Daily homily thoughts, 11/20

Today’s Gospel says that Jesus was passing by.  This made me think of a great book I read some time ago by Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Passing By.  Here are some good lines of his, things to reflect upon!  Because JC is passing by all the time!

  • Don’t say, “That person bothers me.” Think: “That person sanctifies me”.
  • Either we learn to find the Lord in the ordinary everyday life or else we shall never find him
  • You don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!” you can be sure you have already begun.”
  • To begin is for everyone. To persevere is for saints.
  • You’re bored? That’s because you keep your senses awake and your soul asleep.

Ingratitude, the root of all sin: A homily for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (A)

1200px-SolanuscaseySt Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, said something interesting. He said that we often think that the root of all sin is lust or pride or anger or one of those “big ones.”  But, he said, those are simply symptoms of something else.  The root of all sin, according to the sound teaching of St Ignatius, is ingratitude.

I think he’s right.  Our first reading from Proverbs says that a husband should remember that his wife is worth more than the finest pearl.  If a man can remember that–if he remembers the treasure that is his wife, if he remembers to thank God for her every day–he will be a better husband.  Same with the wives. Parents who thank God for their kids, even in the hard times, are better parents.  Children who thank God for their parents are truly thankful for them are better sons and daughters.  Same with everything.  Especially our faith.  People who are truly thankful for their faith are better disciples of Jesus.

Yesterday, Solanus Casey was beatified in Detroit. Cardinal Tobin was there. Solanus Casey is an interesting figure. He spent most of his life as a doorman.  They almost didn’t ordain him a priest because he wasn’t deemed good enough, smart enough.  They did finally ordain him, but he was forbidden to preach of hear confessions.  They assigned him to the doorpost because he couldn’t cause too much trouble there.

That man was thankful for his position at the door.  He spent most of his life as a doorman, even a short spell here in Indiana in Huntington.  He could have complained, why didn’t I get a higher office?  how’s come I’m stuck here at the door while Father so-and-so is doing all this glamorous ministry?

That’s the problem the man with one talent fell into.  The others–the guy with 5 talents and the guy with 2–they were entrusted with more.  We shall never know why, expect that the master gave them what he gave them “according to their ability,” that is, he did what he did for a reason.  This guy with the one talent–he forgot to be thankful for what he had, unlike Solanus Casey, who was also dealt some “low cards.”

The reality though, is that one talent in the bible world was worth 6000 days of wages!  That’s a lot!  This guy–we shouldn’t feel too sorry for him!  he still had more than most. he was still quite blessed.  All he had to do was be thankful for what he’d been given and then spend it to the best of his ability.

We fall into this trap often.  We think, why do I have only this one talent? why am I stuck as a doorman?  why don’t I have his job? her kids?  their house?  their vacation?  their money?

And then we forget to be thankful for what we do have.

This Thanksgiving, let’s thank God for all our blessings, all of the talents he has given us.  And we thank God for the talents he has given to others.

Daily homily thoughts, 11/18

Msgr Charles Pope has a great homily about the ten virgins from last Sunday’s Gospel parable.  I love it, especially this part:

II. Prepare Personally – The text says, The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise ones replied, “No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.”

At first the answer of the wise virgins surprises us. Shouldn’t they share? Isn’t that what we would expect Jesus to say?

But there are some things you can’t lend and some things you can’t borrow. You can’t borrow someone else’s relationship with God. You can’t borrow holiness, or mercy, or love, or wisdom. You can’t borrow someone else’s prayer life. You have to have your own.

As a priest, I get lots of requests, sometimes for money, sometimes to use the Church for a funeral. I often inquire, “Was the deceased a parishioner here?” So often the answer is, “Well, no, but his grandmother was,” or “his second cousin used to be.” Now I’ll celebrate the funeral Mass, no matter, but the answer is “No, he wasn’t.” The fact that his Grandmother or his second cousin attended Mass here has nothing to do with it. None of that will profit him before God; none of that adds even a drop of oil to his lamp. You can’t borrow your grandmother’s holiness; you have to have your own.

Hence we must personally prepare to meet God. We must come to know Him and to love Him. We must be open to receiving the gifts He offers: prayer, Scripture, the liturgy, the sacraments, the moral life, a new mind and heart.

What about us? Do we have our own oil, or are we just talking about what a great person our grandmother was? An old gospel hymn says, “Yes, I know Jesus for myself.” Do we? Another old gospel hymn says, “My mother taught me how to pray. So if I die and my soul be lost, it’s nobody’s fault but mine.”

The second principle of proper preparation is to prepare personally.