom on earth. We are called to take the message of the Gospel into the world. It is not only important but it is certainly now extremely necessary. For far too long Christians have remained silent and have allowed certain atrocities to develop and spread. Now is the time for Christians everywhere to find their voice and speak up! Many of the crises we face today are rooted in the overall lack of appreciation for life in all its stages. From that stems individual greed and a desire for individual power. With that said a culture that turns it back to God and closes their hearts to life is headed ultimately for a collapse of economic proportions.

For us to be successful in our vocations we must attach ourselves to the rock, our Lord Jesus Christ. His representative on earth is the pope and as Catholics we are called to follow and listen to his guidance. Jesus Christ chose Saint Peter as another way in which He can remain with us throughout time. That tradition continues in Pope Benedict XVI. Stay close to Peter and we will stay close to Christ!

Everyone gathered here has a special role in the life of the Church. Whether we build and grow together as a family of faith depends upon us as individuals. For that to happen we must unite ourselves ultimately to Jesus who is our rock and be faithful to the mission to which He calls us. Today we must ask ourselves, are we ready to profess Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God?” For those who might have at times bought into the lies promulgated by the world, it’s never too late to come back. Many have and continue to do so each and every single day! We must open our hearts and minds and root them in Jesus and all those things He has taught and continues to teach us today. While there might be for some time to come a series of trials, things in the end will get better. It’s time we as Christians find our voice and take this message into the world.

“I will place the keys of the house of David, upon His shoulders.” As the keys are now formally in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI we mustn’t forget that a set of keys have been placed into our hands as well. Each one of us is responsible for following the call of the Lord, taking the message that He gives us out into the world. Stay close and follow Christ and be ready to experience something truly awesome. What that awesome thing is…I am not telling, you will just have to experience it for yourselves! Just put your faith in Jesus Christ and sit back and wait and see!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homily for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Thus says the Lord: Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed.” The very first part of the opening line from the first reading is a challenge that the Lord Himself still echoes to all is to do and follow what is right. Our Lord is constantly calling His people to always do the right thing.

Now we must remember that we are called to do what is right and just every single day because we should be living our lives each day as the salvation of the Lord is about to come this very moment. This is the message we are called to proclaim. Throughout the last several weeks I have preached on the importance of the ministry of the evangelization which is your primary ministry in the life of the Church. Blessed John Paul II called for a new life of evangelization in the life of the Church and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has continued that call these past six years of His papacy. There are new ways for us to evangelize. It was only a few years ago in order to get word out one had to contact a radio or television station, and for publications contact a news paper or put out money to purchase an ad on a billboard. While many of these advertising tools are still at our disposal there are even new ways for us to reach out into the world through the World Wide Web.

In speaking of the importance of spread of the Gospel I would like us to turn our focus to our Lord Jesus Christ in today’s Gospel. He is doing something rather peculiar. A woman is calling out to Him and at first He appears to ignore her. Then when the woman fell at His feet paying Him homage He says something that might sound to our ears as cold, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” The woman however doesn’t give up and responds to the Lord saying, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” At this He responds to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” Our Lord wasn’t brushing this particular woman’s needs aside but rather what He was doing at that particular moment was making every effort to draw out the faith from her.

Studying today’s Gospel at a much deeper level we do not see our Lord ignoring this woman’s needs but rather see Him drawing out her faith. When we do things that are right and just not only does it carry the potential of drawing out our faith but also the faith of others. Going back to my homily from last week we are called to challenge one another much like Jesus challenged the woman in today’s Gospel. Put your faith in Christ Jesus and do not look back! Have faith and be persistent!  We might at times feel that our prayers have fallen on deaf ears…because it seems that He doesn’t answer our prayers.  Do not become discouraged…be persistent!  The woman in today’s Gospel could have just as easily given up, however she didn’t and we see that she received her wish. Let that be a lesson for each one of us!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Homily for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Take courage” and “do not be afraid.” These are the words our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ extend to us today. More than ever we need to be courageous witnesses of the Gospel being not afraid of any repercussions that we may incur. Following Christ is not always easy but that being said following Christ is the only path that leads to true happiness.

