Thursday, February 28, 2008

Homily for Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

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Jesus takes sin pretty seriously. Remember when he said, ‘Until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter of the law will pass away.’ Do you remember when He said as well, ‘Anyone who teaches one of the these little ones to sin by breaking one of the least of the commandments, it would be better for that man to have a millstone tied around his neck and that he be thrown into the sea.’ Yeah, Jesus takes the law seriously. He takes sin seriously. Yet not so seriously that He could see that it is better to do good and to save life on the Sabbath than to destroy it. So he cured the man who had been ill for 38 years – told him to pick up his mat, and to go home, even though it was the Sabbath.

But then Jesus goes right back to taking sin seriously. He reminds the man not to sin, so that nothing worse would happen to him. That is like telling someone who is just being released from the hospital after battling a long illness not to take the Lord’s name in vain, so that something worse doesn’t happen to them. Does Jesus think there really is something worse than being ill for 38 years? Apparently so, and so we should think the same. We should never take sin lightly, for it blinds us to the presence of Christ, and this is far worse than suffering an illness in this lifetime. We should do everything we can to do good and to avoid evil, and to humbly receive the sacrament of reconciliation as often as we can, so that our soul does not become sick for eternity!

Homily for Monday of the 4th Week of Lent

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How easily we believe in Jesus when he improves our lives in exactly the way in which we ask him to improve them. There is nothing wrong with prayers of petitions, asking for good things from God, to be sure, but we are not supposed to be confounded by our expectations. Sometimes God gives us what is best for us by conforming our lives more fully to the mystery of the Lord’s cross, which is the everlasting sign of God’s love for us. Jesus gains more believers in today’s reading by working a wonderful sign, and healing the son of the royal official. But even in today’s Gospel he is cautioning those who are following him. They should not believe in Him simply because of his signs and wonders. The sign where we are to most recognize the identity of Jesus is the sign of the cross. It is there that we really choose whether or not to be his disciples. He tells us plainly, unless you take up your cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. When we ask for good things from God that we truly need, let us also ask him to not make things too easy for us, lest we fail to recognize Him when He places himself into our hands, and is nailed to a cross for our offenses.

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent

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The man is blind so that God’s works may become visible in him. So says Jesus, who sees in the man’s blindness an opportunity for him to come to faith. Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This beatitude comes true in the life of the blind man. Because he is poor, he has the humility needed to long for the healing of Jesus. Because of his humility, he has the faith to trust Jesus and then to see him and to hear with his own ears Jesus proclaim himself to be the Son of Man. There are many things in this world that are hard to understand. Why are some people born blind? Why do so many good people get sick and die young and catch so many bad breaks, whereas the wicked seem to enjoy health and prosperity? Why? On many levels, these questions of why have no good answers. They are part of the mystery of the effects of original sin, and the reality of a broken world where everything breaks apart quite unpredictably. Anyone who has prayed for a young child to get well, however, knows that despite the meaninglessness of human suffering, there is a side to it that makes us yearn for the healing touch of Jesus. We yearn for that healing touch to make things better for us in this world. What is more, we yearn for that healing touch that will keep us believing in the reality of his resurrection, and in the life of the world to come.

The Pharisees, unfortunately, do not have the humility to admit, even after the great sign of the healing of the blind man, that they are blind, and so their sin remains. It is impossible for them to think that their fidelity to the law of Moses does not automatically make them more worthy of health and prosperity in this world, and more worthy of judging the works of God than this poor blind man, who is obviously a sinner. But the blind man is eventually incredulous that these Pharisees are so prideful and obstinate. The blind man is exasperated by their questioning – he says that it is amazing that those who sit on the chair of Moses do not know where Jesus is from, despite the fact that Jesus opened his eyes. Jesus rightfully points out to them at the end of today’s Gospel that it is their sinfulness that blinds them. They are not humble enough to allow their sins to come to light, and so they remain in darkness. What a powerful impetus today’s Gospel is for each one of us to do a better examination of conscience, and to make a good confession before we celebrate the Easter mysteries! What an incentive for us to intensify our prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so that we can recognize our sins, confess them with sincere repentance, and have our eyes opened before the great celebration of the Paschal mysteries that lies just before us!

