Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homily 8/26/2012 Marriage and the Eucharist


 Joshua places before the people of Israel the honest dilemma they must address: they have to make a choice whether it is the Lord whom they will serve, or another.
This is exactly what Christ does is the Gospel today, he has check-mated those followers who wished to make him into a political hero or a wise teacher and commentator of Jewish Tradition. He leaves them to make a statement of faith in who He is, as the living God who has “the words of everlasting life.” Jesus turns and asks us, “Do you also go away?”
St. Pius X, with his papal motto of “to renew all things in Christ” made that choice for The Lord. Besides his dedication to the Sacred Liturgy and Sacred Music, one of the things St. Pius X is most well-known for is lowering the required age of reception of Holy Communion to children at the age of reason. If they know the Lord, they can choose the Lord, and can thus start to receive Him in Holy Communion.
Today, however, I would like to talk about our second reading and its connection to the Eucharist. In the second reading, we hear Saint Paul talk about marriage, telling wives to be subordinate to their husbands, and husbands to love their wives both as their own selves, and in the same way that Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. Here Saint Paul makes clear that the Lord defines love for us, the Lord initiates love for us, the Lord teaches love to us. Love is not what we feel; it is not what the world says; not what the movies tell us. No; God is love and he defines it, and that definition is made public on Calvary. Love is defined by the cross.
The relationship between Christ and the Church is often expounded throughout Scripture as the love of Bridegroom and Bride. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, directly quoting a Vatican II document, summarizes this in paragraph 757: "The Church, further, which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our mother', is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ 'loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.' It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly 'nourishes and cherishes.'"(LG 6)
This is why the new edition of the Roman Missal prays after the Our Father for Christ to “look of upon the faith of [his] Church and be pleased to grant her peace and unity in accordance with [his] will.”

The great mystery of our life as a Christian people united in Christ is found in the mystery of marriage, of the love of bridegroom and bride. What a great and high calling! Husbands and wives are called to love with the radical love of the cross, they are meant to be an open book of the Gospel, making visible in our day and age the love of Christ for his people.
Could we ever love that intensely and perfectly on our own?? No way! Luckily, husbands and wives, God will not abandon you. In fact, He comes so close in the Eucharist precisely because He wants to strengthen us to love like this, whether we are married or not. And in fact, we must rely on God in our daily prayer and in reception of the Eucharist, which makes the cross present in our lives, which makes the source of all love, God Himself, present in our time and place and in our very souls when we receive him.
On this feast of our patron, let us pray for families to love like this, for people to be strengthened by the Eucharist, the source of love.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

8-19-2012 Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life


T. Coonan Homily 8-19-2012 Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life.
Jesus does not explain the entire theology of the Eucharist to the Jews. He is inviting them to faith - Faith in who He is. In fact, He is forcing them to make a choice about Him. Either He is crazy, or He's malicious and intending to lead them astray, or He is exactly who He says He is. If they have Faith who Christ is, they will believe what He is teaching (even without fully comprehending it) and will find the gift of eternal life. Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life.
Last week I went on retreat to a monastery near Dubuque, Iowa. The place was surrounded by endless fields of corn, with some occassional soybeans. Every day I went for a jog out in those open spaces, and longed to run in those fields along the winding trails. However, the corn was like almost 8-feet tall, too high for me to see out - it was like a maze, and going in would be foolishness. So, since I didn't want you all to mourn the loss of your beloved parochial vicar who managed to starved to death in a corn field, I did what any Generation-X'er would do: I got on a computer, opened Google Earth and studied those corn fields from an aerial view. Then, although I still couldn't see anything more while I was in those trails, I knew where I was headed because I had seen the whole truth of that field. Simple solution: yes. Wise solution: definitely.
That is a small example of the wisdom that we hear about in the first and second readings today.
The first reading, although we only hear one side of it, presents us with a sort of competition between Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly or Foolishness. Both set up a banquet before us and both invite us to freely come forward and take what they wish to give us. One generously offers to our fragile simplicity the gift of truth, goodness, and beauty, summed up as “life”. The other takes advantage of our ignorance by deceptively offering a cheap meal “stolen bread” founded lies, which (unawares to the misguided) veils is true reality: chains and death.
Wisdom is not easy to come by, because it means knowing deeply and intimately, by our own personal experiences, what is true, what is good and just, what is beautiful – and thus knowing Who is God, since He is the fulness of all these things. However, it is not beyond the grasp of anyone – we are all invited to partake from her table. The key to making that journey towards Wisdom is Faith in Christ. It is like having a map for that corn-field. Faith doesn't make us 10-feet tall so that we can always see exactly what is happening. No, faith lets us know where we will end up, because we see things from above, we look up and trust that God is there.
As we have said, it is Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life. We know this best here in the Mass. Trusting in Christ as God, as setting up a table for us that is full of truth, goodness, and beauty, we are thus filled with God Himself, given to us in this sacrament. And this is the foretaste of eternal life. May our Faith in the Son of God bring us to our goal as we share even now in a foretaste of that gift.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Homily 8-12-2012 Be Transformed in order to Bring others to the Eucharist

