Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

Homily – March 29, 2020

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Today’s gospel tells the awesome story of Jesus calling his close friend Lazarus from the tomb to life. All this was done so that God may be glorified.

We hear this story every year. Lazarus and Mary and Martha were close friends of Jesus. He and his disciples visited their home on other occasions. This time was different. Lazarus was seriously ill. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus, ‘come quickly, the family needs you.’ Jesus delays and arrives four days after his friend’s death. Both Martha and Mary let Jesus know they are annoyed with him. ‘If you had been here our brother would not have died.’ Together they go to the tomb and Jesus weeps. He then tells them to roll away the stone that blocks the entrance to the fetid tomb. He calls Lazarus to come out. Lazarus hears the call and comes out and all are amazed.

These are stressful and tense filled times for all of us. We can’t meet friends for coffee and a chat. We can’t mingle with friends and neighbours. Restaurants and bars are no-go zones. It’s rough. Who’d ever imagine we’d come to such a place?

Do you remember ever saying to yourself,’ Oh for some peace and quiet, oh to be alone for just a bit’? Well it’s here, here in spades. It’s stressful.

Hopefully the time will come when this necessary separation from others will come will be over. Hopefully the time will come when Jesus will call each one of us, as he called Lazarus, out of our tombs of isolation and lonely confinement and restore us, as he restored Lazarus, to our friends and neighbours. Was it Joni Mitchel who sang, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’? We know now the pain of separation. When all this is over, and it will be, may we be blessed with a deeper appreciation of how our lives are blessed with the people we so often take for granted.

Pray for the sick and the doctors and nurses and their support staffs who are under so much stress these days. May they be blessed with patience and courage.

Homily – March 22, 2020

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Are you going stir crazy? Do you feel the walls are closing in around you? Do you ‘just want to get out the house? These are hard times for everyone. Are you one of those people who are off the job because the place where you work has been closed down? Are you lucky enough to be able to work from home? Will we ever get back to normal? Let’s hope not. Even though we were not locked in our homes we were locked into IPad and so many other technologies that isolated us from inter-personal relationships with one another.

You’ve heard me say different times that ‘we did not weave the web of life; we are strands in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves.’ We belong to the family of life, even the virus family. One author I read put it this way,

“In a globalised world our lives are so intertwined that the idea of viewing ourselves as islands – whether as individuals, communities, nations, or a uniquely privileged species – should be understood as evidence of false consciousness. In truth, we were always bound together, part of a miraculous web of life on our planet and, beyond it, stardust in an unfathomably large and complex universe.”

Today’s gospel from John tells of Jesus curing a man who was blind from birth. Maybe we could ask the healing Jesus to cure us of our failure to see our interconnectedness with all the life forms on Earth; our failure to see we are kin with all life. May we be blessed to see we are not islands nor are we meant to be rugged individuals. We are family and as family we care for one another. Just give a shut-in friend a phone call, the sound of the human voice is better than an e-mail.

We’re all in this together, the loneliness, the frustration, and the anxieties that are part of all our lives. So, we pray for and we reach out to one another. We are family!

Homily – March 15, 2020

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

We’ve all heard this story of Christ meeting a women at a well. They are both thirsty, Christ for water and the woman for God. They quenched each other’s thirst.

But I’d like to say a few words on Paul’s letter to the Romans.

It would be an under-statement to say these are troublesome times. We’ve yet to come to grips with our environmental reality and now we face a viral pandemic. In a way we’ve brought it all on ourselves. Environmentally we’re living beyond our means. We can travel anywhere in the world but that blessing can expose us to many dangers. A virus that came out of a market place in China has spread around the world by jet travel. Italy is in lock down, the stock market is in shambles and tourism is at a standstill.

What we need now is the strength of God’s gift of Hope. We believe in God, we believe in God’s Son, Jesus our Christ and we believe in God’s life giving Spirit. Hope is God’s gift to us that helps us trust that God’s promises will be kept, no matter how our present circumstances make us wonder if this be true.

St. Paul tells us we are justified, made right with God, by our faith, our conviction that we are loved by God, we are precious to God. God proves this to us when God sent Jesus into our world not to judge or condemn us but to die his shameful, painful death on the cross so that might be one again with God.

No matter what we give up for Lent or what good works we do in Lent, no matter what prayers we pray this Lent the upmost conviction we must have this Lent is based on these words of Paul in our first reading;’ While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly, Christ died for you, Christ died for me. Christ died for Jewish people, Christ died for Moslem people, Christ died for Gay and Transgender people, Christ died for the refugees and immigrants of our troubled world. God our Father proves his love for all of us in that we were still sinners Christ died for us all.

