Archive for July, 2006

17th Sunday Ordinary Time B July 30, 2006

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Homily 17th Sunday OT B July 30, 2006

Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes http://cgfa.sunsite.dk/fineart.htm

Where can we buy enough food for them to eat? That was the question Jesus posed to the Twelve Apostles that day in the wilderness. And that was the question also on all Twelve of the Apostles mind’s as they saw this great need before them of 5000 hungry people.

The human answer to that question was, of course, nowhere. For one thing, there was no super market in Palestine, nor any Wright’s Farm Restaurant that was equipped to feed 5000 people. And even if there was one, and it was nearby, Our Lord and the Apostles were broke. And what little money they had was being pilfered by Judas.

Forget too about people sharing their food with each other: the people had been so spellbound when Jesus suddenly came through their village that morning the last thing they thought of doing was to pack enough food for lunch and dinner. The only food left was five barley loaves and two fish, which a little schoolboy’s mom packed him for lunch that morning, and which that fussy boy wasn’t going to eat until he was starving.

So each of the Apostles asks himself “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat? Where in the world can we find a solution to the big problem that faces us?” And that question is really a question that all human beings since Adam have asked: “Where in the world can we find a solution to the huge problems that face us?”

In our world today, we could find a place to buy enough food to feed 5,000 hungry people. We could also find the money to buy that food probably. But the problems of ancient times seem small to us compared to the problems upon problems that we face today in the world, in our country, in our Church, and in our personal lives.

The world problems of wars on top of wars. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, now Israel and Lebanon. Not to mention the poor and hungry in many countries where there’s no war. “Where in the world are we going to find a solution?” We ask.

Then there’s national problems of rising oil prices, terrorist threats, growing national debt, social security running out, more hurricanes ahead, illegal immigration, bird flu! “Where can we buy an answer?” We ask.

We come to Church partly to take refuge for a time from the problems of the world in the house of God. But the Church also has her own set of huge problems we as Catholics can avoid: The internal Church problems of a whole generation of uncatechized and unchurched Catholics, shrinking Mass attendance throughout the western world, Church closings, clergy scandals, a shortage of priests, and the breakdown of the Christian family; Then there’s the external problems the Church faces today: the subtle but real anti-Catholicism in our culture, the growing threat to the Church’s freedom to express and live her beliefs in society, and the enormous challenge of forming consciences regarding the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. And now the Church must deal with the movement in society to change the definition of marriage! Where in the world are we going to find a solution?

And finally, in our own lives, there’s no lack of personal problems we face on a daily basis at home, at work, and in the mirror. We look especially at the state of our souls and we see how much we are lacking in love, in courage, in faith. Where in the world am I going to find a solution to the huge problem which is my life?

To all these questions there are two wrong answers, and only one right answer.

Wrong answer number one is that we will never find an answer to our problems, not on earth or in heaven. There’s no hope for mankind, throw in the towel. Eat and drink today, for tomorrow we die. God is either dead or He doesn’t care. Every man for himself. This despairing, negative outlook is very prevalent in our culture today, to a greater or lesser degree. Even good Catholics can fall into this temptation to despair and apathy.

Wrong answer number two is that we will find all the answers to our problems right here on earth, using our own human ingenuity and without any help from God whatsoever. Science and education alone will solve every problem. We will eventually evolve into superior people.

People who think this way usually have either little or no use for religion, or else they think religion is what’s causing all the problems to begin with. This was the prevailing thought of the 20th Century, which ended up being by far the most barbaric and brutal of centuries history has seen.

And this whole push for embryonic stem cell research is yet another example of thinking we can solve the world’s problems apart from God’s law that all human life is sacred and inviolable. No, apart from God, we will only make more problems.

But we Christians believe there is a real answer to any problem life throws our way. The answer is Jesus Christ. Like that little boy with only five loaves and two fish, we give Jesus what little we’ve got, and then in faith we let Jesus handle the rest.

Mankind alone can’t solve the world’s problems; but mankind working along with God can. I alone can’t solve my problems; but God and I together can. If we think that answer is pie-in-the-sky and too simplistic, we really don’t have any faith, and we are really part of the problem.

For if we lived by faith in Christ, we would no only solve our personal problems, the problems of our Church, our country, and our world, but we would have 12 wicker baskets of blessings and riches left over for whatever the future holds.

As Christ feeds us today with His very Body and Blood in the Eucharist, may He give us the grace not to despair, and not to rely solely on our own power, but rather to have a deep and abiding faith that, as the Psalmist says in today’s Psalm, He will satisfy our every desire and answer all our needs.

