Archive for March, 2009

Homily — 5th Sunday Lent B 3/29/09

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Homily — 5th Sunday Lent B                    3/29/09

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified Jesus says in today’s Gospel.

The Hour has finally come for Jesus.  He has been waiting for this Hour from the moment He became incarnate in the womb of His Virgin Mother.

Just a few days after His birth, one of the Magi gave the baby Jesus a gift of Myrrh, a burial spice, to use when the Hour came.

Forty days after Jesus’ birth, at His Presentation in the Temple, an elderly man named Simeon took Jesus in his arms, and told his Mother “One day the Hour will come for this child, an Hour which will pierce your heart like a sword.”

And when Jesus was 12 years old, coming home from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph for three sad days thought that the Hour had come, as they looked high and low for Jesus and He was nowhere to be found.  But Jesus had more business to do for His Father before His Hour came.

Eighteen years go by in the town of Nazareth.  Jesus works in the Carpenter Shop throughout the week with his Father Joseph, he attends services every Sabbath at the synagogue with his family.

Meanwhile, at every moment, the Hour is always before Him, always at the forefront of His throught and Prayers, always at the forefront of His Mother’s throughts and Prayers.

And shorty after His baptism in the Jordan at age 30, Jesus is at a wedding party at Cana, and the wine runs out.

His mother says to Him They have no more wine.  And Jesus says to her Woman, how does your concern affect me?  My Hour has not yet come.

But then, Jesus thought of His future Bride, the Church, who He would unite Himself to forever on Good Friday, His wedding day so to speak.    Jesus thought about how the wine of God’s grace and love would flow in abundance at His wedding, and so at His mother’s prompting, He turned 180 gallons of water into the finest wine at the wedding at Cana as a sign of what the coming Hour would hold.

And now, three years after the wedding at Cana, the Hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Jesus in those three years has accomplished much; he has preached with authority as no other human before him has.    He has converted and forgiven hardened sinners, healed countless sick, expelled demons from the possessed, even cured a man born blind and raised a man from the dead.

But all of that, all of the first 33 years of Jesus’ life are but a tiny grain of wheat compared to the abundant fruit which will now flower forth in the Hour of Jesus’ Passion, Death, Burial and Resurrection.

The Hour has come . . . . and Jesus asks us, Could you not watch (this) one Hour with me?

Jesus invites us these next two weeks of Passiontide to enter into this Hour with Him – to hide out with Him in silent prayer and meditation on His suffering and death to save us from our sins.

To especially enter into the liturgies of Holy Week:  Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Could you not watch (this) one Hour with me?

May our answer be “Yes Jesus, give us the grace to accompany you during your Hour, the Hour when you will be glorified.”

Homily — 2nd Sunday Lent B 3/8/9

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Homily — 2nd Sunday Lent B                         3/8/9

Last Sunday, as we began the Season of Lent, we were given the image of Jesus in the desert, fasting and praying and resisting the devil’s temptation for 40 days, to inspire us in our 40 days of prayer and fasting and resisting temptation.

This Sunday, we move out of the desert, and take a climb up a high mountain with Jesus, Peter, James and John.

And having made this strenuous climb with Jesus leading us and encouraging us every step of the way, we finally make it to the summit, and there we see Jesus in a totally new way.

After that tough climb, Jesus is no longer this ordinary looking nice guy most people that don’t know Him too well see Him to be.

On that mountain height, Jesus our Lord is Transfigured before our very eyes.

His face is as bright as the Sun: a face radiating with joy and peace, even while Moses and Elijah describe in detail to Jesus the bitter pain and suffering He will soon undergo.

And like Peter, James and John, seeing this vision on top of this high mountain, you and I are both terrified and overjoyed at the same time.

Terrified, because you and I hear Moses and Elijah speak of the upcoming betrayal, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails, the lance – all to save me from my sins.

Terrified also at how lightly I’ve taken my personal sins, thinking they weren’t that big a deal, being in denial of them, rationalizing that everybody else doing the things I do.   Having followed Jesus up this high mountain, I see how wrong I was in all this, and it terrifies me at how much I’ve hurt Jesus my Lord.

But at the same time, on top of that mountain I am overjoyed at seeing Jesus’ radiant face looking lovingly at me, ready and eager to forgive me, so desiring to fill me with the light and love and peace that shines so brightly in His Sacred Heart through the Sacrament of Penance.

Like Peter, my joy is so great that I want to say to Jesus “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Jesus, I want to stay on top of this high mountain with you forever; Jesus, I desire to always have this vision of you Transfigured, ever before my eyes.”

My brothers and sisters, Jesus blesses with this Heavenly Vision all those who take that strenuous journey up the high mountain of holiness, of prayer fasting and almsgiving this Lenten season.

May this vision be ever before us as we head down the mountain with Jesus and follow Him to the Cross, and on to His Resurrection.

Homily — 1st Sunday Lent B 2/28/09

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Homily — 1st Sunday Lent B MMIX            2/28/09

We have begun the Holy Season of Lent.  As Our Lord was led by the Spirit to spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, as Noah was led by God to spend 40 days and 40 nights on the Ark, so we are led by the Church to spend 40 days and 40 nights in more intense prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

And St. Mark tells us in his Gospel that while Jesus was fasting those 40 days in the desert, many wild beasts were with Him.

In a similar way, the book of Genesis tells us that while Noah was sailing those 40 days in the Ark, many wild beasts were with him.

And during these 40 days of Lent, if you and I really take seriously a daily regimen of prayer, fasting and acts of charity, we’re going to encounter wild beasts like Jesus and Noah did:  the wild beasts that are not around us, but within us.

When we abstain from meat on Fridays in Lent, the wild beast within us will roar for it’s porterhouse steak or pork tenderloin.

When we fast from whatever it is we’ve resolved to fast from, the wild beast within us will crave it.

When we give alms, when we give part of our income to the poor, the wild beast of greed within us will try to talk us out of it.

And the more we turn to the Lord in prayer this Lent, and ask Him to make us more holy like He is, the more we will see how many wild and dangerous beasts there are in our souls that need taming, in other words, how many vices that need to be transformed into virtues.

But just as angels ministered to Jesus (and probably Noah too), to keep those wild beasts from harming Him, so God’s angels will draw near to us this Lent if we follow Jesus into the desert these next 40 days.

So let us turn aside as much as we can from the things of this world and concentrate on the things of God these next 40 days.

In some ways, during Lent, we need to think like Noah did when God told him to build the Ark.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the meteorologists weren’t forecasting any rain (or even snow!).

But God told him that the time was short, that he needed to get to work now for tomorrow it will be too late.  And Noah took time out of his busy schedule to work each day on building what God wanted him to build.   Lent is when we like Noah take time out of our busy schedule each day to work on building what God wants us to build, which is a pure heart, full of faith hope and love.

May the Angels and Saints, especially our Our Mother Mary and St. Joseph our patron, assist us as we draw nearer to Christ this Holy Lenten Season.