Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

Homily – May 24, 2020

Sunday, May 24th, 2020

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ’s Ascension, his being taken up in glory. The resurrection and the ascension of Jesus cannot be separated. The Church does separate these events in order to contemplate the meaning of two aspects of a single, indivisible event. Both feasts celebrate Christ’s vindication, his glorification. Both feasts teach us that the sacrifice of his life on the cross was accepted by the Father. As St. Paul teaches, it was for this cause – Christ’s acceptance of death – that God has exalted him and given him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bend in heaven and on earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord.

These feasts of resurrection and ascension shout out loud that evil and hatred and injustice are not the final words in our lives. The humiliation and degradation Christ Crucified endured on the cross are vindicated in his resurrection and ascension. Death has no power over him anymore.

The financial anxiety, the grief, the fright so many people endure as we live during this present endemic will not endure. God’s grace and love and mercy are with us especially in the hard work of world scientists as they feverishly search to find an antibody to this virus. God is with us in the sacrifices of the first responders. God is with us as we reach out to family and friends to comfort and support them.

Jesus promised us, “I will not leave you orphans.’ As in so many other times in our lives we need to hear that promise in this time. We need to trust that promise now. I will not leave you orphans. I am with you always.

Homily – May 10, 2020

Sunday, May 10th, 2020

Today’s gospel is part of John’s long discourse about what we’ve come to call the Last Supper. Our gospel starts with Jesus’s encouraging words,’ do not let your hearts be troubled’. But their hearts were troubled. They knew Jesus crossed the line when he drove the merchants and money lenders out of the Temple. They were more than troubles when Jesus told them that one of them would betray him. He warned Peter of his cowardly denial. It had to be an intense meal. The disciples looked at one another suspiciously, are you the betrayer? Am I the betrayer? Do not let your hearts be troubled. How can we know the way without you? They found it difficult to trust Jesus’s words, Believe in God, believe in me.

I read something in Facebook this past week. Often times people will say,’ we’re all in the same boat’ living thru this pandemic. But the writer said, we’re not all in the same boat but we all in the same storm.

This could be said of the today’s gospel; the disciples were all in the same storm of fright and confusion trying to cope with Jesus’ warning of betrayal and denial. They were bewildered when he told them he was going away. But each of them was in his own boat wondering, ‘it is I Lord?’ why are you leaving, what will I do? How can we know the way?

As we all live thru this never ending storm of lock down and isolation and as we worry over loved ones, each one of us is in our own boat. It could be the boat of unemployment and unpaid bills. It could be the boat of anxiety about family members. It could be the boat of loneliness and isolation. It could be the boat of anxiety about our own health. It could be a boat of any number of possibilities. But it’s our boat tossing us about in our common storm.

In a way we are experiencing what the disciples experienced when they were caught in a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. They cried out, ‘Lord save us’ and Jesus calmed the sea.

In these times it is hard to trust the words of Jesus, ‘do not let your hearts be troubled’ but we are troubled and wonder how long will this last?

These words of Jesus challenge all of us; Trust in God, trust in me.’

Homily – May 3, 2020

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

Scripture scholars tell us that the epistles of Peter, James and John are Catholic Epistles. They are not directed to any particular Christian community but to any and all the followers of Jesus.

In our reading today Peter encourages Christian men and women who suffer for being faithful to the teaching and example of Jesus. Maybe they were shunned by their families or ridiculed by neighbours for believing in a criminal who was crucified for claiming to be God. Some may even been jailed or put to death.

But Peter reminds them all these things happened to Jesus and Jesus left us an example that we should follow in his steps. Jesus did not return insult for insult, pain with pain. And Jesus endured all his suffering for us leaving us an example as to how we should act in the face of hatred and injustice.

We are all to bear witness to our Christian by what we say and what we do.

As we live together during these difficult times of social distancing, isolation in our homes, being laid off work or having to close a business and as we fear for those who are sick and mourn for those who have died may can always be grateful for the presence of family and friends. We pray for the men and women who first respond in any way to serve us in these anxious times.

Our present frights and fears, our isolation, our insecurities about what the future may bring these are our share in the sufferings of Christ. With faith in him can we echo his words; Father if it is possible let this chalice pass me by, yet not my will but your will be done?

