Archive for the ‘Homily’ Category

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.

Homily – June 27, 2021

Sunday, June 27th, 2021

The author of the book of Wisdom tells us ‘God did not make death’

In his epic poem ‘Paradise Lost John Milton gives his version of the origin of death, jealousy and envy.

Milton fantasizes that Lucifer, the bearer of light envied the glory of God and would rather reign in hell rather than serve in heaven. Coming to earth he finds Adam and Eve in the pristine beauty of their relationship with God,- a relationship he’d lost. In a jealous rage Lucifer decided to lure them away from their closeness to God by telling them that if they ate the forbidden fruit they would become like God, knowing good and evil. Milton has Lucifer saying, ’I can suck them into myself, their beauty and all its traces. If I posse them I will be great again. I will be able to continue my war against God and I can win.

God did not create death. We are born to die and in dying we are born into eternal life. Our Christian faith tells us that death is not the end of life, it is the beginning of new and endless life, where the eye has not seen, nor the ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love him.

We grieve over the sudden and tragic death of someone we love and we are grateful for the death of a family member or friend who suffers from a lingering illness.

As we celebrate this Mass we remember the promise of Jesus– he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in them and I will raise them up on the last day.

No one gets out of this life alive – but we go from death to life, endless life.

We are shocked, saddened and embarrassed at the unmarked graves of these unknown Indigenous children. But we know that God knows them and call them each by name.

Homily – June 20, 2021

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

We can just imagine how terrified the disciples were during that sudden storm this was not there first storm, they were fisherman and used to sudden storms. It was the violence of this storm that caused their alarm but the fact that Jesus was asleep and seemly unaware of what was happening didn’t help matters. When they woke him up he imply stretched out his hands and told the raging waters to be still, and they obeyed. Why were you fearful, o ye of little faith?

Who wouldn’t be afraid?

I was caught in a storm on the water twice. One was in a sail boat and the boat owner was at a total loss as to what to do. We did get to shore. The other was in an outboard motor boat and it was in a hail storm. I can still remember the sound of the hail stones hitting the outboard motor and hitting the boat and hitting me. Not nice. I was frightened but I can’t remember praying.

I think most of us can relate to the fear and confusion felt by the apostles in that stormy night crossing of the Sea of Galilee.

We’ve all been living with the turbulence of this pandemic; our lives have been turned upside down. We’ve missed family gathering, we missed being able to visit family member in a hospital or nursing home. We missed being able to comfort a grieving friend. Think of the upset business people went through with now open then now closed for their places of business in jeproady.

Every day good people have to cope with such things as a messy divorce, alcoholic or drug addiction, the suicide of a friend or family member, the list is as long as the litany of the saints and we ask the honest question; do you not care that we are perishing?

O you of little faith. What is faith, fare more than mouthing the words, ‘I believe in God’ Faith is the willingness to say ‘you’ to God says you to each one of us.

Faith is trusting in that interpersonal bond each one of has to God, we call Father, the Father who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.

Remember that popular song of a few years past…he’s got the whole world in his hands? We may honestly wonder if this is true, but that’s because we’re human and so often our simple prayer is; Lord I believe, help the little faith I have.