Archive for January, 2010

Homily – 2nd Sunday OT C 1/17/10

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Homily – 2nd Sunday OT C 1/17/10

Marriage at Cana, by Bernat Martorell (15th C.)

Marriage at Cana, by Bernat Martorell (15th C.)

Four years ago, in 2006, scientists and government leaders began to get very concerned when honeybees began to start mysteriously disappearing in large numbers in our country.

Hundreds of thousands of beehives across America would be thriving and healthy one day, and the next day all the bees were nowhere to be found.

By 2008, one out of every three beehives in the United States had been destroyed, in what is now referred to as “colony collapse disorder,” the cause of which is still undetermined.

Now, you might say to yourself “No Big Deal, I don’t eat much honey anyway, and there’s always sugar if the bees go the way of the dinosaur and dodo bird.”

But it is a Big Deal if all the bees disappear, a very, very very Big Deal.

Because if all the honeybees in America disappear, we would have a nation-wide disaster on our hands that would make the Haitian earthquake look like a picnic.

Because while the bee doesn’t seem very significant compared to other problems our world faces, in reality, the survival of the human race is totally dependent on the survival of the honeybee.

There is a famous quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, that says: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

The good news in all this is that last year, only a very small percentage of beehives experienced colony collapse disorder compared to the large numbers in the previous three years, so hopefully that’s the end of that.

I bring up all this, because in recent years a similar and equally serious phenomenon has taken place in our Catholic Church.  But instead of Bees disappearing, we have priests disappearing.

Just a few decades ago, even the smallest Churches in America had 2, even 3 full time priests ministering in them.

U.S. Seminaries in every major city were filled to capacity with young Catholic men studying for the priesthood.

Today however, Parishes are lucky if they have one full time priest all to themselves, and the big seminaries of old look as empty as a beehive which has suffered colony collapse disorder.

And if you read last week’s bulletin insert, it said that in 15 years, half of the priests currently active in our diocese will have retired or be eligible for retirement. And we currently are in no way ordaining enough priests each year to replace these retiring priests.

And this my brothers and sisters is a very serious problem, for the local Church is as dependent upon priests for it’s survival as humans are dependent upon bees for their survival.

No more priests, no more Eucharist, no more grace, no more Church, no more mercy, no more salvation.

As St. Padre Pio once said, “It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!”

The hopeful news, however, is that we can, if we want to, easily stop priests from disappearing.

Mary says to us in today’s Gospel “Do whatever (My Son) tells you” And Jesus tells us clearly in Scripture that when priests start disappearing, you and I just need to Pray, and God will turn some of the young men in our parish into priests, just as Jesus turned water into wine at Cana.

The Harvest is abundant,” Jesus says in Luke’s Gospel “but the workers are few, therefore pray to the Master of the Harvest to send out workers to His Harvest.”

As I mentioned last week in my homily and in the bulletin, our parish is having “24-Hours of Prayer and Adoration for Priests and for Vocations to the Priesthood from our Woonsocket Parishes” which will be held at our parish from 4 p.m. Friday February 5 and end 4 p.m. Saturday February 6.

This weekend, I’m asking every parishioner at Mass to make an offering of at least 15 minutes of their time to come to Church during that 24 hour period, to come to Church and pray for priests and for vocations.

In your pews, you’ll find a “prayer pledge card”.  If you could take a moment to fill this out. . . .Once you’ve filled the pledge card out, please put the completed form in the collection basket with your budget today.

Thank you for your patience in filling this out, and for your commitment to pray for vocations.

Jesus didn’t allow the the Wine to disappear on the good Bride and Groom who invited Him to their wedding, and neither will He allow the priests to disappear on us good Catholic who pray fervently to him for vocations.

And while He’s at it, may Jesus keep those Honey Bees from disappearing again on us as well!

Homily – Epiphany MMX 1/2/10

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Homily – Epiphany MMX 1/2/10

On Christmas Eve in the city of Bethlehem, there was “no room at the inn,” the inn was so jam packed with people.

