Archive for August, 2007

Homily — 21st Sunday Ordinary Time C August 26, 2007

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Homily — 21st Sunday Ordinary Time C         August 26, 2007

The Baseball Season is of course in full swing (no pun intended), and all the teams in their different leagues and divisions are trying their hardest to make it into the fall playoffs.

The players know all too well that Many will attempt to enter the post-season, but will not be strong enough to do so.

And when at the end of October it’s all over, many a manager and many a player will wail and grind his teeth in remorse for not trying harder throughout the season to win.

Today’s Gospel speaks about people trying to get not into  the World Series, but into the “Life of World To Come” (as we call it in the Creed) — into the Eternal Life of Heaven.

While Jesus, being God, knows how many will be eternal winners and how many eternal losers, He doesn’t let us know those statistics.

What Jesus does tell us, is that, just as many baseball teams aren’t good enough to make it into the playoffs, so many people will attempt to enter Heaven but will not be strong enough.

And unlike baseball, where “there’s always next year,” at the end of our life, when the last inning has been played out, there is no “next year” — we are either reclining at table in the kingdom of God with Abraham Isaac and Jacob, or we’re cast outside with the doors to Heaven locked to us forever.

And so we, like the Red Sox and the Yankees, need to  realize that this is hard ball we’re playing, and therefore we must strive to enter through the narrow gate of discipline.

Each year, ball players have both an intense period of discipled training in the spring, and ongoing weekly disciplined exercizes to keep them in shape for the season.

It is the same way in our spiritual life — we need to take very seriously our spring training season which we call Lent.

And we must also have a weekly regimen of disciplined spiritual exercizes, if we don’t want to end up being one of the many who aren’t saved.

As the letter to the Hebrews says My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord.

At the second reading describes, there are passive disciplines that we must undergo — the Crosses and trials of life God permits us to bear for our salvation.  But there are also active disciplines we must also embrace, for example:

The discipline of attending Mass each Sunday.

The discipline of every Friday throughout the year, abstaining from meat or substituting some other sacrifice or prayer in memory of Jesus’ Passion on Good Friday.

The discipline of moderation in food, drink and material pleasures, the discipline of chastity according to one’s state in life.

The discipline of almsgiving, of a daily prayer life, of going to confession on a periodic basis.

Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord  . . . at the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.

Those who do disdain the discipline of the Lord, who blow off these spiritual exercises bring shame upon our religion in the same way ball players who use steroids bring shame upon the Baseball Profession.

May we not take after them, but rather be inspired by those true Hall of Famers, the Saints of the Church, to embrace the disciplines of the Lord which will win us the crown of victory.

Finally, perhaps some of us today are striking out in the spiritual life, we keep losing game after game to the world, the flesh and the devil.

Perhaps we think our prospects seem bleak of even getting into Heaven as a wild card pick.

If this is you, don’t despair, but strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees, and make straight the paths for your feet into the arms of God’s mercy.

May we all keep fighting the good fight, never forgetting that some who are now last will be first before the game’s over, and some who are first now, will finish last if they cease striving to enter that narrow gate of life in Christ.

Sorry . . . .

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Sorry, I’ve been a bit busy lately, and haven’t had time to update my website.  Hopefully, I will be able to later this week!

Homily – 19th Sunday Ordinary Time C August 12, 2007

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Coming soon!

Homily — 18th Sunday Ordinary Time C August 5, 2007

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Homily — 18th Sunday Ordinary Time C          August 5, 2007

Vanity of vanities, says Quoheleth . . . . all things in this life are vanity.

The Webster’s Dictionary definition of vanity is “something that is (worthless), empty or useless.”  All worldly riches, fame, power are worthless and of no real value in and of themselves.  Vanity of vanities.

The Gospel shows us two people that are chasing after vanities, two people that are trying to store up treasures for themselves, but are not rich in what matters to God.

The first person is the man who comes up to Jesus and says Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.

The man has obviously been unjustly treated by his own brother.  But Jesus isn’t pleased with this man’s prayer, and he even accuses the injured man of the sin of greed.

Jesus does this because the man’s prayer was all about the money and not about his relationship with his brother.  Had the man prayed “Lord, have mercy on me, I’m having a difficult time forgiving my brother.  Jesus, help my brother to follow you”  Jesus would have granted the man’s prayer, and maybe his brother would have come around to sharing the inheritance.

The second vain person we see in the Gospel has been doubly blessed in life.  Not only is he a rich man to begin with, his land that year produced a bountiful harvest on top of that.

But despite all the blessings he has, in his greed he thinks only of himself.

His goal in life isn’t to serve God, it’s to rest, eat, drink and be merry.

And it’s with this mind set that the man dies and his soul is judged.

And God’s eternal judgment on him is “You fool.  I blessed you throughout life with riches, and I blessed you this year with a bountiful harvest, not so that you could live in selfish extravagance, but so that you could be generous as I am generous.

“But now your life on earth is over, and you’ve done nothing with your riches that’s of lasting value.”

And so Jesus warns us take care to guard against all greed, lest we end up like that rich man in the parable.

You know, there was another rich man, who was rich not only in material goods but also in spiritual ones.  And one year he was blessed with a bountiful harvest, much more than he was used to, much more than he needed to live on.

But this man had throughout life tried to follow Jesus.  He tempered the resting, eating, drinking and merry making he did with hard work, prayer, fasting, and mourning over his past sins.   He had tried in the past to be generous in almsgiving.

And so, when suddenly faced with this bountiful harvest, the man said to himself “This is what I shall do with it.  Some of it I’ll use to provide for my family.  Some of it I’ll put in savings for when I’m old or in case a famine hits.  A little of it I will use to buy something nice for my family and myself, but not too much, because I don’t want to get spoiled.

“But the first thing I’m going to do, before the devil talks me out of it, is give a good amount of this bountiful harvest to charity: to the Church and to the poor.”

And God said to the rich man “My son, it so happens that this night Christ is scheduled to come for you.  I am glad to see that you’ve taken care to guard against all greed, and have rather been rich in what matters to GodWell done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”