April 7 and 8 2018 Second Sunday of Easter (One Church, Many Disciples: Capital Campaign)

April 7 and 8 2018  Second Sunday of Easter

 

(One Church, Many Disciples: Capital Campaign)

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

 

Today the scriptures summarize and interesting fact about the early Christian community.

 

Acts says:

 

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,

and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,

but they had everything in common.

 

This is an idealized picture of  the early community. If you read on in
The Acts of the Apostles you find that  the unity is stressed and the disagreements over property and and donations to the Church get complicated.  We see in Acts a community that struggles with sin. Like us, the early church, needed abundant graces to be faithful.

 

A second fact that has long interested me is found in the Gospel. Thomas appears. Thomas is famously known as the “Doubting Thomas”.  

When people ask me about my interest in “clarity” about

the use of Parish facilities,

forms that need to be filled out before the Parish bus is “borrowed”,

my desire to see requests in writing and

my interest in seeing my signature authorizing activities my standard answer is this: “My name is Thomas and unless I see, I tend to doubt.”

 

Today is “Kick off Saturday / Sunday here at Saint Patrick’s.  What are we “Kicking Off”?

 

We are “Kicking Off” not a football but the “One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign.

 

This is the first capital Campaign in the history of our Archdiocese.

 

With the Beatification of Father Stanley Rother we are entering a new, deeper, more loving and more sacrificial phase of our history as a Church.

 

After reflection, prayer and years of planning the “One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign has begun.

 

The campaign’s goal is to raise a minimum of $60 million dollars.

 

The campaign is designed to provide

for each local parishes’ pressing needs,

to provide a shrine to honor Father Rother,

to fund ministries focused on Evangelization, Faith formation and Hispanic Ministry.

 

Today, we at Saint Patrick’s join twenty eight other parishes as the second group to participate in the “One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign.

 

$60 million dollar is not a small amount but 60% ot the $60,000 is already pledged.  There are two more groups of parishes that will participate in the campaign over the next year after our group of twenty nine parishes make our pledges.

 

I believe Christians should share what we have as the first Reading reminds us.

 

Being named Thomas I doubted that the goal was achievable.

 

 I honestly thought it was an impossible dream and I wondered who came up with that startling amount: $60,000,000.

 

I have been at the business of fundraising for churches for a number of years.  I have been asked to give to many organizations. Most of my giving is to Church related causes. The first priority on my list is giving to my, your, our parish.

 

The One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign engaged  my cynicism, doubts and disbelief. I began to change my opinion about the campaign the more I learned about the “One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign.

 

The enthusiasm of the priests in Group One of the campaign I thought came from their lack of experience or their abundant charm or their good luck.

 

The fact that helped me decide to be the first person to pledge from our parish was that we will receive 20% back of the amount that we raise.  I have been giving to my parish and my special causes for many years but I have never been told that I, or in this case, “we” will get 20% of what we give back!

 

Our parish goal is $405,000 (Four hundred five thousand dollars).

Since it is our Parish goal it seemed larger to me than the $60,000,000 (sixty million dollars) total goal for the whole Archdiocese.

 

I made a few calls to some of you in about a two week period. To my utter amazement  the first thirteen pledges raised $202,800. This is 50% of our goal.

 

I am not in the money raising business. I am not competing with anyone or any parish for being “first” at anything.

 

However, It is interesting to me that the highest  percentage of the goal pledged, among the twenty nine parishes in our group, since our phase of the campaign began fell to a most unlikely, to me, parish.

 

The parish that raised the highest percentage of their goal is located at 19th and North Portland. I affectionately refer to us as “Saint Pat’s”.

 

Congratulations to all of you who stepped up to the plate and gave sacrificially to this worthy cause.

 

Congratulations to all who will have the opportunity to help us meet our goal.

 

I ask that you keep and open mind and heart and pocket book to learn more about the “One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign.

 

The campaign prayer cards are in the pews. We will pray this prayer weekly during the campaign.  I encourage you to pray the prayer often.

