Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

Homily – August 1, 2021

Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Last Sunday’s gospel told of Jesus feeding a crowd of close to 5000 men, women and children with five barley loaves and two fish. The people were so impressed they want come by force and make Jesus king. Jesus left them and took the disciples with him and went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But the people followed and found him. He chides them that they want more food. Then he introduces them to the reality we know as the Eucharist, Holy Communion.

Jesus cautions the people not labor for food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life which the son of man will give them.

Once again this dubious crowd demanded a sign – give us a sign so that we may believe. They remembered their ancestors were given Manna to eat in the desert, what does Jesus offer them. Jesus challenges their imagination and their faith by his claim; ‘I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Now that the restrictions on our social lives are being lifted we anxious to get together with family and friends. We are at ease having friends over for a meal or a drink. It lifts our spirits getting together with others to break bread. We nourish one another with companionship and conversation.

For the next couple of Sundays the gospel will be centered on Jesus Christ as our bread of life come down from heaven as did the Manna. He makes this promise, I am the bread of life, and whoever eats this bread will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty

Later on Jesus makes another promise. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you cannot have life in you.t the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you cannot have life in you.

This virus has caused Havoc to our Sunday celebrations; only so many people can attend, they have to register beforehand, they have to wear masks, the way we share communion is so controlled, there is no greeting of peace, we can’t sing, we can’t spend any social time in our gathering space.

It’s all so controlled, contrived, so not Holy Communion.

Hopefully when people are more comfortable with crowds and come again to our Sunday Masses we can again be nourished by the body and blood of Christ. We are hungry, not just for Holy Communion but also for company of our fellow parishioners. We need their presence, we need their faith.

Our common faith tells us that the Word made flesh; the incarnate Christ is present as our bread of life. The crucified Christ gives his flesh and blood as food to all of us

At this Mass, at every Mass we are nourish, strengthened, supported and encouraged by the scriptures we hear, sometimes by the sermon we hear but always the bread of life we receive in communion, in oneness with all those around us.

Bread is more than bread, it is the body of Christ, wine is more than wine, and it is the blood of Christ. Take and eat, take and drink, never be hungry.

Homily – July 25, 2021

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

Pope Francis has asked that this Sunday be celebrated as Grandparents day. Tomorrow is the feast day of Sts Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary, the grandparents of Jesus. We have no scriptural knowledge of them. Their names appear in non-scriptural writings in the second century. Their feasts have been celebrated since 1584.

But Pope Francis, who was close to his own grandparents, wants us to honor and celebrate our grandparents and the contributions they made to our lives. So today we honor and thank our Grandparents for the ways they influenced our lives. Speaking to today’s Grandparents Pope Francis says, ‘This is your vocation at your age- to preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the youth and to care for the little ones, a great task.

I never knew my grandparents. They all died before I was born. But grandparents pass on to us family stories, grandmother pass on families recipes, grandfather pass on the family histories. They pass on to us family memories.

As Canadians we are or should be shocked and embarrassed by the history of the residential schools and the impact they had on future generations of indigenous men and women and their children. These children were robbed of their past. Separated from parents and grandparents these children were robbed of the wisdom and life skills of their parents and grandparents. These children, who now lie in unmarked graves, were robbed of age old skills of hunting and trapping and fishing, and how to survive in the wilderness they never experienced living in the wild, under the stars. They never heard family stories, family history or tribal history. They were never exposed to their native spirituality. They were robbed.

Indigenous girls never were taught family meals, never learned how to tan a deer hide, never learned how to make moccasins or do bead and quill decorations. They were robbed.

The lasting effects of all this is that in their own parenting they had nothing to pass on to their children, they lacked parenting skills.

I watch a program on TVO about indigenous men and women who became architects and designed community and cultural centers on the reserves. In planning their projects every one of them said,’ first of all I listened to our Elders, listened to our Elders. Listened. They knew that years have wisdom the days know nothing of.

Preparing to celebrate the lives and example of the grandparents of Jesus we thank and honor the influence and wisdom of our grandparent, living and dead.

Homily – July 18, 2021

Sunday, July 18th, 2021

In our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian were recent converts to the faith but by accepting Christ this brought into the long history of the Jewish people’s relationship with God. He tells these new Christians that they are part of something very ancient. They were strangers to the covenant between God and the Jewish people; they had no hope without God in this world. But now in Christ Jesus they who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Christ is their peace, in his flesh he has made the circumcised – the Jews and the uncircumcised the Gentiles -into one and has broken down the dividing wall, the hostility between us. Through his passion and death Christ has created in himself one new humanity in place of two, making peace and reconciling both groups, Jews and Gentiles, to God, thru the cross.

This unity of Jews and Gentiles meant so much to Paul and his greatest grief was the inability of Jews to accept Jesus as the Christ, their longed for Messiah.

Paul was blessed with a deep and personal relationship with Christ. He would say, for me to live is Christ, Christ lives in me, the life I live I live it trusting in the son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. Yet Paul was willing to forgo that intense relationship if only his Jewish brothers and sisters would accept Jesus as the Messiah,

In his letter to the Romans he writes; I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own Jewish people, for to them belong the glory, the adoption,the covenant, the giving of the Law and from them comes the Messiah.

