Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the readings given to us by the Church, the Lord sternly warns us about storing up treasure for ourselves when we are not ‘rich in the sight of God.’ Ecclesiastes asks, ‘What does a man gain for all his toil,’ except that he has labored much? ‘God turns us all back to dust.’

To those who have an abundance, Jesus holds up a mirror. What do we see? ‘Me, My and Mine? Or do you see ta caregiver, an almsgiver, the face of a compassionate person?

The rich man in the Gospel was aggressively self-absorbed. He went out of his way not to share his wealth with anyone. He lived in a little world, surrounded on the north, south, east and west by himself.

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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the 1960’s all-pro star Jerry Kramer wrote a best-seller called Instant Replay. In it he asks this question, “What is the purpose of my life beyond football?”

In the 1980’s he wrote another book called: Distant Replay. It opens with this question, “What have I done with my life?” He concludes in this book that the one thing he regrets not doing was handing on solid Christian values to his children.

The life story of Jerry Kramer parallels the Gospel today and challenges us to ask similar questions of our own life: How I am making the world a better place to live, to learn, to work and to pray. How am I making our lacerated Church a holier Body? How am I contributing to the maintenance of peace, security and self-esteem for all those I meet?

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

How many times have we heard the story of the Good Samaritan? It is one of those stories we hold deep in the treasury of our lives. But, how many times do we take that story out and give it a new face, a new relevance.

Service in the name of Jesus is a state of mind and thus a state of the heart. Martin Luther King once said, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

How many times do you imitate the Good Samaritan so that it does not remain just words on a page but the real history of your Christian life?

“For this command is not too mysterious and remote for you.  No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” If spiritual sloth keeps you from becoming a good Samaritan, then through diligence in your practice of corporal and spiritual works of mercy and regular confession to a priest, you may conquer that vice.

In conquering the vice of laziness and embracing once again the fullness of the Word of God, you will be re-ignited to “love the Lord, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

If you act on these words, Jesus will live in you.



Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The seventy-two in the Gospel this morning seem somewhat skeptical of the power Jesus gives them to bestow peace, to cure the sick and to survive among wolves like lambs. What they need is faith to believe in the prophet Isaiah and to believe Christ in His Word.

The grace of Jesus Christ is that force beyond ourselves by which God in his mercy makes the impossible be in our lives.

Helen Keller could neither see nor hear. Yet she became a great public speaker. One night after a lecture, a reporter asked her what her one wish was in her life.  The reporter thought she would say, I want to see and hear. Helen thought for a minute however and answered, ‘I wish for world peace.’

Being servants of the Lord, means working to have a strong faith in the power Jesus gives us to change the world, one person at a time.

The first step is becoming silent, fifteen minutes at first: no music, no media, just the name of Jesus. Second, practice virtue on people around you.

In her memoirs, Indira Gandhi wrote, “you can’t shake hands with a clinched fist.” Then open your hands, let them relax; lift them upward and you will find that this is the symbol for prayer.

Take the power Jesus gives you to change the world today and use it to help him build the Kingdom of God. This will make you truly happy.


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Anyone who keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” All of us like to hang on to memories, pictures of old friends, circumstances the way they used to be. However, these ‘hangers on,’ loose some sense of who is in charge of things.

There was an Olympic gold medal gymnast, Nadia Comaneci whose trainer was Bela Karolyi. He was an international figure in the world of gymnastics. Being from a Soviet Bloc Nation, the government sponsored his every move. He trained so many bright stars in gymnastics the communist regime gave him whatever he thought he needed to succeed.

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We venerate today this Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in which God lies under the appearance of Bread and Wine. He is whole, entire, and perfect in each piece and in every drop.

This is what distinguishes us among Christians and from other religions – Jesus dwells here among us and we recognize, respect and sanctify the place where He dwells.

My dear friends, the effects of this Presence are significant for us as a parish and as individuals. Our reception of this Sacrament strengthens us with enough grace to fight our daily battle against evil, prejudice, injustice and temptation.

