Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homily for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Will post my homily for today.  All faith requires a response.  Oh, yeah, and mine can be different from yours!

You’ve heard us say the Ordinary time is a time for teaching.  We listen to the word of the Lord and from that we not only learn about our faith...what we believe, but also how we are to act on those beliefs.

Today’s a good example, because the theme here is discipleship.
A disciple is a follower.  We’re not talking about being a blind follower.  Discipleship requires faith.  The disciple must believe in what he is following.  Catholic teaching will also throw in reason as well.   Many Catholics who have come from different faith traditions have told us how there explortation..there use of reason...helped them reach the conclusion that Catholicisim fit their faith to a tee.  But the key requirement is faith.

This is because discipleship is a response of faith in the love of God.  Discipleship, as a faithful person will attest, demands a response.  The disciple knows God’s love so personally that he wants to respond to it, and he does respond to it in a way that God asks him to.

The story line of Mark’s gospel is very simple.  Jesus has come to Galilee proclaiming the gospel.  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”   And people responded.

Sounds simple.  Also sounds like Jonah’s message to Nineveh as well.  And people responded.  

We hear things and see things from time to time in our lives that spark our faith.  Someone says something and the light comes on.  Someone does something and the spark of faith turns into a flame.   These are the same responses of the people of  Nineveh and Galillee.

In Nineveh, the Assyrians become disciples by the act of donning sack cloth and ashes.  Their repentance is an act of faith, turning their backs on their old lifestyle to embrace a life of faith in Yahweh.

Jonah is a disciple, too, because despite his fear, cynicism, and generally negative outlook, he responds to the Lord by doing as the Lord asks.  A response of faith.

As Jesus preaches the good news in Gallilee, he calls Simon and Andrew, and James and John from their fishing businesses to become fisher of men.  His messsage sparked them.  They responded in faith.  They certainly werent responding to any pay and benefit package!(As fishermen, they were equivalent to successful people running small businesses in our time,)

In all these men...Jonah, Andrew, James, John, Simon...the Lord’s presence in some way set their hearts on fire and they responded in faith.   the love of God overcame whatever issues they had...as we see in Jonah, especially...and they responded in the love of doing his will.

In the promise of our baptism, we are called to be disciples as well.  We are called to be like Jonah, Andrew, James, John and Simon and respond to God’s love with love.   We are to go and share and to show others the Gospel of the Lord.   This is discipleship.  This is our response to God’s love.   Our faith is nourished and grows if we choose it to be, and as it does we too will have the courage to abandon our nets and be fishers of men.

POST HOMILY NOTE: I think Jonah is cynical, fearful, critical, and faithful. Sounds like someone I know.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Epiphany

Epiphany is, to me, the second half of Christmas.  Part one is that the Word is made Flesh and becomes a reality in our life, not an abstract God looking down, but one who now lives as we live, breathes as we breathes, and is present with us, seeking us to recognize and respond to that.  Epiphany is when we say "yes," and find Him and love Him and welcome Him into the life we live each day.  Even when we are the lousiest of hosts. We do become like children, don't we, because we always wish to be in the presence of the loving Father who will take care of us forever.   The Epiphany for us is when we see that as the Magi saw it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Morning 2014

"No one has ever seen God.
The Only Son, God, who is at the Father's side
has revealed Him"  John 1:18.

In morning prayer today, and all this week, we will say the canticle of Daniel 3;57-88, the magnificent song of praise to God for all He has done for us.  Even after reciting this prayer time after time in morning prayer throughout the year, the words burst with joy on this morning, as if they are screaming the words "thank you!" with great joy and excitement because the Son has revealed the Father to us.   He has been revealed to us and we dance with thankful joy as we welcome into our hearts and work to stay with him each and every day.   This is life.  This is "grace upon grace," this is what we celebrate today.  We need not moan and wander, lost in the darkness of an empty existence.  Life is ours, the gift has been given.   Jesus Christ, the Word, came to us in the human flesh and lived among us, and he will come again when all this ends.  In between, he comes to us frequently, always looking to be invited into our hearts, the "dawn from on high...to shine on those who dwell in dakness and the shadow of deah and to guide our feet into the way of peace."  