 

Let us now pray the prayer.

 

If you would like to learn more about the campaign please come to the Parish Hall for a brief video about the “One Church, Many Disciples” Capital Campaign.

 

I thank you for your kind attention and your amazing generosity.

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Good Friday Homily Homilia de Viernes Santo Deacon Duane Fischer

Homily by Deacon Duane Fischer

Good Friday March 30, 2018

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42

 

The Prophet Isaiah wrote about a servant from God who would be harshly treated.

A servant who would be spurned and avoided, pierced and crushed, oppressed and condemned.

Though he would be harshly treated, he would submit and not open his mouth.

Like a lamb led to slaughter, he would be silent and                                           

allow himself to be taken away.

The servant from God was Jesus, the Lamb of God.

In the passion account, as told in the Gospel of John, Jesus was                 

betrayed and arrested, denied and interrogated, scourged and crucified.

Like a lamb Jesus did not resist,

in fact he chastised Peter for drawing a sword to resist.

Jesus allowed himself to be taken away to be crucified,                                                           

submitting to the will of his Father in heaven.

 

The Prophet Isaiah wrote that the Lord God would lay upon his servant the guilt of us all.

The servant from God would carry our infirmities, our offenses, our sins.

Through his suffering the servant shall justify many.

Because he surrendered himself to death he shall take away the sins of many,

and win pardon for our offenses, our sins, our weaknesses.

The cross that Jesus carried to the Place of the Skull, Golgotha,

is the symbol of our sins and our guilt.

Jesus carried our sins upon himself, making himself the offering for the forgiveness of sins.

 

The author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus became perfect from what he suffered.

And he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

The passion account tonight concluded when Jesus was laid in the tomb.

And now we wait in silent anticipation of what will happen next.

Let us remember and reflect on what God told his people,

and us, at the beginning of the reading from Isaiah tonight:

“See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.”

 

Homila by Deacon Duane Fischer

Viernes Santo, 30 de Marzo de 2018

Isaias 52:13-53:12; Hebreos 4:14-16, 5:7-9; Juan 18:1-19:42

 

El profeta Isaías escribió acerca de un siervo de Dios que sería tratado con dureza.

Un sirviente que sería rechazado y evitado, traspasado y aplastado, oprimido y condenado.

Aunque sería tratado con dureza, se sometería y no abriría la boca.

Como un cordero llevado al matadero, él callaría y se dejaría llevar.

El siervo de Dios era Jesús, el Cordero de Dios.

En el relato de la pasión, como se cuenta en el Evangelio de Juan,                   

Jesús fue traicionado y arrestado, negado e interrogado, azotado y crucificado.

Como un cordero, Jesús no se resistió,

de hecho él castigó a Pedro por sacar una espada para resistirse.

Jesús permitió que lo llevaran para ser crucificado,

sometiéndose a la voluntad de su Padre que está en el cielo.

El profeta Isaías escribió que el Señor Dios depositaría sobre su siervo la culpa de todos nosotros.

El siervo de Dios cargaría con nuestras enfermedades, nuestras ofensas, nuestros pecados.

A través de su sufrimiento, el siervo justificará a muchos.

Debido a que se entregó a sí mismo a la muerte,

él quitará los pecados de muchos,

y gana el perdón por nuestras ofensas.

La cruz que Jesús llevó al Lugar de la Calavera, el Gólgota,

es el símbolo de nuestros pecados y nuestra culpa.

Jesús llevó nuestros pecados sobre sí mismo,

convirtiéndose la ofrenda para el perdón de los pecados.

El autor de la carta a los Hebreos nos dice que Jesús se hizo perfecto a partir de lo que sufrió.

Y se convirtió en la fuente de la salvación eterna para todos los que le obedecen.

El relato de la pasión esta noche concluyó

cuando Jesús fue enterrado en una tumba.

Y ahora esperamos en silencio anticipación de lo que sucederá después.