Homily 8-12-2012 Be Transformed in order to Bring others to the Eucharist

 The Jews are absolutely scandalized by what Christ was saying about the gift of the Eucharist. They cannot not believe it. This is present here in our own world: it is difficult for non-believers to understand this great mystery. In fact, we ourselves never fully comprehend what the Eucharist is, because it is the living God, and God in himself is absolutely inexhaustible to our minds. It's like looking at the sun, our eyes simply cannot take it all in. This doesn't mean we run from contemplating this gift; rather, we adore and honor the host and chalice even more as Our Lord reveals Himself to us slowly, as He makes our eyes more and more able to see Him.
However, like Christ, we need to help others where they are at, to meet them where they are, so that we can bring them closer to Jesus.
The first way of teaching others about the Eucharist is holding the Eucharist in the highest reverence, in our actions, our words, and our thoughts. Since actions speak louder than words, if we do not have reverence for the Eucharist, how can we expect others to understand what this great sacrament is?
The Jews could not believe what Jesus was telling them, because they didn't know who it was that was speaking to them. We have to know Jesus in order to understand the promises he makes for us, in order to share this great Gift.
The three theological virtues that are directly related to our relationship with God are faith, hope, and love. And virtues are like muscles, they need to be used or they will slowly weaken and disappear.
So, every day we should pray to God for an increase in these virtues and exercise them, saying: “Lord I love you so much; Lord I believe in you. Lord I hope in you!” We can also pray in reparation, or in intercession, for those who do not love the Lord, do not believe in the Lord, do not hope in the Lord and his promises.
Next, these prayers for ourselves and for others need to be backed up with real, concrete exercises and practices in our life! Faith is shown by coming to mass every Sunday; by setting time aside daily for prayer, and especially praying devoutly while we are here at mass for ourselves our families and everyone who is in need. Our Hope needs to show itself, also: if we truly trust that God has a home for us in heaven, we should show that by the way we live in this world, by how we treat each other and how we we use the goods that God has given us. Most importantly, our Love for God needs to be shown in our love for others, no matter who they are, as Saint John has said: “How can we love the God whom we cannot see, if we cannot love our brothers and sisters whom we can see?”
And if we persevere in these virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, this will open us up to the greatest way to show others what and who this Eucharist is: by being transformed, by allowing others to see Jesus in our actions, by truly becoming “Christians,” little Christs.
The greatest vessel of God's transforming Grace is this Eucharist. If we come to Him and are open to what the Lord wants to do in our hearts we will be renewed just as Elijah was strengthened to journey for 40 days.
If someone we know, or we ourselves, are unable to receive the Eucharist for any reason, we can also pray a prayer of spiritual communion, asking our Lord Jesus, who knows our longing, to come and fill us with his Grace as if we had received him in the Sacrament of Communion. And this can be prayed many times daily!
As we continue our prayer, we give reverence to our God for this greatest of gifts, we pray for Faith Hope and Love, and we beg to be consumed and transformed into Our Lord.

Homily 8-5-2012 God Gives what we need for our Renewal in Christ


Fr. T. Coonan Homily 8-5-2012 God Gives what we need for our Renewal in Christ
The focus of today's readings is simple: God supplies our need for our Renewal in Christ. Yesterday I walked through our rectory's vegetable garden and was affirmed again in the truth that God is a giving God: after I gathered in the huge cucumbers and numerous tomatoes, I remembered that all we had to do was plant the seeds, pull the weeds, and water the soil (sometimes God did that for me). God provides the rest, and I reap his generous gifts.

The one need of ours that is the greatest is found in the second reading today from the letter to the Ephesians. We are all longing for Transformation in Christ, both for ourselves and for the world: we need, for our own good and the good of others, to put off the 'old self' in Adam and put on the 'new man' in Christ Jesus. Sin beats us up more than anything, it makes us who we never were created to be. In order for us to “accomplish the works of God” like the Jews ask of Jesus, we have to rely on Him and on His gifts. We have to become like Jesus. He will always provide.

As Jesus tells the Jews that He Himself is the Bread of Life, He is begging them: “Don't come to me for your physical needs alone...nor even primarily; come to me for eternal food, spiritual food which never perishes.” Pray for holiness: theological virtues, moral virtues, (strength of character), promptings of the Holy Spirit.

We must cooperate with God's grace. We must choose. We must show our devotion – choosing God for His own sake. Lastly, we must never grumble! The Israelites are believing the lie of the world – so easy to believe because of the ability of the physical realm to overcome our senses and absorb our attention. “Don't seek me for what I can give you, seek me for who I am myself.”

Eucharist is the pinnacle of God's gifts to provide our needs. In God's gifts of Himself to us He is essentially saying: “See, I am holding nothing back from you; I give you everything.” Indeed God is showing us that in God we have everything we need. May the Eucharist, the gift of Jesus Himself, transform us that we may have the Grace to put off the 'old self' and become a new creation in our Lord.