Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homily for Ash Wednesday 2012, Evening Mass

 

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Today we begin together our Lenten Journey. Lent provides for us an opportunity to reflect on our sinful ways and gives us an opportunity to turn our lives around in order to follow the Lord. As we heard in the last couple lines from St. Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth now is the time. Our salvation is at hand.

In a few moments you will come forward and Ashes will be imposed on your foreheads. The formula for the distribution of ashes is one of two phrases. They are “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” and “repent and believe in the Gospel.” The first option “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” reminds us of our own mortality. There will be a time when the Lord will calls us home in which we do not know the day or the hour. Thus, we should always be prepared. The second option “repent and believe in the Gospel” is a commission from the Lord Himself. As we approach the altar of God to receive ashes on our forehead we need to be reminded of both.

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Now is the time for us to turn away from our sinful ways and make a commitment to follow the Lord. We have heard often the phrase, “now is the time.” Indeed, it is the time now to act and make an effort to grow in our spiritual life. Every Lent we are provided an opportunity to give something up. I want to challenge you not to give up something just for the sake of giving something up. Whatever we give up it must be something that is keeping us from growing spiritually. For some people gathered here it just might be the internet and television. Pull the power cord and spend time with the Lord. If there is a particular habit or sin that is keeping one from following the Lord make an effort to give that up this Lent.

We often talk about giving things up during Lent. I would encourage all of us perhaps to take up some good spiritual practices this Lent. If there is a bad habit or sin that we find ourselves falling into we must try to develop a good habit to replace them with. Maybe one can make an effort to attend daily Mass if one schedule allows them during the week. Another good devotion to pick up is the Stations of the Cross which are prayed here at 2PM and 7PM on the Friday’s of Lent. Last but not least one of the greatest things we can do during Lent is utilizing the Sacrament of Reconciliation which the Lord gives us through the Church for the forgiveness of our sins. My brothers and sisters our sins are a roadblock to our spiritual growth so they need to be purged from our lives.

Now I know what goes through some of our minds during Lent. Why should I confess my sins if I am only going to fall back into the same pattern over and over again? Another one would be God won’t forgive me especially since I myself am struggling to forgive. Do not doubt the love and mercy of the Father! If those thoughts are in our minds, that is the evil one trying His very best to keep us from a gift that God wishes to bestow. As we enter into Lent we should be ready to experience temptation but we shouldn’t let that deter us! Remember now is the time! May we make every effort to enter into this Lenten Season by turning away from our sins so that we may continue to follow the Lord!

Homily for Ash Wednesday 2012 at 7AM

 

There are two formulas for the distribution of Ashes, they are “remember, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return, “and “repent, and believe in the Gospel.” The first option I mentioned is a reminder for us of our own mortality, while the second is a commission from God.

As we come forward to receive ashes on our foreheads we need to be reminded of both. We needed to be reminded that our earthly bodies will one day pass away. No one knows when that time will come. Lent is journey it’s a journey of faith where we take some time to examine our lives. Each year, we are given some time to do just that. Today before you wipe those ashes off our foreheads I would encourage each of us to look in a mirror for a moment. As we look in the mirror we must remind ourselves of our own mortality so that we can remember that we are supposed to live the Gospel each moment of our lives.

Pushing ahead into Lent may we seek the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy for those times we have failed but also ask Him for the grace and strength to serve Him each and every day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homily for the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2012

 

“Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both words and deed that which is pleasing to you.” These words taken from the opening prayer of today’s liturgy for the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time gives us really something to mediate upon.

How many of us would have found ourselves responding the same way the crowd did in today’s Gospel? Imagine our reaction after watching people taking the time to open the hole up in the roof and lowering the man down on the mat before the Lord, and He says simply, “Child your sins are forgiven.” Would we be expecting more? What the Lord offered the paralytic was something greater than any physical healing. However, because the Lord wanted to demonstrate He has the power to do all things He offered the paralytic a physical healing to specifically instill faith in the crowd.

Yes we need to be reminded of accounts like the one in today’s Gospel to instill in us faith and hope in the Lord. With that said one of the mistakes we tend to make is that we are looking for the types of healing that the Lord provided for the sake of the crowd. In other words we are looking more often for the spectacular miracles, rather than the simple miracles that take place each and every day. What the Lord offers us through the Church is something spectacular through simple means. Each Thursday before First Friday at 4PM and every Saturday afternoon beginning at 3:45PM He offers us the gift of His forgiveness, love, and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Each day on this very altar the Lord offers us His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Through these simple Sacraments the Lord offers us something that is spectacular.

