Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

Homily – November 28, 2021

Sunday, November 28th, 2021

There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, on earth distress among nations, the roaring of the seas and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

I wonder how the good people of British Columbia must have felt as the endured a storm of the century. Their lives were turned upside down. Within hours families were shattered, lives were lost. Electrical power was no more, main highways, rail roads and bridges were no more. Their businesses gone, farmlands flooded, live stock lost. They were without safe drinking water, they had no sanitation facilities. All this in a matter of hours. It was the end of life as they knew it.

Last week it was B.C. this week it’s Nova Scotia and NFLD. Global warning and climate change are full of surprises. May we keep these people in our prayer that they have the strength and determination to rebuild their lives. Resiliency is part of the human condition, and these disasters bring out the best in us. But still, we know not the day nor the hour. Just think on this…

The poetry of these apocalyptic writings, terrifying as they may be, really is all about the vulnerability and unpredictability of our daily living more than with clues to the schedule of the coming end of all things. Our world disintegrates when a loved one dies or our life is shattered by divorce or our future in uncertain when we lose a job. We fear our future when we’re told we have cancer or we’re in the first stages of dementia.

But even with these portents of the end times, there is the promise born: We will “see the Son of Man coming on a cloud. When these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, for your Redeemer is near at hand.”

God’s promise to all of us is; fear not, I am with you always, even to the end of days, especially in the worst of days…

Homily – November 21, 2021

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Standing before a corrupt politician, dressed in mock purple, wearing a painful crown of thorns, weakened by his scourging, Pilate asks Jesus, ‘are you the king of the Jews. Jesus does not deny the title’ ’King’ but wants nothing to do with the reality of kingship of his time, ‘my kingdom is not off this world.’

Basically Jesus is saying to Pilate I am not tolerating this phony trial. I am here to bear witness to the truth.

Pilate asks Jesus, ‘what is truth’ but is really not interested in an answer.

Truth for Jesus was that every person has his/her own dignity before God. That’s why he praised the Samaritan people, who were despised by the Jews. That’s why Jesus ate with publicans and sinners, the despised outcasts of society. That’s why Jesus embraced prostitutes and lepers, despised by the social snobbery of the time… That’s why Jesus spent time with and preached to the crowds hungry for words of understanding as to how difficult their lives were; bearing witness to the truth that they were of value, they are loved by God, and they are loved by Jesus.

Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

You’ve probably heard the saying,’ denial ain’t just a river in Egypt’. How many truths, how many realities are we denying, refusing to face the truth of our time?

How about these truths?

The embarrassing truth that our church made a terrible mistake when we teamed up with the federal government to get the Indian out of the child and staffed residential schools.

The frightening truth of global warming and climate change and our challenge to live lightly on the earth.

The embarrassing truth of the unjust and unfair distribution of earth’s wealth and resources.

The shameful truth of the racism and bigotry that pervades our communities and education systems.

The distressful truth of unaffordable housing and the homelessness that is part and parcel of our social network.

Christ our King said that everyone who belongs, admits and accept the uncomfortable truths of their times listen to his voice and works to undo the wrongs of their times.

You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. Admitting the truth of the reality of the injustices with which live, the racism and bigotry with which we live, the consumerism and wastefulness of our lifestyles may God give us the freedom to live our lives as faithful followers of the Christ we honor as our King.

Homily – November 14, 2021

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

From the fig tree learn this lesson – its tender branches and its fresh leaves tell us summer is near. For us falling leaves and bare branches sign us that winter is on its way. Get out our woollies.

What are the signs in our times that warn us of future troubles? The increase number of hurricanes, the loss of shore lines, prolonged dry hot seasons and forest fires, melting glaciers, polluted oceans, these are all signs that things are changing in the world in which we live. What is the lesson these signs want us to learn? Could it be; smarten up? You are in trouble?

The world summit in Glasgow on climate change is an important event. Concerned young people from around the world gave and heard speeches about possible disasters that will impact their futures. World leaders gave great promises to change our dependency on fossil fuel and made promises of economic help to poor countries.

Everyone had to admit we are running out of time to really and drastically change the ways we live on planet Earth. But let’s face it; there hasn’t been that much change, drastic change in our life styles of consumerism and wastefulness, and our dependency on fossil fuel, since the Paris Agreement in 2019

I could scare you to death with all kinds of statistical woes but all you have to do is read the newspapers to find out how bad things are. Are we really serious about the drastic changes in our lifestyles required of us if we are to survive? Are we trying to live simply on Earth that others may simply live? Or are we leaving it for the next generation to clean up the mess we leave them, are we kicking the can down the road?

