Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Homily for Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent

For daily readings, see

Familiarity breeds contempt. How hard it is to accept the teachings of those that we know so well and have put in a box. How hard it is to continue to love and to see new things in those with whom we work and live. Although moral judgment is necessary if we are to do good and to avoid evil, we are usually more adept at judging people and labeling them as good or evil than we are at judging our own actions. During this Lenten season, we are to become better at one thing – examining our consciences – so that we can become worse at something else – judging others. Even if we must make some judgments about people so as to be sure to surround ourselves with good habits and to limit our exposure to those with bad habits, part of our seeking and saving what is lost in this world means making our judgment of sinners less certain. Just as we have been forgiven for our many sins, so we should look forward to sinners around us making real changes in our lives, buoyed by our help and our example and our forgiveness of them. We should not be putting people in harsh categories, locking the door on them and throwing away the key.

Nicodemus accuses the Pharisees of pre-judging Jesus before really questioning him and knowing him. He is from Bethlehem, and probably would have been willing to tell the Pharisees this, had the bothered to ask him. Instead they judge his being from Galilee as a sure indication that He is not the Messiah. Because they rushed to judgment, they lost their chance to recognize the Christ and to profess faith in Him. We should expect the same thing to happen to us, unless we allow his forgiveness to effect real changes in our lives, and unless we each forgive our brothers and sisters from the heart!


Homily for Friday of the 4th Week of Lent

For daily readings, see

Jesus is a real pain in the neck. His very presence is a constant reminder to us of our wickedness, pride and self-absorption. His presence is a reminder to us of how fallen we have become. His presence reminds us that we are more the children of Adam and Eve than we are the children of our heavenly Father. In order to feel good about our mediocrity, we must get rid of him.

The beautiful reading we have from Wisdom today shows the mistake of the wicked. The wicked believe that because of their freedom, they can put away definitively anything that accuses them of not living a good life. The children of Adam and Eve get to play the role of God. They get to determine good and evil for themselves. The presence of a just one like Jesus challenges this fallen version of humanity, and calls the wicked to return to obedience to the one who alone determines what is good and what is evil. Convinced that they have the freedom to become like God, however, the wicked are willing to test this just one. If they are able to destroy Him, then they will retain their status as gods. If not, then only reluctantly will they submit to his authority.

God, however, does not want to overwhelm those He has created in His image and likeness. He wants to love and to serve them and to invite them to respond in kind, without ever forcing their freedom. These wicked ones cannot fathom the hidden counsels of God. They cannot imagine that God would place himself into their hands and yes, let himself be destroyed by them, and yet retain his authority over them. They could not imagine that this just one could rise from the dead. They did indeed put the just one to the test, but because of his love for his enemies, the just one passed the test. He let himself be reviled and tortured so that even the most wicked could be saved, and become children no longer of Adam and Even, but through his forgiveness of their sins, children able to call God their Father.

Homily for Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

For daily readings, see

Blessed 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! Jesus says we are blessed when we are persecuted, not when we are praised. He says this because he does not wish for us to become self-absorbed like those to whom He is speaking in today’s Gospel. For them, human praise is the greatest good. Human praise is more important to them than listening to the words of Jesus or of John or of Moses or of Jesus’ heavenly Father. It cannot be this way, however for us who are disciples of Jesus. We all feel a strong need to be liked by others. We oftentimes sense our need to enjoy a good reputation more than we sense our need for God. Our need for God, however, must win out in the end. If the only praise we receive is the praise of our fellow men, and if we even need to lie and to boast in order to win this praise, then it is better to be persecuted by men. If persecuted by men, we can be more certain that we will be able to recognize the works of God, and be able to listen to his words, which are spirit and life!

Homily for Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

For daily readings, see

The time is coming when the dead will hear the voice of God, and those who hear will live. The Gospel is clear. True life, everlasting life, depends on learning to recognize the voice of Jesus, and then following that voice wherever it calls us to go. In answering the question of what one should do with his life, it is rare to hear someone say that they should simply follow the voice of Jesus wherever it leads them. Usually we hear something different. I do not know what God wants me to do with my life. I want to do many different things, or I want to do something that is not possible. Today’s Gospel points us all in the right direction in our discernment of how to live a truly meaningful life. We are to work on recognizing the voice of Jesus. We are to learn to follow that voice wherever it may lead us.

Meditation on the sacred scriptures is almost always the most fruitful way of letting the voice of Jesus penetrate our minds and our hearts. I am a firm believer that we should always be reading the Gospels. We should read not only in preparation for Mass. We should read the Gospels also continuously, as stories, so as to become so familiar with the way Jesus speaks. In our conversations with one another, the words of Jesus should come to mind readily. We should be able to think and to speak in the language of scriptures, especially the language of the Gospels. Becoming familiar with the voice of Jesus increases the likelihood that when we have to discern an important decision, it will be his voice that guides us. Learning to recognize his voice in this life will also help us at the moment of our death. It is Jesus’ promise that his voice will call us to everlasting life after all other voices, including our own have finished speaking.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Runnin' Revs coming at you!

The big game is on Monday, March 10th at 7pm at Bishop Miege High School. Priests of the Archdiocese vs. the Serra All-Stars (8th grade and high school all-stars). I think the priests are undefeated at Miege, so we are putting our streak on the line. All are welcome to come see us play! I'm pictured here with the newest member of the Revs - Fr. Brian List, SOLT, chaplain of the St. Lawrence Center. He is going to be awesome!