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, March 18, 2017

Homily

When Jesus is dying on the cross, we hear Him cry “I thirst.”  Today we see in the Gospel what Jesus really means when he says that.  Let’s allow the Catechism of the Catholic Church help us to explain this:  2560 "If you knew the gift of God!" The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.
Today we see the dramatic encounter of those two thirsts.  Humanity, like the woman at the well who has known six men, is parched, is thirsting for something that will fill that infinite hole in her heart and soul.  It’s no surprise that finite things, even human persons, could never fill that longing, that thirst.  And if we can muster up the courage to stop, to listen, to face our own hearts, then we will find that we have done the same.  We have run from God in our search for water, for something to fill our thirst.  But Lent is wake-up call for us to see that we are not alone, that God is not hiding, but is rather waiting and longing (even more that we are) for us to find Him.  But we have to let Him in, past the barriers, past the traps of our enemy: traps like fear; like unforgiveness; like hardness of heart because we don’t want to be hurt again; like hyperactivity; like pretending we don’t hear our hungers.  When we let down our guard, if we let Jesus past those barriers, then we will find something that the world cannot take away: a peace that comes from knowing we are loved and held.
Saint Teresa of Kolkata, known more popularly as Mother Teresa, began her new life, her “call within a call” to reach out to the poorest of the poor after she had a profound experience on a train ride.  That experience was in fact a deep awareness of the words from Christ’s Cross: I Thirst.  You may have heard that every house of her Missionaries of Charity would contain these words under the crucifix in the chapel.  These words were the mission that the sisters were sent to fulfill: they were to find Jesus thirsting in the poor, and love Him through them, satisfying at the same time both the deepest thirst that God has, and the deepest thirst of humanity: to love and to be loved.
And that, my friends, is discipleship in a nutshell.  That is what Christianity is all about.  Saint Paul summarizes it clearly: “The Love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”  And this gift is not meant to be hoarded to ourselves; if so, it becomes sour.  Rather it is meant to be shared, like Saint Teresa shared it, with the world, starting with those who are right in front of you.

Jesus, help us to hear our thirst, to let you quench it, and to share your love with others who need it.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Homily - Walking by faith

Audio: click here.
Abraham couldn’t see where the Lord was leading him, but had to trust in the promise laid out before him.
Just like Noah didn’t see the rain coming, but had to trust God’s plan.
Just like Moses had to go straight to pharaoh and demand freedom of Israel, not seeing how it could possibly work out, but the promise was there – “I will be with you.”
The same is true in the 16th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.  Immediately prior to today’s Gospel, the disciples couldn’t see what the Lord was talking about when he said “the Son of Man will be handed over and crucified,” but today the Lord gives them a sign of the promise that “on the third day be raised.”
You know, these stories are so important because they are exactly our stories.  We cannot see where the Lord is leading us, but the promise is there.  How often do we have it all figured out?  How often do all those plans get totally demolished or completely swept away by the circumstances of life.
In some ways, this is the hinge of the entire relationship between human beings and God.  All the bible stories point to this encounter between our freedom and God’s freedom working together in a type of beautiful dance.  Abraham got up and went.  Noah built.  Moses spoke.  Mary said “fiat - let it be done to me according to your word.”  Joseph “got up and did as the angel had commanded him.”  Jesus said “Father let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but yours be done,” and took up His cross and embraced His death out of the depth of His love for us.
So today, and really of Lent and every day of our lives, God is trying to lead us to our true happiness. Even when we don’t see the road ahead, our promised destiny is before us: to be like Christ Jesus.  That dazzling white raiment and glorified body is a sign of the new way to be human that God desires for us.  For each of us God shows us the saint that we could be, the best version of ourselves that is most truly ourselves.  We don’t know how to get there.  We have to walk by faith.  He is summoning us: will we follow?  Will we build according to his plan?  Will we speak His words?  Will we say “fiat”?  Will we take up our cross out of the depth of our love for Him?

Lord Jesus, help us to overcome our fears by finding our security in the glory you reveal to us.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

High School Penance Service "Ferverino" (Short sermon)

Who made a specific Lenten promise?
Who failed already?
Good.  Good?  Yes. Good.
Why Good?  Because it’s important for us to learn that we are never going to “wow” God with how awesome we are.
Lent isn’t about God being “wowed.”
Lent is about us learning “dependence.”
I DIDN’T COME TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS. If you “got it all together” then Jesus didn’t come for you – that’s not a good thing.  You want Jesus.
I CAME TO CALL SINNERS. This is every one of us.  That’s why it’s sort of a good thing when we fall short.  Not that I hope every one of us fails, but that I hope you see that the key to success in the spiritual life is not our own powers, but on leaning on God.
DEPENDENCE = knowing that I am nothing without God.  Sure I  may be able to do some cool things seemingly on my own, but even all of that is due to the fact that God created me, helped me to grow up the way that I did, with the support and people that have fostered me and the opportunities that I have – so yah, without all of that, I am nothing.  And for me to continue to grow in the most important area (my capacity to love like Jesus loved from the Cross) then I need to rely on God.

SO. Don’t be afraid to come to Confession today and tell God your sins.  It’s just one way that you say “Lord, I need you.”  “I can’t do this without you.”  “Teach me to love.” “Help me to grow into what you made me to be.” “Help me.”  Amen?  Amen?