Following our Lord means a willingness to take a chance. Many of us take chances every day and we might not realize it. Individuals spend money on a chance to win a million dollar jackpot lottery, or put their names in to win a car. We take chances almost every day, but the million dollar question today is this, when was the last time we took a chance for the Lord. In today’s first reading the Lord said to Elijah, “go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; and the Lord will be passing by.” Then in today’s Gospel our Lord reached out to Peter who said to Him, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” The Lord responded simply with one word, “come.” Our Lord is constantly inviting us to come after Him and many of us here are hearing the Lord call us but maybe something is holding us back.

What happened to Peter, well He got out of the boat and began walking on water. “But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and began to sink.” Peter represents many of us gathered here. Perhaps we might initially be willing to follow the Lord but suddenly when we come into some sort of resistance we begin to retreat and run. When that happens we begin to sink. Being a faithful Catholic is not always easy especially today when our faith contradicts what is becoming the growing norm. As Catholics we are called to value all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. One of the biggest items in the news today is marriage and this is one area in which we must strongly defend. One issue regarding marriage is that today there are many individuals who want the definition of marriage to be redefined. This is impossible because the definition of marriage was written once and for all in stone by God who is the divine author. Marriage is defined by God as the joining of one man and one woman with one of its primary ends being the procreation and education of children. The problem with rewriting the definition of marriage to something other than what God defines it, excludes instantly the possibility of procreation. Some will make the argument that the Church is discriminating against those who hold opinions contrary to the Church’s when she speaks this truth. Its hard being a faithful Catholic in today’s growing secular society.

That leaves us with a question what are we to do. The answer is simple we as Catholics are given a responsibility to guide and lead others to the truth. As Jesus invites us we are to be constantly inviting others. Unfortunately we might experience fierce opposition, but the reason the opposition is so fierce is because what we teach which is given to us by the Lord Himself is right. Her teachings do not discriminate for Holy Mother Church wants everyone to be saved. With that said although the Church is very much clear certain actions are indeed sinful, she doesn’t condemn the sinner. She reaches out to them and loves them very much. My best friend is one of those individuals living a life contrary to God’s design for marriage. When I look at her I don’t see someone living a life contrary to God’s definition of marriage I see a child of God. Every individual, no matter what they struggle with is a child of God; they are our brothers and sisters and must be treated as such. However, at times we need to challenge others and ourselves to live a life of holiness according to God’s divine plan not just with this particular issue but with His plan in its entirety. There are plenty of other things out there that threaten our faith. Our Lord says “do not judge”, but He never said do not challenge. Jesus challenges us each and every day and we are to challenge one another. If we don’t, we’re just simply letting one another fall.

Be courageous witness’s brothers and sisters to the Gospel. Do not be afraid of what others may say! More than ever today we need to take this message with us everywhere we go. Remember this, our Lord desires everyone to be saved! Not just certain individuals but everyone. Yes, we have the ability to choose which path we follow; some choose the path that leads to life, while others choose the path that ultimately leads to death buts it’s our choice. God wants everyone to have a choice. He wants us to have a choice because not having one reduces us to being slaves. Again, as the Lord calls us, we are to call one another. Ponder this, if we truly love someone then we should want give them all the options and once that is done then the ball is in their court. All we can do is simply be faithful to who we are as Catholics, faithful to the teachings as handed down to us by God. With that we conclude once again with the words from our Lord Jesus Christ that we began with, “take courage” and “do not be afraid.” Take a chance on the Lord, stick close and follow Him, because not only does it offer you the possibility of saving your life, but also the lives of others as well!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homily for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.” Last week in my homily I made a mention of a mug that I have over in my collection that says, “God answers all prayers, sometimes He says yes, sometimes he says no, and sometimes He says you got to be kidding me.” God does answer all our prayers, perhaps in ways we humanly don’t agree with but He indeed answers them. We must also remember that God answers all prayers according to His time which is not bound by our own. The Lord is not bound by minutes, hours, days, months or even years. Our Lord answers them when He wills, and when He does many times He gives us what we need not necessarily what we want.

In the very first part of the responsorial psalm, it says the hand of the Lord feeds us. Today the Lord’s hands continue to feed His people. We mustn’t forget that we are the Lords hands and feet. As the cantor sung in the alleluia verse, “one does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” It is important and necessary for us to be here to receive the words of life that comes from God. The words that you hear today are not the lector’s words, they are not my words, but they are His words. These are the words of everlasting life and have the power to transform not only our lives but also the lives of others. As the Lords hands and feet these are the words we are called to share.

