Category Archives: Homilies

Homily from Ordinary Time, Week 25, Cycle C, 9-18-2016

Readings for this homily can be found here.

Mortgage rates are low right now, and I desire in my old age to have my house paid off, so I recently refinanced my house to a 15 year fixed. It costs me a bit more each month, but I know I won’t mind when I have it paid off early. I put my seat belt on every time I get in the car because I don’t want a ticket, and I don’t want to die. I have life insurance to make sure my wife and children are taken care of in case something happens to me. I lock my door when I leave the house so my belongings are safe. I check my children’s grades, I go to the doctor for a check up when I’m sick, I take my car to the mechanic when I hear a funny noise, and keep jumper cables and a first aid kit in my trunk, just in case. Without my pocketknife, I feel naked.

I try to be prepared for whatever life may throw at me.

Today, Jesus challenges me, and he makes me wonder if I’m not foolish.

St. Teresa of Lisieux once said, “Remember the world is thy ship, not thy home.” We spend so much time and energy preparing for the ups, downs, ins and outs of this world, but this world is a passing thing. We put most of our thought and energy into a boat that we will abandon once we reach our destination.

The steward in our Gospel today is cunning as a fox. He knows things are about to go bad for him, so he does what any of us would have done: he tries to set himself up for his future. If you work for a company that you can obviously tell is sinking fast, would you not start handing out resumes? Of course you would, to do otherwise would be foolish. If you see a storm coming, you grab an umbrella.

So the steward does the only thing he can do, and starts to get in good graces with those who will be most likely to help him. He starts checking out the competition, he’s wheeling and dealing, he’s doing everything he can to save his skin.

He’s doing everything he can to save his skin. What are we doing? We certainly aren’t trying to save ourselves. Most of the time, when it comes to our spiritual lives, we just sit back and act like everything is fine and dandy. “Sure, I’m not perfect, I’m only human, and God is forgiving.” we say to ourselves, and we almost believe it. We are content to give little to almost no thought to our souls. We are content to worry more about the length of our neighbor’s lawn or where I’m going our to dinner than we are to meditate on the eternal fate of our souls.

This is what Jesus mean when he tells us “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”

I know you might feel like I’m getting all negative, but don’t worry, Jesus offers us a cure for this problem. He says, “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.”

So we start with small things. Maybe for you that means praying before meals, or adding a morning or evening devotion. Maybe for you that means adding the rosary to your evening routine. Maybe you feel the need to work on some spiritual reading. Maybe the next step for you is making daily mass once or twice a week or adoration every week. Be trustworthy in small things, and grow from there.

But do act. Do something. This is the single most important thing we can focus on in our lives, and it deserves a bit of diligence, a bit of forethought, and a bit of action. We must turn ourselves around and focus ourselves on the things that really matter. Faith, Family, Service, Community. If we are not serving that which is truly good, than what exactly are we basing our lives on? “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.”

My First Homily!

My pastor scheduled me to preach my very first weekend as a deacon, to go along with a celebration of my ordination. I worked on my first homily all summer long. I really wanted to get it all right, I wanted to start off good. It was a finely crafted work of art.

I then scraped the whole thing and rewrote it the night before.

It was such a great joy to serve my parish for the first time, I was so deeply honored. Ill talk more about the reception in another post.

So without further ado, for your reading pleasure…

Readings for the day can be found here…

As I stand here today, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to this parish, this family who have given so much to support me over these last five and a half years. In preparing to become a deacon, I have many times wanted to quit, to give up. You see, I know that I am in no way worthy to serve you.

How blessed am I that the one piece of scripture that sustained me, is the scripture we read from Paul today. He is telling my story. He says, “I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated.” This is me. But the grace of our Lord is indeed abundant, and like Paul, somehow God in his grace has found me trustworthy.

In my life, I have not been the best of men. In my foolishness and ignorance, I have denied him, I have hurt people, and I have hurt myself. Christ came to save people just like me, sinners. Like Paul, I cannot help but think that the main reason Christ has chosen me in this way, to serve you as deacon, is to show you the endless mercy and patience he has. If he can bring a sinner like me home, there is no one he cannot save.

I know you too are not perfect. Maybe your sins are different then mine, but to be human is to have that natural tendency towards sin, so I know it is there for you too. It was there for Israel in the desert as they built the molten calf, and it is with us still. But God’s mercy is enough for us.

Jesus is not afraid of our weakness, he is not afraid of our sin. It is we who live in fear, fear of not being good enough, fear of judgement, fear of the future and fear of being alone. Jesus is not afraid to walk right through all of that to walk beside us. He is not afraid to leave all and come searching for us, to risk all to bring us home, and there is no greater celebration for him than finding you and I, his lost sheep, his missing coin.

We must move towards him always, we must have faith that he is there to catch us when we fall, and to guide our steps along the ever narrowing path. We must take every step of our lives in this faith, we must walk this faith in our work, in our dealings with our families and friends, in our meeting strangers, and in our sufferings and sorrows. If we instead choose to live in fear, we will never find the happiness we seek.

Faith is not a blind thing. Faith is not trying to force yourself to believe something that doesn’t make sense. Faith is like a glass bridge stretching over the Grand Canyon. You have seen people walk across it, you know it has been engineered well, but when it comes time for you to walk over it yourself, you can’t help but be afraid. You see nothing but glass and sky beneath you, and your heart rises in your chest, and you can hardly breathe.

Faith is knowing what is true, and acting on it even when it doesn’t FEEL true. We may desire sinful things, but we must fight it, because we know it will not bring us joy, will not make us whole, and will leave us empty. Instead we must in faith move towards the good things that come from God, Friendship, Loyalty, Charity, Compassion, Kindness, and Fortitude. These are the things that will bring us lasting joy. Joy is what we seek, and to live a life in Christ is to turn away from the sin and the fear that plagues us, and to grab that joy our Lord offers with both hands.

Today as I begin my ministry to you, I remember the words of a dear friend of yours and mine, Fr. Eric Freed, that I hold deep in my heart and in my thoughts. “To be happy, be thankful. To be thankful, have faith. Faith is understanding that all is God’s.”