Homily – August 12, 2018

August 11th, 2018

It must have been very hard even offensive to the men and women hear Jesus say, what to them was really outlandish. ‘I am the bread come down from heaven. I am the bread of life, whoever eats this bread will not die…the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

Who does he think he is saying things like this I have come down from heaven? He’s from Nazareth, we know his mother, and we know his family.

Again and again people demanded of Jesus, ‘give us a sign that we may believe.’ When Jesus announces himself as “bread from heaven” to these sign seekers he is presenting himself as the divine food that will satisfy their deeper hunger, the hunger for a life involved with the God who brought them out of Egypt, the God who fed them manna in the desert.

Jesus is the love of God made visible, made visible in his painful death on the cross. Jesus, our bread of life gives us the willingness and generosity to live authentic lives as Christian men and women to live our lives in the service of others, be they family members of friends.

Even today good men and women struggle with belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. How can this man give us his flesh to eat? That’s why we say right after the words of consecration, ‘a mystery of faith, ‘when we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death oh Lord until you come again. A mystery of faith, bread is more than bread, wine if more than wine, they are the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the food that gives us the strength we need to true followers of him who is always there for us and asks us to be there for others; family members, friends and strangers.

Recently Pope Francis shared these thoughts at the Angelus in St. Peter’s square, ‘As we are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, we are assimilated with him; we receive his love within us, not to hold it back selfishly, but rather to share it with others. … Indeed in it we contemplate Jesus, Bread broken and offered, Blood poured out for our salvation. It is a presence which … ignites the desire to make ourselves, too, in union with Christ, bread broken and blood poured out for our brothers and sisters.

Because we receive communion so regularly we can take for granted the wonderful gift the Eucharist is and fail to grasp the mystery of it all – he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him/her. We know when we eat our bodies change that food into us, it in changes into our blood, our bones, our muscles. In the Eucharist it is just the opposite, we become what we receive. Ideally we become more Christ like in the way we receive people into our lives, in the way we feel one with the good men and women and children who were the victims of violence on Yonge St. the Danforth and Fredericton. Ideally we become more Christ like by rejecting prejudice and bigotry, we become more Christ like when we welcome people seeking shelter from violence and war. We become more Christ like when we support just wages, affordable housing and proper health care for our seniors.

As we continue to celebrate our Eucharist we pray for ourselves and for each other that when received holy communion we will leave this church more Christ like than when we arrived knowing that ‘ he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood live in me and I live in him, I live in her.

Homily – August 5, 2018

August 5th, 2018

Someone in that crowd Jesus fed with the five barley loaves and the two fish asked him ‘what must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered ‘believe in the one God has sent.’ Our first challenge is to believe that Jesus is the Christ, our savior who by his passion, death and resurrection has reconciled us with God and made us sons and daughters of God. According to Jesus, what truly pleases God is to “believe in him whom God has sent” (Jn 6:29). This is not simply intellectual assent, but authentic commitment, loyalty, and solidarity. We are to stick with Jesus no matter what!

People are to see the way we live

What must we do to perform the works of God? Perform the very works Jesus did. Show that our faith in God means something by the way we live our own lives. Jesus accepted everyone who came into his life as a person of importance; be they an outcast leper, a grieving mother or widow, be they struck with blindness or a crippling disease, be they a crooked tax collector or a crucified criminal.

Jesus condemned the injustices he saw in his own society, the exploitation of the working poor, usury, unjust taxes. We do the works of God when we speak out against the draw backs of the social assistance so needed by families trying to feed their families, pay their rent.

We do the works of God when we respond to men and women, members of our own families, friends and fellow-workers who may be burdened by financial worries, emotional or mental problems, good people facing the limitations of old age, when we echo the words of Jesus, ‘come to me all you who find life burdensome and I will refresh you, I will listen, I will support you as best I can.

Jesus nourished, fed the vast crowd by challenging them to share with those around them the little he had, five barley loaves and two fish, to do the same and all were fed.