One mustn’t forget that we are called to share the message that we receive. The word of God cannot be chained. Although there are forces in the world that are trying their best to do just that…it is impossible. There is no taming the word of God for there is no force in world powerful enough to contain it! How do we get the word of God out there into a world that is trying so to keep the message from being spread? Think about the old saying, if there is a will, there is a way! There are plenty of opportunities out there for us to share our faith. It doesn’t always have to entail the use of words. We can spread the Gospel through our actions. The little things we do can go a long way.

Our Gospel tells the account of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. In the account when it was evening it says the disciples approached him saying, “This is a deserted place and it’s already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food themselves.” Jesus responded, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” Looking out into the world there are many people who are looking for the life giving word, who are missing out because not only is our culture doing all it can to drown it out, but also because many good people are remaining silent. What we have brothers and sisters is so special one would be foolish to keep it to themselves. In order for the treasure that we have to multiply it needs to be shared. There are many people out there who are looking to be fed and using the Lord’s words I challenge you to “give them some food yourselves.” God has given us all special gifts and we are called to use them for one purpose and that is to build up God’s kingdom right now.

Yes, indeed God has given each our own special gifts. Many times we don’t know how to use them. For some they don’t know how to use them because they spend all their time desiring the gifts of another that they don’t cultivate their own gift. Spending our time desiring another’s gift in a way belittles the ones God has given us. Use the gifts God has given you! As we mentioned a few moments ago we need to find ways to get this great message out there. Remember God has given us a gift, use them! God has given perhaps some of you the ability to write, use your words to spread the Gospel. It doesn’t have to be a work based on scripture, but can be something that promotes our Christian values in everyday life. Our Lord has given some the gift of being able to sing and write music. Sing your hearts out, and drown out some of that modern junk that’s out there. Believe me, lyrics to a song carries a lot of weight. Parents should be cautious to what their kids listen too. From my personal experience often times when driving I flip through the radio stations in order to find something to keep me awake, and as I do I’m horrified by some of things that I am hearing.

Perhaps we can’t sing or write but as we look around at each other we can see a diverse congregation with individuals who have many other gifts and talents. These gifts can be as simple as ones personality. How we approach and treat people can make a big difference. Something as simple as a smile can go a long way. Today the Lord says to each one of us, “Give them some food yourselves. May we spend our time this week reflecting on the gifts and talents the Lord bestowed upon us! Then after spending some time getting to know those gifts may we put them to work doing as the Lord calls feeding our brothers and sisters with His words which are the words of everlasting life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Disciple of Christ Retreat

Last week I accompanied the parish youth group to Little Drummer Boy Campground in Gettysburg PA for our first retreat. This retreat was entitled Disciple of Christ retreat. It was a retreat led by mostly our seniors who are heading into college next year for the younger members of the group. Although it was extremely hot and humid the kids had a great week.  It should be noted that we had air conditioned cabins!  :) 

We celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Monday spring boarding from my homily on Sunday I reminded our young people on the importance of our call to evangelization. Taking the prayers from the section of the Roman Missal for Masses of various needs and occasions, for the Spread of the Gospel, we were of the importance for us to take the Gospel into the world.

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Then on Tuesday we reflected on Jesus’ response to the one who said, your mother and brothers are standing outside to speak with you. Our Lord responded saying, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? Continuing with our Lord’s words He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Although Jesus’ words are true we must expand that for we are all brothers and sisters for we are created in God’s image and likeness. We must remember because we are all created in His image and likeness we are to reach out to all people. Every one we meet is a child of God and must be treated as such.

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Wednesday we celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the evening and incorporated after the homily a candle lighting ceremony. This particular Mass was a votive Mass of the Most Holy Eucharist for the first reading and responsorial psalm reflected on the theme of bread. The responsorial psalm was, “the Lord gave them bread from heaven.” We were reminded that the Lord never abandons us on our journey of discipleship. The Lord is with us every single step of the way and He does so particularly through the Most Holy Eucharist. With Jesus at our side we are able to take His light into the world. Lighting a candle at the center of the altar each person present had an opportunity to come forward and receive from me a small votive candle. I handed each person an unlit candle saying, “As a disciple of Christ are you prepared to take the light of Christ into the world.” After responding “I am” they took the candle from me and lit their votive candle from the center candle and lined them up on the altar. Once they lit their votive candle and placed them on the altar they went and dropped a sheet of paper in which they listed things during the week that was keeping them from being Disciples of Christ and placed them into the campfire.