The Scriptures during these Sundays of Lent foreshadow the great signs of new and resurrected life that will be present to us on Easter Sunday. The transfiguration from the second Sunday of Lent, and the raising of Lazarus which we will hear next week, prepare us to hear with great joy the proclamation of the empty tomb. The story of the woman at the well heard last week makes us thirst for the renewal of our baptismal promises, and to be sprinkled with the water that satisfies our deepest longing for eternal life. Today’s Gospel about the man born blind points us toward the Easter candle, and to our faith that the light of the Resurrection of one man, Jesus Christ, is powerful enough to scatter the darkness of sin and death forever.

My dear friends, if our eyes are truly open, we will be able to see not only the signs that Jesus performs in the scriptures for us, but also the eternal realities that these signs represent. Jesus came not only to open the eyes of the blind men, but to open the eyes of all men, so that you and I may recognize him most of all when he places himself into our hands, and takes our sins upon himself, and is nailed to a cross. Jesus says if we can recognize him in this darkness of the mystery of the cross, and if we have the courage and faith to conform our lives to the mystery of this same cross, we will also be able to recognize his resurrection, and to profess on Easter Sunday that Jesus Christ is the light of the world!

Homily for Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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A saint is always the first one in the confession line. A saint is always the one most dependent on God’s mercy. There is courage, to be sure, in battling valiantly against our weaknesses, using whatever resources are available to us, before finally turning to Jesus for his mercy. The problem with this approach, as we see in today’s Gospel, is that it keeps us looking at ourselves. Looking to Jesus is a last resort just in case we are not able to become like him through our own power. The better way, and in the end, the more courageous way, is the way of the saints, who knew that lasting and meaningful conversion meant self-forgetfulness, an abandonment of self that allows one to look at Jesus as a first option. The goal is not to become like Jesus through our own power, but to let him love us at our weakest point, constantly, by humbly keeping our eyes fixed on Him. Jesus has lasting power over sin and death. We do not. So let us humbly come before him everyday seeking forgiveness for our sins. There is shame in being a sinner, to be sure, but there is more shame in hiding our sins from the one who is stronger than us, and is willing to place his life within our hands.

Homily for Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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This is a pretty straightforward Gospel. There is mutual agreement between the scribe and Jesus regarding the greatest commandments. Reducing the law to two commandments is not saying that the other commandments are any less important, only that in obeying these two commandments you are not far from obeying them all. More importantly, since Jesus refers to being close to the kingdom of God, He is saying that if you obey these two commandments you are not far from recognizing Him as the Son of God nor from recognizing in the paschal events the mystery of man’s redemption.

We must only refuse to ‘water down’ these two great commandments, and we will be close to the kingdom of God. Lest we think we are close without actually being close, we must not confuse loving God with all our hearts, minds and strength with simply keeping Him as a priority for our lives. The commandment says that it is not enough for our love of God to simply ‘trump’ all our other loves; no, our love of God must be total, which means there is no second place nor is their room for any part of us not to love God. In the same way, loving our neighbors as ourselves does not simply mean being kind and generous to them. No, it means believing that their lives are as real and as important as our own, and in many instances, sacrificing our own desires to make their lives better. This, as we all know, is much harder than it sounds. That is why it is easier to say we are close to the kingdom of God than for us to actually be close.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Homily for Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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Most of us confess being judgmental, harboring grudges, and gossiping about others. There is within us an unwillingness to forgive, to look past things we do not like about others, and to hold on to the hurt we feel we have experienced at the hands of others. Because Jesus knows this is a particular weakness of the human condition, he tells Peter to forgive and to forgive and to forgive. Just so, we should never consider ourselves ‘finished’ with developing a heart that is capable of forgiving others.

Jesus reminds us throughout the scriptures that the measure with which we measure will be measured out to us. He tells us not to approach the Eucharist if we hold a grudge against our brother. This reminds us that it is ok to go to Mass sometimes and not to receive the Eucharist, if we feel like we might receive the sacrament unworthily. While it is true that a few people might be suspicious that we have done something really terrible since we are not receiving communion, in reality we will be doing a great service to our brothers and sisters in helping them to form their own consciences. We will also point them toward a fruitful use of the sacrament of confession, which we should be receiving often, as the way for us to be fully reconciled with God and with our brothers and sisters in the Church.