May be gifted with the generosity we need to share with family, friends and strangers our patience, our time, our support, our willingness to listen to the frights and fears, the hopes and dreams of all those who come into our lives every day of life. God give us all the generosity to do the works of God.

Homily – July 29, 2018

July 28th, 2018

Today’s gospel tells of Jesus taking five barley loaves and two fish and feeding five thousand people. An echo of God feeding the Israelites in the desert and a preamble for Christ’s gift of himself as the Bread of Life. There are those who doubt the validity of this miracle. But if Jesus gave a blind man sight, made a leper clean, a cripple walk and dead young man life, why would we doubt today’s gospel’s miracle?

There is another way of looking at today’s miracle that can also cause us to wonder at the power of Jesus to change lives.

Everything Jesus said or did was meant to invite people to grow, to move just one step, even a baby step beyond where they are into a deeper relationship with God.

The people who followed Jesus that day were not dumb. They probably all brought something with them to eat. Remember the Sister’s habit s of yesteryear? They had so many pockets and anything they needed was in one of those pockets. The young man in the gospel had five barley loaves and two fish in his pocket. In taking this boy’s stash and offering it to those around him Jesus challenged them all to do the same. In following his example of generosity, his willingness to share the little he had with others, Jesus challenged the people to share their staches with those around them and their lives were better for it. He invited them in to imitate the generosity of God their father constantly shows toward them. Jesus challenged them to share, to care for other people.

I heard that this interpretation of today’s gospel as reducing this miracle to a ‘potluck supper’. But isn’t that what a potluck supper is all about, sharing what you bring to it with others?

The news reports we see every day make us wonder what is happening to human kind, the tragedies on Yonge Street and the Danforth. The hatred and brutality of people toward those different than themselves is beyond belief. The mean-spiritedness of some political leaders is depressing. It is the little people, the women and children caught in the middle of power struggles who suffer the most. We look; we wonder and maybe even despair. What can we do? Realistically we can’t do anything to change things in Gaza or Syria or Yemen or the conflicts going on in Africa.

What can we do? How can we make the world a better place? There is a principle in law that says, ‘The law works from the feet up’. Wherever you are that’s the law you follow. Love, justice, fairness, kindness, concern, forgiveness, they all work from the feet up. We start with the person or persons who are in our face. A husband, wife, son, daughter, grandchildren, a lonely shut in relative of neighbour, people with whom you work, people you meet in an elevator or in the supermarket, at the checkout counter, people on the street.

They all challenge each one of us to share our stash of respect, love, understanding, support and forgiveness with them. The person in your face is a child of God, as you are. The person in your face is you brother or sister in Christ. The person in your face is a person for whom Christ died on the cross. How we treat them, speak to them, help them in anyway can make a difference in their lives and in ours.

There was a movie out a few years ago titled ‘The Ark’. The ark meant an act of random kindness. It could be as simple as holding a door open for someone or letting someone through in became concerned with those around them.

Jesus shares his life with us today as he invites – take and eat, take and drink – an act of random kindness. May his generosity traffic or complimenting someone on how good they look – it could be so many other little gestures of kindness or recognition – but they do make a difference, they do make the world a little more human.

The life of Jesus was filled with acts of random kindness as in today’s gospel he takes the little he has and shares it with others and that act sent ripples through the crowd and people

to us inspire and motivate us to bring light and love and healing into the lives of those who are in our face by our own acts of random kindness.

Homily – July 22, 2018

July 22nd, 2018

I’d like to start with a quote from Henri Nouwen’s book ‘An Invitation to the Spiritual Life’.

One of the most obvious characteristics of our daily lives is that we are busy. We experience our days as filled with things to do, people to meet, projects to finish, letters to write, calls to make, and appointments to keep. Our lives often seem like over-packed suitcases bursting at the seams. It fact, we are almost always aware of being behind schedule. There is a nagging sense that there are unfinished tasks, unfulfilled promises, and unrealized proposals. There is always something else that we should have remembered, done, or said. There are always people we did not speak to, write to, or visit. Thus, although we are very busy, we also have a lingering feeling of never really fulfilling our obligation. We are always hurrying.

