Friday, May 18, 2012

Homily for Ascension Thursday 2012

 

“God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare or trumpets for the Lord.” This evening we once again celebrate the Ascension the day in which our Lord Jesus Christ was raised up to take His proper place at the right hand of the Father.

Why is the Ascension important for us as Catholics? Well we already mentioned it; for it was on that day our Lord was raised up. Christians should be spending their lives looking up to heaven, not looking at what is in directly in front of us. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is not looking to heaven for the answers. Things of this world come and go, but that doesn’t happen with the things of heaven for they last for all entirety.

Also by taking His place at the right hand of the Father allows our Lord to preside over every celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist. He is able to watch over each of us as we go about our lives. Finally, in taking His place at the right hand of the Father, He allowed the Spirit to enter the world to guide our every move. Although He is at the right hand of the Father, He remains with us in many ways and today He gives us an instruction “to go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” On this Ascension Thursday as we celebrate the Lord being raised up may we rise to the occasion to follow His command to teach all nations!

 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2012

 

Last week, I mentioned one way we can stay close and attached to the Lord is by being aware of the weakness of our human condition. Many times we sin and if we find ourselves in a state of mortal sin which completely separates us from God than we must confess those particular sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation. However, there are times we commit other sins that stretch our relationship with Him and for those sins I invited us to consider praying the Act of Contrition each night for those things we do more often.

We can connect last week’s reflection with what we heard this week. In the Gospel from John we heard, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” Once again our Lord Jesus tells us what we must do to keep close to the Father and that is to follow His commandments. This is one of those things, that is, often times easier said than done. The invitation to follow the commandments is easy, however what makes it difficult is that we let our own interpretations of God’s law get in the way. We do not have the authority to interpret the commandments of God. He is the only true interpreter of the law.

My brothers and sisters the word of God cannot be rewritten to accommodate a particular group of people, nor can one simply discard or ignore what one doesn’t like. The word of God is meant to be accepted in its entirety. All Christians must strive to come to a greater understanding of the Word of God and a greater appreciation of its impact on our lives. God’s word can give us comfort, direction, and guidance, but it can also pierce our hearts and bring us to our knees. I am concerned that we ourselves as Catholics and many of our brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations are not grasping the full impact of His Divine Word. If we focus solely on those things in the Word of God that brings us comfort, than we aren’t receiving its full benefit. Together we must study and strive to understand not just the easy teachings but also the hard.

Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” The key word in that quote is “my” commandments meaning they are His not ours. They are not open to our interpretation. Many times I often hear and I catch myself saying these catch phrases, “my belief,” “I think,” in describing our relationship with the Church. In order for us to be raised up this Easter, we literally need to let go of ourselves and accept His way of life. A couple weeks back I said at this pulpit, “the Church is not a buffet line where were we can pick and choose what we want to believe.” Our Lord offers us the food that will truly endure, and it is our choice whether we eat of it or not.

Once again, we are not perfect; however we can’t leave it at that. We must always strive for greater perfection, trying to follow the commands of the Lord. It of course isn’t easy, but if we keep working at it we will obtain what the Lord desires for each of us… eternal life!

Before I step away from the pulpit I want to take a moment on this mother’s day weekend to wish all the ladies gathered here a happy mother’s day. God has called every women gathered here today to be mother’s for there is two types of mothers, those called physical motherhood and those called to spiritual motherhood. Both are extremely important! Please be assured of our prayers!

(At the Noon Mass only)

It is fitting also at this moment we will crown the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We honor Mary also today for she is the Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As we crown the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary we entrust all mothers to her today. However, also we must seek her intercession in the strengthening of all our families. The divine institution of marriage is under attack. Too many marriages are falling apart under the pressure and wait of the world. There are individuals who are seeking to redefine it as something other than one man and one woman. Today we seek her intercession for protection and strengthening our Christian families.

 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter 2012

 

“Whoever remains in my and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” Jesus reminds us of something that might be difficult for us to understand and that is without Him our good needs would be fruitless. Good deeds are important and we should strive to do them often, yet we must understand clearly that without the Lord our good deeds are just that, good deeds that produce nothing.

In order for us to be able to produce good fruit all our good deeds must be rooted in Him. How do we root ourselves to Christ in order for our good deeds to be productive? For those in mortal sin, it is important to confess their sins in order to be reconciled with God, because when we are in that state of mortal sin we break ourselves away from the true vine that gives us life. Once we confess our sins and admit our faults we once again reattach ourselves back to the Lord. Now no one is perfect and many of us often commit venial sins that stretch our relationship with God. While it is true venial sins don’t break our relationship with Him, it is important that we stay close to Him by recognizing our faults. A recommendation, pray the act of contrition every night. Let’s be honest most of us commit a venial sin each day. We get angry or frustrated with someone in our life. Maybe we become impatient with someone behind the wheel. Perhaps we step on something and say a few choice words. Finally, maybe we failed to act on something that was presented to us, a good deed that we failed to do. It is important for us to recognize our human weakness and place our faith in Him. Saying a simple act of contrition each night keeps us close to the merciful Father.

The truth is brothers and sisters if we stay close to God and do everything for the building up of His kingdom we can produce much fruit. If you don’t believe me, try it!!! That doesn’t mean that over time we ourselves need a little pruning for that is why we have the sacrament of Reconciliation to remove those things that get in the way and the Most Holy Eucharist to give us strength. As we heard in the first letter of Saint John, “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” In other words there is truth to the statements, “actions speak louder than words.” Together we sang, “I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.” The assembly of the people is not just here but the assembly is everywhere. It is here where we believe, it is here in this Church where we publically place our faith in the Lord, it is here where we receive our strength, but it is important that we take everything we learn and receive and take it with us into the world.

Indeed the Lord is the vine and we are His branches. Today as we leave here and go about our week may we strive to stay close to the Lord! Once again we stay close to the Lord not only when we pray but also when we live out the vocations He has given us. As we conclude our reflection on the word of God let us listen intently once again to the words prayed in the opening collect, “Almighty ever-living God, constantly accomplish the Paschal Mysteries within us, that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism may, under your protective care, bear much fruit and come to the joys of eternal life.”