No Homily For 2 Weeks

This weekend, in place of the homily, our parishes will be viewing our annual diocesan Catholic Services Appeal video.  The Catholic Services Appeal supports the operational costs of the diocese, over 30 faith building programs (especially for the youth), and the education and formation of seminarians.  God has given each of us so many blessings and gifts – please be generous with what God has given you!  And if you don’t belong to the Diocese of Superior, please be generous in supporting those programs in your area that contribute to the building up and spreading of our amazing Catholic faith!

Next weekend, as a member of the Vocations Team for the Diocese of Superior, I will be attending a conference with vocation directors from around the country aimed at promoting and supporting vocations to the priesthood.  I would appreciate your prayers for the success and fruits of that conference.  Thank you for the ways you currently support vocations in your parishes, and please continue to pray that we all might listen to God’s voice more attentively each day.

 

Confrontation and Unity

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend’s readings center on unity.  God desires complete unity for us: in our families, in our communities, and in our Church.  Today’s readings show how God uses confrontation and correction (always in love) to bring about true unity…as opposed to cheap unity, which avoids differences and assumes that since there’s no arguing, everyone must be united.  God’s dream is for one Church, truly united, walking together on the road to heaven, picking each other up when we fall and encouraging (and even correcting each other) on the way.  Are we willing to speak up and try to win someone over for Christ this week?

Embrace Your Crosses

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Life gives us many crosses and we have 2 choices: avoid them or embrace them.  Jesus embraced His cross and He asks us, His followers, to do the same.  When we try to avoid our crosses they begin to slow us down and sap the life out of us.  But when we invite Jesus in and embrace our crosses, He gives us the strength to live a strong and rich life even in the midst of our struggles and difficulties.  “Jesus, I give you my crosses today, come and give me Your strength to carry them with my head held high and to live a rich life.  Amen.”

Another Niche or The Christ?

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus brings his disciples to a great pagan temple today with hundreds of niches housing the statues of all kinds of different gods.  With all these other gods in the background, Jesus asks his disciples, point-blank, “Who do you say that I am?”  Most of us have been taught since we were young to answer,”Jesus is God, the Christ.”  While we might know the right words, our daily  actions and decisions also speak on our behalf about who Jesus is to us.  In the busy-ness of our lives, does Jesus ever become for us just another concern among all the many others?  Does Jesus fade into the background and fill another niche?  (I know that’s a tendency for me).  Or do our thoughts, decisions, and actions invite Jesus to stand front and center in our lives by proclaiming, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!”?

Don’t Stop, Ever

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today, a pagan woman approaches Jesus asking Him to heal her daughter.  Jesus’ actions should bother us: First, Jesus doesn’t respond.  Second, He rejects her.  Third, He insults her.  Then finally, when she refuses to stop, He works a miracle for her.  What is Jesus doing?  He’s coaxing out of her an extreme act of faith and perseverance.  Have you ever asked for a deeper faith?  Does it ever seem like some of your prayers haven’t been answered by God?  Maybe He’s trying to do the same thing with you that He was doing with this woman in the Gospel – maybe He’s trying to call out of you an extreme act of faith; maybe He’s trying to grow in you a heroic faith!

From Big Moments to Small Moments

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus comes to the disciples today walking on the water – that’s a Big Moment, a miraculous moment, one that’s hard to miss, and it strengthens their faith.  Elijah is told in our 1st reading that the Lord will be passing by: there is a great wind, a tremendous earthquake, a blazing fire, and yet, Scripture says, God was in none of those seemingly big moments.  Rather, God was in a tiny, whispering voice – a Small Moment, so small it could be easily missed, but just as real as a Big Moment…and I would say even more important!  God’s ordinary language is in Small Moments, countless little whispers to us throughout the day.  He gives us a few privileged Big Moments precisely so that we will continue looking and listening for Him in the hundreds of Small Moments every day.

Trip and Moving

Soon I will be going on a pilgrimage to hike a 250 mile portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which ends at the remains of St. James the Apostle. Because of that, I will not have homilies to post for a while.

Also, effective mid-July, I have been reassigned as the associate pastor of the parishes in Medford and Whittlesey, Wisconsin.  To everyone in the Rice Lake area: thank you so much for receiving me so warmly and welcoming me into your lives over these last 3 years; it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be your priest and I will miss you all greatly! Please pray for me during this time of transition, and I will be praying for you.

After pilgrimage and once I’m settled into the new parishes, I will continue recording and posting my homilies: so we can stay connected even after I’ve moved!  God bless and have a wonderful start to the summer.

Experience the Trinity

Most Holy Trinity

Every time we say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” we are proclaiming that our God is a Trinity – that from all time our God has been a relationship of love: 3 distinct Persons, fully united as 1 God.  And this God made us – humanity – to share in His love!  But to know God as Trinity is not something we can describe with words alone, it is something that has to be experienced to be believed!

Unleash the Holy Spirit

Pentecost

In our baptism we received the same Holy Spirit that the disciples received 2,000 years ago.  By our Confirmation we were sealed and strengthened in that Holy Spirit.  So why don’t we see the miracles and wonders that the presence of the Spirit brings, like those in our 1st reading?  In order for the power of the Spirit (which is already within us) to be unlocked and unleashed through our lives, we have to be able to say, in all areas of our life, with our whole heart, “Jesus is Lord!”  The more we can say that, the more the Holy Spirit can come out with power!