There is another way we can hear today’s gloomy gospel, that is to hear Mark speaking to every generation, including our own. Each of us will have our own ‘end time’ namely our own death and our generation pass away, like those before us… Can we hear Mark not so much warning us about the future end of the world but rather telling us how to live this day, this moment, this life? Right here, right now is our time to bear fruit, right here, right now, in our time, Mark is telling us to live today as if it were our last day, loving as we’ve been loved, forgiving as we’ve been forgiven, and healing as we’ve been healed. It’s all about right here, right now.

Jesus once said to people who worried about the future problems, ‘sufficient for the day is the evil there of’. For us here and now can we hear, sufficient for the day are the possibilities there of? The possibility to be more accepting of men and women different from ourselves, the possibility to be there for friend or stranger, the possibility to act kindly, live justly and walk humbly before our God. The rest is in the hands of God

Homily – November 7, 2021

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the book, Angela’s ashes. It’s about the dire poverty and hunger of the poor in Limerick, in Ireland. When there was knock on the door at mealtime no one was ever turned away, they just a little more water to the stew.

Today’s scriptures tell the story of two widows, living centuries apart. The only thing they have in common is an open heart to the needs of others.

The prophet Elijah intruded into this widow’s life and asked for bread. She explained her own situation; she had handful of meal in a jar and a little oil for cooking a final meal for her son and herself. Elijah made her a promise; if she shared the little she had, then the jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the drought is over.

Jesus praises the widow he sees in the Temple. She drops her copper coins into the collection basket, trusting they will be put to good use. It was all she had, but she was willing to help those who were worse off than herself. These two widows share a common kindness, an open heart to those who share their poverty.

This ever present pandemic has turned our lives upside down. We never imagined theaters closed, restaurants closed, family gatherings discouraged, weddings and funerals with limited attendance. Whoever imagined working from home would be the normal or teaching on line? What will the next normal be?

So many people are just stressed out waiting for new guidelines for the future.

We all want to discover new ways to reconnect, to be there for one another. A phone call, an email would be great.

I think we’re all familiar with the image of the lone wolf, the predator searching for its prey. But wolves never travel alone, they travel in packs and as they travel they bump into one another, nudge one another just to let one another know they are not alone, I’m with you.

Can there such a thing as a ‘lone Christian? I hope not.

Maybe this is one way of coming out of this pandemic, letting family and friends and strangers know they are not alone.

Many people’s financial security has been impacted by this virus. Bars and restaurants, small businesses were closed never to reopen.

Government was there to help, but that will change.

Here’s our reality as a parish.

From now on until Christmas you’ll be inundated with appeals for help. Just check the bulletin and see the appeals for Christmas food, Christmas clothing, and Christmas toys. Our St. Vincent de Paul men and women have so many requests for help at this time of year and the number of needy men and women and families never goes down. It’s the same for the Salvation Army, the Scott Mission, and The Good Shepherd Refugee.

Some people may resent all these appeals, ignore them. Our past Christmases appeals prove that’s not true here. Your past generosity gives great promise.

Today’s widows offer us an example. They had open hearts to the needs of others.

In these coming weeks before Christmas may we, as a parish family, be gifted with open hearts and open hands.

Homily – October 31, 2021

Sunday, October 31st, 2021

Behold O Israel the Lord our God is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This prayer is called the Shema. Observant Jews say it many times a day.

You may see a little plaque on the doorpost of a Jewish home or apartment, this contains the Shema pray and people touch it as they enter or leave their home and pray the Shema.

This pray stressed the truth that God is one and that the Jewish people were not to be seduced into believing in the many gods in which their neighbours believed.

When the Scribe asked his question he was not trying to trap Jesus, he was just asking ‘what do you think?

Jesus’ answer was quick and to the point but he added words we need to hear today; you shall love your neighbour as you love yourself. The way John the Apostle put was, how can you say you love God, whom you have never seen, when you do not love your neighbour who you see? To put it another way; ‘how can you say you love God who you’ve never seen when you dismiss from your life the person sitting next to you on the bus or subway because of their color or the way they’re dressed or their mannerism?

We need to hear these challenging words of Jesus and John and ask ourselves how they challenge our own way of relating to other people of other faiths, other national origins.

There was article in the Star last week on the rise of acts of violence against places of worship; mosques and temple, synagogues and churches vandalized and defaced with racist slogans, what’s behind these actions. It’s usually fear of the different, the strange.

What’s the greatest commandment? Love God, love your neighbour. But love is the most over used, the most abused word in the English language. We flip around so easily that the word love has lost its meaning, its power.

The power of the words ‘love’ challenges our prejudges, our bigotry, our racism, even as we deny these realities in our lives.

Right here, right now we celebrate real and proven love as we make present to us the passion and death of Jesus, when Jesus handed over to us his body, his blood, his life and left us with these challenging words…love one another as I’ve loved you.

We all know there is a great difference between loving a person and liking a person. There are some people we will never like. We have personality clash with them, they turn us off. But we are challenged to love them; to wish them well and pray for their well being. That’s how we love as Jesus loved us.