Friday, January 27, 2012

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” One of the themes I have been focusing on the last couple weeks has been about doing the Lord’s will. It is often tempting to be doing our will rather than the Lord’s. The Lord is constantly calling people today; however the sound of His voice is often being drowned out.

It’s not easy doing the Lord’s will because often what He asks and expects from us today often tends to be countercultural. Our Lord calls us to stand up for and be open to life in all its stages from the very moment of contraception till natural death. We are called to accept life when God decides to bestow it not when we are ready to accept it. Contraception is becoming the norm, not only for society but also for many Catholics. Holy Mother Church has always remained steadfast that contraception is a sin. One could easily turn a blind eye from this issue simply because more people think its ok. That my brothers and sisters, is not love. As we listened to the Gospel we heard that the crowd was utterly amazed at the Lord’s words because He taught as one having authority. The Lord didn’t pull any punches when He spoke and here is the reason why because He believes you and I are worth fighting for! Yes we are, and if we love each other completely than we should want what is best for one another.

My brothers and sisters this is not the time to harden our hearts to the voice of the Lord. The Lord is continuously calling us to follow Him. Often times we miss the Lord’s voice because there are so many things out there to distract us. There is no denying we are living in challenging times as we were reminded clearly from the bishop’s letter. When it comes to our faith we cannot be cowards, but rather be prepared to live it courageously. As Jesus taught and continues to teach with authority we must live our faith with authority. No one in this room is perfect; but that doesn’t mean we should not strive to live our faith fully. When it comes to our faith we must give it our all. One of the mistakes we make is that we settle for the status-quo. Adapting and stealing a line from the movie Courageous, we shouldn’t settle for being good enough Catholics, we shouldn’t settle for being good enough parents, I shouldn’t settle for being a good enough priest, but rather courageously strive to be the best Catholics, parents, or priests we should be!

This week we enter Catholic School’s week. As a product of our Catholic Schools I am a strong supporter of them. Yet at the same time as I have said repeatedly our Catholic Schools go beyond our formal Catholic Educational system. Our CCD, RCIA, and other forms of catechesis are part of our Catholic School program. Of course we mustn’t forget our greatest form of Catholic Education our families. Each one of us is a part of our Catholic School system. We need to support one another in the mission of Catholic Education. As we honor Catholic School’s week may we strive to educate ourselves in the ways of the Lord. The Lord is calling and what He is asking is not always easy. May we not harden ourselves to His voice! Now this year I have the awesome privilege of teaching 8th grade religion over in our school as well as substitute on occasion over in CCD. Standing here as a teacher I want to give you all homework this week. Don’t worry I won’t go hard on you as my students and you won’t be graded. Take some time each day this week to really listen for the Lord’s voice. Listen closely and don’t be quick to harden your hearts. Open completely up to Him and you will find peace, understanding, and a greater readiness to do the Lord’s will.

Homily for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

“This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” These words spoken by our Lord and Savior can be applied today for now is the time of fulfillment. One of the biggest mistakes we make is we spend most of our time living in the past or looking to the future. In living in the past or looking ahead to the future we often ignore what is right before us, the present.

Today many people are finding themselves struggling. The cost of living is up, food prices are up, and in many places the gas prices are soaring and with all of this the economy is not in good shape. Many people are out of work or are not making enough to provide for the needs of their families. Some individuals if they are lucky enough to find work often take on another job which while they are providing for their family’s needs is keeping them away from them. While the picture for many may look bleak, I want to make a bold statement. We are living in a period of grace.

Some may question how this time in history is a period of grace, however there is no denying it for it is! This period of history is a time a grace because many people are being forced to do a little inventory and in some cases a little house cleaning. We are being forced to really look at what is really important in our lives. There is no doubt we are living in challenging times; however there is no doubt that the same time we are living in a period of grace.

Now let’s put the first and last line of today’s Second Reading together, “I tell you, brothers and sisters, time is running out. For the world in its present form is passing away.” How can we apply these two lines to what we have been talking about today? The answer is simple, now is the time using the words of Jesus to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Some people live in the past reflecting on past sins allowing themselves to be consumed to the point where they question whether or not God will forgive them. Others think well I’ll confess my sins later, there’s still time. Brothers and sisters we cannot live in the past and we cannot look to the future we need to live life right now.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade which legalized abortion in this country. The sin of abortion along with the sin of contraception is a major factor of some of the societal problems we face today. As I preached on Christmas hope entered the world in the form of a child. Our hope for the future is in our children. Christians must embrace life in all its stages and must accept life when God decides to bestow it. One of the things that is often said, “Well it’s my body and I’ll do as I please.” Well let’s rewind and go back to last week’s second reading from Saint Paul’s first letter to the people of Corinth, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” Our bodies are indeed a temple of the Holy Spirit! We have a moral obligation to treat and utilize our bodies to their fullest God given potential as He intends, not as we do.

Accepting God’s plan is the only answer to many of the problems we face today. Things will probably get worse before it gets better, however it will get better in time. It’s time now to do a little soul searching and make some changes for the positive. Do not look back to the past nor look ahead to the future, but take a very close look at the present before us now. We cannot afford to wait. Accepting God’s plan isn’t always easy but it is the sure answer. As we reflect on today’s readings I want us to meditate on the responsorial psalm, “teach me your ways, O Lord.” I challenge all of us to take those words to prayer every single day this week. The more we mediate and reflect on the Lord’s ways, the more we see a clearer picture of what we have before us.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Homily for the Epiphany

Epiphany a word for us as Christians means the manifestation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the magi. As we celebrate the Epiphany we are asked to be mindful of the ways the Lord manifests Himself in our lives today. I have mentioned repeatedly before that He manifests Himself here clearly in His word and in Sacrament especially the holy Sacrament we all have the opportunity to receive the Most Holy Eucharist. But the Lord wants to challenge us to also look for other ways He manifests Himself to us.

Jesus is indeed the light of the world and we honor today the discovery of the light by the magi. These men honored the Lord by bringing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Every time we gather together we offer the Lord something much better the gift of ourselves. In honor of the Epiphany may we strive to see the gifts the Lord presents to us and honor that by offering ourselves back to Him as His gift in return.