Homily: Embrace the Mystery

August 28, 2016 – Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:   Sirach 3:17-29, Hebrews 12:18-24, and Luke 14:7-14

My homily for this weekend at St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis:

There are some themes in scripture that are repeated over and over again. Scripture is God’s Word, so the repetition of these themes is God’s way of saying, “Pay attention! This is important!”

One of those themes is humility.

In today’s first reading from Sirach we heard: “My child, conduct your affairs with humility. Humble yourself…and you will find favor with God.” And in the gospel: “For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

One way to think of humility is in terms of knowledge and control. When we are not being humble — or “exalting ourselves” as the gospel says — we claim knowledge and understanding of all, and thus feel in control. Being humble means recognizing that we do not have all of the answers and are willing to give up control, willing to trust.

Human beings love being in control. Not understanding something, or being unable to explain it, makes us uncomfortable. Continue reading

Not Wise or Powerful? No Problem

August 27, 2016 – Memorial of St. Monica

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful…
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong… (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

Part of our responsibility as disciples of Jesus is to spread the Gospel message. This is easier said than done. It can be a bit daunting. We may feel we are not qualified to do this important work. We may feel like our relationship with Jesus is personal and so feel uncomfortable sharing our faith openly.

To address those concerns: Look at who Jesus called to be His disciples – fishermen, tradesmen, and tax collectors. Were they more qualified than us to do His work?

As for being uncomfortable sharing our faith, we need to get over that. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul offers words that may  offer some comfort. We do not need to be the wisest or most powerful. The Gospel message can be delivered by normal, everyday people…just like us.

We simply need to speak with love and sincerity, and the right words will come out of our mouths.


Message of the Cross

August 26, 2016

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-25)

The image of the cross is difficult for us. It represents the suffering and death of Jesus. However, with that suffering and death we were given a gift – a gift of new life, hope, and unconditional love.

There are two messages here: First, we see clearly just how much God loves us. Second, we understand the power of sacrifice. Sacrifice, while often painful, opens doors for us. We know this and understand this because we ourselves have been saved as a result of the sacrifice offered by Jesus – “to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”


Show an Interest in Everything Your Kids Do

August 25, 2016

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community:

Each week in the newsletter, I will reflect on some aspect of our faith, on specific school issues, or on parenting in general.

In the coming weeks, I will discuss what I hope are our shared goals for your kids. I will also explain why we use the phrase forming children when we speak of education, rather than simply teaching or instructing them.

This week, I would like to suggest some ways parents can help their children be successful at Bishop Chatard:

*Help your student get off to a great start by developing good habits. Make sure they are up and out the door on time. Have them set aside time each night to study or do homework. Don’t accept, “We don’t have any homework.” While that may be true on occasion, there is always academic work that could be done. Reading material, reading it a second time, working ahead, doing extra math problems for practice, etc. Have them set their cell phones and any other distractions aside during this time. Help them set a routine. Getting a great start to the school year sets a tone and an expectation. Continue reading

Do We Speak the Truth?

August 24, 2016 – Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle

Jesus saw Nathanael (Bartholomew) coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” (John 1:45-51)

Duplicity means deceitfulness or hypocrisy. So when Jesus saw Bartholomew approaching, He saw a man with no duplicity – someone who was honest, unafraid to speak the truth.

What does Jesus see in us when He sees us coming? Do we speak the truth?

I think we all want to speak the truth. We want to do what is pleasing to God. But many of us also feel uncomfortable when it comes to rocking the boat. It’s easier to just go with the flow, so we don’t speak up or we wait for someone else to step in.

If someone is questioning our faith, we need to have the confidence to respond. If someone is making a poor moral choice, we need to do our best to educate him. If others are gossiping, we need to help them understand the damage they may cause.

We are a part of one holy, catholic and apostolic church. We are apostles just like Bartholomew. If we don’t speak up, who will?

Everlasting Encouragement

August 23, 2016

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your heart and strengthen it
in every good deed and word.  (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Need a good blessing to send your kids off to college?

Try the passage above…followed by a hug.

Homily: If It’s Worth Getting, It’s Worth Working For

August 21, 2016 – Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 66:18-21;  Hebrews 12:5-13;  Luke 13:22-30

This homily was originally delivered at St. Pius X Church, Indianapolis in August 2013:

I have a 3-year-old grandson, a 4-month old granddaughter, and another grandchild due to arrive in January (three different families). One of the things I look forward to is the day when I can start giving my grandchildren advice. My own kids are grown up, so they don’t listen to me any more. It will be nice to have my grandchildren as a new audience for my wisdom and sage advice.

My Grandpa Jack was very good at giving advice, or at least he enjoyed doing it. There was an arcade down the street from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. When we would visit, Grandpa would have a list of jobs for us to do. If we did them, he would give us some change to go down to the arcade and play some games. As we were working, we would of course complain, because that’s what kids do when they work. Grandpa Jack had an expression he would use at those times. He would say: “If it’s worth getting, it’s worth working for.”

That advice has always stuck with me. If you want it bad enough, you should be willing to work for it. We really wanted to go to the arcade, so doing all those jobs for Grandpa was worth it. Continue reading