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Homily for 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“And it's a great day to be alive...I know the sun's still shinin when I close my eyes...There's some hard times in the neighborhood...But why can't every day be just this good?” This reframe taken from Travis Tritt’s hit song “It’s a great day to be alive” is a good springboard into today’s reflection.

We should consider each day when we can drag ourselves out of bed being able to plant both feet onto to floor to be a good day because it is another day for us to live out our vocations. Every day is better than the next because each day is full of new opportunities. In today’s first reading we heard about a man named Solomon who was chosen to succeed his father King David. Like Solomon we too are called by God for a particular purpose. Each one of us has a unique mission given by God and it’s a mission only we ourselves can complete. Meaning you cannot complete my mission on earth nor can I complete yours. We all have a special role to fulfill that only you and I as individuals can do.

Now that we have reiterated that we each have a special mission like Solomon did, we must take a closer look at what the Lord said to Solomon. God said, “Ask something of me, and I will give it to you.” Needless to say brothers and sisters we do not go out into the world empty handed. This leads us to the topic of prayer. When it comes to fulfilling our mission here on earth we cannot expect to do it alone, we need the Lord. In prayer not only do we grow closer to God but He also gives us the grace needed to live out our vocations. Many people in our society think prayer is a waste of time especially today when many individuals are experiencing hard times in their own backyards. Those who have lost jobs are having a hard time finding new ones and because of this are left scratching their heads to figure out where the money will come from to pay the next bill. Because of the economic situation many families are put under more stress. When things get tough it is easy to collapse under the weight, it’s easy for us to question whether or not God listening when things are not going as planned, but it’s that mindset we need to work hard to desperately overcome. Remember this God answers all prayers. In my collection of mugs over in my office I have one mug that says, “God answers all prayers, sometimes he says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says you got to be kidding me.”

Think about that for a moment, what do our prayers sound like. Dear Lord, please help me to win the lottery! Lord, help me be able to get straight A’s in school. Too many times our prayers take this form where we are asking things for ourselves. We must remember the Lord gives us what we need not what we want. Yes many of us here would like to win the lottery, but I can image the Lord looking down at every one who asks to win the lottery saying you have to be kidding me, I know what you would do with the money so the answer is no. All too often we spend our time desiring the things that we don’t have that we fail to take stock in those things we do. Listen again to Solomon’s response, “O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.” What was the Lord’s response? Listen closely, “Because you have asked for this—not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right—I do as you requested.”

God answers all prayers and how He answers them depends on how we ask and what we ask for. One thing is for sure God will give us the strength we need to live out our vocations all we have to do is ask. Yes we are living in challenging times but we shouldn’t allow that to distract or discourage us from doing as the Lord wills. One could easily choose to collapse under the weight of the pressure but be warned that leads to a life of misery. May we lift up our hearts and spirits to the Lord who will give us the strength to complete our earthly journey! Yes even with Christ at our side we might experience difficult moments but with Him we can handle it.

Remember we are each called by God for a specific purpose. Listen to these final words the Lord spoke to Solomon, “I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.” God calls each and every single one of us to a specific task and every day is a good day because it is another opportunity for us to live our lives the way God intends. It’s a great day to be alive! Every day is a good day but remember each day is even better than the day before!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homily for the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

During the last two weeks of Ordinary Time my homilies have been centered on the five precepts of the Church. This week we come to the final precept of the Church which calls each of us to help provide for the needs of the Church. What is the final precept calling us to do and how can we apply it to today’s readings.

In today’s Gospel Jesus shares with the crowds another parable that has to do with a seed. He tells them that “the Kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in His field.” What does it mean to provide for the needs of the Church? First and foremost it reminds us of our call to evangelize and build up the Kingdom of God here on earth. We must ask ourselves are we pulling our weight when it comes to tending to the Lord’s vineyard. Are we helping others get to know Christ through our words and actions? Would people know that we are Christians by what we say and do? How are we setting the example? Are we encouraging one another to practice the faith and setting an example for them by following the other precepts of the Church, going to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, utilizing the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year, and encouraging some sort of penance on all Fridays. All these precepts of the Church are centered on assisting us in keeping our focus on God.