You’ve probably heard or said youself.’there aren’t enough hours in the day.’

In today’s short gospel we hear of Jesus welcoming the home coming apostles. Jesus had sent them out two by two to the surrounding towns to call people to repent, change the ways they were living their live and be more faithful to the teaching of the prophets and the laws of God.

The apostles couldn’t wait to tell Jesus their success stories and how they cured sick men and women and drove out demons. They were on a high and Jesus knew they could use some rest, just as he could use a break, he had no leisure even to eat.

Jesus tried to take them away to a deserted, a private place just to unwind, but didn’t work. People figured out where they were going and beat them to it. Weary as they all were Jesus called off their ‘time out’ and began to teach them many things.

We all have to take a ‘time out’; we all have to let the world spin without us. I had a man tell me one time he was so busy he wished there were two him. I heard about a month later that he was let go. I guess the company he worked for couldn’t handle one of him.

It is good to remember that God is running the world, with or without our help. We have an obligation to take care of our health and look out for the wellbeing of one another.

If your life seems like and over-packed suitcase, it you feel you are always behind schedule, if you feel guilty about unfulfilled promises, unfinished tasks, unrealized proposals, if you are always in a hurry, you need to get away to a deserted place, a quiet place, a soothing place, you need a rest even if it’s only for a half and hour.

God is always present to us, we are not and indeed cannot be, always present to God because we have so many things to do, so many things to worry about. But at any time of the day or night we can accept Christ’s invitation, ‘come to me all you who are weary and heavy burden and I will give you rest.’

We just have to take a breath and stop and be mindful of God and give thanks for the gift of life, the gift of sight, the gift of mobility, the gift of whatever health we still enjoy. Place your worries and burdens in God’s hands trust that he knows our needs even before we ask. Take advantage of this beautiful summer with which we are blessed. Spent time with your family, your friends, with God.

Enjoy the day.

Homily – July 1, 2018

July 1st, 2018

I’m dating myself when I quote the Baltimore Catechism. The first question was ‘who made me? God made me. Why did God make me? God made me to know him and love him and serve him in this world and be happy with him in the next. We are meant to live in this world and in the next. Death is not the final word – life is the final word, the final reality.

This past week we celebrate the feast of St. Irenaeus, a bishop of the second century. One of his sayings was, ‘The glory of God is man/woman fully alive.

We are fully alive and give God glory when we are living the teachings of Jesus and the example of Jesus in our daily lives. We are fully alive and give God glory when we support the unborn, we are fully alive and give God glory when support hospices and a dignified life for our seniors, we are fully alive and give God glory when we support food banks, when we support efforts for affordable housing, when we work for a minimum wage that can support a family.

We are fully alive and give God glory when we follow the advice of St. Paul who tells to say only the good things people need to hear, things that will really help them. We are fully alive and give God glory when we challenge sexist or racist or homophobic remarks in any conversation. We are fully alive and give God glory when we challenge racist remarks that lessen the dignity and worth of our brothers and sisters.

We are fully alive and give God glory when we have the courage to change our consumer life styles and live simply that others may simply live. We are fully alive and give God glory when we delight in the beauty and wonder of God’s good creation and we are fully alive and give God glory when we work for the healing of the wounded Earth.

We are fully alive and give God glory when we work for the healing of our church, wounded by the scandals of our priests and bishops.

We are fully alive and give glory to God when we love and support and respect life in all its manifestations. We are fully alive and give God glory when we are there for family, friend or stranger as Jesus we there for Jairus and his daughter and the suffering woman who touched his garment.

We are fully alive and give glory to God when we try, as best we can to live the new commandment – love one another as I have loved you.

We can continue this Mass giving thanks to God for living in this wonderful land of Canada and seek the grace to be fully alive.