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The breath of the Holy Spirit igniting the hearts of the Apostles reminds us of the breath of God being blown into the nostrils of Adam in the creation of the first man. This breath was so powerful that it changed the essence of who they were and now transforms us into the ‘new man’ Jesus calls us to be. Having received this tongue of fire in our own confirmation, we possess the potential of living His life in our own.

That is why we must never be afraid to accept the new way of life being offered us. We must not be afraid to leave our old self behind and live in new and challenging ways that will complete the mission of Christ.

Today in a special way, we should honor our Catechists who teach the Christian message to our children and to their parents; those who show by their example, the compassion of Christ to sick and the homebound. It is appropriate today I think to honor them as models of Christian virtue. Saint John Paul II once said that ‘the duty of every Christian disciple to evangelize, is an obligation of love.’

Let us carry the Light of this Easter before us with confidence and hope that what we say and do will breathe new life in others. Let us continue to more deeply love God by loving one another.


Seventh Sunday of Easter

Jesus looks up to heaven and prays to the Father that all will be one. Stephen looks up to heaven and sees Jesus. Paul encounters the same Christ, the Christ of unity and charity.

If we are to live in Glory with God, we need to imitate the life of His Son. Re-create the center of life in the home; encourage community life; respect each person as a child of God and seek ways that unite us instead of ways that divide us or even silence us in fear.

In this self-obsessed world in which we live, it will not be easy. However, if we simplify the way we live, and keep our prayer faithful and true then we can welcome others to be one with the Church by loving one another.

Over these next eight days, the Church prays the novena of grace for the coming of the Holy Spirit. May He rest in our hearts and in our bodies, that we too may encounter the Christ of Glory in our homes, in our parish and in our neighborhoods.




Sixth Sunday of Easter

Charles de Foucauld lived a rather sinful life. His reputation preceded him throughout Europe so upon his conversion to Christ, nobody believed him. In the end, Blessed Charles became a hermit in Africa and lived among the Tuareg; a Muslim tribe who were not friendly with strangers let alone Christians.

Someone asked him how he used to introduce Jesus and his message to the tribesmen. First, he said, “I have to know what the message of Jesus is in my heart, and then when I speak of the difference between the restless and the peaceful heart, even the tribesmen know what I mean.

When I portray Jesus as He Who brings reconciliation with God to the human heart, they understand. To preach peace, I must first experience it. To experience it I must work tirelessly for the dignity of each human person.”

This week work even in small ways to untroubled the human heart. Contribute to the encouragement and lifting up of each person. Know God in other words through others.


Fifth Sunday of Easter

I was talking with some parishioners last week about the scandal inflicting our Church and how disoriented and confused people are and as a result, have become angry.

Whenever I find myself in a crisis situation, whether it be my own or someone else’s, what always come to mind are the words, ‘never lose sight of the end game – heaven. Stayed focused by living out the virtues heroically; finding direction and solace in reading the Scriptures and participating in the Sacrament of the Church.

Reflecting on the readings, I found some direction that was helpful to me and might be for you. In today’s first reading from Acts, the Apostles are quoted, “It is necessary for us to undergo hardship to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

One question, a person asked me is, “When will this all end?” I answered first by saying, there are many Dioceses in the United States and around the world, so it will not end for some time. This has not been an easy fix.

But I also said I am confident that, no matter what the media reports, our Archdiocese has put people and processes together that make us more alert and more assertive, more cooperative with civil authorities and more sensitive to the people who have victimized. There is more to do, of course, but we will stay vigilant.

When will this end? The Gospel says, “When Judas had left them.” This is a time of purification for the Church, one of many,  when the betrayers are being weeded out. “Behold, I make all things new.”

So, what can we do to help strengthen our Church? Stay focused on the end game – heaven. Live out the virtues heroically and find direction in the Sacraments and in the Scripture. Help make your life and the lives around you holier. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

My friends, the end game is the direction we all strive to achieve. Orient your life toward Christ and in this hope put your faith in the words of Revelation:

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be His People and God Himself will always be with them as their God.”

“Behold, I make all things new.”