Recordemos y reflexionemos sobre lo que Dios le dijo a su pueblo, y a nosotros,  al comienzo de la lectura de Isaías esta noche:

“Mira, mi siervo prosperará, él será elevado y grandemente exaltado”.

 

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March 29 2018 Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper Thursday of Holy Week Homily

March 29 2018 Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper Thursday of Holy Week Homily

 

Exodus 11:1-8, 11-14

Psalm 116

First Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-15

 

Today we do more than remember a time of slavery.

We do more than remember being “delivered” from hunger, thirst, discrimination, racism and oppression.

We do more than remember a time of special foods, special drink and special blessings.

 

Today, tonight, now, we enter once more the experience of the loving God who needs to love us, forgive us, protect us.

 

The meal Jesus shared with his friends he now shares with us.

The meal with Jesus is many faceted.

The betrayer of Jesus is present.

 

Simon Peter argues with Jesus about how much washing Peter believes he “requires.”

 

Jesus wishes to give a “teaching”, a “model” of how his disciples, his followers,  must act.

 

The “master” and “teacher” serves in a very concrete and practical way.

“Washing” feet was and is an important, even necessary, practice in a cuplace where sandals are worn and the land is dry and dusty.

 

Jesus invites us to follow the model of simple service to others.

The master and teacher, who is the way to the Father, shows us that the “way to the Father is the way of service.

 

Opportunities to follow the way, the model, the master, the teacher are as close as the the person sitting next to you.

 

Let us ask the Father to make us faithful followers of his Son who teaches us the necessity of serving others if we are to be transformed, healed, made whole as the Spirit guides us as we journey to the Kingdom.

 

This feast is sometimes called the “Last Supper” .
Jesús shares a festive meal for the last time with his friends.

 

Really we might as well call this the “First Supper” because there is no “last supper.”

 

Jesús said “Do this in memory of me.”

 

How many times, in how many. places has this “supper” been “done” in the memory of Jesús since that “First Supper”?

 

We speak of the heavenly banquet which the “Lord’s Supper” prefigures and promises if we but eat the bread and drink the cup of promise that we bless and share this night.

 

The heavenly banquet, like the love of Father, Son and Spirit is eternal,

never ending, without end.

 

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Palm Passion Sunday Year B Homily 24 and 25 March 2018

Palm Passion Sunday Year B Homily

PROCESSION:

Mark 11:1-10

Jesús draws near to Jerusalem.

Cloaks are put over a borrowed colt.

Jesus is seated on the colt.

 

The people spread their cloaks on the road.

Leafy branches are also spread out on Jesús’ path.

 

The people cry out:

 

“Hosanna!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

Hosanna in the highest!”

 

May our cries,

join those of the many people who cry

“Hosanna”

as we welcome our king.

 

 

Homily

ISAIAH 50:4-7

PSALM 22

PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11

MARK 14:1-15:47

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

On this day we enter into the saving mysteries.

The saving mysteries come at great price to the king from Galilee.

Jesus saves our lives by giving his life.

Jesus “empties” himself so we may be filled with hope, life and

grace.

Jesus comes as servant and slave.

Jesus comes to show us we can only be first by being last and least.

Jesus gives all,

to all

and

for all.
Jesus has, throughout his ministry been drawn to

the sick,

the poor,

the outcast,

the foreigner,

the refugee,

the sinner,

the troubled.

 

Jesus knows his disciples well.

Jesus knows  

forgiveness,

service,

arguments,

disputes.

 

Jesus will know

suffering,

persecution,

torture.

Jesus fully expects to be betrayed by religious and civil

authorities.

These authorities make their importance felt by executing Jesus.

Jesús cannot be controlled.

Jesús therefore must die.

 

Jesus also knows his own disciples will betray him and flee.

The events surrounding Jesus are full of

surprises, the unexpected, the unanticipated.

 

We might expect Simon Peter to walk the walk as well as talk the

talk.