So we are reminded that we will not be forgiven unless we forgive others. But today’s Gospel goes deeper, and asks us to consider whether the reason we do not forgive others is a lack of gratitude on our part for the forgiveness we have received. We should always assume that the debt we have been forgiven is much greater than the debt we should forgive someone else. This is the virtue of humility which the steward who owed the greater amount lacked. More importantly, we should ask the Lord in prayer if it is true that the reason we are having a hard time forgiving others is that we have not fully experienced or appreciated the mercy of Jesus in our own lives. Perhaps being more forgiving of others is dependent upon our making a better examination of conscience, and a better confession, and thus coming to a greater love for and dependence on the mercy of Jesus in our own lives.

Homily for Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent

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Today’s Gospel shows that the signs Jesus performs are not ends in themselves, nor are they meant to command faith in Him. The signs Jesus performs make faith in Him reasonable, but they do not command faith. As we hear often, for the children of this world, the only things signs do is to increase a desire for more signs, and so to create a dependence upon them. It was not Jesus’ mission to do as many signs as possible, only to do those signs that would make faith in Him reasonable, so that He could lead his disciples to the eternal realities of God’s kingdom that it was His mission to proclaim.
So we come to today’s Gospel dictum that a prophet is not without honor except in his own house. The reason signs were performed for the widow at Zarephath and for Naaman the Syrian was that these signs would lead to faith, whereas signs performed for those in Nazareth would only lead to a demand for more signs, because of their lack of faith.
God respects our freedom enough not to overwhelm us with signs, but he loves us enough to provide us with the signs necessary to elicit our faith. The sacraments especially are privileged signs of the presence of Jesus, and they point to the kingdom he came to establish through the great paschal events we are preparing to celebrate. Through the forgiveness of our sins and through our marriage to Christ in the Eucharist, we share in Christ’s eternal victory over sin and death. Any signs that point us away from the Eucharist are signs we would be better off without.

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

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One of the more difficult things to see in this Gospel is the forgiveness of sins. Jesus, in eliciting faith from the Samaritan woman, asks her to call her husband and to bring him to the well, which of course, the woman is unable to do, since she does not have a legitimate husband. Did Jesus ask the Samaritan woman this question to embarrass her? Of course not. He asked her this question to let her know that He knew her at her weakest point, and yet loved her enough to visit with her and to point her to the waters of everlasting life. Jesus asked the woman about the very thing that She would likely wanted to have kept hidden from him, not to humiliate her, but to elicit her faith. As he does for each one of us by being nailed to the cross because of our offenses, so in this story Jesus puts himself into the hands of this sinful woman by first asking her for a drink.
The water Jesus points us to today is the water of baptism, the water that cleanses us from the sins that lead to lasting death. It is this water that the catechumens of our Church are thirsting for, and as they receive the first scrutiny of the Church on this third Sunday of Lent, it is time for us to ask the question as well – are we truly thirsting for the water that Jesus makes holy? Through our prayer, fasting and almsgiving, do we desire more than the waters of health and prosperity given through Jacob’s well? Are we content with the food that we must eat over and over, or do we hunger for something deeper, more permanent. Do we hunger and thirst for the invisible food that is the will of our heavenly Father? Do we really yearn for the resurrected life of Jesus more than the life this world offers? Are we looking forward to renewing our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday, and being sprinkled with the water that wells up to eternal life?
Just as last week the Transfiguration foreshadowed for Peter, James and John the glory of the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter, so today’s Gospel about life-giving water foreshadows the new life the Church will receive through its catechumens who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. It foreshadows as well that the fruit of our prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lent will be a thirst on our part for the water that this world cannot give, the water of our baptism. When we renew our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday, we say that our thirst for the water that Jesus will give is greater than any other thirst we could experience in this lifetime. And so the sprinkling rite on Easter Sunday is a most dramatic event for us, the high point of being a Christian. For through those baptismal waters we are reborn from being children of this world only to being made the everlasting children of our Father in heaven.
Remember, my dear friends, that our prayer, fasting and almsgiving are a means, and not the end. They are to bring us perhaps, most of all, to a realization of our sins, and to a sincere repentance. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are to break down our pride, which blinds us from our sins and keeps us self-satisfied and incapable of making a good confession. A good Lent is marked by a tremendous thirst for the Lord’s mercy, and our prayer, fasting and almsgiving should lead to perhaps our most fruitful confession of the year, as we approach the Lord with sincere contrition. We know that he will love us just as he loved the Samaritan woman, and place himself into our hands, for Jesus does not desire the death of us sinners, but that we might be converted to Him, the source of the water that wells up to everlasting life!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Homily for Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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Mary, Queen of Vocations, pray for us
‘Do whatever He tells you.’

