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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.

 

 

 

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.

Feast of the Holy Family December 28

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:55 pm on Saturday, December 27, 2014

Feast of the Holy Family                                                      2014

Everything that God touches, he sanctifies, consecrates, glorifies and makes a means of communicating his life and presence. We saw this on the Feast of the Birth of Our Lord. When Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and took on our human nature, He did not destroy our nature, but came with the intention of recreating it and making it capable of sharing life with God in a personal and intimate way that it could not do before. God is slowly but surely putting into place the path for our redemption and making us sharers in the Kingdom of God.

Today we give thanks for God’s touch on the most basic reality of human existence, the family.  The Word of God desired to live in a human family and have a mother who gave him birth and foster-father who would love him, protect him and teach him. This is an amazing fact of how God desires to interact with us. To be a part of a family is a human thing. A family exists by nature in the sense that the Mother and Father become Co-creators with God in the gift of children, which is seen as the fruit of their love for one another. Human beings live by relationships. We need each other and depend on one another to live in the world. God has come to show us that the fundamental root of every human relationship is love.

When we look at the secular understanding of family, the virtue that is highlighted is justice. By the fact that they are parents, husbands and wives owe their children the necessities to survive and thrive in the world. Children, on the other hand, by justice, owe their parents respect, obedience and gratitude for all they have given them.  If we remember that everything God touches he raises up to a higher level of life, what can we say about the Holy Family? When God is brought into the life of the family by the faith of the parents, Justice is raised to the level of Love, a duty becomes a privilege, a responsibility becomes a gift. This gift is given to be shared so that it will continue to grow and bear fruit.

God is showing us that the greatest vocation in the world is not a profession or a trade of some kind, but to be a Mother and a Father. There is nothing greater in the world for the building up of the Kingdom of God and the happiness of the human race than this. The Sacrament of Matrimony, the union of a man and woman in a permanent and unbreakable communion of love is a privileged place for meeting God. From this sacrament comes a reality that is like a sacrament, the Family. The Second Vatican Council referred to the family as the “domestic church,” because it is the first place where faith in Jesus Christ is acknowledged and passed on. Many Saints of the Church have said these words, a strong family produces a strong Church, and a Strong Church helps to form a strong family.

When we talk about family we often talk about having the same blood. But we know that there is something even greater than having the same blood, it is professing and living out the same faith. This is why we recognize in a special way those parents who have natural children, but also those who adopt children out of the abundance of their marital love that finds its roots in the love of Jesus Christ.           The family itself is a place where faith in God and love is learned and practiced every day.

There are people today who do not see this way of life as either possible or healthy. There are attempts to change the meaning of “family.” There are also families that are so overwhelmed with the things of this world that they don’t take the time to care for and nourish their souls and the souls of their children. We have a choice to family life in one of two ways- with Jesus and (kinda) without Jesus. Family life (kinda) without Jesus is one that is run by constant motion and activity and obligations that turns families into a group of individuals, each with their own goal and way of life, little is held in common except the same address and last name.

Family life with Jesus is constant because it is rooted in daily prayer. It is unitive because everyone has the same goal and each one shares in helping others achieve it. Finally it is also sacrificial and reverent because the focus is on serving and loving each other. They learn to live for each other confident that God will always guide them through life’s challenges and make their moments of joy more lasting.

The Church has always been a staunch defender of the family because family life in Christ is impossible without the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Penance. It is impossible without the love that the Holy Spirit pours out upon them in daily prayer and the security which comes with knowing the truth of the teaching of Jesus Christ. As our Mother, the Church daily offers every family the grace of Jesus Christ, which helps us overcome our sinful and selfish natures so that we can be for each other.

God has touched the family through Jesus, Mary and Joseph. He has given us not only the example but the grace to live it out. HE asks for our faith, hope and love of Him. May we pray every day: God our Father, help our family be holy. Help us live for one another and serve you in love and gratitude that we may one day know the fullness of joy in the heaven you have promised for us. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, make our family like unto yours.

November 3 Chapter four of Ocariz

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 11:11 am on Monday, November 3, 2014

I found the chapter in the last place i Looked.

Ocarizpriesthood

 

Eschatology notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 4:45 pm on Monday, September 22, 2014

Ratzinger

 

Mary Seat of Wisdom Study questions for September 12

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 2:12 pm on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I have attached the questions for Chapters one and two for you to answer for class.

2014 MSW study questions

Easter Sunday Homily 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 4:14 pm on Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Sunday 2014

Every day the sun rises, our lives are filled with new hopes, new opportunities and sometimes new fears. God gives us a chance to begin again. This is a great gift that many times we take for granted. But there is something more that is going on when we got up this morning, and it was not just colored eggs, chocolate and jelly beans. We remember and recommit ourselves to the life that God has opened for us.