 

We might expect one of the disciples to be present at the death of

Jesus and say “Truly this man was the Son of God”

 

The person who declares Jesus’ is “the Son God” is a

“centurion” a foreigner. A person who most probably did not know

of Jesus until he was assigned the task of executing him.

 

We might believe

salvation,

eternal life,

grace

depend on

our goodness,

our faith,

our observance of religious teachings.

 

The Jesus we meet in Mark’s Gospel

shows us grace (God’s life and Spirit) is:

undeserved,

freely given,

utterly undeserved,

unconditionally offered to the most unlikely of candidates.

 

May we empty ourselves so we

may serve others,

may enter into Jesus’ suffering,

may come to new and eternal life.

 

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Eucharist of Resurrection Eloise Bullinger March 19, 2018

Eucharist of Resurrection Eloise Bullinger March 19, 2018

Resurrection Cemetery Chapel

 Isaiah 25:6-9

 Psalm 23

 Second Corinthians 4:14-15:1

 John 6:37-40

Family and Friends of Eloise (“Lois” “Baba”) Jones Bullinger

The Parish Family of Saint Patrick Parish wishes to extend to you today our support and consolation at this time of your great loss

Our prayers for Lois  and for you will be offered up to our Lord  today.

We have a “Book of Life” that is kept on the Main Altar in our church.

Lois’s name was put in that book shortly after we learned of her death.

Each time we gather here to “break open” God’s sacred “word” and share “consecrated bread and wine”  we remember those who have gone before us in life and have entered  eternal life.

Lois’s story begins at her home in Mountain View, Oklahoma on February 24, 19 23.  “Home” was a dugout with four bedrooms above.

Lois enjoyed work:, working in the fields, hoeing weeds in the cotton field, “pulling cotton”, taking care of animals were some of things she enjoyed. The traditional work of women: cooking,sewing, cleaning did not interest Lois.  Lois enjoyed driving a truck to market at age 12 (how did she see over the steering wheel?) and rose at 4 AM to collect eggs from the chickens.

Many of us have stories about walking to school in the snow or versions of that tale from our parents.  Some of us here are old enough even to have stories about walking to school. Some of our stories might even be true.  

Eloise and her sisters and brothers walked a mile to school. If it was too cold to ride to school on horses they wrapped burlap bags around their feet and walked the mile to school and back in the inclement weather.

Lois realized one of her early dreams of living on the East coast. After attending Hill’s Business College in Oklahoma City she moved to Washington D.C..

Lois met and married Walter Bullinger in Washington. Walter was sent overseas in World War II. Lois then moved back home to Oklahoma and gave birth to her daughter Gloria.

Walter and Lois settled in Oklahoma City. Lois was  a founding parishioner of Saint Patrick’s Church in Oklahoma City. Lois worked on the construction of the Church of Saint Patrick which is known as “The Church the People Built”.

A summary of Lois’s character includes the following qualities:

“Amazing memory,

“Unsurpassed work ethic,

“Fiercely independent,

“Directe in her communication,

“Loving,

“Generous,

“Good cook,

“Lived simply.

In my experience Lois always enjoyed a good laugh. There is a story about her mother in law’s first visit to Oklahoma.  

Lois’s mother in law insisted that they roll up the windows of  the car when they crossed the state line into Oklahoma for fear of arrows from unhappy Indians.

The home place near Mountain View at the time had outdoor plumbing. Lois’s mother went to use the plumbing facilities one evening.

The nearby hogs in residence decided to “scream and carry on” during at that particular moment.  Walter’s mother decided the “place” was being attacked by warring Indians and ran to the safety of the house.  

Lois’s dad laughed about this for the rest of his life.

The Scriptures today speak of the body as a “dwelling” that is temporary.

The dwelling Jesús draws us to, we believe, is eternal.

John’s Gospel today tells us what Jesús came to do and plans to do for those who are “given” to him by the Father.

Jesús says: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me”.

“This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me.”

Through grace Lois was “given” by the Father to Jesús.