The story of the rich man and Lazarus is so rich with spiritual insight and theological meaning. Trying to move quickly, we see first that our material possessions really do blind us to the presence of Christ. Almsgiving is essential to having a good Lent, to renewing our conversation with Jesus and our ability to recognize his voice and his face, especially in the poor. Without almsgiving, we risk having a lukewarm faith. Secondly, we see in this reading that the day of our death has significance. On the day of our death we must make an accounting of how we used our freedom. To put it bluntly, by the day of our death, we have developed an almost determinate habit of loving ourselves or loving God, and it is almost impossible for us to have a ‘death-bed’ conversion. Keeping death daily before our eyes, then, is a good way of reminding us that now is the time to create habits of loving God and our neighbor, as Moses and the prophets teach us how to do. On the day of our death, then, having listened to Moses and the prophets, we can be sure to recognize the voice and the face of Jesus when He comes to greet us and to show us the way to eternal life. Consonant with this theme is the theological maxim of the Church that grace builds on nature. The law of Moses and the prophets teach us how to do good and to avoid evil, and by so doing to create a virtuous nature that is the foundation on which grace can build. If we are not good and virtuous people, we do not have a realistic chance of believing in the resurrection of Jesus, nor of growing in his life through the grace of the sacraments.


Homily for Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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If you love those who love you, what is so unusual about that? Even the pagans do the same. This line from the Sermon on the Mount gives us a summary of the point of today’s Gospel. The mother of the sons of Zebedee is looking for some assurance that her sons will be loved in a unique and preferential way by Jesus. Yet Jesus tells them the opposite. He says that he came to give his life not only for those who love him in return, but for many, or as we say at the consecration – this blood is shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven. Jesus does not love his faithful disciples like James and John more than the lost sheep who do not recognize him or who choose not to follow him. It is not his to decide who will sit at his right and at his left, or to determine who loves him most. Instead, his mission instead is to love everyone to the end, and to give his life as a ransom for all, and in so doing to teach us how to love not only those who love us, but how to love unusually – how to love divinely – by loving our enemies to the point of placing our lives in their hands.
Jeremiah shared in the Lord’s cup of suffering. It was not enough for him to announce his prophetic message; he was allowed by God to be persecuted by those whom he was trying to save. The same with our Lord, the same with James and John, who did indeed eventually drink the cup that Jesus drank, who made up in their own lives what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the salvation of all. If we are to love as Jesus loves, our goal is not simply to develop a mutual admiration society that loves Jesus in the same way we do, and to grant special honors to those who seem to love Jesus best. No, we must go beyond this, and love those who hate Jesus, and then we will be children of our heavenly Father. Blessed are you – happy are you - when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Homily for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

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Mary, Queen of Vocations, pray for us

If we were be able to get into heaven without using our freedom well, we would enter heaven like spoiled brats. In today's first reading from Ezekiel, it is clear that God intends our freedom to have real consequences. If we are to be his sons and daughters, and not God's spoiled brats, we must share fully in his image and likeness, and that means using our freedom to do good and to avoid evil. Therefore, it is fair that a man who turns from his evil ways enters the kingdom of heaven, while the man who turns to evil turns toward his death. Without death as a consequence of sin, we would be able to live forever as spoiled brats, without having a definite reason to return our hearts to God, the source of life. Because death is the fair and real consequence of sin, we have a chance to become God's sons and daughters, if we turn from our evil ways and grow in virtue.

Matthew's Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes and ends with the command to 'be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.' Today's reading about reconciling with our brothers before we approach the altar of God reinforces our teaching concerning salvation, that nothing 'unclean' can enter the kingdom of heaven. Unless we are fully reconciled to God and to one another, we have two options - to be cast into 'fiery Gehenna' or to be put in prison until we have paid the last penny. Allegorically, this prison can be likened to purgatory, where we are fully cleansed before entering the kingdom of heaven.

