Daily homily thoughts, 3/28

“….I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple, south of the altar….Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”   Every now and again, we get this wonderful reading from Ezekiel.  It is a vision of the church–this beautiful temple atop the mountain, out of which gush waters that heal, give life, make everything fresh.  It is an image of the baptismal waters, flowing from the side of Christ’s body the Church.  They take care of us on earth, these waters, and they’ll carry us to heaven if we let them.

Daily homily thoughts, 3/27

“For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying….”  So says Isaiah today.  Be happy!  We have a lot to celebrate and be glad about.  As Teresa of Avila said, “From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.”

“Dare to see things as they are”: A homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (A)

Cpoolardinal Newman once said that we should “dare to see things as they are.”  That is what makes a true Christian. A true Christian can see things as they are.  We are meant to see the value, the beauty, the greatness of things, of people.  That is what it means to have eyes of the Lord.  We see an example of this in our first reading. Samuel is sent from the Lord to find the son of Jesse that the Lord willed to be the next king.  All the sons line up, all except one.  Samuel eventually says, “Is this all your sons?”  To which Jesse replies, “Well, there’s David, too, but he’s the youngest and weakest you don’t want him…he’s in the field.”  But God did want David.  The Lord says in the first reading, “Do not judge from his appearance…..Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”

To be a true Christian is to see below the surface of things, as the Lord did with David.  The world sees a piece of bread; the Catholic sees the body and blood of Jesus. The world sees “just a beggar” (like in our gospel); the Catholic sees a son of God, made in his image. The world sees a tissue; we see a life. The world sees an alien and accounts him no value or dignity or hospitality; we see a brother and give him a home.  The world sees the church as an institution; we see the church as the living body of Christ.  We must have eyes of faith!!  This is what it means to have a Catholic worldview–to see things are they really are.

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Daily homily thoughts, 3/23

Beautiful words from Fr. Tertullian in today’s Matins, from an ancient treatise he wrote on prayer:

Of old, prayer was able to rescue from fire and beasts and hunger, even before it received its perfection from Christ. How much greater then is the power of Christian prayer. No longer does prayer bring an angel of comfort to the heart of a fiery furnace, or close up the mouths of lions, or transport to the hungry food from the fields. No longer does it remove all sense of pain by the grace it wins for others. But it gives the armor of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what it is gaining from the Lord, and understand what it is suffering for the name of God.

In the past prayer was able to bring down punishment, rout armies, withhold the blessing of rain. Now, however, the prayer of the just turns aside the whole anger of God, keeps vigil for its enemies, pleads for persecutors. Is it any wonder that it can call down water from heaven when it could obtain fire from heaven as well? Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that it should work no evil, and has given it all power over good.

Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains. Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travelers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.

All the angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee. As they come from their barns and caves they look out to heaven and call out, lifting up their spirit in their own fashion. The birds too rise and lift themselves up to heaven: they open out their wings, instead of hands, in the form of a cross, and give voice to what seems to be a prayer.

What more need be said on the duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily homily thoughts, 3/21

Today the Lord speaks to us of one of his favorite topics: forgiveness.  We must forgive.  Not just seven times, but 77 times.  Not just from our minds, but from our hearts.  There is an old saying that we must forgive, not to excuse another’s behavior but in order that another’s behavior might not destroy our hearts.  It is time to let it go.  Why can we not be better to people?  God’s mercy is unending. So must ours be.

Daily homily thoughts, 3/20

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Ite ad Joseph. Go to Joseph. Pope Francis has inspired me to do just this. The pontiff–today is his liturgical anniversary–always puts his intentions beneath his statue of St. Joseph. This is the reason I bought my St. Joseph statue. Joseph, you see, has a lot of free time; most people just go Mary. But Joseph is an incredible intercesor. He also offers us an example of a humble, strong, faithful man. God put his Son Jesus into Joseph’s hands. And Joseph put everything in God’s hands. It is not too different for us.