There are three big gifts that have been given us through the Bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The first is that darkness has been conquered by light. The world that has been ruled by the darkness and sin is enlightened by Jesus who rose from the dead and conquered sin. Evil likes to stay hidden in the shadows so it can work for our destruction, but the love of Jesus Christ has pointed the light of his glory on the evils of the world so that they will flee, because the Goodness of God will always overcome the darkness of sin. We are witness of that fact today.

The second gift of the resurrection is that life has conquered death. Mary Magdalene, John and Peter went to the tomb and found it empty. The one whom they loved and saw crucified was not there. The Gospel says that John saw and believed the promise that Jesus made that the Son of man would be handed over to evil men to be crucified, but would be raised from the dead. We live in a world that seems to be fascinated by zombies, the walking dead, the non-living who terrorize the living. The Resurrection of Jesus turns our gaze from the death and decay of the tomb to the brightness and life of loving, giving, forgiving and serving God and one another. Life means growth in wisdom, holiness and love. The resurrected life is a life of courage, faithfulness and the truth not only of what God says, but what he is doing even today for us. The resurrection tells us that God does not desire separation from him, but communion with him.

The third gift of the resurrection is doubt is conquered by faith. St. Peter tells the crowd in the Acts of the Apostles that he is a witness of Jesus death and resurrection, he has seen him. He has heard him. He has touched him. Jesus is real not only in history, but he is the Lord of all history. For those who believe, we do not say Jesus was. We say Jesus is. He is seeking to share his life with us through the gift of faith that was professed when we were baptized. He is willing to walk through the locked doors of our hearts and say “Peace be with you.”

In just a few minutes we will renew the promises that we made at our baptism. We will reject Satan and the darkness of sin in our lives. We will profess our faith in God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father has made us his children worthy of the inheritance of everlasting life. Jesus his Son has conquered sin and death by taking on our human nature and offering his life out of love for the Father and us so that death will never have the final word on us. We profess our faith in the Holy Spirit, because it is that Spirit that is dwelling in us today, that makes it possible to love, to serve, to sacrifice, pray, worship  and to tell the world something that it would not even dare to hope for.

We recommit ourselves to God to be living witnesses to the power of the Risen Jesus Christ to love us, to form us and to bring us joy and meaning in life. He gives us his Body and Blood as the Sacrament of his commitment to us. He will never leave us. Today, we not only witness the Sun rise in the East, but we also we say with our heart and soul and mind that the Son of God has risen from the dead, and he has given us a new day, a new life, and a new love. Let us not take his gifts for granted, but use them for our good, our family’s good, and the good of the whole world.

 

Easter Vigil Homily 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:31 am on Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Vigil 2014

          When you were little and taking a car trip with your parents, a question you probably asked several time was “Are we there yet?” We can’t wait to get to where we are going. But as we get older, we begin to see that reaching our desired destination requires that we take the right roads and have enough gasoline to make the trip. Everything we experience along the way prepares us for what we see when we get there.

          This night is similar. We have been on the road for forty days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, preparing our hearts and soul to meet the one whom we have been waiting to see, namely Jesus Christ. This road has been more interior than exterior, more of the heart. Before we arrive, we look back to all the events that brought us here: The creation of the world and the human race, the fall of man into sin and the liberation from slavery, the promise of God to save us and strengthen us that we can reach that ultimate goal of heavenly life with him. It is quite a long journey, and tonight, we stop pick up some more people to accompany us.

          The people who join us tonight are those who had walked a different path and taken a different road. They have heard the Risen Lord call to their hearts and offer them a new way, a brighter way, and a holy way. It is a way that will include the cross, it is way that includes struggles. But it is also a path in which we do not walk alone.

          The men, women and children who join us tonight through the waters of rebirth, the profession of faith and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, have a whole new world opened for them. It is the world of the new life of Christ and the guiding strength of the Holy Spirit. As the Church, we ask God to pour out on them all that he has given to us, wise and loving hearts, a strong faith, and a courage to be a living witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ to all around them. They are fed for the first time with the Bread of life and the Blood of salvation.

          Over these last forty days, and for many of them, even longer, they have asked Jesus Christ to show them his face, and they have come to meet him both in his Word and in the Teaching of the Apostles. They have learned that taking on a new life requires a surrendering of their old ways, turning from sin and selfishness so that the grace and generosity of God may fill them up. Tonight their education takes another step, as the Holy Spirit speaks to their hearts through the power of the sacraments and unites them to Jesus Christ in a deeper way. The Holy Spirit turns on the lights and brightens them, so that they leave here different form how they came.