What does this final precept which calls us to provide for the needs of the Church mean for us as Catholics? There are many ways we can provide for the needs of the Church and guess what it isn’t always about the money. One of the ways we can provide for the needs of the Church is by staying true to our mission. You my brothers and sisters are called to the ministry of evangelization. My main responsibility as a priest is provide for you the sacraments which helps give you the tools necessary to carry out your divine mission on earth. If I speak to three hundred people at each Mass and you in turn reach out to one or two people within the week see how many lives can be touched by the Gospel. As a priest my ministry is primarily within the Church while your ministry as the faithful takes you outside the formal structure of the Church into the wider Church in the world. There are opportunities that allow you the faithful to participate in your ministry of evangelization within the structure of the Church for example, adult Catechesis, ministry to fallen away Catholics, and RCIA to name a few opportunities out there that allow you to exercise your God given ministry. Even if you’re not involved in any of these ministries you have an opportunity to reach out to those you encounter each day.

Now that we have talked about providing for the needs of the Church by participating in our mission from God I want to say something briefly about the Sunday offering. It’s not all about the money; there is also a spiritual purpose to it. The offering represents each one of us offering a small portion of ourselves to God. Many people here receive envelopes; even if you can’t put anything in it every week use them. Putting the envelope in the basket, and having it brought forward is in a way a symbolic offering of oneself. It’s a simple external action, but it is an external action with a purpose. Even if nothing monetary is physically in the envelope, it is certainly not empty. What is more important to God is that we are present. Our presence here is more important to God than any monetary offering we could give. That envelope represents us and by putting it into the offering basket it is a quiet way of saying, “here I am Lord, I come to do your will.”

There are many ways in which we can provide for the needs of the Church and the most important way we can do that is our willingness to follow the Lord’s commandments, following the precepts of His Church, and last but not least the witness we give by our presence. It is our witness to the faith in the world and our regular attendance here that stands as a testament to our belief in power of God. My brothers and sisters we are to encourage one another to follow these precepts so that we together may grow in the faith and rise up together like leavened bread.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Homily for the Fiftieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.” Listening again to the familiar parable of the seed and the sower gives us a visual of how our faith grows. It all begins with a seed, a seed that is planted within each of us. That seed was infused in us when we were conceived for every child is a gift from God created in His own image and likeness.

Now we have stated that there is a seed infused with each of us, what happens next. A seed won’t grow without being properly nourished. That leads us to ponder, how do we grow in faith. One of the problems we face today is that we ourselves are not letting the Divine sower sow seeds. This happens when we choose not to cooperate with God’s divine plan and ignore the vocations He has called us too. For example, husbands and wives are choosing to ignore one of the primary ends of marriage the procreation and education of children. When it comes to teaching the faith it is the primary obligation of the parents to see to their children’s religious education and not CCD or our Catholic Schools. Priests and Religious also have steered clear from proclaiming the truth in order to appease everyone. If one comes here expecting to be all happy and fuzzy inside every time they leave here there is a problem. Sometimes we all need to be challenged! Everyone is called to be sowing seeds, and if there are any gardeners present today they will attest that it takes work. One needs to prepare a fertile soil by clearing an area for a garden, planting a seed, watering it, and over time removing weeds that threaten to strangle the new plant.

There are weeds in our lives that threaten us and those weeds are sin. Each day we should be prepared to rip them right out so that the seed within us can grow to the fullest potential. Last week in the homily I mentioned the first two precepts of the Church which is to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and going to confession at least once a year. These precepts are not just a mere list of things we need to do but are more importantly our gateway to spiritual growth. Our Lord has given us all the tools we need to tend to our garden of faith, the question is do we know how to put them to work. By attending Mass we allow ourselves to water our garden of faith. Every time we come here to listen to God’s word we are tending to our own spiritual garden. By going to confession we remove those weeds that threaten to strangle our spiritual life.

The next precept of the Church is you shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter Season. This precept of the Church doesn’t suggest that the reception of communion is required weekly, but strongly encourages us to receive Holy Communion at least during this holy season and whenever we are able. Why…the answer is because it’s a source of spiritual nourishment and strength. God gives us many gifts to help us grow in our spiritual life and the Most Holy Eucharist is one of them. It is because God desires that oneness that we are encouraged to receive during Easter for it serves as a strong reminder that the Lord hasn’t left us orphans. Choosing not to go to communion, or sometimes having the Church formally encouraging an individual not to go is not always a bad thing. It should not be seen as simply a denial of Holy Communion but rather as a true test of faith. That desire, that longing should drive an individual to the point where one recognizes the need for change in their lives so they can be truly one with the Lord. If the end result is that it helps the individual to grow in a greater appreciation and helps them foster a deeper devotion that time spent desiring a return to communion was successful.

