Homily for the 13th Sun. in Ord. Time [C]

The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
I Kgs 19:16,19-21  +  Gal 5:1,13-18  +  Lk 9:51-62
June 30, 2019

“He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem….”

All over the Wichita Diocese, many priests this month were “on the road again”, to use the words of Willie Nelson.  They moved to new residences and took up new assignments within the diocese.  However, while Mr. Nelson just couldn’t wait to get on the road again, most of our priests had mixed feelings about uprooting themselves and beginning again in a new part of the diocese.  Those mixed feelings come from, on the one hand, wanting to be faithful to the bishop’s plan for the diocese, and knowing from experience that change brings blessings eventually.  On the other hand, change is difficult, and the longer a priest had been in his previous assignment, the harder it is to leave. Continue reading

Monday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Monday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Genesis 18:16-33  +  Matthew 8:18-22
July 1, 2019

… He gave orders to cross to the other shore.

Several times during His public ministry, Jesus acts in a way that might be called “anti-social”.  This would be a mistaken perception, of course, but we still might wonder why Jesus acts as He does in these cases. Continue reading

The 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]

The 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
I Kgs 19:16,19-21  +  Gal 5:1,13-18  +  Lk 9:51-62
June 30, 2019

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem….

This Sunday, as we return to Sundays in Ordinary Time, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is the city whose name literally means “city of peace” , and yet which Jesus knew would be the place of His crucifixion and death.  When the event of today’s Gospel Reading occurred, Jesus knew that the easy life of His first thirty-some years was over. Continue reading

The Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul

The Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul
Acts 12:1-11  +  2 Tim 4:6-8,17-18  +  Mt 16:13-19
June 29, 2019

   “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.”   

Peter, whom Jesus in today’s Gospel passage entrusts with the care of His Church, was very different than Paul.  Peter’s personality was rough and impatient.  He was poor and uneducated.  Now if Jesus had thought as worldly people do, He never would have chosen Peter as the first pope.  Instead, he would have chosen someone like Paul, refined and educated. Continue reading

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus [C]

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus [C]
Ez 34:11-16  +  Rom 5:5-11  +  Lk 15:3-7
June 28, 2019

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit ….

Catholics are very familiar with the Church’s devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the heart of her who was never touched by any sin, but rather is full of grace.  Jesus, too, of course, sharing in the divinity of His Father, is sinless, and so we could speak of and celebrate the Immaculate Heart of Jesus.  But today we are celebrating instead the “Sacred Heart” of Jesus.

To be “sacred” means “to be set aside for a special purpose.”  What, then, is the purpose of Jesus’ heart?  The heart is obviously a human element of who Jesus is.  It certainly expresses the love of God the Son, for as Saint John the Divine tells us, God is love.  As God, in his divinity, the Son of course has no physical heart—we can say only that the Godhead possesses a heart in a metaphorical sense—but in His humanity Jesus of course possesses a heart, beating within His Body, pumping His life-blood to all its parts.

What does it mean then to say that Jesus, as human, has a heart?  It means that He is capable of suffering.  To have a heart means to be able to be broken, to be weak, to be vulnerable.  This is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love:  that He would carry a Cross and die upon it for us, in order to open the gates of Heaven for our darkened, sinful hearts.

This is the special purpose of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the reason for the Incarnation.  This is what Jesus’ heart was set aside for:  that it would be broken, that it would be pierced.  But far be it from us to simply worship the image of the Sacred Heart as an image to be given thanks.  The Sacred Heart is a person to be imitated.

We do not celebrate the feast of “the Sacred Intellect of Jesus”.  Nor do we celebrate the feast of “the Sacred Memory.”  We celebrate the “Sacred Heart” because the greatest of the capacities of God and man is the capacity to will, to choose, and God’s will always chooses love, because God is love, and because love consists in this:  not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us, and has sent His Son as an offering for our sins.

The Sacred Heart is a person to be imitated.  The heart pumps blood to the entire body, and as His Mystical Body’s members we share in that life-blood as we share in the offering for our sins that Christ sacrificed on the Cross and memorialized sacramentally at His Last Supper.  This sacred meal is “set aside”:  its purpose is our sanctification, that our hearts might become more capable of being broken for the salvation of others, and attain to the fullness of Love, Who is God Himself.

Thursday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Thursday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Genesis 16:1-12,15-16  +  Matthew 7:21-29 
June 27, 2019

   “…only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven…”   

Today the Church proclaims the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, has at the beginning of His public ministry proclaimed this great sermon in order to move those listening to follow Him all the Way to Calvary, where He will accomplish our salvation.  Jesus did not come into this world primarily to teach, but to save.  Nonetheless, His teaching serves His saving mission.  How can we be saved if we don’t know that we need saving?  How can we be saved if we don’t accept Christ as Our Savior, and follow Him as the way that leads to salvation? Continue reading

Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Genesis 15:1-12,17-18  +  Matthew 7:15-20
June 26, 2019

   “By their fruits you will know them.”   

Twice in today’s Gospel passage Jesus uses this phrase:  “By their fruits you will know them.”  Jesus is speaking here about “bad fruit”, by which one can know false prophets.  In our own day, part of the scandal that members of the Church—laity and clergy alike—face is that considerable “bad fruit” has been borne by bishops and priests of the Church that Jesus founded.  How can one reconcile that such men who are validly ordained seem by their fruits to be false prophets? Continue reading

Corpus Christi homily

This is the homily that I preached for Corpus Christi at WSU’s Newman Center:

Corpus Christi [C]
Gen 14:18-20  +  1 Cor 11:23-26  +  Sequence  +  Lk 9:11-17 
June 23, 2019

“I sought to hear the voice of God / And climbed the topmost steeple, / But God declared: “Go down again– / I dwell among the people.”

Those lines are often attributed to one of our parish’s patrons, Blessed John Henry Newman.  Although there’s no actual record of him ever speaking or writing those words, they still bear a truth that today’s feast of Corpus Christi focuses upon.  That truth is God’s closeness to fallen man.

But to appreciate this truth, we need to go back to “the beginning”.  As you know, “[i]n the beginning,” God created man in an earthly paradise.  God intended this earthly paradise to exist in perpetuity.  You might say that this was God’s “Plan A”. Continue reading

Tuesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Tuesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Genesis 13:2,5-18  +  Matthew 7:6,12-14 
June 25, 2019

   “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.”   

Coming to the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, today we hear Him offer several brief proverbs.  It would be difficult to thread them all with a common theme.  We could take any one of them and, brief as it is, commit it to memory and recite it throughout this day for reflection. Continue reading