We will miss Lois’s friendship, laughter, friendship, independence and directness.

Today we now let go of Lois.  Lois, we believe, will be raised up to take part in the heavenly banquet and be welcomed into the Lord’s warm, heavenly embrace.

 

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19 March 2018 Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary Homily

19 March 2018 Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary  Homily

Second Samuel 7;4-5,12-14,16

Psalm 89

Romans 4:13,16-18,22

Luke 2:41-51

Francis, shortly after he became Pope Francis, made a change in all of the Eucharistic prayers approved by the Church.

He added, after  the words “Mary mother of God” in the listing of the saints of the church, “and Joseph her spouse”.

 

I do not know really what motivated that change in Pope Francis’ mind but it may have had something to do with calling attention to “marriage”. Francis may  have sought to elevate the “service” of Joseph. Perhaps Francis may have found Joseph’s part in the Holy Family somewhat under recognized.

Joseph has an important role to play in the life of Mary and therefore in the life of Jesús.

Joseph could have “divorced  her quietly” as Matthew tells us.

Joseph, however, was an understanding and tolerant man.

 

Joseph  became Mary’s protector  and Jesús’ step father, role model and guide we may surmise.  Joseph leads the family into Egypt to protect Jesús’ from King Herod’s plot to kill the newborn king of the Jews.

 

In the Gospel today Joseph is a silent witness to the complexity of life with the independent,  precocious and obviously wise, beyond his twelve short years, son.

Mary “wears the pants” in the family and speaks for Joseph’s and her anxiety after Jesús is “lost”.

Mary Joseph finally find Jesús after three days of searching for him in Jerusalem.

Jesús is in the Temple astonishing the teacher’s, people and even his parents.

In the end Jesús and his parents, who do not understand Jesús’ answer to the question from Mary , “Son, why have you done this to us?”

Jesús is astounded by this question and answers, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Jesús “…..went down with them (his parents) to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” Luke informs us.

Joseph and Mary may have had many questions about their twelve year old son.

We surmise, in faith, that Mary and Joseph faithfully taught, nurtured and formed Jesús, to like them, follow the Father’s will in all things.

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17 and 18 March 2018 Fifth Sunday of Lent B Homily

17 and 18 March  2018 Fifth Sunday of Lent B Homily

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 51

Hebrews 5:7-9

John 12:20-23

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

 

The prophet Jeremiah today tells us about a “new covenant”.

This covenant between the LORD and the people will be “new”.

This covenant will not be written on stones or placed in front of courthouses or even posted in churches.

This covenant will not be something to look at and admire.

No, this covenant is designed so as to get “inside people’s hearts”.

Jeremiah had more than enough verbal and verbose verbiage about   religion coming out of people’s mouths.

Jeremiah uses an intimate if somewhat painful image from the Lord:

“I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;

I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

The Psalm refrain pleads to the LORD “…create a new heart within me”.

 

This “new heart” is akin to a spiritual “heart transplant”.

I know someone who recently had a kidney transplant. This person waited years for the transplant and finally their name came up on the list. The “new kidney” operation and follow up were not easy or simple. The removal of the non functioning kidney and the “new kidney” have required lots of new growth, multiple medication and deep pockets of patience, acceptance and humility.

New physical  “heart transplants” are rare.

I don’t know about you but my “spiritual  heart transplant” began a very long time ago.

Becoming a priest did not, I can assure you, make the “spiritual heart transplant” a sure thing or a painless surgery.

In case you have not noticed, my  “spiritual heart transplant” is an ongoing project.

 

The letter to the Hebrews speaks today about Christ Jesús

“offering prayers and supplications,

loud cries and tears

to the one who could save him from death”.  

This turned out to be a lesson in  obedience for Christ Jesús (in the flesh)  that gained salvation for we who are still “in the flesh”

Jesús in the Gospel has an alarming interior conversation with himself that we are privileged to share in today.

Jesus says:

“I am troubled now. But what should I say?

‘Father, save me from this hour?

