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, May 26, 2018

Trinity Sunday - Known and Loved

Just a couple weeks ago I had a high school senior, just about to graduate, ask me, "Why do I continue to seek the approval of certain people when I know they are going to treat me poorly?"  I ultimately said that the instinct was good, but that sin is real and people are going to hurt us, sometimes deeply.  But to focus on what is good there can lead us to today's celebration.

We all seek to be known by others, because we seek to be loved by others.  This basic instinct is hard-wired into our human nature because God made us in His image and likeness.  This was more mysterious to the Jews than it is to us, because we know through God's revelation that the Lord is Trinity, three in one, and therefore is a communion of persons. God is relationship, not of domination and tyranny, but of love, and he made us for that very same type of relationship.  Of course with others, but also with Him.  As we see in the story of Adam and Eve, God wishes to slowly draw us into our primary relationship with Him through the way we encounter our fellow men and women around us.

We are also hard-wired for mystery.  Whether it is mystery novels, trivia shows, puzzles games, or more deeply wondering at the natural world around us, we are all given a deep and unquenchable thirst for truth.  Ultimately, the thirst within us cannot be satisfied with this natural world and the knowledge we can gain from it.  What we over time discover is that, despite all the good this world offers, it never satisfies the way that relationships do, the way that love does.  Indeed love, seen most perfectly in marriage and true friendship, is the one thing that can fully satisfy our hearts.  Love for love's sake, nothing else, no kick-backs or fringe-benefits - that alone is what begins to truly quench that thirst within us.  And why?  Because God made us for Himself, and God is love.  So when we encounter true love in our lives, we touch God.  We love, and we feel a draw toward something eternal - that is our triune God.  We discover a truth about the world or about our lives, and we touch something that is beyond - that is the triune God.

So that deepest truth, that deepest mystery, that hidden God, actually is not hiding - throughout the Old Testament and especially in Jesus Christ, we see that God wants to be known by us, because He loves us and knows our true happiness is with Him alone.  Yet God isn't too forceful with that desire to be known and loved, for love must be earned and built up over time.  Not unlike us, he allows the relationship to slowly unfold - not disclosing too much at once, but rather waiting for us to share ourselves one bit at a time so that He can open Himself to us more and more.  In this beautiful dance of love, let us never be afraid to seek out this God we were made for.  Let us ever fear that He will leave us wanting or unsatisfied.  And above all, let us thank the loving Lord God who created us to discover Him, to be close to Him, and to love Him now and into eternity.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost - "Walking by the Spirit" daily

Audio: Click here!

My Vocation: Hearing and Following the Spirit (Source: Jacques Philippe, In the School of the Holy Spirit)
- How to Know the Inspiration is from God:
            Experience --> A "Spiritual Sense" of the Holy Spirit's "tone of voice": gentleness and power, purity and clarity.  John 10: "My sheep know my voice."
            1. External Criterion: God is Truth and Unity                         **Forespective**
                        - Consistency with Holy Scripture and Church Teaching
                        - Consistency with the Demands of our Vocation
            2. Internal Criterion: "A tree is known by its fruit"                  **Retrospective**
                        - Good fruit: peace, joy, charity, communion (true unity), humility, light, clarity, simplicity.
                        - Bad fruit: sadness, bitterness, doubt, pride, despair, apathy, worry, agitation, confusion.
            3. Some Good Complementary Signs: Constancy (Patience), Humility, Obedience.

- How to Foster Inspirations:
            1. Practice Praise and Thanksgiving
            2. Desire and Ask for Them
            3. Resolve to Refuse God Nothing
            4. Practice Filial and Trusting Obedience
            5. Practice Abandonment
            6. Practice Detachment
            7. Practice Silence and Peace
            8. Persevere Faithfully in Prayer
            9. Examine the Movements of Our Hearts
            10. Spiritual Direction (Confession)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ascension - Sky-gazing, Golf, and Christian Discipleship

Golf is like life, right?  Yes, the Christian life.  You need your eyes on the goal and on the here and now.  Listen to the homily to get the rest...

Audio: Click here!

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.  - St. Therese of Lisieux

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mandatum Novum - The New Commandment of the New Covenant (Testament)


As we are celebrating First Communions this week in the parish, I would like to offer some commentary of two passages the Eucharist and the New Commandment of love that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel.

Sacrament of Charity - Pope Benedict XVI. (2007)
9. The mission for which Jesus came among us was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. On the Cross from which he draws all people to himself (cf. Jn 12:32), just before "giving up the Spirit," he utters the words: "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). In the mystery of Christ's obedience unto death, even death on a Cross (cf. Phil 2:8), the new and eternal covenant was brought about. In his crucified flesh, God's freedom and our human freedom met definitively in an inviolable, eternally valid pact. Human sin was also redeemed once for all by God's Son (cf. Heb 7:27; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10). As I have said elsewhere, "Christ's death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form." (18) In the Paschal Mystery, our deliverance from evil and death has taken place. In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus had spoken of the "new and eternal covenant" in the shedding of his blood (cf. Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20). This, the ultimate purpose of his mission, was clear from the very beginning of his public life. Indeed, when, on the banks of the Jordan, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him, he cried out: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). It is significant that these same words are repeated at every celebration of Holy Mass, when the priest invites us to approach the altar: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb." Jesus is the true paschal lamb who freely gave himself in sacrifice for us, and thus brought about the new and eternal covenant. The Eucharist contains this radical newness, which is offered to us again at every celebration. (19)

JESUS GIVES US A NEW COMMANDMENT.  - the Four Loves of the Greek Language (C.S. Lewis)  Storge (bonding) - Philia (friendship) - Eros (romance) - Agape (self-gift)

Saint Augustine on the new commandment of divine love – charity or agape – given by Jesus in the last supper discourse of the Gospel of John. Such love is impossible for human beings without the help of grace — it is a gift & one of the three theological virtues.
The Lord Jesus declares that he is giving his disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another: I give you a new commandment: love one another.
But wasn’t this commandment already part of the ancient law of God, where it is written You shall love your neighbor as yourself? Why, then, is it called a new one by the Lord, when it is really so old? Is it new because he has divested us of our old humanity and clothed us with the new? It is true that love renews those who listen to it (or rather, those who act in obedience to it) but it is that particular love which the Lord distinguished from all carnal affection by adding love one another as I have loved you.
This is the love that renews us, making us new men, heirs of the New Testament, singers of the new song. It was this love, my beloved brethren, that renewed the patriarchs and prophets of old, and later renewed the blessed apostles. This is the love that is now renewing the nations, and from among the universal race of man, which overspreads the whole world, is making and gathering together a new people, the body of the newly-married spouse of the only-begotten Son of God. Of her the Song of Songs says, Who is she who is coming up, clothed in white? Clothed in white because she has been renewed; and how else can she have been renewed but by the new commandment?
Because of this, the members of the people of God have a mutual interest in one another; and if one member suffers then all the members suffer with it; and if one member is honored then all the members rejoice with it. For this they hear and this they observe: I give you a new commandment: love one another: not as people who pretend to love in order to corrupt one another, nor indeed as people love one another genuinely but in a human way.
Rather, they love one another as those who belong to God. All of them are children of the Most High and consequently brethren of his only Son. They share with each other the love with which he leads them to the end that will bring them fulfillment and the true satisfaction of their real desires. For when God is all in all, there is no desire that is unfulfilled.
This love is bestowed on us by him who said, Just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. He loved us so that we should love one another. By loving us he bound us to one another in mutual love, and by this gentle bond united us into the body of which he is the most noble Head.