All too often we miss these ordinary miracles because we are distracted by other things. Throughout the last couple weeks I have said now and again that we are facing a crisis of faith. Many of us are struggling with one thing or another. Maybe we are struggling because of the economy, or a family problem, or perhaps a particular health issue. There is usually always something. Now that leads me to ask a hypothetical question, how many of us are putting those concerns in the Lord’s hands? Are we putting our problems in the palms of the Lord’s hands or are we making the big mistake of trying to handle them on our own? Look to the Lord in today’s Gospel, He has the power to do all things put those things in the hands of the one who can handle them.

One thing I cannot stress enough brothers and sisters is the power of prayer. Most of us know the definition of prayer as a conversation between us and God. It is that simple. However, prayer while it can be simple cannot just be a mere passing word. Prayer must come from the inner chamber of our heart and soul. In other words, we need to give it our all! When we get backed into a corner and feel we cannot do anymore on our own, don’t try to hold it in, rather we need to be quick to fall to our knees in prayer. We need to be prepared to do whatever we need to do, whether that be at times crying or shouting out to the Lord. When it comes to prayer we must give it our all! Prayer is important not only because it keeps us in touch with the Father but also because it helps us to recognize those simple miracles that take place each day. Stay close to God!

What continuously takes place here is a miracle? As you go home take a look at your families. They too are a miracle. Life itself is a miracle. Miracles take place each and every day all around us. Approaching Ash Wednesday, I invite all of us to mediate upon the words of the Responsorial Psalm, “Lord, heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.” Mediate upon those words; preparing ourselves to utilize the simple gifts the Lord provides us through the Sacraments. May we open ourselves to the gifts the Lord provides us so that we can experience and receive the true miracle the Lord wishes to bestow upon us, the gift of salvation!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

As Saint Paul wrote to the people of Corinth, I wish to reecho his words to you today, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Preaching the last several weeks I have been focusing intentionally about doing God’s will. Today we face a serious crisis, and this is the crisis we are more often than not doing everything for the greater glory of ourselves and not for the greater glory of God.

In a sense this attitude of wanting to do things for the greater glory of ourselves is a kind of leprosy in our day an age we face. It’s is this attitude that has done us harm. If we wish to break from and cure this form of leprosy we need to look to the clear example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Lord has a tough message for all of us today, the question is, are we ready to receive it. In order for us to break the bonds of the chains we have placed ourselves in, we need to repent from our sins, begin living lives striving to do the will of God by serving Him and our neighbors. Self-centeredness has no place in our faith, for our Lord wasn’t in it for Himself but rather sacrificed His own life for you and me.

Now the good news for us is that our Lord doesn’t want us to suffer from this form of leprosy. Listen to exchange between the leper and the Lord, “if you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with compassion the Lord said, “I do will it, be made clean.” Our Lord doesn’t wish for us to suffer all the time. Many of today’s suffering is self-imposed, much of it can be overcome with a little divine help from the Man upstairs. Let me say something about suffering, because many of us are quick to right off all suffering as a bad thing. Each one of us has heard the phrase, “offer it up.” Suffering can be redemptive, not only for the person suffering but also for others. Why is suffering redemptive? Suffering is often redemptive for the individual because it is often in the midst of our suffering that we instantly realize how much we need God’s grace and strength. It is also redemptive for others because it gives them the opportunity to minister to those who are suffering. Together we can offer our sufferings in a selfless act for another much like our Lord and Savior did on the cross.

I said it a couple weeks ago and I will reecho it once again we are living in a period of grace. This is not a time for self-centeredness, greed, pride, self-perseveration, but rather is a time for us to be generous servants of Gospel. God wants to heal us of many of our infirmities and weaknesses but the problem is today we aren’t asking. See you and me we want to fix the problem ourselves. May we take to heart the words of today’s psalm, “I turn to you, Lord, in times of trouble and you fill me with the joy of salvation!” Everyone has heard about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Stealing something from what I saw from all places Facebook, I challenge us all to Occupy Adoration, Occupy our Churches, and since Lent is soon upon us occupy the confessionals. Open your hearts, turn to Him, and embrace His divine plan! We have to give the faith our all. It is only them we will experience true and everlasting happiness.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Box Father Carroll or Can Father Carroll in

 

Last week during Catholic School’s week, the students of Corpus Christi School had the opportunity to box or can me in the classroom where I teach 8th grade religion.  They were able to collect over 1,600 items for our Saint Vincent DePaul food pantry.  The students put a lot of effort into this project which benefits those who are struggling in our areas.  As you can see from the picture…the kids did an  awesome job. 

 

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I want to personally thank all those who made this collection such a success.  We are living in challenging times where many of our people themselves are struggling financially.  The key to overcoming some of the problems we face today is not greed or pride but rather generosity.  By accepting and using the gifts God has given us we can overcome worldly poverty by modeling the example of generosity given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.