But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.

Father,  glorify your name.’”

Jesús name can only be glorified if Jesús, like a grain falls into the ground, and produces much fruit.

I have often wondered how many times Father Stanley Francis Rother, being a boy from Oklahoma wheat  country, thought about these words the last year of his life before his hour came.

Jesús convinces himself to embrace the hour of his death to give glory to the Father and so as Jesús says:

“……when I am lifted up from the earth,

I will draw everyone to myself.”

If the “spiritual heart transplant” is successful we come to believe in Jesús and come to bear much fruit and we, like Jesus, give  glory to the Father.

 

 

 

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10 and 11 March, 2016 Fourth Sunday of Lent B Homily

10 and 11  March, 2016  Fourth Sunday of Lent B Homily

Second Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23

Psalm 137

Ephesians 2:4-10

John 3:14-21

My sisters and brothrers in Christ.

 

The Second Book of Chronicles describes the complex relationship between the LORD and the people the LORD chose to “make his own”.

The relationship, like most relationships, is complex due to our human needs to “hear”, “see”,“know”, “control”, “survive” have a life and things that are  to our own “liking”.

The story of salvation that the two books of Chronicles in the Bible tell a story of a people who, much like ourselves, tend to look for short cuts, the easy way in and out, tend to self interest if not selfishness.  

The main character in the “story” is believe it or not, the LORD. The main character is not me or you or us.

The LORD tends to be, in the end, forgiving of our individual and community failings.

The LORD is so forgiving that our faith in the LORD is tested not by how predictable and  profound our personal and community failings are.

Our faith is tested by the promise that the LORD is able to forgive us no matter what.

 

It usually does not take a newborn much time at all to learn how to  “cry” for attention.

The love of the LORD is more constant than even the love of the most loving mother we can each imagine.  For most of us, hopefully, that person would be our own mother.

The Book of Chronicle today winds up the story of our the Chosen people’s  pettiness, selfishness and the LORD’S constant forgiveness by telling us how fierce and effective is the LORD’S care for us.

The LORD prompts Cyrus, the King of Persia (Syria) to issue this proclamation fulfilling the Prophecy of the Prophet Jeremiah:

“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:

All the kingdoms of the earth

the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me,

and he has also charged me to build him a house

in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people,

let him go up, and may his God be with him!”

 

Cyrus does not even believe in the LORD but is prompted to let the LORD’S people  return from exile to their home in Judah and even build a “house” (Temple) for the LORD in Jerusalem.

This LORD is a God who will stop at nothing to care for and protect the Chosen People.

The passage from Ephesians today summarizes a further proof of the LORD’s care for the Chosen People.

Chronicles spoke of exile and the infidelity of the People.

Ephesians speaks of our being “dead” because of sin.

The LORD cares so much for us that, in Christ, by grace we are “saved” and “raised up with him (Christ Jesús)”.

Today Jesús speaks with Nicodemus (means “the People’s Victory”). Jesús speaks to Nicodemus in the “dark” since Nicodemus is afraid to be seen with Jesús.  Jesús is no friend of the authorities. Nicodemus is an authority and befriending Jesús is not good for his career or life expectancy.

Jesús says:

“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Moses “lifted up” the image of a serpent on a pole so that those who had abandoned the LORD and been bitten by poisonous snakes would not die.

Looking upon the “up raised” pole saved people from death by the poisonous snakes.

 

Jesús will be “lifted up”.

This does not refer to Jesús ascending to the LORD after Pentecost.

This “lifting up” will be on a “wooden pole”, the cross.

We know the story of Jesús carrying his cross before he died.

I would like to make a personal aside that has relevance to carrying crosses.

I am towards the front end of the birth order in my family.

By the time my youngest sibling was born I was making suggestions as to what the next child should be called. I had a penchant for creative middle names. This may have been because I did not have one.

The youngest sibling turned out to be a boy. My mother did not honor my request to have the child born on my birthday but did manage to have the birth three days after my birthday.