          But tonight is not just about bringing new people into the family. It has much to teach us who have already been on the road a long time. We, old-timers need to remember why we started this path. We have hit a few potholes in life and pulled off the road a few times. Jesus reminds us tonight that just because the road is rough does not mean that we are on the wrong road. The world in which we live is a bumpy place and the ride is not pleasant sometimes, but it is still the best and only road to be on. It is the path for which we have been created we have been. WE human beings have a short memory and in the heat of the moment, we wonder out loud to God, “ARE WE THERE YET?  Jesus response to us is two-fold. Yes and no, which is always a good Catholic response.

We are there in the sense that Jesus is really and truly present to us in our hearts by the movements of the Holy Spirit and as we nurture that life, we can begin to see and experience the beauty he has promised us. We see the outline of the heavenly city, through the lighted candles and we smell the fragrant air filled with the incense of the worship of God. We are fed with the Body and Blood of Jesus himself so that our souls will never again know the pain of spiritual hunger. We watch and wait for the Lord tonight so that tomorrow we can start out again with a purer heart and a clearer vision. As we make room for our new members, may we share what we believe with them, and may all of you who enter the Church tonight share with us your love and faith for the Lord.

Good Friday homily 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 3:59 pm on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Friday 2014

When we teach people the meanings of words, we hold up an object, and we say the word. So if we hold up a round red rubber object, we say the word “ball” and the person we are speaking to connects the object with the word. It is not too hard to teach people about things that are concrete such as ball or chair or tree, but what about words that are a little more abstract, like love, for instance.

Some people may put the hands to their heart and say “love,” others may show a picture of a heart and say love. Others may show a picture of two people kissing or holding hands and say “love.” Each of these images gives us an idea, love is a place in our body, love is a thing shaped like a heart, or love is two or more connected to each other.

We gather today to profess that none of those images really hold up to the test of truth. We know that the true reality of love is shown to us today in the way that the world says is a sign of contradiction. Today the Church gives us the real image of love, namely Jesus Christ crucified. If we want to teach the word the meaning of love, we must lift high the crucifix. Jesus says earlier in John’s Gospel, “when the son of man is lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.” This mystery of the death of Jesus, innocent and sinless, for all of us, guilty and sinful, makes no sense in a world that is focused on taking and possessing, acquiring and hoarding.

From the very moment he was conceived in the womb of the woman who stood at the Foot of his Cross, Jesus teaches us that true love consists in giving and surrendering, first to God the Father, and then to all others. This is his lesson today. Jesus gives us the truest and surest way to remain sane in an insane world, take up our cross every day and follow him. The sanity of the cross teaches us that love involves giving, even when we have little. The sanity of the cross teaches us that loves involves obedience, even if we don’t see the outcome. The sanity of the cross teaches us that love involves suffering, even though it hurts. There is no other way to really love in the world.

Some people say that love means satisfying our needs, but they are never really satisfied. Others say that loves means setting limits and that it is earned, but that is a form of self-preservation. Finally others may preach that love always makes you happy, but we know that love can break our heart.

People need to see the cross to really begin to learn the meaning of love. As I have said many times, there are two different definitions. The cultural definition of love is to get from another what we want. Christ’s bodily definition of love is to give away fully all that he is. Nothing is left, all is spent, in the end, the blood and water that flowed from his pierced side has shown he has given all bodily.

Today, we believe that Jesus Christ is still pouring out his love for us poor sinners, because as the God man his suffering continues in those who profess faith in him. He suffers in them, through them and with him.

There are some among us who venerate the cross every day, not just Good Friday. When children sacrifice their personal freedom to carry for their aging parents, they kiss the cross. When dads and moms work two or three jobs to keep a roof over their children’s heads, they kiss the cross. When parents live their lives every day holding in their heart their children who died, they kiss the cross. When we visit the sick, care for the poor, spend time with the lonely, we kiss the cross.

We are living in a world that has been crucified by injustice, selfishness, immorality and a perverse idea of freedom. We exalt false loves over the true suffering and self-surrendering love of Jesus Christ. Many people are on that cross today because of despair, unhealed wounds, or an empty heart. The news to the whole world today, if it would only really listen to it, is that the answer to our sorrows and loses, our tragedies and our tears is Jesus Christ crucified. This cross, as St. Catherine of Siena writes, is the true bridge to the joy of heaven, and the peace that will give us the thrill of God’s joy on earth.

The Church,  as soon to be Saint Pope John XXIII, is our mother and teacher. She wishes to teach us the truth of life and the truth of the world. Today, she lifts high the Body of Christ nailed to the cross for our salvation and says, “This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the Savior of the world. This is true love. This is our only hope. This is the Son giving up his Spirit in love to God the Father for the salvation of the human race and the whole world.” Come let us worship. Come let us live. Come, let us love.

 

 

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