Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Homily for 11 April 2018

11 April 2018

We celebrate the Eucharist in order to give thanks to God.  We thank him because, as we hear in the Gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone…might have eternal life.”  We thank God for his love for us.

We also thank God for those who went through great danger to bring us the good news of God’s love.  There are the Apostles, in our first reading, who were put in prison and then set free by an angel.  But instead of using the opportunity to run away and be safe, they went right back into the lion’s den and kept preaching. 

Then there is Saint Stanislaus, whose memorial we celebrate today.  He had wealth and security, but gave it all to the poor and became a parish priest.  He was known for his skills in spiritual direction and became a reluctant bishop.  And he preached against sinful living, which the king at the time didn’t like.  So Stanislaus was murdered while celebrating the Mass, in 1079.

We give thanks to God for his love.  And we give thanks for those in our past and in our present who reassure of God’s love for us, who bring us the good news of God’s very great love.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Homily for 10 April 2018

10 April 2018

“The wind blows where it wills,” Jesus says.  The interesting thing, though, is that the wind is not the air.  The air is already there; it’s a physical thing; we know “where it comes from and where it goes.”  But the wind, well that’s the force that moves the air.  And, spiritually speaking, we don’t know “where it comes from or where it goes.” 

And the point is that we’re like the air, and the Holy Spirit is like the wind that makes the air move.  Our basic calling in life is to be carried along by the Holy Spirit.  That’s part of the meaning in what Jesus says about being “born from above;” being “brought forth” on the winds of Heaven.  Of course, being carried along by that wind could be enjoyable, or scary even.

When we say, “Lord, into your hands I commend my spirit…Lord, help me to be your presence in the world today…Lord, show me the right thing to do,” whenever we try to let God take the lead, we never quite know where we’re going to end up.  We don’t know where the Holy Spirit is going to carry us off to.  It might be into a greater experience of life.  It might be down a path that really challenges us.  It might be toward an experience of the Cross.  Who knows.  Who knows where the wind will carry us off to.  We certainly don’t know.

But we do have some idea; after all, Jesus has gone before us.  We know where he’s at.  And where he’s at is where the Holy Spirit comes from and goes back to.  And so, sooner or later, if we let ourselves be carried along by the winds of the Holy Spirit, we’ll end up in a really good place: in heaven, with all the angels and the saints, with all our loved ones who’ve gone before us, all together in one place, loving God and being loved by him; happily, eternally.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Homily for 5 April 2018

5 April 2018
(School Mass)

Jesus doesn’t lie.  When he says something is going to happen, it does; like his resurrection.  Before he died on the Cross, Jesus told everybody he was going to rise from the dead.  And he did.  So why were the Apostles all scared and amazed when he came to them?  Well, because they didn’t believe him.  They didn’t believe him.  And that’s okay, because eventually they did believe. 

And that’s the important thing...they eventually believed him.  And that’s how it is with us, too.  We hear Jesus say things all the time, right?  For example, we go to confession and we hear the priest say, “Your sins are forgiven.”  But do we believe him?  Or we hear Jesus say, “Be not afraid, I am with you always.”  But do we believe him?  Or what about at the Mass when Jesus says, “This is my Body, given up for you.”  Do we believe him?

And I would bet the answer is: “Well, sometimes I believe him.  Sometimes I do.  But, sometimes I’m not sure.”  So we’re not all that different from those Apostles, right?, who were sitting there and then, oh my gosh, there’s Jesus standing there risen from the dead!

But then Jesus said, “Touch my hands and my feet.  Give me some food to eat, so you can I really am here.”  Jesus had to prove it to his Apostles that he wasn’t a liar, that he was trustworthy.  And did that so the Apostles could then go out and prove to others that Jesus told the truth.  And that’s why we have the Church and her bishops, and the priests and deacons, and the pope.  It’s why we have all the saints and all the angels.  The whole Church exists to show the world that Jesus is trustworthy; that what he says is true—even resurrection from the dead.

So if we find ourselves maybe a little doubtful in our faith, that’s okay.  But then we want to be sure to listen even closer to what the Church says about Jesus.  And if we’re really strong in our faith, well, that’s good.  But then we have to be sure to share our faith, and to teach others—very gently—that what Jesus says is true, and that he can be trusted.

When Jesus says something is going to happen, it does—even rising from the dead.  Do you believe him?  Jesus, help us when we doubt you.