The name I suggested was “Christopher”.  

Words and therefore names are important.

Both words and names matter a great deal.

Have you met anyone who did not like their name or changed their name?

Christopher means “Christ Bearer”.

This name implies “protection” as well as “carrying” or “toting”.

Have you ever had the privilege or carrying the cross in a procession?

How many of you have carried the cross in a Procession on Good Friday?

The biggest cross I have ever carried, literally speaking, in my life is the one standing outside between the entrance doors of this church.

The older I get the more “help” I accept in getting from the entrance of this Church to here before the altar on Good Friday.

 

The person who carries the procession cross literally carries for us and with us the image of Christ.

Gazing on the cross, even if we cannot see who is carrying it, reminds us of what happened when Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert.

People who gazed upon the serpent lifted up before them did not die.

What do we see when we gaze upon the Cross as it makes its way through the church at the beginning and end of each Eucharist?

The Cross literally leads us to worship the One who, “though we were dead in our transgressions, through grace in Christ…raised us up.”

That image of  Christ, nailed to a cross, reminds us that  Christ gave his lif  for us and gives us life.

 

A mother once told me of her two year old son pointing to the front of church. She could not figure out what he was looking at.

When the cross came down the aisle towards the little boy pointed and said: “It is Jesús, I love him very much.”

That child looked on the cross and was able to “bear” the message of the cross of Christ.

In truth we are each Christ bearers. Therefore we too each  bear the Cross.

We too share the glory in being raised up with Christ to the LORD.

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17 and 18 February 2018 First Sunday of Lent B Homily

Genesis 9:8-15

Psalm 25

First Peter 3:19-22

Mark 1:12-15

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

In a few short verses in the Gospel today we hear

“The Spirit drove Jesús into the desert….he was tempted by Satan….after John had been arrested, Jesús came to Galilee..This is the time of fulfillment….”

After the Ash Wednesday Eucharist on Wednesday a parishioner told me about the shootings at a school in Florida.

I had not seen or heard any news that day.

Days like Ash Wednesday tend to rearrange my usual schedule so when I went home that evening I turned on the news.

The news was shocking, sickening and awful.

Someone had killed many people at a school and wounded many others.

One father whose daughter survived that horrible day said:

“They are killing our children!

They are killing our children!

They are killing our children!”

 

He had one simple question.

“Why can’t we make them stop?”

 

One of the print commentators spoke of “Appeasing” the god of guns.

She wondered if “this was the time” for a conversation about “guns” ?

The availability of weapons, to so many people, with so little evaluation of the suitability of the person purchasing a weapon is clearly a dangerous thing.

Weapons with devastating fire power are relatively easy to obtain. Is this really good for us as a society?

The commentator spoke of two relatively recent “moments” when a “time of fulfillment” or a crisis, such as the “arrest of John” in the Gospel today, prompted a decision.

In the case of Jesús, the crisis was not only “being tempted by Satan” and living “among wild beasts….”

The arrest of John seems to be the “moment” when Jesús “went public” with his message of repentance and belief in the Kingdom of God.

The first recent “moment” was the Catholic Church facing up to the consequences of our considering children damaged by priests and other church personnel as “collateral damage”.  For decades the abusers were transferred without telling the new congregation the person’s relevant history of abusing children and youth. Other personnel were quietly removed from ministry but relatively few suffered serious consequences for their destructive behavior.  That “usual way of doing business” had its “moment” when parents and victims said “Enough is enough.” We have never been a church of perfect saints. We are better now at protecting vulnerable people entrusted to our care.

 

The second “moment” came more recently when individuals working in Hollywood, media and government got the message that sexual harassment was no longer going to be tolerated by men or women.  The “Me Too” movement has all the imperfections of any group of human beings but has made a difference in offering young, attractive, vulnerable persons other choices than being “collateral damage” in the interest of providing pleasure to people supervising their careers.

