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 16, 2019

Transfiguration - Looking ahead!





Audio: Click here!

This story comes right after telling them of his passion and resurrection.  It seems that Jesus can tell that the disciples really haven’t gotten the whole message.  They aren’t seeing all of what was said, but only the bad.  Jesus is looking ahead.
Don’t want to bring down the room, but there are five weeks of Lent left.  It may seem like there’s some pretty tough terrain before we make it to Easter eggs and lamb cakes.  Like the disciples, we may get bogged down in the bad news.  We, too, need to keep looking ahead, “seeing through” from a higher, wider perspective.  In fact, the word perspective literally means to look through (or look beyond) sometime.  To see past the things that are just ahead, and focus toward the ultimate end and the joy that comes.  This is what Jesus provided with the mountain-top experience of the Transfiguration, and this is what we must keep our eyes fixed on as well.
Abraham also, as we see today, had to see through the day towards the stars that were to shine at night.  Seriously, go back and look at the reading.  It's daytime when he prepares the sacrifice and waits for hours, then finally night comes and the Lord passes over the sacrifice.  God promises him descendents like the stars that are not yet visible to Abraham, just as Jesus promises glory to the disciples and to all of us even when in our lives we cannot look past the mess of our lives.  And I would add, just like when there are still five weeks of Lent and we don’t see how God is growing us through these days of preparation, perhaps because He is working below the surface.
Jesus invites us to see beyond all the sin, the confusion, the mess, and the struggle.  He was us to see the mysterious victory that he wishes to bring about for us and how in the Father’s plan, all things will be worked unto good.  Just as the wounds on Jesus’ body become wounds of love that manifest His glory, so too does God want our stories to show forth His glory, as it indeed does in all the saints, even our patroness whose hidden life ended at 24, but really was just the beginning.
One of the things we are invited to see is that we are suppressed saints.  This is a new phrase I’ve learned just this past week when reading one of the short chapters of Peter Kreeft’s work Forty Reasons I am a Catholic. He says this in chapter 27, which is two pages and is titled “because Catholics, like their saints, are a little crazy.” Which surprised me, because I never thought of it that way, but I think he’s totally right.  Anyways, here’s what he wrote:  What, exactly, do the saints show us about ourselves and our hearts?  One things they show is that they were and we are suppressed saints.  There is a “good news-bad news” doubleness to this: on the one hand, it is to our credit that in our deepest selves we love and aspire to high and holy ends, but on the other hand, it is to our blame that we suppress and ignore these aspirations and settle for far lower ones.
Saint Paul, a man who was born in an island of Greek culture, born a Roman citizen, and born a Jew, says today that we are Citizens of heaven.  Paul, who forsook all those claims on his identity when he put on Christ Jesus, knew that none of this was home.  Our fatherland is not made of land.  Don’t forget where you are destined for, and to what God has called you.  Keep your eyes ahead, looking through the trials toward the glory God will win from the trials.  See who you are made to be and let Jesus bring you there.  Amen.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Resisting Temptation - Jesus' Example




Audio: Click here!


Temptation / Test had a different meaning in the scriptures than it has today.  Now it has a narrower meaning of drawing someone into sin.  The word for “test” that we have in today’s Gospel is the same as what Jesus does to Philip when he is about to multiply the loaves and says “where are we going to get enough bread?” as well as other passages.  God isn’t leading them to sin, but is trying out their resolve and their strength.
What the devil is looking for is Jesus’ identity.  “IF you are the Son of God…”  He heard about the witness of John the Baptist, whom he must have been keeping his eyes on, since many were calling him the messiah.  Now John testifies to this new man, who has never sinned.  Ever.  Who is he?  What does “son of God” mean…?
Jesus does not give him the answer he is seeking.  He is left unsure, and perhaps this is why, when the time comes, he tries to kill him.

SATAN ATTACKS WHEN WE ARE WEAK, WHERE WE ARE WEAK

1.  Food. 

2. Power / Wealth    

3. Fame.


Three steps that Jesus gives us to conquer temptations

Face the temptation.  Acknowledge it.  Don’t avoid it or hide from it.

Respond in faith.  Expose the lie.  Affirm the truth.

Act on that faith.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Blind Guides



Audio (9:30am Mass): Click here!

Blind leading the blind.  Driving through a white-out.
Walking in a forest at night.  Night vision.  We need someone else to show us.

I cannot see perfectly either.  I am not a saint.  I do what I can and I trust in God's grace to help me speak not my own wisdom but the Lord's.  Plus, I'm not really old enough to have wisdom yet, am I?

Who are we listening to for advice?  Whose "wisdom" is guiding our lives?  If we aren't conscious about using God's wisdom, we will get inundate with other sources.  Their vision is too narrow!  They don't see things from an eternal lens but only from the lens they have developed.  We need God to help us in our blind spots, even if others can help us with the most obvious areas where we make mistakes.

In this day and age you really need a prolonged period of silence to hear God's voice.  Or at least you need a Bible! and the Catechism.  and the writings of the saints.

Doctors of the Church, or other saints - they are the ones with night vision.

Lenten practices.  What are you going to do?  I still haven't finalized my choices.  Bishop Rhoades has written a Lenten message to the diocese, reminding us that giving up chocolate is not important if we have recurring sins that we need to root out - he especially focuses on sins of our speech.  Regardless of what we need to work on, it is true that we cannot allow Lent to simply be a cookie-cutter process or a go-with-the-flow exercise.  We should really try to discover, with God's help and guidance, what He really wants us to do and how we really need to grow.  Don't let me tell you what to do.  I'm not wise or holy enough to do that - maybe someday.  You should let God show you.  Ask Him to guide you and reveal it to you.

I can give guidelines from the wisdom of the church.  In fact, from Jesus.

Prayer.
Fasting.
Almsgiving.

Little Black books.