Now the next precept of the Church is one we need to reflect on a little more because it’s one that has fell by the wayside in recent years and that precept is this “you shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.” During Lent we observe meatless Fridays and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we are asked to fast. Traditionally on Fridays outside of Lent we are asked to abstain from meat or reframe from other things that might get in the way of our spiritual life. While many follow the practice during Lent it’s outside of Lent we need to do some more work. Let’s be honest for some people giving up meat on Fridays, really is no big deal especially if one likes seafood. There is no penance in that; however we should find something that really conditions our heart and soul so that we may better focus the lens of our spiritual eyes on the Lord. So therefore make it a point each Friday to do some sort of penance for your spiritual wellbeing.

Conditioning our heart and soul is important especially when it comes tending our seed of faith and allowing it grow. The key for us my brothers and sisters is to allow and trust the divine sower to let Him do the work. We mustn’t forget that we are at times His hands and feet, and that we have a critical role in this all important task. May we tend to His garden so that it will yield a fruitful harvest!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Homily for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“See, your king shall come to you meek, and riding on an ass.” With that line taken from our first reading taken from the book of the prophet Zechariah how about we begin by doing something a little different? Let’s together take a journey. Close your eyes and picture yourselves going back in time living in the time of Jesus. We are going to begin in the stable where our Lord Jesus Christ lays in the manger. Imagine the scene, the sounds of the animals, the smell of the stable, and Mary and Joseph attending to their new born Son. Let’s stop and fast forward to the point where we find Jesus all grown up walking with His disciples. Looking back noticing all the crowds He travels up the mountain where He sits down and begins to teach. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Now let’s move forward just a bit and watch the Lord as He encounters the leper, Peter’s mother-in-law and the paralytic. With each personal encounter listen and watch as Jesus reaches out His hands to heal them of their infirmities. Imagine yourself in Matthews’s shoes as he sits at the tax collectors table. Put yourselves, at the table. Like Matthew the Lord calls out to us, “follow me.” At this time we come to the final leg of our journey we fast forward to the Lord’s greatest act of love. Yes, we are standing at the foot of the cross. Look up at Him, beaten, pierced, and all covered in blood. This brothers and sisters is our King of Glory.

What does it take to be a leader? Listen intently once again to our Lord’s words in the Gospel, “come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” The first part of this passage is an invitation and it is an invitation our Lord echoes constantly, “come to me, all you who labor.” Then He explains why we should follow Him, “for I am meek and humble of heart.” Finally He tells us the end result, “you will find rest.” Now this sounds all and good, but their needs to be more…there must action. That last image that we referenced a few moments ago shows us all the more why we should follow Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ laid down His very life for you and me! A leader is not someone who stands up in front of people and speaks but rather a true leader is one who steps down and leads by example. Jesus Christ exemplifies this definition of a leader, while at times He spoke in front of a crowd; He walked among us acting through healing the sick, forgiving multitude of sins, and finally being pierced to a large wooden cross. His actions give us all the reasons in the world to follow Him.

Today the Lord is constantly inviting us to spend time with Him. He expresses that invitation through Holy Mother Church expressed through the precepts of the Church. The very first precept of the Church, “you shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and remain free from work or activity that could impede the sanctification of such days.” Now to our ears this might sound to us like a command…that’s because it is! God has given us a free will to choose whether or not we come here on Sundays and holy days obligation; however it is worded in such a way to remind us that the Lord is constantly calling us to be here. The very next precept of the Church is “you shall confess your sins at least once a year.” Again the Church isn’t requiring us to do this just to give us something else to do. In order for us to truly live our faith we need to practice it! Our Lord challenges us by commandments and precepts because He knows what we need and He gives us the very tools in order to help us grow.

We live in a society where it has become acceptable only to do the minimum. When it comes to our faith don’t settle for mediocrity. Many people live their faith content staying at the surface; however we must not hesitate to delve deeper. Jesus died for you and me! Are we willing to die to self for Him! Most people live their faith at the surface where they feel comfortable, but how is that helpful for our spiritual growth. Utilize the sacrament of reconciliation often and experience firsthand the Lord’s love and mercy. Immerse yourselves in the faith! The more we experience it the more we can demonstrate it to others. Don’t live the faith floating at the surface but dive deeper! Challenge yourselves, push yourselves to the limit and don’t settle for anything less.

