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John 1:14

Easter Sunday Homily 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:26 pm on Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Sunday 2018

There seems to be a lot of Good Friday’s lately. There are shootings in school, violence in the homes, family members addicted to drugs, lonely, empty and broken hearts. These things fill our news reports and our minds with worry. Is Good Friday all that there is in the world today?  Is there really a way out? Was Jesus’ death on the cross for nothing? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no! Jesus Christ made an offering of total love to the Father as both God and man and for the last 40 hours the whole world has been awaiting the response from God the Father. What is he going to say to his Son?

This morning we not only hear the response of the Father through the Holy Spirit, we directly experience the answer of God the Father. The answer the Father gives to his Son, is “BE RAISED! BE RAISED!” This answer not only raises Jesus bodily from the dead, The Father also makes an everlasting offer to the human race: BE RAISED! Jesus’ resurrection has conquered Good Friday once and for all. Death and sickness and sin do not have the final say on our lives. God makes that point in the resurrection of his Son. The Apostles are eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus who was crucified and died has been raised from the dead.

The Apostles are not the only eyewitnesses. They are simply the first. Because of our Baptism, we stand on the long line of witnesses to the life of God and the everlasting mercy of God. The day we were baptized, we rejected evil and its empty glamour and promises and professed faith in the ONE GOD, FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT. We experienced the power of the resurrection at that moment and through the power and gift of faith began to share in the very life of God.

Every Easter we come to Church and renew those promises of our Baptism, so that we can recommit ourselves to making sure the world never forgets that Jesus bodily resurrection makes our joy and hopes come alive in a new and exciting way. The celebration of Easter is not just a once a year celebration, it is a daily celebration of God coming among us and offering us a share of his life through prayer, the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

As our world appears to grow darker, the reality of the resurrection becomes even more important. Many people have lost hope. Many people have become totally selfish. Many seek to cut themselves out of life. Many have lost the knowledge of true love. These days of Good Friday and Easter answer all these questions about the reality of the human race. God the Son has taken on our human nature, and as Son of God and Son of Man totally gives himself in love to the Father. The Father responds to the love of his Beloved Son by loving him in return and bringing Jesus back to life. Both the Father and the Son send their Holy Spirit as the sanctifying love that fills us at our baptism and serves as our constant companion throughout our lives.

This mystery is what we give thanks for today. God saw us knocked down by our own sin and so through the Incarnation, death and resurrection of his Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, raises us up makes us his children worthy of the glorious inheritance of everlasting life. We have the answer to the Good Friday’s people are experiencing in the world. We possess the answer to the weakness of people who fall into sin. We possess the answer to the question: What does real love look like?

The answers are Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, and the Holy Spirit, offering us the fullness of God’s grace.

As eyewitnesses to this gift in our own hearts and minds and bodies, we have the duty to tell others what we have seen and heard. We have the message that has changed the world. We can’t keep it to ourselves.

The Piety of the Steps March 28, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 6:33 pm on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Piety of the Steps                                           Fr. Rob Jack STL

Piety is a gift of the Holy Spirit through which one cherishes and passes on the history of one’s faith as a source of one’s human and Christian identity. When we place around ourselves pictures of our families and friends and our pets and personal mementos, we practice a type of natural piety.

The supernatural gift of piety is a Gift of the Holy Spirit. We practice it by surrounding ourselves with the holy objects, such as statues, pictures, rosaries, medals, etc. and performing meaningful deeds. They remind us of the presence of God. They ground our faith. They motivate us to pass the faith forward.

In the City of Cincinnati, every Good Friday, people flock to the steps that lead to Holy Name- Immaculata Church on Mount Adams and slowly climb them. They come with different practices. Some say a prayer on each step. Some pray the rosary. Others may pray for sick friends or peace in the world. Whatever the reason, they are making a primordial human act. They are reaching up to God. Some bring friends, children and even grandchildren to pass on this simple yet powerful devotion. When they reach the Church at the top of the hill, they can go to the Sacrament of Penance or just say a simple prayer in Church in thanksgiving to the Mother of God, and God Himself for another year on this earth.