Our hope, that can help us to continue to send our children to school each day is that we no longer need to “appease the gods of guns” by offering our children as “collateral damage” so our “right” to bear arms is protected.

One child is one too many and seventeen people are seventeen too many to be sacrificed  to “the gods of guns” for no rational reason.

I hope we can begin and continue that conversation about “guns”.

I believe the “moment” has come.

Let us begin as a society by listening respectfully to each other on this pressing but complicated issue.

Let us find a way together to protect our children and each other

 

 

 

Annual Catholic Appeal Weekend Remarks Follow

 

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23 and 24 December 2017 Fourth Sunday of Advent B Homily

23 and 24 December 2017  Fourth Sunday of Advent B Homily

 

SECOND SAMUEL 7: 1-16

PSALM 89

ROMANS 16:25-27

LUKE 1:26-38

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

The Advent call, cry, prayer “Come Lord Jesus” is about to be

fulfilled.

 

The scriptures today speak about “dwellings” and “indwellings.”

David is brave, bright, handsome, charming, “highly favored.”

Up to this point in his life he has a golden touch and things turn

out his way in an uncanny manner.

 

David decides to build a “dwelling” for the Lord.

David finds it discomforting that the Lord lives in a tent while he

(David) lives in a house of  “cedar.”

 

The Lord has other plans for David.

The Hebrew word “bayith”  means “dwelling” or house.

“Bayith” also means  “dynasty.”

 

David will not build a house for the Lord.

The Lord, we are told, will “establish a house (dynasty) for

David.”

 

The Jewish religion, like many religions, is ambiguous about

building temples, chapels, synagogues, mosques, cathedrals,

basilicas and shrines.  

The ambiguity comes from the practical concern over the physical

and financial resources needed to construct and maintain a “house

of God.”  

I do not need to elaborate on the struggle over building and

maintaining a special building  in this very special house of

God.

 

The Lord dwelling in a “tent” seems a much more flexible and

less consuming option than building, heating, cooling and

maintaining a large building.

 

The tent is open, movable, adaptable but also may be penetrated,

and is vulnerable to any number of  “natural” or “man made”

disasters.

Spiritually speaking, a physical building may tend to localize and

control where the Lord may be found, may be active, may be

accessed.

 

What David is promised by the Lord is that the Lord will be

present and “dwell” in David  and in his offspring.

 

David is not permitted to control the movement, dwelling place,

presence or action of the Lord.

 

 

The gospel speaks of Mary, apparently alone and most probably in

the inner room of her home. Unmarried women were not seen by

men other than in the presence of their fathers and brothers.

 

Mary is informed that the Lord would be present, would establish

his dwelling, his “indwelling” not in a stone or wooden dwelling.

 

The Lord, Mary is told, will “dwell” in her body, in her inner most

place, in her womb.

 

Mary, being unmarried and not having “relations with a man” asks

“How can this be?”

 

Mary is informed the Holy Spirit “will come over” her and “the

power of the Most High will overshadow” her.

 

Mary then will have the protection not of her natural father and

other male family members.

Mary will have the protection of the Lord.

The Lord will “dwell” with and in Mary after she has her child.

 

God does the “impossible” in the young woman Mary who has not

had “relations with a man” by promising her a son.

 

God does the “impossible” in the older woman Elizabeth who is

“barren” by giving her a “son in her old age.”

 

God does the impossible, Paul tells us in the second reading, by

revealing the “mystery”

of the extent,

the reach,

the limitlessness of God’s desire

to dwell with us,

to save us,

to bring us to himself.

All religions tend to define, circumscribe, place conditions on

who is

in,

out,

just,

a sinner,

worthy,

good,

bad,

right,

wrong.

 

Jesus Christ, Paul tells us today,

reveals the mystery,

the secret that:

God seeks to dwell

in all people

and in all peoples.

 

We say, ask, plead:

“Come Lord Jesus”

Come to dwell with us.

Come to dwell in us.

Come to be all in all.

Come to take us into your Father’s loving care and

form us in his and your loving image.

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