Have a blessed Christmas.  Welcome him now into your heart.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mary and Me, or How I Found Our Mother

In our dicocese, we are currently undertaking the process of Marian consecration.  The actual consectration will take place on August 15th, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, at which time the Bishop will re-consecrate the diocese to its patron, the Blessed Mother.  I have no idea how many people are actually going through the month-long spiritual exercise, but I am one of them.

In all honesty, I kind of backed into it.  In my latest career move, I have returned to my radio roots and am doing a morning show on our local Catholic radio FM station.  How I got back to doing a morning show again is a story for another time.  It is a conversion story, though, as is this one.

As part of the program, my producer...who likes the daily reflections I sometimes do...suggested that I do a daily reflection on the daily prayer and reflection of the consecration process.  We are using Fr. Michael Gaitley's "33 Days to Morning Glory."  So I did.  It wasn't any kind of deep magnetism that led me to Mary, it was simply the request of my producer to do a daily piece for the program.

What has happened is that I have been able to go deeper into Marian theology.  This comes on the heels of taking a course on Mary last year at Notre Dame as part of my MA pursuit.  I then chose Mary as one of my topics for my comps.   And then comes this.

Two things:  My faith is not an emotion-based faith.  I am more like Thomas in that I need to see things or understand in some way what's going on before I come to believe on a deeper level.  The path to my heart is through my head,   So that's the process that is going on here.  The other thing, is that I believe that conversions often come bit by bit.  Something happens here, something happens there and none of them are related until you reach a point in the journey and see that they very much are related.

This is exactly what's going on now.  This consecration thing has moved from my head to my heart.
Once I had my post of knowing, my Thomas post, I was able to move from there.  Now I have spent more time in Marian devotion each day then at any other time in my life.   And things are beginning to happen.  After being somewhat stalled out in my faith, there is something moving again and Whatever's Next is on the way.   Without going into great detail, God is simply answering my prayer in a very methodical way, and its a way I neither expected or sought out.

You bet I believe!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Later Sunday Post

For sometime now, I have been wanting to resume this blog.  However, as John Lennon pointed out, life is what happens when you are making other plans.   Without going into details about a rather tumultous year,
I will say that I am back in radio after about a four or five year hiatus.

Never thought it would happen.

Spent a good part of the last few years trying to avoid media as much as possible.

However, this time around, I am involved with Catholic radio.

Over the last few months, I have been working with a truly wonderful group of people and now find myself hosting a local daily morning show (again) on Redeemer Radio, 106.3fm in Fort Wayne.  (You can find it on Tuned In ap.)   Having fun with it, feel at home with it, even though I get to get up at a part of the morning that is unrecognizable to most.

So it's good.

I also find myself rather involved with more things than ever before.  So much for slowing down, right Papa?

Still, I felt that this blog needed to be tended to, a little loving care, a little nurturing, a little of one step at a time, under the guidance of prayer...listening prayer.  So we proceed.

Never in my life has the Lord laid out the whole plan in front of me.  Instead, I am led on what sometimes feels like a blessed treasure hunt.  "Proceed here.  Do this.  Wait.  Now go here."  

That's the case now. I'm proceeding. More information will follow.


Early Sunday

Up before dawn for prayer and strong coffee.  I have the seven Mass this morning.  Homily topic:  Frontal Assault on the Weeds.  Thanks to Fred Winston tweet for the idea.  Will post later.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

All the Time, Right?

Here's what caught me today from Luke's Gospel, out of the Jerusalem Bible.  "Anyone who follows me should renounce himself and pick up his cross daily."  It is the word daily that grabbed me.  Daily, as in every day, as in full time occupation, daily as in not just the times when I feel "holy."   It is this phrase I will carry around with me today.

We all have the crosses, in all shapes and sizes.  They are the things we have done and the things that have been done to us.  Personally, I have a good sized list of both.  They are not easy to carry.  But if we renounce and follow and bring them, the Cross becomes our cross and the load begins to lighten.  It is a way of survival.  It's not a walk in the park, but it is a walk for life.