What are some lessons we can learn from this yearly devotion. The first is that faith is familial. We pass it on from parent to child to grandchildren. Of all the things we provide for our children, the most important is the gift of faith. It is the one thing we carry with us at the moment of our death. We also see as we climb the steps that we are part of a much bigger human family, the family of the Church. Faith connects us to each other in even deeper ways that blood.  It is interesting to note that Archbishop Purcell promised to build a Church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, on the highest hill in Cincinnati as a sign of thanks for surviving a dangerous storm at sea. She looks over the whole city. She is truly from the vantage point Our Lady of Cincinnati, our Mother and Protectrix. Every citizen of Cincinnati, believer and non-believer, friend and foe, is under her maternal care and protection. It brings me comfort that look up to the Church on Mount Adams and see the statue of the Virgin Mary looking over all of us with her arms extended. Her intercession to Jesus holds the key to many of the problem we face as a society.

A second Lesson is that, as sinful and wounded human beings, we desire to repair what we have broken and we know that God’s grace and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary are necessary to do this. We have to train not only our souls, but our bodies. Our whole person is involved in the shaping and renewal of our life. We “climb the mountain of the Lord.” Over the Church of the Immaculata is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. As Catholics, we recognize that Jesus himself has given us Mary as our Spiritual Mother, sure guide to Him and an advocate on our behalf that we may be pleasing to Him. Mary points to Jesus. Mary points to the Cross. Mary’s most important duties are to be the Mother of God and the means for us to truly get close to her Son. We have Mary in our sight as we climb the steps, but we know that our journey does not end with her, but with her Son.

A third Lesson that comes from walking the steps is the power of piety and tradition. These actions remind us that our lives are seriously weakened without the active and loving presence of God. These steps are not superstitious actions to get God to give us what we want, but a real reminder of what God has truly given us in human history: God has sent his Son Jesus Christ to save the world from sin and death and provide a new and true path to life. He does this by dying on the cross out of love for His heavenly Father and the human race, with whom God the Son shares a full human nature. Prayer and acts of self-denial reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. When we place ourselves in faith at the service of God, life opens up in profoundly new ways.

So whether we climb the steps on Good Friday or simply observe others as we drive by, remember that Easter is not about bunnies and little chicks and chocolate, but the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world, Jesus Christ who makes of his own free will an offering of himself on the wood of the Cross for the redemption of the whole world.  That news is worth passing on. That news and the gifts of grace that come from it, make the climb worth it.

 

 

 

Easter Sunday March 27, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 9:12 pm on Saturday, March 26, 2016

God has kept his promise today. This was the promise he made to Adam and Eve, to Abraham and the Patriarchs, to King David, to his Apostles and finally to us. What was the promise he made exactly? He promised us that he would restore what we surrendered; he would recreate what we destroyed; he would fix what we had broken. This is our relationship with him. All throughout the Bible God was faithful to his promises but we have not been.

Today that has changed. Jesus Christ, true God and true man kept the promise that he made to the Father: that he would be eternally faithful and living to him, and he kept his promise to us, that the Son of man who was handed over to death would be raised on the Third Day. This is what we remember today not only because it truly happened in history, but that his bodily resurrection has changed history in a way that no one ever could have done before. By our Baptism, we have become not only partakers, but history makers with the risen Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is connected with our baptism because that is the day we became a part of salvation history. That is the day we put on Christ. That is the day we were anointed with the Holy Spirit. That is the day that the grace of God changed our hearts and made them capable with sharing Jesus’ life in a life altering way.  Jesus’ death and resurrection has opened up the river of God’s mercy and love that we had closed by our sins.  The light of the Easter candle has permanently removed the inky darkness of despair that has filled some many hearts. IT is a time to renew our faith and remember the promises we made to Jesus and to the church when we were first baptized.

In a couple of moments, we will renew the promises we made at baptism, namely to reject sin and to believe in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Maybe we have taken this lightly in the past, but I ask you to focus on it today. These promises in the realm of our faith really have a life or death meaning for us. By keeping our promises to the Lord, he grants us his many gifts of grace and strength and perseverance through good times and bad. He makes life truly livable. We become able to follow teachings and the path Jesus Christ in a way that we cannot do without him.

God has lived up to his word because this Word is Jesus his Son. May our renewing of the promises made our Baptism fill us our hearts with a new life, a new love and a new commitment to pray every day in thanksgiving and petition to God who opens us heaven for the human race today, by the bodily Resurrection of Jesus his Son. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Good Friday 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 9:29 pm on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jesus was wounded for our offenses. In his wounds we are healed. In the Prayer the Anima Christi, one of the invocations is “within your wounds hide me.” How is it possible to hide in the wounds of Jesus? We know he was wounded by scourges, he was wounded by a crown of thorns, he was wounded by nails in his hands and feet, and he was pierced in his side. These wounds are the result of his rejection by the very people he has come to save, each one of us. He paid a price we could not pay. He suffered a horrible death to put to death, death itself. He took on these wounds to offer us freedom.