The sign of peace that we share right before receiving communion signifies that we are in communion with God and with our neighbor. If we carry serious sins with us, it is the longstanding tradition of our Church to refrain from receiving communion until we have a chance to go to sacramental confession. Sacramental confession not only restores our relationship with God, it also restores our relationship with our brothers and sister with whom we share the Eucharist. Going to confession often ensures that when we share the sign of peace, we are not pretending to be at peace with God - we really are at peace. I know sometimes it is difficult to find a priest for confession, but whenever we have a chance to go, we should go. We should go at the regular times the sacrament is offered, but also it is ok to ask a priest for the sacrament on those rare occasions when we cannot make the regularly scheduled times. A priest will not always be able to say yes, but it is worth asking to receive forgiveness before receiving communion. Finally, we should not be embarrassed to cross our arms and to receive a blessing from the priest if we do not believe we are ready to receive communion. You might think that this will cause people to wonder what you've done that is so bad, but in reality, you are helping your brothers and sisters to form their consciences so that none of us is taking the Eucharist lightly.


Homily for Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent

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Cyril and Methodius, pray for us

I really dislike popular music. About the only thing I will listen to is 95.7 the vibe - I know the lyrics are awful to those songs, but sometimes I just want to feel a strong dance beat as I'm driving down the road, and that is the surest place to find it. I have always preferred classical music and chant, and rarely do I listen to country. In fact, at my little brother's wedding dance Jan 5th, 90% of the music was country and I was the biggest complainer - I don't see how you can dance to that stuff. But there are at least a few corny country songs that I like - and one is Garth Brooks' 'Unanswered Prayers.' Sometimes God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

Jesus assures his followers in today's Gospels that all of their prayers are heard, and answered. In Luke's version of this teaching of Jesus, every prayer is answered with the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew's version which we just heard, every prayer is answered with 'good things.' If one doesn't read this Gospel passage exactly, one can come away thinking that this teaching of Jesus guarantees that we receive everything for which we ask. But of course we know this is not true, and this is not what the scripture says. The Gospel says we will receive 'the Holy Spirit' or 'good things' from our Father whenever we ask Him.

The answer to our deepest desires, and to our deepest prayers, is the gift of Jesus himself, and the eternal life that comes through our relationship with him. We may ask for many other things, and we often do. Oftentimes, we spend a good amount of time asking for a cup of suffering to pass us by or to pass by one of our loved ones for whom we have promised to pray. But our own tendency to sin teaches us that we do not always know what is best for us -we do not always choose the greatest good with our freedom. And so sometimes God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers - he gives us the good things we really need by allowing suffering as a means of attaching our hearts more closely to Jesus, who is all good and the final answer to every prayer.

Jesus speaks to us from the cross, and says that He has given us 'everything' that He has received from His heavenly Father. Unanswered prayers are never God's holding out on us - the cross says that He has given us everything. Sometimes unanswered prayers are an invitation to us to conform our lives more fully to the mystery of the cross, and to find the everlasting good gifts of faith, hope and love waiting for us there.


Jr High Youth Rally and KU Game

Thanks to the youth office for inviting me to say the Mass for the jr high youth rally at Prairie Star Ranch on Sunday. Many of the St. Michael's kids told me they were 'the mosh' and I'm still trying to figure out what they meant. The other pic is from the KU/Baylor game with my nephew Alex and niece Madison who came all the way from Colby, KS to see the Jayhawks win 100-90. Alex predicted 100 points, and I told him he was crazy - you were right, Alex! Hopefully more pics next week from KCCSC in Topeka!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Homily for Wednesday of the 1st Week of Lent

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A humbled, contrite heart O God, you will not spurn. It is important to remember that God does not need our prayers, our fasting and our almsgiving this Lent. He needs our contrite hearts, hearts ready to respond to the paschal mystery of his only Son. We do not pray more, fast more or give more this Lent to earn God’s favor, these are merely the first steps – the means necessary if we are to have any chance of rending our hearts to God. It is the rending of our hearts, not our garments, which pleases God, and He was pleased with the heartfelt repentance of the Ninevites in today’s first reading.
We spend forty days now praying, fasting and giving alms, as much as is necessary for us to enter into the sacred Triduum at the end of Lent with all our hearts. The more evil a generation is, the less readily it will recognize the presence of God, and the more readily it will demand irrefutable proof that erases the significance of human freedom before they will bow before the Almighty. Such an evil generation that seeks a sign from above is incapable of recognizing the sign of Jonah, for this sign is from below. God humbles himself beyond our imagination, and puts himself into the hands of sinners, and this is the definitive and everlasting sign of his love - the sign of the cross. No sign from above of God’s almighty power can surpass this revelation on the cross of God as love, and as the one who desires not the death of the sinner but that He might be converted and live. May we be humble enough through our Lenten penance to recognize the sign of Jonah, and to conform our lives to the mystery of the cross.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Homily for Friday after Ash Wednesday