It is sad to read in our papers about acts of anti-Semitism here in our city, anti-Semitic slogans, swastikas’, painted on Jewish home and places of worship. These mindless acts of hurt are also hurled against our Moslem neighbours and friends. Dark deeds done in the darkness of night.

These are un-Christian acts done by people ignorant of our Jewish – Christian legacy. We are all spiritual Semites, all descendants of Abraham, our father in faith.

We do well to remember the words, the warning of Christ..Whatever you do to these brothers and sisters of mine, Jews, Moslems, you do to me.

It is a daily challenge to keep the great commandment, love one another, respect one another, accept one another, as I you.

Homily – July 11, 2021

Sunday, July 11th, 2021

Have you ever heard the expression that someone is carrying too much baggage? Not physical things but maybe unresolved family conflicts, unresolved anger or resentments, unresolved, unresolved. Resentments and memories of which they can’t let go but continue to burden their lives

Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the good news with no means of support; no sandals, no staff, no bread, no purse. To walk the rocky roads of Galilee in such a way would be madness. No scandals to protect their feet, staff for self- defence, no companion for safety.

Yet they all carried their own personal baggage. Judas; his greed, Peter; his fickleness, James and John; the needs of their ambitious mother, these are the ones we know of.

Jesus gave these instructions to the disciples who were to travel rocky roads from one small village to another. Mark passed these words on to men and women who were urban dwellers, probably Romans but people embarked on a journey every Christian tries to travel.

If Mark was challenging his urban readers to make an analogous application to their living the way of Jesus in their settled urban lives, how might these instructions of Jesus apply to us who live on this small planet in an ever expanding universe?

We are on that same journey; we are a pilgrim people, so we can’t pretend to be ignorant of our realities, our baggage; global warming or plastic polluted seas, or the loss of topsoil. We can’t ignore our vulnerability to the global pandemics that is turning our lives upside down.

In our times Mark’s gospel calls us to live simply, that others might simply live. Our life styles call us to curb our greed and be conscious of the have nots of Earth. Our times call us to face the injustices of our past history and work to rectify them now. As Canadians we carry the baggage of residential schools, stolen land and broken treaties.

Our time calls us to put an end to our mentality of consumerism. Having more and more we can become less and less. Our time in our country calls us to confront racism and bigotry toward men and women different from ourselves in faith or nationality or lifestyles.

Today these long ago instructions call each of us to ‘check our baggage and travel lightly on our journey, in the company of others, toward the kingdom of God.

Homily – July 4, 2021

Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Just a thought before my reflection on the second reading of Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Corinth..

In light of the discovery of the hundreds of unmarked grave found at residential schools it is hard being a Canadian these days. Because of our church’s involvement in the effort to rob the indigenous people of their land, their language, their culture and their religion it is hard to be a Catholic these days. In our failure to make the financial recompense called for by the courts, it is hard to be a Canadian Catholic. Until our own leaders set matters straight our difficulties will continue…

Just something to think about.

In his different letters to the early Christian communities Paul shares with them the consequences of his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. He had permission from the religious authorities to arrest people who were following Jesus of Nazareth. A disgraced popular preacher who had been crucified for the crime of blasphemy. Christ appeared to him and asked him. ‘Saul, why are you persecuting me? The bewildered Paul asked, ‘who are you’? I am Jesus who you are persecuting.

Paul spent a lot of time in prayer and solitude coping with the fact that it was necessary for the Christ, the Messiah, to suffer his crucifixion and so enter into his glory.

Paul tells the people of Corinth of the blessings he received in prayer, he was caught up to the third heaven and heard things that are not to be told and cannot be repeated.

In today’s second reading we hear of another aspect of Paul’s life, this famous ‘thorn in the flesh that kept him from being too proud. Scripture scholars have speculated on what that thorn might be that was meant to keep Paul humble. One author speculated that it might have been Paul’s irritably, he was short tempered and didn’t like being questioned, a hard person to work with.

Time and again he faced this shortcoming; with all his visions Paul was a hard man to work with..

Let’s face it; we all have a thorn in the flesh, a fault or failing with which we struggle and which will not go away. It could be a bad tempter; we fly off the handle at the drop of a hat. Maybe we struggle with moodiness, or controlling our tongue, or how much we eat or drink or the way we spend our money. It could be our struggle to understand or be sympathetic with the hurt and pain our Indigenous brothers and sisters are going through these days as they deal with the unmarked graves of unknown children.It might be our wonder of ‘why can’t these people be like us’? Is our thorn our impatience with accepting men and women of a different color, a different faith, a different nationality or a different life style?

Try as we might, pray as we might we still struggle to pick out that thorn. Spiritual writers call it our ’predominant fault.

Paul gloried in his weakness because it drew the strength and power of Christ into his life’ struggles. Paul’s thorns didn’t go away but he was given the patience and strength to cope.

Christ showed his open wounds to the apostles, can we show Christ our wounds, our thorns in the flesh?

There is an old Negro spiritual that sings;

It’s me it’s me O Lord standing in the need of prayer. Maybe our simple and honest prayer can be; it’s me, it’s me it’s me O Lord standing in the need of patience, standing in the need of self-control, standing in the need of an open heart, an open mind – always standing in the need of the power of Christ dwelling in me.