Twelve Days later, on this Solemn Feast of the Epiphany, there is now “no room at the Stable”: that cave in Bethlehem is now filled to capacity with Mary, Joseph, the Cow, the Donkey, the Shepherds, the Sheep, the Angels, the Magi, and the Camels – all gathered around the Manger, where the Baby Jesus, the Lord and Light and Savior of the World, lays sleeping.

Those lowly and Jewish Shepherds must have done a double take when the stable door opened, and those rich, exotic looking, pagan Magi walked in with their camels.

“What are you guys doing here? This baby is our Messiah, not yours! He’s the one our God, not yours, promised to send to us, not to you, in our Holy Scriptures.”

One zealous Shepherd, not taking any chances with these idol-worshiping foreigners, started reaching for his knife in his belt, but Mary gave him a look and he stopped.

One of the Magi, the one who spoke the best Hebrew, very calmly and politely answered the Shepherds, “We know that this Child is Your King and Messiah, we’ve all been reading and re-reading your wonderful Scriptures while we were on the road.

“We are here tonight, because a tiny Star has drawn us. From our homeland, far far away from here, we saw this Star, this tiny light, appear nine months ago. It was like no other light we’ve ever seen; it spoke to us, it called us to follow it.

“And so each one of us broke away from our lands and from our old way of life and from the gods we were taught to worship, and we all set out to see where this Star would lead us.

“And while on the road, we all met up with each other, none of us had ever known each other before, and we began to journey together, and read aloud and talk about your Scriptures with each other.”

“And the more we read the Scriptures, the brighter that star began to shine, and the more we began to realize just who it was that we were searching for, the more we began to realize just how important this journey we were taking was for us and for our people back home.

“And now, the Star has faithfully brought us to Him and His Mother, and to you good and faithful Shepherds also, and we are overjoyed.

“Our joy is beyond words, and so instead, in silent adoration, we offer Jesus these gifts which the Scriptures enlightened by that Star told us to give Him: Gold for the King of Kings, Frankincense for the God-Man, Myrrh for the Suffering Servant who will be scourged for our sins.”

Today my brothers and sisters, there is “no more room” at the Stable: The Angels, the animals, the Jewish People, and all other Nations and Peoples now surround the Manger.

It is full to capacity, there’s no room whatsoever for Satan and his demons, they’ll just have to stay somewhere else, while we adore our Newborn King and Lord without him!

Homily – Mary Mother of God MMX 1/1/10

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Homily – Mary Mother of God MMX 1/1/10

In the fields that first Christmas Night, an Angel of the Lord appeared to the Shepherds, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them, and the Shepherds were struck with great fear.

But in the Stable, the Virgin Mary, Queen of Angels, appeared to the Shepherds; and she who Scripture calls The Glory of Jerusalem, the Joy of Israel, the fairest honor of our race shone round about them, filling those Shepherds with an even greater fear as they gazed on this most beautiful and sinless of Mothers.

In the fields of Bethlehem, the presence of a vast army of countless Angels filled the Heavens.

But in the Stable, the Presence of Mary, who Scripture calls Awesome as an Army set in Battle Array illuminated the Cave where Christ was born.

That Heavenly Choir of Angels sang so beautifully to the Shepherds in the fields;

But their Gloria was nowhere near as beautiful as the lullaby Mary sang to Her New Born Son in the Stable.

The Angels in the Sky sang “Peace on Earth” to the Shepherds in the Fields;

But in the Stable, that Peace was seen clearly in the face of the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace, a Peace that came from reflecting on all these things and keeping them in her heart.

As we celebrate the beginning of a New Year, and a New Decade, let us consecrate and entrust our lives, our families, our parish, this New Year, this New Decade, to the Virgin Mother of God and to Her Immaculate Heart.

Holy Mother Mary, watch over us your children, and keep us close to Your Divine Son Jesus.

Help us; and help our troubled world, throughout this New Year and New Decade to reflect deeply on the Life and Teachings of Your Son, so that the Peace which filled Your Heart and the Hearts of the Shepherds that first Christmas, may fill our hearts and our world as well.