We have our own wounds. They are not from scourges or nails or thorns or a sword but from a lack of love of God and neighbor. They are the wounds of sin, both those we have committed and those that have been done to us.

In a few moments, each of us will come forward to venerate the cross of our Lord, bearing our own wounds. We come to him with sorrow and suffering in our hearts. We pray that the wounds of our guilt may be healed by the wounds of Christ’s mercy. Our wounds are known to him. These are wounds of pride, arrogance, lust, selfishness, greed and violence: The wounds of our hands when we struck out at others rather than offer to lift them up: The wounds of our feet when we walked away from those in need instead of offering to carry them: The wounds of pride when we considered ourselves too good to serve or too proud to admit weakness: The worst of all, the wounds of the heart broken by rejection or having broken hearts out of selfishness or cruelty.

Jesus Christ, free from all sins, took on the ugliness, the emptiness and our rejection of his offer of unconditional love. He calls out to us from the cross:

“I thirst.” He thirsts for us to hide our wounds in his. He thirsts for our suffering, he thirsts for our broken and hardened hearts.  This day he offers to hide these wounds in his so that they can be forgiven and healed by the blood and water that flows out of his pierced heart. How can we not take him on this offer? How can we not embrace the cross and kiss it and say that here my wounds are hidden and here they are healed? Why would anyone stay away?

Jesus Christ has come among us one of us so that he can live with us and offer his life for us in love for the Father and for the sorrow of the human race. The cross we venerate today makes clear the glory of God the Father, the love of God the Son and the power of God the Holy Spirit to free us and bring us back to life. Leave your wounds here. Leave your sorrow here, leave your sins here, and go with the love of Jesus Christ to make that love, the love which will direct your life.

Holy Thursday Homily March 24, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 4:15 pm on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jesus never stops leading us. In the darkness of his approaching death, he offers the light of his obedient love. In the chaos of his arrest and trial before the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate, he tells us the truth of who he is. In a world suffering from a famine of faith and love, He gives us himself as our food and drink.

Jesus has taught us through his preaching that the Father is one on whom we must depend. He tells us to live out this message and also commands us to love as he loves. St. Paul teaches the Corinthians this lesson in his Letter. He reminds them that he is passing on what he has received, namely that Jesus gives us his Body and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine to unite all people in faith and pour salvation upon the world. We can say that St. Paul gives us an example of living a “hand to mouth” existence not in the sense of his poverty, although he was poor, but rather by receiving everything from the hand of the Lord.

There are some people today who are forced to live a “hand to mouth” existence. They are just able to get by. They have enough money for rent, utilities, gas and food and that’s about it. The people we know who are living this way are not happy about it. They hope for a day when they have more than enough so they can do other things.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper teaches us a different lesson. The hand to mouth existence that Jesus creates for the one who believes in him is one of great abundance. The Bible shows us time and time again that life is truly a hand to mouth existence. God fed the Israelites every day in the wilderness for forty years with manna from heaven. God sent ravens and an Angel to feed the prophet Elijah and his way to Zarapeth in Sidon. Jesus himself teaches us to pray every day “give us this day our daily bead.” Living in this country blessed with abundant resources, we can take for granted the poor and believe we have the ability to take care of ourselves without the help of God. Jesus makes it clear to his disciples that they cannot take care of themselves, not only their bodies, but particularly their souls. Like them, we receive everything we have from the hand of God. In the great mystery of the Holy Eucharist we are fed by the very hand of God with his own Body and Blood.

The disciples feel safe around Jesus, but soon he will be taken from them as he is handed over to the authorities for trial. Sadly, the disciples fail him. He is betrayed by one, denied by another and abandoned by the rest. They have not yet fully learned the lesson he taught them at the Passover meal, that when they eat his body and drink his blood, they proclaim his death until he comes again.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples will carry out what Jesus commanded them to do in memory of him, namely to proclaim his message and to share in the sacrificial offering of his body and blood that he commissioned them to carry out for his church and the world.  This is the lesson we must remember tonight.

