Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Letter from Archbishop of Denver regarding Catholic politicians and abortion

see the following link in response to Nancy Pelosi's speech at the Democratic National Convention

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homily for Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time - the Queenship of Mary

Mary, Queen of Vocations, pray for us!
Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!
Mary, assumed into heaven, pray for us!
Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!

Today the Church marks the 8th day of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul into heaven, celebrated as a holy day of happy obligation on August 15th, last Friday. The Church marks this octave of celebration by announcing the Queenship of Mary. Just as the Lord Jesus through His Resurrection and Ascension to His Father's right hand now sits as King of Kings, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, so too His Blessed Mother, the one most closely bound to Him and the one to share most fully in the fruits of His victory of sin and death, now is seated forever as Queen of Heaven and Earth. This exaltation of Mary is the fifth glorious mystery of the Holy Rosary given for our daily meditation.

The Assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven shows clearly that Jesus intends to share his definitive victory of sin and death with his disciples, beginning with His closest disciple, His Mother. The Resurrection is not for Jesus alone, but is for everyone who is a member of His body, the Church. Our first reading from Ezekiel provides the basis of hope in a bodily resurrection, as it foretells a vision of dead bones coming back to life, having flesh come over them and spirit breathed into them. Just so, Jesus' resurrection is much more than an 'escape' from His body that kept Him bound to earth. Actually, just the opposite is true. There is no real 'resurrection' of the soul or spirit, since these are immortal anyway. Belief in the resurrection pertains specifically to the resurrection of the body. The redemption of a human body means it is forever transformed from a body subject to sin and death to a body that can never die again. When we die, it is true that our souls are subject to immediate judgment while our bodies return to the earth to await the Final Judgment of all things. The resurrection of Jesus' body, however, shows that it is not our destiny to be changed from humans to angels. The destiny Jesus marks out for us is a destiny that pertains to the redemption of our bodies, as foreseen by the prophet Ezekiel. This is why, of course, that Thomas was able to place his fingers in the nail holes in Jesus' hands, and to place his hand in Jesus' side. Mary's body, as we celebrated last week, is now redeemed like Her sons. Her redemption is the pattern the Church can and must follow. It is because Mary's victory is complete that we celebrate her crowning as Queen of Heaven and Earth. This does not mean of course, that Mary becomes a God. It means instead that she shares fully in the divine life offered to humanity. As such, she is the perfectly redeemed human person.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't go away sad!

Homily for Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us!

Mary, Mother of our Vocations, pray for us!

St. Paul, model of conversion, pray for us!


Today's story about the young man who went away from Jesus sad, because he had many possessions, is about more than avoiding greed, although the story provides sufficient reason to do that as well. The young man's pride runs even deeper than his greed. It is his pride that causes the man to want to justify himself over and against his peers. More tragically, it is his pride that prevents the man from following anyone but himself. Most of the vocations to the priesthood and religious life today that are lost follow the pattern of today's Gospel story. If Jesus' call to follow Him more exactly does not match our own expectations, then we assume we are not called to follow Him in that way. Jesus' call to leave everything to follow Him is contingent upon our first hearing His promise to give us 'everything' that He has received from His Father. If Jesus is prepared to give us everything that He has, it is only right for Him to ask us to leave everything in order to accept the gift He has in mind for us. This gift will always exceed our expectations and most likely, our imagining as well. For us to offer Jesus just a part of our lives, or for us to ask Him to follow our plans and our desires, is a failure on our part to trust His promise, or to realize what He is really offering to those who use their freedom to follow Him exactly. Many vocations are lost today because we too have the pride of the young man in today's Gospel. Lord, make us humble like the Virgin Mary, ready and excited for the vocation which you have chosen for us. May we be ready to leave everything to follow you!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Perfect Day?

KU had an incredibly nice move-in day today. I went for a run from the St. Lawrence Center through the Daisy Hill dormitories and of course the scene was chaotic! Great to see some of the new freshmen tonight at Mass at the St. Lawrence Center, especially those from St. Thomas Aquinas! Go Saints! Ready for an unusally leisurely evening - maybe watch some Olympics or baseball, maybe organize my facebook friends - maybe just sit on the back porch and read or visit with my housemates Fr. Steve or Fr. Brian. Attached is a picture of last week's visit out to Hoxie to see my dad - I brought no work clothes but I couldn't just sit back and watch my 58 year old dad (59 on Tuesday) throw all the hay bales, so I threw and stacked a few in my clerics and then the next day in shorts. Ouch! A few scratches on my lower legs, but well short of a scourging, I would say. I wore one of those dust masks to keep the hayfever away, and thankfully, it worked!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Homily for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary, whose body was preserved from all stain of sin, pray for us!

Today, as we well know, Catholics are happily obliged to attend Mass and to contemplate particularly the mystery of the Assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven. This mystery is the fourth glorious mystery of the holy rosary, and so is recommended for our contemplation in our daily prayer. Today in a special way, however, we gather to celebrate that of all people born of a man and woman, none is greater than Mary, the mother of God. Today we celebrate the certain knowledge given us by faith that not only does Mary see God face to face with the eyes of her soul, but so too her body already enjoys the fruits of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Mary's body, like that of her Son, is no longer here. It has been raised, according to the promises made by Jesus.