We say we believe all this but there are many times in our lives when things are so confused, so uncertain, so unfair when all we can say is this simple truth; Lord I believe, help the little faith I have.

We hang on to Hope. In the face of global or personal crises we hang on to our conviction that God, our Father, our Mother is true to the promise, I am with you always even til the end of days. Hold on to hope, keep the Faith, God is with us especially in these uncertain times. Remember at this Mass those suffering from these disease, the scientists searching for a cure and the nurses and doctors caring for the sick.

Homily – March 8, 2020

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Today’s scripture might be about our comfort zones. For Abraham, his comfort zone was in the city of Ur, his home town. He was surrounded and supported by the members of his clan. He was wealthy. Abraham had it made. But God had other plans for Abraham. He lured him and his clan away from Ur with a promise of a new land flowing with milk and honey. Childless at that time God promised Abraham he would be the father of a mighty nation, his sons numberless like the stars of heaven. Abraham believed God and left his comfort zone and followed God into an unknown future.

For Peter, James and John their comfort zone was on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes and they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus and all they could say was, “It is good for us to be here.’ But that was not to be. Jesus got them off the mountain, away from their wonderful comfort zone. They would not be blessed with another such experience until they saw the Risen Christ. In the meantime they would endure experiencing their part in the betrayal by Judas, Peter’s denial and the trial and shameful, painful crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary. At no time at any of these events did any of them say, ‘it is good for us to be here.’ Comfort zones are nice but they can be dangerous. Our personal comfort zones can cause us to stagnate, become idle and without motivation.

On our own journey of life and our journey of faith we are meant to be on the move, to grow and deepen our relationships with the other people in our lives. St. Paul challenges us to grow to full maturity in our relationship with Christ. Marriages are meant to grow and deepen from one comfort zone to another. Personal careers happen when a man or woman knows they can and want to move on. Fear to move on leads to stagnation and stagnation leads to death.

Our baptism was our birth into our relation with Christ in the community of the Church. Think on this. What is your comfort zone as a member of St. Gabriel’s parish? Do you feel welcomed as you come to Sunday Mass? Have you made an effort to get to know other parishioners? Are you involved in any parish event? Do you serve your fellow parishioners in any of the parish ministries? When you come to Sunday Mass or to a parish event have you ever thought, ‘it is good for me to be here?

From the moment we were born we were meant to grow, meant to move from one comfort zone to another. It is not always ‘good for us to be here.’ Christ is calling all of us to grow to move on. Belonging,Believing, Becoming, the greatest of these is becoming.

Homily – February 23, 2020

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

I think the message of today’s gospel could be; ‘you are meant to be better than this’. Jesus reminds the men and women to whom he was speaking that the lessons they were taught by the ancient laws were meant to influence their daily lives.

He tells them, you were taught to love your neighbour, that is the members of your own tribe and hate those who do you wrong. But I want you to know that you are meant to be better than this. I want to broaden the horizons of your minds. Open your heart to everyone who comes into your life no matter where they come from, no matter how they pray, no matter the color of their skin. Jesus calls them to pray for those who do them wrong. We are challenged to echo the words of Jesus as he hung from the cross; Remember the prayer of Jesus as he hung on his cross; Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

As followers of Jesus Christ we’re all challenged to grow beyond our latent bigotry and prejudice and our stereo typing of other people. God’s sun shines on the evil and on the good and God’s rain falls of all of us.

It’s easy to be friendly with friends but it is a challenge and a struggle to be pleasant to men and women with whom we have nothing in common.

Jesus tells us, be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. Who of us can be faultless? We’re all mistake making beings. God’s perfection is in God’s love for each one of us, the good the bad and the ugly. God’s perfection is in his willingness to forgive and forget our sins and failing. That’s the perfection to which we are called.

We are meant to be better than people with closed minds and hard hearts. Jesus wanted to broaden the horizons of his hears minds and hearts and he wants the same for us. Our neighbour is anyone who comes into our lives especially the poor, the homeless, the newcomers to this land.

Our national crisis this past while is the confrontation between the first nations in BC and their resistance to a pipe line going through their nation’s sacred lands and the disruption to our economy by the blockading of the railroads that has been disastrous on the economy. We see the clenched fist of those who want to call in the troops and let big business get on with the job and we see the open hand of those who want to negotiate with the heritage chiefs – equal to equal, nation to nation. Today’s gospel might be a guide to both sides in this conflict. At this Mass we can pray for a just solution.