Archive for the ‘WHAT’S NEW (Homilies added to site in past 7 days)’ Category

Homily – Holy Thursday MMIX 4/9/9

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Homily – Holy Thursday  MMIX                4/9/9

On the morning of that First Holy Thursday, the disciples asked Jesus Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?

And St. Mark tells us, in words we read this past Palm Sunday, that Jesus gave his disciples these detailed instructions:

The first thing, Jesus said, you must Go into the city (Jerusalem) and a man will meet you, carrying a vessel of water.

And for the past 2009 years, those who wish to Eat the Passover with Our Blessed Lord Jesus must also abide by those instructions:

You and I must first enter the New Jerusalem on earth, the Holy Catholic Church.

And upon entering the Holy Catholic Church for the first time, we like the disciples met a man, carrying a vessel of water.  He poured the water over our head, Baptizing us in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told his disciples that first Holy Thursday that once they had entered the city and were met by the man with the water, to follow him.  He will lead them to a large, upper room, furnished and ready.

There, in that upper room, raised above ground level,

and here, in this upper room, on this Altar which the laws of our Holy Church require be raised above the congregation level,

There and here will take place on this night, the Passover of Our Lord.

That first Holy Thursday afternoon, the disciples sent by Jesus into the city found that large upper room all furnished and ready.

The table was all set:  finest white linen table cloth, candles, 13 mats to recline on, 13 plates, 13 cups, one of them, the nicest one, The Cup which would be used.

A large flagon of new red wine, a large, freshly baked round loaf of unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.

Furnished and ready, all prepared with the perfection of Martha, with the prayerfulness of Mary Magdalene, and with the unfathomable love of the Mother of Jesus for Her Son and Lord.

All had been prepared beforehand for this night.  All was now ready for a Supper which had been in preparation since before the dawn of Creation.

All that had gone before was a preparation for this night.  The Creation, The Old Testament were a preparation, The Incarnation, The Holy Infancy, The Public Ministry of Jesus were a preparation.

It was all now furnished and ready.

And tonight in this Upper Room, Our Lord makes all things new.

A new commandment,
A new priesthood,
A new and everlasting Covenant in His Body and Blood broken and shed for us.

He gives us tonight this New Commandment to Love one another as He has loved us.

There was nothing more humiliating for a Jew in Jesus’ day than to wash another person’s feet.  But Jesus teaches us that in our service to one another, no task should be too humiliating for us to perform.

But as humiliating as feet washing is, it pales in comparison to the humiliation of being stripped and scourged and crowned with thorns and nailed almost naked to a cross.

But Jesus says you and I are to love one another as He has loved us, even to death on a Cross.

Jesus realized that His new commandment would be difficult, if not impossible, for us to carry out, left on our own.

This is why Jesus gives us tonight a New Food to strengthen us, to enable us to live out the New Commandment of Love:  the Holy Eucharist.

Through the Eucharist we find strength to live as Christ calls us to live, through partaking of the Eucharist we can love one another as Jesus loves us.

The Eucharist is essential for our living a Christian life.  Unless you eat of the flesh of the son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

Jesus realized we needed the Eucharist, or else the journey through life would be too long for us, and we wouldn’t reach our destiny.

And so that we would until the end of time always have in the Church this Eucharistic Food, Jesus on the Night of the Last Supper instituted the New Priesthood of His New Covenant.

Do this, you Twelve, and your successors after you, in memory of my Passion and Death.

So we pray tonight for all priests, that Jesus would renew them in their total commitment to serve Christ and His Church.

We also pray for those young men Jesus is calling to be priests.    In the book of the prophet Jerimiah we read the Lord saying: Before you were born I called youin your mother’s womb I consecrated you.  Many, if not all priests, are called from the womb to renounce marriage and family and career for the higher calling of the priesthood.

Today, there are so many obstacles for young men to hear God’s call.  Our prayers, and especially the prayers of parents and grandparents, are more important than ever for the sake of those young men in our parish that Jesus is calling to the priesthood in years to come.

And so, tonight we thank Jesus for having all things furnished and ready beforehand for us to partake of His Passover with Him.

May He give us this Holy Thursday a deeper and stronger love for the Holy Eucharist, a deeper respect and love for the Priesthood, and through these things may He enable us to live out ever more fully the New Commandment of sacrificial Love He gives us this night.

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 — 6th Sunday OT B February 15, 2009

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Homily — 6th Sunday OT B                February 15, 2009

In today’s First Reading we read from the Third Book of the Bible, the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, and I thought I’d give a little mini Bible study of this little read Book of Scripture to start off.

The Book of Leviticus, as the name, Levite-icus, implies, is written for the Levites.

The Levites were one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  They were descendants of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob.

Moses and Aaron belonged to the tribe of Levi, as did John the Baptist’s parents.

The Levites were the priestly tribe of Israel;  God appointed all the men of the tribe of Levi to be the priests for the other 11 tribes of Israel.

And when God divided up the Promised Land prior to the Israelites entrance into it, God divided the land up into not 12 portions, but 11.

God gave one of these 11 portions to each of the other 11 tribes of Israel, but the Tribe of Levi received no portion of the promised land from God, for God said to them “I am your portion in this life.”

Instead of having their own little country like the other 11 tribes, the Levite families were to live in little cities scattered throughout the land of Israel, so that they could minister as priests to the tribes whose land they lived in.