By his wounds we are healed. Can our present wounds of loneliness, anxiety and financial insecurity heal us and make us more aware of our indifference to the poverty of so many people around the world, heal our indifference to the reality of climate change and heal our indifference to the suffering of good people who suffer from the unfairness of racism, sexism, financial exploitation and the xenophobia that lessens us all?

We shouldn’t be afraid to ask ourselves these questions.

Homily – April 26, 2020

Sunday, April 26th, 2020

We’ve heard today’s gospel story many times over the years. These two men were on their way home to Emmaus from Jerusalem after celebrating the great feast of Passover.

They were followers of Jesus. They heard Jesus preach and they heard of the miracles he’s worked among the sick and the lame.

They hoped Jesus would be the one who would redeem Israel. They hoped he would be the one who would save the Jewish people from Roman occupation….

Then it all came tumbling down. In a night and a day Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples and denied by another. He was arrested by the religious authorities and found guilty of blasphemy and condemned to death. The religious authorities pressures Pilate, a weak Roman authority to condemn Jesus to death by crucifixion.

Cleopas was amazed this man hadn’t known all this. ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem that does not know these things that have taken place? Their journey ends at the house of Cleopas and he invites Jesus to join him for supper and stay the night. During their long walk home this stranger explain to them that beginning with Moses and all the prophets the hidden message was that it was necessary that the longed for Messiah had to suffer all these humiliations and suffering as so enter into his glory.

In the midst of a simple meal sharing bread this stranger made himself known and they saw him as they never saw him before and then he was gone. They couldn’t wait to get back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples all that had happened.

Can we think on this? These two men opened their door/home to Jesus and welcomed him. Jesus in turn opened their hearts and minds to understand the ‘why’ of the humiliation and death of the one in whom they had hoped. They saw the Risen Christ.

What can happen to us when we open the door of our hearts to Christ and spend a time in prayer listening to what He has to say to us as we try to live life as He taught us? What can happen to us as we open the door of our minds and spent some time reading the Scriptures and come to see his great love for us and the challenges he puts before us?

What can happen to us when we open the door of our minds and hearts to total strangers? Strangers, who think differently, live differently, believe differently than we do?

What can happen in our lives when we open our minds and hearts to men and women of different cultures or faiths or life styles? What can happen to us when we open our minds to new insights into our Catholic faith? Jesus said, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock.’ Will take the risk and open our door to Christ as he comes to us in the scriptures and in strangers?

Homily – April 19, 2020

Sunday, April 19th, 2020

In a way today’s gospel applies to us. We are those blessed ones who have not seen the Risen Christ, have not touched those open wounds and yet we believe that Christ is risen and is active in our lives as he was active in the lives of the first believers.

We can imagine the joy and excitement that exploded among the followers of Jesus when the news spread that he was alive, rose from the dead. Unbelievable.

We have the disciples gathered behind locked doors. They feared the authorities would come after them for spreading this fake news that he was alive. Jesus comes to them and blesses them with the gift of peace and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Thomas was not there and he had great difficulty believing this news. Thomas had to see for himself. Jesus comes to them again and invites the speechless Thomas to touch, to feel his wounds. What else to Thomas say but; ’My lord and my God’?

For Thomas, faith came by hearing the voice of the risen one addressing him personally. For we who come centuries after Thomas, our faith comes through hearing the Word of God that comes to us through the Church…

We’re all finding our present situation of isolation and social distancing very difficult. So many of us are suffering from cabin fever. We want to get back with family and friends; we want to get back to work without the fear and anxiety of getting sick. We look forward to the day when we can be together as a parish family and are with one another and sing together and break the bread of the Eucharist again. It is good to remember that we are all in this together and that it is a good idea to pray for those who are touched by this virus and pray for those who have died and those who mourn them. Especially we pray for those we call ‘first responders’, the real heroes in all this.

There is a saying; Oremus pro invicem- let us pray for one another. Pray for the patience we need and the hope we need to live through these difficult times together. And when all this is over hopefully we’ll have a deeper appreciation of how much we mean to one another.