We need to learn to live from hand to mouth, from God’s hands to our mouths. When there is darkness, the Eucharist brings light. When we are wounded by sin, the Eucharist brings healing and forgiveness.  Where there is division and confusion, the Eucharist will bring us unity and clarity.  In this action we accept and welcome our total dependence on the mercy of God who feeds us with himself. It is only then that we like Paul and the other Apostles can hand on what we have received to the mouths of others

Jesus has given us this memorial, this truly living reality of his presence, to remind us that his love never ends. May the celebration of the Lord’s Supper bring us peace, and fill us with the zeal to faithfully carry out his works today.

 

Links for 40 Words of Jesus

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:35 pm on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I have attached the templates for the 40 words of Jesus Lenten sheet. IF you copy both on one sheet you can then fold them in half.

master40wordsjesusb

Master40words

Have a Blessed Lent

January 21, 2016 Ethics notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 4:11 pm on Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lecture notes for LPC 123

PRETHEOETH

Christmas Homily 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 9:46 am on Thursday, December 24, 2015

 

This is the time of year that families come home. Some return from college. Others bring their new families from far distances. Others come from overseas after being away defending our country. We gather together as f family who grew up with each other and retells all the old stories of Christmases long ago when we could not wait to go to bed, excited about what we would find around the tree on Christmas morning.  As we get older, we realize that it is not so much about things, but about each other and the one who makes this gathering possible, namely God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Today we witness something about God. He has decided to make him home among us. We have become his home and his dwelling. He has taken on our flesh and blood today so that he becomes the ultimate story of our lives. Joy to the world, God has come to make his home among us.

He has made a home among us because he loves us and desires to draw us closer to him. He has personally come among us to build up what we have torn down through selfishness and sin. He has come among us to show us how to live, by following God the Father through gratitude, obedience and trust. He has come to be alongside of us to share our joys and sorrows and to give us hope and strength. He has come to save us by telling us and showing us that our true path in life requires a generous, merciful and humble heart.

The Son of God comes among us not as a fully grown man and carried on the wings of angels. He comes to us as an infant, born of the Virgin Mary into a cold and dark world to give us a chance in reclaiming our life through the love of him.  Most of us honor him this time of year by placing a Nativity scene among the decorations. But that is not the place where the Stable will have its greatest effect. God makes a home for himself not only in our world. His greatest desire is to make a home for himself in our hearts and minds and bodies.

In that holy action, accomplished by daily prayer, receiving the sacraments and living a life of virtue we become recipients of all the gifts of God.  These gifts are not wrapped. These gifts rather wrap our souls with love, courage, perseverance, faith and hope. As God becomes man, he makes it possible for us to become more like him and make the world a place of his grace and holiness.

On this Christmas day, as we celebrate this Holy Mass, we have come home to God. This is God’s house and our home. It is a place of closeness to God. It is a place where we have experienced him through our eyes and ears, and even our nose and mouth as we receive the Gifts of his Body and Blood.

This great feast of the Birth of our Lord gives us the hope of a heavenly home. Jesus has made this possible and our faith and love for him make it real for us. We see God when we look at Jesus. We hear God when we listen to his word. We even taste God as he becomes our food and drink. He becomes like us in every way except sin so that we can become like him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Just as we never get tired of telling the old family stories of Christmas, may we rediscover again the power of Christ’s birth. God makes his home in our midst. Let us receive him with great joy.

April 4, 2015 Easter Vigil

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:40 pm on Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Vigil 2015

On this night the Church takes us back all the way to the creation of the world. We hear the story of creation from the book of Genesis when God first created light. That light comes from the fire of God’s love which warms us, purifies us and enlightens us. It is also for us the light of faith.

From that light we are now able to see ourselves as we truly are, marked with sin and death. We see that we cannot save ourselves, so we reach out to the one who has offered to save us, Jesus Christ. With Jesus’ Bodily resurrection, God the Father has chosen to offer us a new life, which we receive in the waters of Baptism. From those life-giving waters, sin and death have been conquered and we are made children of God by adoption. We become inheritors of the gift of everlasting life and bear of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

On this night, we move from darkness to light, from death to life and from sadness to glory. By the gift of faith we have received we are given a new strength and courage to be witnesses to the saving power of Jesus Christ which fills of with a deeper love and a sure hope that God will not abandon us. You are who Elect are about to receive the greatest possible gift a human being can receive, a new rebirth to a real life and a sharing in the divine life of Jesus Christ.