And the Book of Leviticus is basically a handbook for these priests of the tribe of Levi:  27 Chapters of Rules God gave to Moses for the priests to follow.

To give you an idea of the contents of Leviticus, here are the Chapter headings for the first several chapters:

Chapter 1:  Animal sacrificial offerings

Chapter 2:  Cereal or grain sacrificial offerings

Next, theres:  Peace offerings to the Lord

Then:  Sin offerings of atonement — for Priests, for the whole community, for Princes, and for Lay people

Daily sacrifices (over and above the ones just mentioned)

The ritual for the Ordination of the High Priest

A  chapter on “How the priest should behave”  (Not naughty that’s for sure!)

Another chapter on “What parts of the animal sacrifices the priest can keep for himself and his family to eat.”

And of course one on “What foods are kosher and what foods are non-kosher.”

And so on.

Now, the longest chapter found in Leviticus is this Chapter 13 which we’ve read four verses from, in all there’s 57 verses in Chapter 13 all dealing with various types of Leprosy: things like pink and white blotches, boils, scabs, pustles, and other yucky skin diseases, and how the Levite priest needs to be able to identify one from the other.

Some Leprosy was to be judged by the priests as harmless, and the leper would be declared clean and readmitted to the community right away.

But the priests had to declare unclean and then quarantine people who had certain other forms of leprosy, some for only a week, others for a lifetime if the leprosy didn’t go away.

And when a leper was cleansed and healed of his unclean leprosy, before being readmitted to the community he or she needed to go to the priest and undergo a purification ritual and have the priest offer a purification sacrifice, the rules for which are written in Chapter 14, which is the second longest chapter of Leviticus.

The Fathers of the Church have commented that the many kinds and degrees of leprosy described in Leviticus are symbolic of the many kinds and degrees of sins that can afflict our souls.

Sin is a kind of spiritual leprosy, which eats away at our soul and makes us unclean.

Some kinds of sin, called venial sin, don’t merit our being banished from God’s people.  But more serious kinds of sin does destroy our relationship with God, as more serious kinds of leprosy banished the leper from the community of God’s people.

Which finally brings us to today’s Gospel.  Today, a man who St. Luke says was full of leprosy goes up to Jesus, and says “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

And Jesus, the High Priest of the New and Everlasting Covenant, doesn’t despise this poor leper, but moved with pity, he reaches out and touches the man saying I do will it, be made clean.

And just as Jesus cleansed the man full of leprosy, so He wishes to cleanse us of our spiritual leprosy.

But Jesus can’t cleanse us if we are trying to hide that leprosy from him and from our selves.  Just as this leper admitted his need for healing, and then wasn’t afraid to show Jesus the ugliness of his leprosy, may we also face up to our sinfulness, and then not be afraid to show Jesus the ugliness of our souls disfigured by sin.

For if we come to Jesus in the Sacrament of Penance, Our Lord will not fail to reach out and touch us, and say to us I do will it, be made clean.

Homily — 5th Sunday OT B February 8, 2009

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Homily — 5th Sunday OT B                 February 8, 2009

 Everyone is looking for you, Jesus.

Not just Simon’s mother in law;

not just those in the village of Capernaum whom you had taught, and healed, and delivered from many demons;

not just the friends and relatives of these townspeople who  heard from them what you’ve done;

No, Lord Jesus, everyone is looking for you.

Every human soul your Father has created is ultimately looking for you, Jesus, in their life.

Job is looking for you, in today’s first reading.

This man Job, who just a short time ago was rich and prosperous and healthy, all of a sudden loses everything: he loses his livelihood, his savings, his family, and his health.

Job, in his lament, is looking for understanding as to why he suffers.

And the Jobs of our own day — those who like Job have recently lost their means of employment, or their financial security, or those who like Job have recently lost loved ones or whose health has taken a sudden turn for the worse —

— every Job of today currently asking him or herself “Why me?” is looking for you, Jesus.  And they can find you, stripped of everything, nailed to the Cross, truly suffering along with them, closer than ever to them in their afflictions.

Everyone is looking for you, Jesus.  Yes, even those who are right now plunging into sin, living a life centered around sin.

For every sinner thinks he or she will find happiness in their sin.  But the greed, or vanity, or lust, they indulge in only leaves them not happy, but empty and unsatisfied.

Which is why, in the Gospel, Jesus, we see you rising very early before dawn to pray to the Father for these poor lost sinners,

which is why we see you moving on from village to village to call these sinners also to repentance, to help them see that You are what they are really looking for in life, that You and You alone will truly satisfy their souls.

Everyone is looking for you Jesus, and we thank you Lord that we have found you, still alive and active in Your Holy Church, which you yourself have called us into, through the waters of Baptism.

We thank you, Jesus, that we never need have to look for you again, for you can be found always in your Church, especially in the Holy Eucharist, this memorial of your suffering and death.

Jesus, may we always be close to you as your disciples, may we follow You where ever you will lead us and be obedient to everything you teach us.  May we never lose you, that you have to come looking for us.

Continue, Lord, to deliver your people, and all peoples, from fevers, from all ills, and from demons, and be with all who like Job are bearing heavy crosses at this time in their lives.

And bring us all, one day Jesus, to eternal life with you, in your glorious kingdom for ever.