16th Sunday Ordinary Time B “Resting with Jesus”

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

sea of galilee at sunset

Homily — 16th Sunday OT B July 23, 2006

Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, the Apostles for the first time since meeting Jesus were sent out two by two on foot, away from Jesus’ presence, into the world Jesus came to save.

The Gospel doesn’t tell us how many days or weeks the Apostles were away from Jesus, on their own; Mark only says that during the time they were away (they) drove out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick, and cured them.

Their first missionary endeavor was an enormous success, and the Apostles as they returned must have on a natural level felt like they just won the British Open: exhilarated, but exhausted at the same time.

And so after this hard period of missionary work, Jesus, the mighty God, gives them one of the nicest commandments in all of Scripture: come away by yourselves (with me) to a deserted place and rest awhile.

Yes, that’s right, vacationing is an integral part of the Catholic Faith. In some ways, resting and recreation are moral obligations for the follower of Christ.

And it’s surely proof that human nature has fallen due to original sin, that God had to make the duty to rest one of the Ten Commandments.

But while we are called to rest every Sunday by going to Church, by spending time with family and friends and by refraining from unnecessary work or shopping, and while God also commands us to rest every now and then by taking a more extended vacation, there’s more to the Christian notion of resting than this.

Notice, for instance, how the Apostles don’t get what we would normally call rest on this vacation we read of in today’s Gospel. The huge crowd of people they seem to be trying to escape from get to the deserted place on foot before Jesus and the Apostles get there in their boat.

Now, where in a bit of a dilemma here. Since Jesus is God, He knows all things, and knows that He and the Apostles wouldn’t get away from that big crowd. So didn’t Jesus lie then to the Apostles when He said they would get rest?

Not at all. Actually, the Apostles got more real rest that day than any one of us could have got, even if we were given a week on the beach in Hawaii. The last sentence tells us why: because Jesus began to teach them many things that day in the desert.

And if we want true rest and recreation in life, we will find it by sitting at the feet of Jesus the Good Shepherd and learning the many things Jesus has to teach us.

Look at Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want
In verdant pastures He gives me repose
Near restful waters He leads me;
He refreshes my soul.

The more we allow the Good Shepherd to lead us, the more rest we will get in life, the more rest we will get out of Sunday, out of sleeping, out of our vacationing. The reverse is true also: the less we know and follow the Good Shepherd, the less rest we will get, no matter how much vacation time we are given.

You know, the Good Shepherd doesn’t work alone either: Jesus has a team of Shepherds working together under Him to help the sheep of His. As Jeremiah says in the first reading, (God) will appoint shepherds [plural] for (the sheep), who will shepherd them so they need no longer fear and tremble, and none shall be lost.

We would do well to know and follow the Shepherds God has put over us human beings. Who are these other Shepherds?

First, God gives us a Shepherd named Reason: our brains. The gift of Reason, the laws of logic, the laws of science are all there to shepherd us. If we are shepherded by Reason in life, and not just by our baser passions and feelings, we’ll certainly arrive at some restful green pastures. Unfortunately, logic is no longer required learning in school, and now we have a many people who can’t reason logically.

Through reason also we can come to know the second great shepherd God gives all humans: the natural law which God has written on our hearts. The natural law is a very misunderstood and misused concept today. The natural law teaches us to cherish and defend the life we have been given, it teaches us the meaning of sexuality, the duty to educate our offspring, the duty to seek the truth and to live with others in society. These are laws no government or culture impose on us from without, they are laws found within our very being. And if we come to know and to abide by the natural law, we will find rest for our souls.

And finally on the natural level, God gives to every human being a conscience, Shepherd number Three, to help one choose the good and reject the evil.

God gives all men and women those three natural shepherds to guide them. But God wants to give everyone a few other super-natural shepherds that will help guide us even more. God has given us His Word in the Bible to Shepherd and guide us us. He’s given us the revelation of the Ten Commandments to know with greater certainty the natural law.

He’s given us the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Pope and the Bishops in union with Him, to shepherd us and help us form our consciences correctly. He’s given us the Priesthood and the Sacraments to keep us strong in faith hope and love.

And finally, God has poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts with His seven gifts.

And over all these Shepherds is the Good Shepherd, Jesus our friend, who walks beside us and carries us when we can walk no more. Jesus and the team of Shepherds under Him are there to bring rest to our souls, every moment of our life, if only we allow ourselves to be led by them.

May this Eucharist allow us to hear the voice of Jesus say to us come away by yourselves with me . . . . and rest awhile, . . . in Green pastures, beside restful waters.

Traditional Latin Mass – Father’s Day 2009

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

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Sunset on Sysladobsis

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Sunset on Sysladobsis

The Shovelere’s Tale

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Click below to watch an inspiring film!
The Shovelere’s Tale