What is this divine life that you are about to receive? God wishes to take the central place in your heart and reshape your whole life in the shape of the cross. It is by the cross that we are taught the true meaning of God’s love and tonight you are to be given the gift to take that love on you self. It is a love that enables you to worship God with a pure and undivided heart. It is a love that focuses you on the care of others and a dedication to service of God and neighbor in the world. It is a merciful love that turns you to depend on God for all things and seek his forgiveness when you have sinned. Lastly, it is a courageous love by which you are committed to share this pearl of great price, this personal meeting of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit with others and with your fellow Christians as a way to encourage others in this life who are lost and seek direction.

You have sought the Lord and tonight you are told in Mark’s Gospel that he is alive. He has been raised from the dead and brings the whole into new relationship with God the Father. You have found him in his Mystical Body the Church, of which you are about to become a member. You will share with us the Body and Blood of the Lord and the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit.

You serve not only as a witness to the world of the saving power of God in your life, you serve also as a witness to us “old-timers.” You know that the Christian life is one that is filled not only with great joys and loves, but also with great sacrifices. We live in the world in which the Christian faith is mocked and persecuted and our brothers and sisters are being killed for simply professing and living the Christian faith. You faith renews ours and your zeal reminds us of the fire of a vibrant and spirit filled life. We welcome you to the banquet of the Lord and the way of his glory. As you become sharers in the resurrection and new life of Christ tonight, do not have fear. The love of God you receive in the waters of rebirth and confession of faith will remove your doubts and bring a whole new life to your soul.

Holy Thursday Homily 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 3:56 pm on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday Homily

People today are always on the run. They try to accomplish many things at the same time and often they are catching themselves coming and going. The book of Exodus this evening speaks of eating Passover meal with your “loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand. You shall eat like those who are in flight.” Are the Israelites doing this because they are too busy? Do they have time management problems?

The answer to this is, of course, no. God reminds the people that they are only visitors in this world. They are simply passing through and will one day arrive at the permanent place, life with God in heaven. This world is not an end in itself, but a path to a greater life. That greater life though has been derailed by sin. We cannot get ourselves on track. We are held in the terrible grip of slavery to sins and selfishness.

On this Feast of Holy Thursday and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus himself is opening the door for us to the greater life that his death and resurrection will bring about.  The Bread that is used at the Passover is unleavened, called the bread of affliction. It is hard and tough to chew, but it nourishes just as well. Jesus gives us the bread of affliction at the Passover because we live in affliction in this world. Things do not always work right. We have setbacks and failures and struggles. Faith is a constant challenge for us. But these are not to stop us. By us giving us his Body, this bread of affliction becomes for us the Bread of Life, the food that is his very life, that gives us the grace to endure and to overcome and to prosper especially when we are weary and fearful. Jesus gives us the Holy Eucharist so that we do not give up.

He also knows that for this food to continue, he needs to provide those who share in Christ’s life in a unique way. So on this night he institutes the sacrament of Orders, the holy Priesthood.  These men are his shepherds who feed, lead and protect the flock of the Church. They are given through the Holy Spirit and the laying on of hands the authority to heal, teach and forgive in Christ’s name to encourage them on their path of faith. The mission to which the priest is called is to make of himself an offering in the person of Christ for the people entrusted to him, so that they will be kept safe in this dangerous world and provided with the gifts necessary to continue on through this passing life with joy and hope.

Finally, Jesus gives his disciples the Great command:  love another as I have loved you.  His followers are not to rely only on their knowledge or their talents or their social connections. They are to rely on the love of God. This giving in love that is expressed in the Last Supper has now become the measure of what it means to be a Christian in the world.

 

The mission given to every believer is the same, love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus gives us this mission because of the struggles we face in life. We have not been created to face them alone. We have not been abandoned to fend for ourselves. Jesus makes this crystal clear on this night. He gives us each other and makes it possible for us not only through his example, but by the power of the Holy Spirit

Jesus is changing the world tonight. He is changing how he is going to be with us. He makes it clear that in the suffering and death he is about to endure, he takes it up freely out of love for us and for the Father. God loves us enough to die for us. He keeps our souls strong as we move through this world by feeding us with his own Body and Blood.  He is opens up the door to a new life with him to help us focus on what lasts, so that we do not get distracted by the passing things of this world. Let us take this time tonight to keep watch with Jesus, so that as the world changes, and the storms continue to blow we can remain faithful to him so as to reach our goal: everlasting life.

 

 

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