My brothers and sisters the more we delve deeper into our faith the stronger we become in it. Not only do we ourselves grow stronger, we grow stronger together as a Church. At the very end of Mass we are all given a commission to “go in peace.” When the priest walks down the aisle after every Mass He represents Christ taking the lead…leading us all in the direction we need to head. Leave here with the goal to immerse ourselves in the love of Christ and make it a point to take advantage of all the opportunities He presents to us each and every day not only to help us grow in the faith but to those opportunities in which we can share that awesome faith with our fellow brothers and sisters. Follow Christ my dear brothers and sisters and don’t ever cease praising Him as our king and our God!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

“I am the living bread.” How can we associate these words from our Lord Jesus Christ with the Sacred Liturgy we celebrate today? For starters we must understand that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not merely a function but rather is a participation in an actual event that is ongoing. Every single celebration of the Mass is a manifestation of the Paschal Mystery, the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we look at the Mass as functional something we do out of habit you and I will get nothing from it. On the other hand, if we allow ourselves to completely enter into the mystery the more we begin to see our worship not as a function but rather an actual participation in an ongoing event.

This morning /evening I want you to put yourselves in the actual event. We stand as witnesses today as the Lord continues to offer His Body and Blood for our sake. Indeed my brothers and sisters what we receive is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How can we help place ourselves in the actual event? First we need to learn how to allow ourselves to enter into these mysteries at a deeper level. It must first begin with preparation, meaning from the beginning don’t rush in. Consider getting here five minutes early to pray and read over the scriptures. It is also possible to look over the scriptures at home for the Sunday and weekday readings are available online at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. The readings are also in the pews at your fingertips. Utilize them! Then when the readings are proclaimed don’t read from the book but listen carefully as the readings are being proclaimed. Perhaps what you read over might not be what you take from it as it is proclaimed.

Also I would encourage everyone to mediate specifically on the very moment you physically receive Jesus Christ into your heart. Ask yourselves these questions, am I properly disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist? Am I free from mortal sin and spiritually in communion with our Lord (meaning we believe that we are actually receiving Jesus Himself and that we are in agreement with all His teachings expressed in the commandments and through His Church)? Then we need to ask ourselves how are we actually physically receiving Him? For the faithful who wish to receive Him in the hand the proper way of doing so is by taking both hands making a throne for the Lord who is our true king! Perhaps an individual may wish to receive our Eucharistic Lord in accordance with the norm of the Latin Rite which is on the tongue which has a special place in the Church because it represents externally our trust in the Lord.

As a side as we talk about appreciation and reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament I would recommend that everyone read this small book by His Excellency The Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider entitled Dominus Est, which is Latin for “It is the Lord.” Although the title of the book is in Latin the book is translated into English and it is a rather short profound read. I would strongly recommend this book for your spiritual enrichment especially to help you grow in appreciation for the Most Holy Eucharist. Having read the book myself one thing that stands out is the profound love and respect for our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Finally as I mentioned don’t rush in, everyone can guess what is coming next “don’t rush out.” Give the Lord some more of your time and thank Him. Think about this if someone were to come to your aide perhaps let’s say you were in an accident or lost everything to a fire or flood you would be forever grateful to those individuals who extended a helping hand. This man our Lord Jesus Christ died for each one of us for that we should be eternally grateful. At the garden of Gethsemane Jesus said to Peter, “So you could you not watch with me one hour?” Today our Lord poses the same exact question to us. If we can’t give the Lord one hour, perhaps on occasion a little more, then one should examine why they are really here. Now for those who leave early because they are sick that’s another story but you can’t tell me twenty or thirty people are sick all at the same time. The most likely scenario for those who leave early on a regular basis is that they want to be the first one out of the parking lot and the first ones in line to get breakfast/brunch/dinner depending on the time of day. Leaving immediately after receiving Holy Communion for personal convenience is extremely dangerous! Look what happened to the very first person who left the first celebration of the Mass. If you are worried about getting out to avoid a crazy parking lot after Mass consider spending five minutes with the Lord to give thanks to Him and I can assure when you leave their will be a miracle waiting for you…the parking lot will be clear. Miracles do happen for those who wait!

These are just a few suggestions one could consider to help each of us enter into these mysteries. Many times our hindrance from entering deeper into these mysteries is ourselves. With that listen to these words from John’s Gospel, “truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.”