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The reading from Isaiah tells us that of the three Lenten practices – prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that almsgiving is to have pride of place in helping us to return to God, and to recognize His presence in our lives. The first two Lenten practices, prayer and fasting, are worthwhile, to be sure, but they can perhaps more easily be focused on self. To be free of sins is to have the self-forgetfulness that comes from being involved in the mission of building the kingdom of Heaven. The more readily we find our joy in building God’s kingdom, the less often we will return to the smaller joys that our sins bring us. The advice from Isaiah seems to go like this, if you want to escape your sins, don’t focus on yourself, it will only backfire – focus on others. For this reason, almsgiving should play at least an equal role to prayer and fasting, without neglecting any of the three. The most common way to give alms during Lent is to participate in the Rice Bowl, which reaches out to the poor through the work of Catholic Charities.
Even as we pray, fast and give alms during Lent, we do not really fast because we have Jesus with us along our Lenten journey. We do not, thankfully, have to fast from Mass, which would be the most sacrificial thing imaginable. Even as we go through Lent, we still have the bridegroom with us, and every Mass is still a celebration of the suffering, death, and yes, the resurrection of Jesus. This is why Sundays of Lent are, strictly speaking, not days of fasting, because even in Lent, we celebrate that the bridegroom is truly risen from the dead and that he has won the final victory over sin and death! Knowing this should make it even easier to follow the advice of Matthew, who told us on Ash Wednesday to go through Lent without appearing to be praying, fasting or giving alms, but to go through Lent joyfully. This is a special time to return to God with all our hearts. It is not a time to be gloomy and to complain. Jesus is there to support us – he makes fasting easy. For man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God!

Homily for Thursday after Ash Wednesday

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Moses seems to threaten the Israelites to whom he is giving the law that if they do not keep the Lord’s covenant, ruin will come upon them. Without fidelity to the covenant, the Israelites will not have a long life in the land which the Lord gave to their Fathers. It is true that societies that lose their moral compass will eventually self-destruct. Human history demonstrates this. A kingdom divided against itself, one that does not work for the ultimate good of its people, cannot stand forever. Moses’ prophecy, then, is a good one, and one that must be heeded in our own American society lest our American way of life vanishes. Certainly politicians of all kinds appeal to this kind of a motif – unless we are true to the values on which America was founded, our country will not be great, and it will not survive.
But of course Moses’ admonition of the Israelites is true on a more personal level as well. The law he is giving teaches people how to choose life. The law provides a way of preserving life by teaching people how to live in harmony with God and with one another. The law in providing a means to live in right relationship with God allows the conversation, or covenant, which began with Abraham, to continue indefinitely into the future. But there then comes a time when this law open to life in an indefinite future finds its fulfillment at a definite time, in a definite place, and in a definite person, Jesus the Christ. When Jesus comes, he announces that the time for the fulfillment of the promises of life and prosperity given to Abraham and renewed to Moses has arrived. Jesus came that we might have life, and have it in abundance!
With Jesus we see that the most important thing is not God’s blessing of the life guaranteed by the success of our local society. No, Jesus claims that the kingdom of God has arrived in its fullness even as the Israelite nation and its land promised to Abraham and Moses was being dominated by the Romans. Jesus himself is the new Jerusalem – the kingdom of God come among us. Because Jesus is here, to be fully alive is not to have security and prosperity, although these cannot be dispensed with while we are on pilgrimage. To be fully alive is to be in conversation with Jesus, who fully reveals man to Himself. One who puts his faith in his homeland can never be more than partially alive; one that puts his faith in Jesus Christ, has begun a conversation with the one who lives forever, and is ready to receive the living water that wells up to eternal life.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Catholic Schools Week

Thanks to the kids at Holy Name KCK and Prince of Peace Olathe for welcoming me for vocations presentations during Catholic schools week - I had a great time!