Our reading from Revelation stands outside of time as we normally think of it. When we read the book of Revelation, we usually think of it as a preview of what heaven will be like, and indeed it is. Yet the book is more than the future tense. Its pages stand outside of time. Today's passage, if read allegorically, shows Mary about to give birth to a son who is destined to have dominion over all. Yet there is a dragon, a personification of Satan, ready to devour the child. In the story we know from the Gospels, we see that Satan indeed has a chance to touch the life of Jesus and the life of Mary, through the hands of those who crucified Jesus and subsequently pierced the heart of Mary. From the triumphant perspective of heaven, however, we see that neither Mary nor Jesus were ever delivered into the hands of the dragon. Both of them were kept safe from sin, and so were not subject to suffering and death, but underwent both willingly. Thus, even at the moment of their deaths, Satan did not devour the lives of Jesus or of Mary. It is this assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven at the moment of her death, if indeed she can be said to have died at all, that we celebrate, for she is the first person to enjoy fully the fruits of her own Son's resurrection. Indeed, in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception we celebrate that this grace of the resurrection stands outside of time, for Mary enjoyed it for the very first moment of her life, even before she gave birth to her Son.

As we celebrate the holy year of St. Paul, we should listen attentively to what he has to say as well about the fruits of the resurrection. St. Paul says that the fruits will be distributed in the proper order, first to those who belong to Christ, and then to those who do not fully belong to him at the final judgment. St. Paul suggests, and the tradition of the Church agrees, that some people, Mary foremost among them, of course, receive this grace of the resurrection in a most efficacious way, and by belonging to Christ singleheartedly they become holy. Many of them are declared saints by the Church, who proclaims triumphantly that their souls are in heaven with God. Mary, the first and best saint, and the one who most fully 'belongs to Christ' as St. Paul describes, is thus first in line to receive the grace of Jesus resurrection. Just as Jesus in his resurrection becomes the new Adam, so too does Mary, who enjoys not only the redemption of her soul but also her body in advance of the final judgment, become the new Eve.

How is this great mystery of the Assumption possible? Lest we be tempted to think of Mary as unlike us, as distant from us and unapproachable, her Magnificat, today's glorious Gospel, shows us quite the opposite. It is because of Mary's unique lowliness that God chose her to be the mother of Jesus, and it is this same humility that makes her eminently approachable to all of us who ask Her to be our mother as we strive to become what we receive in the Eucharist, the body of Christ. Mary's use of her freedom to allow herself to be chosen for something greater than she could ever imagine, shows us that before we pick out the 'best life' for ourselves, we should receive with humility and joy the life that God has picked out for us, for He will always call us to something greater than our own expectations. In this, Mary is the mother of all our vocations, of all those seeking to be humble enough to do the will of God, no matter what that will is! Mary saves us from a religion born of our own expectations and plans, and teaches us that being receptive to God's grace and the love is the one necessary thing. Because of her humility in allowing herself to be chosen, the world has been redeemed by the blood of her Son. Indeed, because of her, we stand ready to have our hearts redeemed by His love at this table now set before us. It is fitting and right for us to celebrate the Assumption of our Blessed Mother, and to seek her intercession today as we strive to live a life like unto hers!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Feast of St. Lawrence

The feast of St. Lawrence (August 10th) falls on a Sunday this year, which means that in churches where St. Lawrence is not the principal patron, his feast will be skipped in favor of the celebration of the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This does not mean, however, that we should miss this annual opportunity to reflect upon his life and to seek his guidance and intercession in our lives. For those of you unfamiliar with the life of St. Lawrence, he is revered in many places in the world, but especially in Rome (I have been to his tomb there) because of his heroic virtue. St. Lawrence was martyred in the 3rd Century four days after Pope Sixtus II who ordained him deacon. The legend of Lawrence's life involves his receiving an ultimatum from the emperor to gather and hand over the treasures of the Church. Lawrence responded by selling anything the Church had of value, then giving the money to the poor, and in turn presenting the poor to the emperor, introducing them as the 'real' treasure of the Church. St. Lawrence is a model deacon, passionately interested in showing charity to the poor, and of course, is revered as a man of great virtue and courage. St. Lawrence, pray for us, and help us not to be afraid to lose our lives in obedience to Christ's call to leave everything and follow Him!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sixtus and Companions

Wondering today what it would be like to be 'caught' saying Mass in the catacombs and then executed the same day, like Sixtus and his companions, today's honored saints, were. I'm going to Rome with some friends in October and looking forward to saying Mass once again near the tomb of St. Peter (this will be my second time!). I haven't been to the catacombs since 2000 so maybe I need a visit to refresh my memory of what they are like. Shortly we will see if Google can tell me if the site where Sixtus was 'caught' saying Mass is known and able to be visited. Feel myself getting excited today for the new Catholic students coming to KU, and all students who will visit the St. Lawrence Center in the coming year. We have a couple of great new staff members and the place should be 'hopping!' I'm in charge of servers this year so I'm hoping to develop some guys to know Jesus better through the deepening of their Eucharistic piety, and hopefully they will hear his voice more clearly within the context of the liturgy and choose to follow him in the priesthood. Sound like a plan? +m Sixtus and Companions, pray for us!