At the end of every Mass one word should stand out, the word “go.” Looking at the concluding rite of the Mass, not only does the Lord give us a commission He in fact leads us out into the world through the priest. At the beginning of Mass we should be waiting in anticipation for the Lord to enter thus the priest should normally be the last one in and at the end of Mass the first one out leading us into the world to fulfill our mission. There are many quiet examples in our liturgical celebration that conveys a meaning; however we need to be aware and open to it. Today the Spirit is asking us to abandon our comfort zone and jump into the mystery. For many people perhaps some of us live our faith only at the surface. We need to allow the Spirit not to just touch us at the surface but allow the Spirit to penetrate us to our very core. Don’t be afraid to enter into the mysteries! Jump right into them! May we today stretch out our hands and allow the Spirit to guide us perhaps into places in which we may not wish to go. Remember at every celebration of the Mass we are participating in a live event. Allow yourselves, to dive right in and experience the living mystery. Just do it and trust me…you won’t be disappointed!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that the world may be saved through Him.” Today as we listen to those words which were taken directly from the Gospel we can apply it to what is happening today in 2011.

On the occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity I want to focus on one word that best describes the Trinity and that is “communion.” There isn’t much we can say about the Trinity because it is ultimately a mystery. Although the Trinity can’t be fully explained there are aspects of the Trinity that can be understood. While each person of the Trinity is distinct they are one. Taking the illustration from the Old Baltimore Catechism, it reads, “the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit.” However it goes onto say, “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.” This illustration demonstrates that the Most Holy Trinity is a communion of persons. No more really can be said.

What unites us as Catholics? There are many things that unite us as Catholics, a common faith, the sacraments, a common language the list could go on. In a couple months we as a Church will be preparing for the introduction of the New Roman Missal which will change some of the words we say at Mass. Many people welcome the change while there are others who question why. Why do we need to change what we have been saying for forty years? This year the Lord Himself is sending His spirit into the Church to genuinely renew it. For starters we need to understand that the Sacred Liturgy is a genuine mystery. While many of the new words might be foreign to our ears it will heighten the sense of mystery in the Sacred Liturgy. Secondly, the new translation of the Roman Missal was worked on by ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy). English is not just spoken in the United States; other countries utilize the English language. This translation will be similar with the other speaking English speaking countries stressing the Churches unity.

How did this new translation come about? Back in 2000 our beloved late Holy Father Blessed John Paul II blessed the Church with the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued Liturgiam Authenticam, in 2001, an Instruction on the vernacular translation of the Roman Liturgy which outlines the principles and rules for translation.” This instruction stressed the importance of a liturgical translation translated faithfully from the Latin which remains the language of the Roman Rite as stressed by the document on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council. Now after years of discussion and hard work the new translation is ready to be introduced.

Have you ever wondered why we don’t refer to ourselves as the Body of Christ parish but use the Latin Corpus Christi? We use the Latin translation Corpus Christi because it utilizes the universal language of the Church stressing our oneness. If one says “Corpus Christi” throughout the world one should instinctively know that it is referring to the “Body of Christ, “El Cuerpo De Christo” in Spanish, “Il Corpo di Cristo” in Italian, and “Le corps du Christ” in French. With that I want to mention something about Latin. Many people fear any use of the Latin language and see the reintroduction of it in parts of the Mass as a step backwards. Utilizing the ancient language of the Church is not a step backwards but rather a clear expression of our unity as a community of faith. What is wrong with some of our beautiful Latin hymns? Do we toss them out because they are in Latin or do we utilize them preserving our Catholic tradition? I find it funny when people complain about using the principal Mass parts in Latin. Why do I find it funny? Because their principal argument is that they can’t understand it. What’s not to understand when we chant the Sanctus or the Angus Dei, we have been saying them in English the last forty years.

While the Church has made strides reaching out to various cultures by allowing the possibility of saying the Mass in the language of the people, we must maintain our tradition and a language that unites us as a people of faith. Perhaps we won’t understand every single word of a hymn that is being sung in the language of the Church or the words of the new vernacular translation of the Mass introduced later this year. Our time spent here isn’t always about understanding what is going on but rather is about allowing ourselves to enter into a mystery. The Trinity is one, so are we, for we make up the Body of Christ! May our challenge be this, rather than criticizing the liturgical developments of our time, may we put our thoughts aside and allow God to do His work. The Spirit of the Lord is at work, may we pray to be open to it!